I am often asked by the younger crowd what the harm is in using anabolic steroids at a young age. I tell them often there are many reasons why you should wait until you are in your late 20's to use steroids, one of which is the effects steroids will have on your sperm count. This may not be a big deal to a 20-year-old who thinks life ends at 25. But once you get older and have to tell a girlfriend/wife that you are incapable of generating sperm to impregnate her, and then try multiple times to get her pregnant with no success, expect a major backlash in your relationship. This often leads to animosity towards the man and even divorce.
In this article, I will present facts, experience, and opinions when it comes to sperm production and anabolic steroids.
Biggest Steroid Myth
The biggest myth in existence on forums is that testosterone isn't suppressive.
The biggest myth I see on forums is the ridiculous belief and forum parroting by self-proclaimed 'guru's' that testosterone is not suppressive. The fact of the matter is that not only is it suppressive, but it is the most suppressive thing you can put in your body! In fact, testosterone injections will totally shut down your pituitary glands, which will prevent hormones from stimulating your Leydig cells where sperm is produced. You will have very low sperm count or a complete absence.
The good news is if you come off cycle and run a comprehensive post cycle therapy (PCT), you have a chance to get your sperm count bounce back. This can take many months or more, and the bad news is with some guys their sperm counts will remain much lower permanently. However, there are many men who have still gotten their girlfriends pregnant while on steroids, again it only takes ONE SPERM. Though, keep in mind, you are fighting the odds with less sperm and lower sperm strength to reach the egg.
Science and Studies
One study was done where men were given a conservative 200mg of testosterone enanthate for 20 weeks. After 6 weeks, just 20% of their sperm cells were still moving, and just 25% of the sperm cells had a normal shape to them. The men were re-tested after coming off testosterone after 4 months, and their sperm started to recover slowly, but half the subjects still had extremely low sperm counts 8 months after being off cycle.
Results were similar in testing with other anabolic steroids. A Finnish study gave men 15mg of Dianabol every day for 8 weeks. Sperm count dropped 33% during this time, and deformed sperm doubled. The bottom line is all anabolic steroids will cause some drop in sperm count, and also a sharp rise in deformed 'swimmers.'
Your best bet if you are trying to have a baby is come off all exogenous hormones as soon as possible, run a thorough post cycle therapy, and use top quality natural testosterone boosters (like hcgenerate ES) which contain herbs like mucuna pruriens that can boost sperm count significantly.
There are many things you can put in your body to effect sperm count.
- Marijuana: THC decreases sperm production and weakens sexual drive. Testosterone levels get affected and also THC will have a direct harmful effect on the movement of sperm.
- Opiates: This one should be obvious of course, but we know that these narcotics will disrupt testosterone production. In addition, Opiates will decrease the quality and quantity of sperm. The longer you use them, the more harmful it will be.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (finasteride, dutasteride, Propecia): Obviously these will inhibit DHT and reduce prostate enlargement. The bad news is they will also decrease the volume of semen.
- Alcohol: We all know that alcohol has many negative health effects. They include increasing estrogen, increasing testosterone rate of clearing in the blood stream (making testosterone less effective), and decreasing the production of testosterone. This is dependent on the amount of alcohol drank.
SARMS are selective androgen receptor modulators which are less harmful to your sperm count than anabolic steroids. Because they are SELECTIVE, they do not cause massive shutdown and other side effects that come with anabolic steroids.
Most SARMS will reduce sperm count only slightly, if at all. However, there are two (2) sarms that are strong enough to cause sperm droppage. S-23 is the strongest SARM available to the fitness community, and is in pre-clinical trials as a male contraceptive because of its strong ability to bind to the androgen receptor. Testolone (RAD140) is also very strong, and it has been shown to reduce sperm count more than other SARMS. So it causes mild suppression.
Compounds Stenabolic (SR9009), Nutrobal, and Cardarine (GW) will have zero effect on sperm counts. Ostarine (Ostabolic MK-2866) is considered extremely mild and will have very little effects on sperm count. Andarine (S4) and Anabolicum (LGD) will have slight effects, but significantly less than anabolic steroids.
Fertility for men
Contrary to what you may read on forums, there are currently no fertility drugs that can cure oligospermia (low sperm concentration) for men. However, a study in Egypt has been promising. When using both Clomid (SERM) and vitamin E, it showed both an increase in sperm count and an increase in sperm motility.
There are many ways to screw up sperm count, but you cannot force the body to produce sperm. Yet, you can help it recover by giving it time and running a very thorough post cycle therapy (see the perfect PCT).
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