What causes low testosterone in young males? Based on my emails, I would say it is steroid use about half the time. Below I have an email from a reader who lost almost all of his testosterone production from a well-known "supplement" called Cyclo Bolan from Infinite Labs. And, as if to add insult to injury, this same supplement apparently gave him a healthy case of "bitch tits" or "man boobs".
"hi, read and printed out many of the articles from your site. Found it by accident when researching gynecomastia. I'm afraid I may have a mild form of it since I took a weight lifting supplement a year ago which wiped out my testosterone and HDL, while it skyrocketed my cholesterol and LDL. I read somewhere that when testosterone production halts, estrogen steps up to the plate."
"Well your site was very informative and answered many questions. I suspect ALL of my health problems are directly or indirectly related, such as hair loss, low energy, low libido, etc. But it wasn't until I noticed mild gynecomastia that I've become greatly concerned."
"Do you have a program to reduce gynecomastia? There were some sites that said it is irreversable since scarring occurs after 12 months. Also there are many name brand supplements and foods - do you have a do and don't list or are there any brand names you recommend in particular?"
This reader was quite casual about it all, which is unusual. Generally, young steroid users are very panicked. (From what I have seen, steroid users are almost always young, say, less than 35.) Notice the many nasty side effects that he noticed after taking this supplement: "hair loss, low energy, low libido."
What he doesn't know is that he got off "lucky." Cyclo Bolan is composed of two steroids, halodrol and superdrol, both of which have heavy side effects. This reader didn't know it, but he got off "lucky." Both superdrol and halodrol are very hard on the liver and many studies in the journals have reported the same.  Testosterone can often be restored by a good doctor but you only have one liver. And on Cycle Bolan in just a few weeks you can find that your cholesterol has gone through the roof and you're peeing brown urine and have jaundiced (yellowed) eyes and skin. Oy vay!
Also, this young man was not exaggerating when he said that his testosterone was "wiped out." If you read what he wrote back below, you can see that he had a reading of 11 - yes, 11! - after taking this supplement. That is one of the lowest readings I have ever had reported:
"The supplement was Cyclo Bolan by Infinite Labs. it was banned by the FDA. Yes, I got blood tested today. My doctor says that it should be reversable so I'm hopeful. she also mentioned putting in Chrysin into a transdermal testosterone cream."
"I know your article said that chrysin doesn't work but did you mean oral adminstration only?...My testosterone dropped to 11 last year and has since returned back up to 340's. But that was in March. My doc seems to think it could have dropped again since then."
Is it a given that he will get his testosterone back? Usually doctors can jumpstart testosterone in steroid users, but that is not a certainty. Sometimes T levels are permanently damaged.
In any event, I wanted to pass along the dangers of this supplement as a warning. Steroids are dangerous for professional athletes, but they are at least generally under experienced clinical supervision and monitoring. I believe the original Cyclo Bolan was discontinued and Infitine Labs sells a similarly named product that is based on Tribulis. However, I would not touch anything from that supplement manufacturer as they clearly have no interest in your health. Superdrol and halodrol are still widely available, though, and I advise everyone to stay completely away from either.
Yes, a lot of those mammoth, muscle bound young guys in the gym are risking life and limb and liver. I never heard back from this reader: I hope everything came out well for him. He told me that I could pass this information along, by the way, to maybe help out some other men out there.
1) Digestive Diseases and Sciences, May 2009, 54(5):1144-6 Severe Cholestasis and Renal Failure Associated with the Use of the Designer Steroid Superdrol (Methasteron): A Case Report and Literature Review
2) American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2006, 101(11):2659-2662, "Cholestatic Jaundice and IgA Nephropathy Induced by OTC Muscle Building Agent Superdrol