l’essentielThe football player Paul Pogba has tested positive for testosterone. This doping evidence has resulted in a temporary suspension for him. What are the effects of this hormone? Can the testosterone levels in the body be naturally too high? Clarifications.
Paul Pogba, joueur de la Juventus de Turin, a été testé positif à la testostérone et suspendu à titre provisoire. Une annonce faite par l’agence italienne anti-dopage ce lundi 11 septembre.
Testosterone is prescribed as a treatment to compensate for a deficiency of this naturally produced sex hormone in the body (95% produced by the testicles). Women also produce testosterone, but in significantly smaller amounts (secreted by the ovaries). This hormone is also used in hormone replacement therapy for transgender individuals undergoing gender transition.
However, in the sports context, anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), derived from testosterone, are still prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. For what reasons? Because « they induce an increase in muscle mass or volume and strength, especially when combined with a high-protein diet, » described Vincent Darguet, author of a thesis on the subject. These hormones also artificially stimulate the development of muscle fibers, tone, and physical sensations. These injections therefore distort the athlete’s actual abilities and metabolic resources. Despite their prohibition on the market, AAS such as testosterone remain easily and illegally available on a black market facilitated by the internet, » added Vincent Darguet.
Est-il possible de rencontrer des résultats erronés positifs ?
Est-il possible que le corps produise un excès de testostérone, même si elle est naturellement présente dans l’organisme ? De plus, peut-on en absorber sans en être conscient ? Par conséquent, existe-t-il un risque de résultats erronés positifs ?
It is estimated that 8 out of 1,000 samples are false positives due to confusion between natural and synthetic testosterone. However, the threshold has been set « sufficiently high to avoid penalizing too many false positives, » notes Dr. Jean-Claude Boudier from the University Hospital of Toulouse. And even if an athlete naturally secretes too much testosterone without intending to cheat, the current controls are sensitive enough to distinguish between the two hormones, whether natural or not. Therefore, it is difficult to pretend innocence.
Autres points : les gènes pourraient également influer l’interprétation de ces tests. « Des variations courantes au niveau de ce gène pourraient influencer les résultats des tests selon les individus, après l’administration d’une même dose de testostérone », confirment à ce sujet des scientifiques dans les colonnes du Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
Cholestérol, dépression, cancer, addiction
What can be the consequences of testosterone consumption on health? Chronic consumers may experience hair loss, weight gain, increased cholesterol, depression, and liver tumors.
Sexual health can also be affected with a high risk of « testicular atrophy, abnormalities in sperm production, impotence, changes in libido, and infertility, » as described by researcher Martine Duclos in the Tribunes de la Santé. The appearance of gynecomastia (breast development) is also noted. These detrimental effects are usually reversible in men, often within months after discontinuing use. However, in women, these impacts of SSA on sexual function can persist over time despite stopping injections.
In the long term, there are risks associated with the cardiovascular system (cardiac hypertrophy leading to heart failure, rhythm disorders causing sudden death). Thus, the risk of mortality in users of anabolic steroids is multiplied by four compared to individuals of the same age. And the damage does not stop there: other effects must also be added, such as liver toxicity, sleep apnea, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, and psychiatric disorders (steroid dependence), Martine Duclos adds.
Note: In the community of bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, approximately 15 to 30% consume performance-enhancing substances (PES). The impacts are significant in terms of public health, as there is a notable dose-response effect. Thus, consumers are often not casual users. « Anabolic steroid users generally consume very high doses: 1,000 to 2,000 mg of testosterone (or equivalents) per week (compared to a natural testosterone production of 50 mg/week, which amounts to 2,500 mg per year in a young man), often in combination with other anabolic agents. »