Now I know all of you are gonna say “there’s no minimum age, youngsters should use their natural test” or “wait until you’ve peaked after your thirties” or “there’s not such thing as safe steroid use”, hold it.
I’m asking, how old does a man have to be to start introducing steroidal hormones into the body without permanent severe damage (such as pubescent boys screwing with their currently developing hormonal levels by pinning.) and yes, I know any age is prone to permanent damage, but what age is the “acceptable” time to start introducing test into the body while having a chance to recover.
Based on how hormones interact with your brain I would say that the safest age is after you’re fully developed. It’s an underestimated risk, but men don’t fully develop their brains until mid 20’s, and steroids can absolutely mess with our brains. The usual answers cut along the lines of hormone optimization during younger years and then using gear when you’ve already started to decline. But long term risks can come from an undeveloped brain being saturated with hormones at the wrong time and I think we skip over that too often.
So my answer is 25+ at a minimum, unless there’s a very special circumstance that would warrant earlier use.
Probably hard to say for sure, but I have a few guesses. I think you’d find lower executive function and higher aggression in a young brain that was exposed to high levels of testosterone at the wrong stage of development. You’d probably also see some version of a trailing depressive effect down the road, though depression itself is so difficult to understand that perhaps nobody could make any meaningful connection between the two.
There’s probably dozens of different things that could go wrong, but I cannot imagine there being much quality data to go off of. So we have to kind of guess based on what we know.
I’d like to debate this. MOST men’s prefrontal cortex will continue maturing until mid-20s, however some may not have fully matured neurologically until age 30, and some may mature earlier, say late teens or early 20’s, the spectrum of brain development isn’t linear in that everyone develops at the same pace, neurological development can be influenced by a variety of environmental factors and individualistic characteristics (genetics etc).
I have no idea as to what extent my brain is developed, however I’d gauge that I’m SOMEWHAT ahead of my peers, but not fully mature. I base this on the decisions I make vs the decisions I see other peers make. I myself am not devoid of making mischievous and/or rebellious decisions, however I tend to think of potential consequences/risks my future decisions may have, and if the risk involves my future being jeopardised (regrading say, the loss of my license, getting into legal trouble, potentially getting someone pregnant etc) the answer is always a hard “no” no matter the amount of peer pressure is put upon me. Others my age don’t seem to think of these consequences and just do whatever because it sounds fun/ it’s easier.
Maybe this is an autistic thing, I don’t know, however it’s certainly something I’ve noticed. Sure it can be irritating to others, and when I say no I may be a bit of a buzzkill/letdown however I’d rather say no then take an extremely unessecary risk.
According to the limited amount of data we have though, long term anabolic steroid abuse leads to structural alterations in brain structure regardless of age of onset, the abnormalities aren’t able to be deciphered to associate with any type of pathology (such as decreased IQ, behavioural abnormality etc)
The same can be said about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, most teens use them (actually if were counting alcohol, in Aus at my age I’d say about 99% of kids get absolutely blackout drunk at least a few times a year, and almost all drink to excess regularly at parties and events). Personally, I don’t drink alcohol, I’ve been (very) intoxicated before, it’s fun, however the detrimental effects, both acute and chronic stemming from consumption of alcohol put me off, thus I never consume alcohol nowadays (since march I’ve had two beers if that counts). The point I’m trying to get at is the majority of kids and young adults (at least here, drinking wasn’t as common in America as it is here) are significantly altering their brain chemistry regardless, where AAS induced neurotoxicity is worse or not I don’t know. Marijuana is a tough one, literature is inconclusive however it does appear that young onset marijauana use (before the age of 17) is associated with cognitive deficits, poor impulse control and abnormalities regarding the amount of grey matter in certain regions of the brain. After age 17 impacts don’t appear to be particularly severe.
Then we have prescription drugs that are frequently (and inappropriately) prescribed to kids, SSRI’s, SNRI’s, amphetamines and amphetamine analogues, benzodiazepines and more that also tend to have a profound impact on brain chemistry. The neurotoxic element isn’t the same, however it’s still altering the brain chemistry of the young (in a positive or negative way depending on how appropriately the drug is prescribed)
I believe the underestimated risk from AAS is the cardiac adaptations that (may) develop after long term use. I get premature ventricular contractions, probably about ten per week (so very rare but whatever), I believe they could very well be AAS induced, as I didn’t have them prior to starting TRT (or at least didn’t notice them as I’ve become far more in-tune with my body on TRT)
Actually the stimulants I take (dextroamphetamine) make me irritable and aggressive, not to the point I’d actually lash out as I’m a very calm natured individual. But it’s noticeable that I get irritated and/or angry over things that would otherwise never bother me when I take them.
I believe the most deleteriously effected variable of cognitive functioning from exposure to AAS at a crucial time of brain development would probably be visuospatial cognitive functioning. Whether any permenant effect on dopamine down regulation and alterations of the mesolimbic pathway would occur I’m not sure, if they did then that’d suck because a young dude would be stuck with a screwed up libido for life if this was to occur in a way that would impair ones sexual function