T Nation

LVH & Cardiac Myopathy in AAS users

This may be of interest to some of you here on this forum, so I thought I would share this with everyone and get some feedback. Here goes…

I was in upstate NY this past Friday, and was dining with a group including a gentleman who owns and operates a cattle ranch in that region (btw, if you’re a big fan of thick-cut ribeye like I am, you can pick up a delicious 14 oz cut around these parts for around $5-6). At dinner, I remarked how flavorful the meat was, and asked the rancher about what he uses for feed, antibiotics, and hormones. It was an interesting discussion, and he did note that he implants hormone (trenbolone, testosterone & estradiol) pellets into his cattle before slaughter, as this improves the “yield” and marbling (fat %) of the meat.

Sarcastically, I commented “yeah, I could sure use some of that trenbolone…my workouts aren’t what they used to be!”. He immediately smirked, and mummbled, “I don’t think you want it”. When I asked what he specifically meant by that, he then told me about how he visited a facility that only processed organic & hormone free beef, which is where he immediately noticed a startling difference in the meat and organs of the free range cattle.

By comparison, the yield from the meat of the organic cattle was smaller and leaner, but it was the hearts from this cattle that had caught his eye. By comparison, the hearts of the free range cattle where much smaller, in particular around main pumping chamber (LV) of the heart. The difference was such that at first he didn’t think it was from the same animal. Equally note worthy (he said that they process the hearts of these cows, at this same plant, for canned beef stew and things like that) was that the heart was “softer” (in his words) and “sliced like tender veal” (again, in his words), a noteable difference from the hearts of his cattle, which he described as looking “grotesquely deformed” by comparison.

It was a this point that I remember reading “T and Your Ticker” (by Doug Kalman) on this site, and how he provided evidence of how optimal test levels, via natural means and through the use of supplemental testosterone, actually strengthened and improved heart health. My next thought was how too much might actually lead to cardiac myopathy…though defining too much may the challenge here. When we are talking about AAS use, however, we are talking about the extreme end of dosing (as opposed to TRT), so could this possibly lead to the impaired cardiac function and potentially early mortality rate of some AAS users?

Obviously, other drugs play a huge role, like HGH, cocaine and Clenbuterol, which many bodybuilders likewise take. However, it’s also obvious that the cows my friend was talking about did no such thing.

Note: Interesting enough, many bodybuilders from around the 70’s would certainly suggest so. Legendary bodybuilding maverick, Steve Michalik, once commented on how just about all of the Pumping Iron stars either had major bypass and/or valave replacement surgery by their late 40’s through their early 50’s, including Arnold himself. And these guys used much less by than today’s pros and amateurs (even local gym rats), and perhaps even milder stuff than what is typically used today.

So I went Googling and YouTubing, and found a very interesting clip from Dr. Harrison Pope, a reknowned physician at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, and longtime researcher of anabolic/androgenic steroids and their respective users. Unlike some of the anti-steroid crazies out there like Gary Wadler (who blames AAS steroids for everything, from liver failure to blowing up the Hindenburg), this is a no nonsense voice who isn’t afraid to say that the evidence isn’t there and that he doesn’t know for sure. Be that as it may, I found the following YouTube video very revealing (pay special attention to the segments at 30:10 and 32:46 as you may especially want to hear those)…and it seems to coincide with the previous cattle heart observations.

In conclusion, he explains that his ongoing study is still a work in progress, and he has been provided $2.5 million in govt grant money to investigate the health effects of AAS use in 170 users/nonusers. According to his presentation, it will take approximately 5 years to finish, which is when he will publish the findings.

So I’ll end this with a few questions still on my mind:

(1) Has anyone on this forum, who has used AAS for quite some time or even been on TRT for several years, had an echo cardiogram of the heart? If so, what did the findings reveal?

(2) Is most symmetric and assymetric cardiac hypotrophy (enlargement) primary (i.e., from the compounds used) or secondary (i.e., increased work loads, blood pressure, etc)?

(3) Are the effects temporary or permanment, or perhaps varied amongst users, and why so in each case?

(4) Are most reported cardiac myopathy causes dose and/or compound dependent, and if so which compounds and at what dose?

(5) Does a AAS ability to have a high affinity for the androgen receptor (such as methenolone, trenbolone, oxandrolone) play a major role in cardiac myopathy/LVH?

Does anyone have any additional insight or feedback on any of these?

Interesting. Thanks for posting that. At least at 32m he says the 60 yo user returned to normal. Cardiac effects are indeed what I fear the most from AAS use. I use a lot of “heart support” supplements on cycle, but who knows how much that helps.

Also, I’m sure different AAS have different effects here. And maybe controlling E2 helps in this aspect also, maybe not. And myabe some users are affected, others not. That’s why I say where in the infancy of AAS use. We still pretty much go by “bro-science” since there’s so little research done. At least he’ll be doing some.

I wanted to see if I had an enlarged heart but since my cholesterol levels were perfect and I scored superbly (oh yeah) on the treadmill heart test, the doctor didn’t want to do the test for an enlarged heart.

And are you sure your cattle didn’t use HGH, cocaine and Clenbuterol too? Ah ah

[Quote]And are you sure your cattle didn’t use HGH, cocaine and Clenbuterol too? Ah ah

[/quote]

Bingo…that’s why that damn ribeye was sooooooo tasty and tender! :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, the whole cardiac thing has always been my biggest concern as well. But here’s my belief: The human body is an amazing creation, both in terms of adapting to a stimulus and recovering from stress, so as long as you are keeping your health in check you should be fine.

I have yet to start using gear, but if/when I do I will simply be up front with my doc and ask him to refer me to a cardiologist for an exam (especially since I just turned 40). Just ask for the cardiogram and check for the aforementioned LVH and flexibility. While it probably doesn’t happen to everyone, it would be better to know a month into a cycle than much later on (after years and years of even moderate use); the sooner anything bad is discovered, the easier the recovery (hopefully) should be.

Good luck and stay healthy.

Im just glad to see the medical/science community studying and tracking AAS users more. This type of research will help us all in the long run. Too little is known about many compounds (like Tren) other than " that shit works"!

Be warned that if you’re upfront to your doc, insurers can use that against you to refuse to pay claims like invalidity and life insurance (for that last one it will concern others…)

I have access to a “free” health care system, which means while I wouldn’t be financially ruined if something bad happened, forget about getting tests easily, or docs giving me the tests I need or want!

Indeed! AAS + HGH are the male fountain of youth if used wisely. These tests need to be done. When/if Baby Boomers realize that, those babies will be legal substances again and better researched. Though rip-off artists like the current “life extension” clinics charging 1000s for simple TRT will pop up left and right.