Back in May USADA announced that 2014 black belt IBJJF World and 2015 World Pro Champion Felipe Pena known as ‘Preguica’ had tested positive for testosterone and accepted a one-year sanction for his doping offense:
Pena claimed that Testosterone cream is the cause. After a thorough review of the case, USADA accepted Pena’s explanation that his positive test was caused by his use of a testosterone cream provided to him by a healthcare provider.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass, and the growth of body hair. In addition, testosterone is essential for health and well-being as well as the prevention of osteoporosis.
As we get older, our bodies naturally produce less testosterone. We have all heard about Testosterone Replacement Therapy TRT having been used by MMA fighters like Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson or Frank Mir. Testosterone deficiency is defined as low levels of serum testosterone (low T) when also in the presence of signs and symptoms associated with low testosterone (T). These signs and symptoms could include any of the following: reduced libido, poor morning erection, erectile dysfunction, reduced muscle strength/size, shrinking testes, and infertility. Other less definitive signs are: decreased energy, depression, poor concentration and memory. Common wisdom is that the use of TRT will cause positive changes in both muscle mass and body fat. This is one of those rare instances where common wisdom has been substantiated by medical studies. TRT can help you achieve the holy grail of training, namely an increase in lean muscle mass while also having a decrease in overall fat mass. Legitimate use of TRT is likely to increase significantly in the upcoming years. Studies have shown that it is an under diagnosed and undertreated condition affecting over a third of middle aged men and that is can be treated successfully and safely in most circumstances. TRT is still a new treatment and will take time to prove its safety and benefits.
What is the testosterone cream that Felipe Pena used?
Benefits: Topical testosterone (cream or gel) is used to treat men who have hypogonadism, a condition that interferes with a man’s ability to produce testosterone. It helps in the development of sex organs, sperm, and sex drive. The hormone also helps maintain classic male characteristics like muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, and deep vocal tones.
Topical testosterone cream or gel are controlled substances (CIII), and daily testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that can help bring your T levels back to normal with daily use. In a clinical study of 274 men who had Low Testosterone, some used testosterone cream and some used placebo. Of the men who used testosterone cream once daily for 16 weeks, 82% had their testosterone levels returned to normal compared to 37% of those who used placebo.
The most common side effects of topical testosterone cream are related to the urinary tract. Some men develop the need to urinate a lot more than usual, including during the night. You may feel an urgent need to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full.
Other symptoms include difficulty urinating and blood in the urine. If you’re using a testosterone cream and have urinary trouble, consult with your doctor.
-Skin Problems: Since testosterone creams are applied directly to the skin, some men develop a skin reaction at the application site. Symptoms may include:
-Budding Breasts: Lower levels of testosterone in relation to the hormone estrogen can cause enlarged breasts (gynecomastia) in men. It’s rare, but use of testosterone creams can result in unwanted changes to the breasts. Some men report breast:
-Emotional Rollercoaster: Most men tolerate testosterone treatment quite well, but a small number develop emotional side effects. These include rapid mood swings and emotional overreaction to everyday situations. Nervousness, anxiety, crying, paranoia, and depression have also been reported. Although emotional side effects are rare, they can be serious. Be sure to discuss any noticeable symptoms with your doctor.
-Sexual Dysfunction: Testosterone generally improves a man’s sex life. In fact, testosterone levels tend to rise in men who are sexually active, while they drop in men who are not. In rare cases, testosterone therapy can adversely affect sexuality. This may include loss of desire, inability to have or maintain an erection, or erections that happen too often and overstay their welcome.
– Affects others around you: Testosterone cream can also transfer from your body to others. This can happen if other people come into contact with the area where the cream was applied.
Signs of puberty that are not expected have happened in young children who were accidentally exposed to testosterone through skin-to-skin contact with men using topical testosterone products.
Women and children should avoid contact with the unwashed or unclothed area where AndroGel has been applied. If a woman or child makes contact with the testosterone cream application area, the contact area on the woman or child should be washed well with soap and water right away.
In the BJJ community, PEDs seems to be rampant among high level competitors. I say “seems” as apart from the IBJJF recently testing 10 black belts champions at the Pans and Worlds, no other major BJJ competitions test for PEDs. This leaves the door open for all types of abuse. In Brazil as well may other countries in Europe and the in the USA, there is a open steroid culture among BJJ players. Some use it to look good on the beach and help their BJJ performance, while others use them with the goal is gaining an edge in winning competitions, fame and fortune.
So if testosterone is naturally produced by our bodies, there must also be natural ways to increase our testosterone production without running the risks of taking synthetic pills, creams or injections.
Mineral deficiencies can have an adverse effect on your health. In contrast, enhancing mineral levels can improve your health. Such increases can also boost your testosterone. A July 2011 article in “Biological Trace Element Research” showed that taking zinc during intense bouts of exercise increased testosterone production. Zinc itself turns estrogen into testosterone and Zinc helps produce healthier sperm and higher sperm counts so actually… Low levels of zinc can cause low testosterone levels. Foods high in Zinc include oysters (a natural aphrodisiac), liver, seafood, poultry, nuts & seeds or you can supplement with at least 50-to-100mg of Zinc daily
Get at least 6-to-8 hours of Sleep every night
A university of Chicago study showed that men who got little sleep had way lower testosterone levels than men who got 6-to-8 hours of sleep and… According to a University of North Carolina study… Your testosterone levels can drop down by as much as 40 PERCENT when you don’t get enough sleep and generally. Your testosterone levels are 30% higher in the morning than in the evening and this is why you may be more horny in the mornings and as a matter of fact. A loss of morning erections or loss of sexual desire in the morning could be a sign that your testosterone is declining so you need to get 6-to-8 hours of sleep every night because while you’re sleeping. Your body produces the most testosterone and the better you sleep the more testosterone your body will produce while you sleep so if you’re having trouble getting 6-to-8 hours of good quality ‘testosterone producing’ sleep every night.
When you get stressed out – your body releases a “stress” hormone called cortisol that shuts down testosterone production
While the mechanisms underlying its effects remain unknown, caffeine might facilitate athletic performance and prevent fatigue by increasing testosterone production. A December 2010 report in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology” showed that chewing caffeinated gum enhanced testosterone and reduced fatigue in cyclists. This stimulant has a broad range other positive effects as well. An April 2011 paper in “Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition” noted that caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes or cancer.
Eat more healthy fats
Research has shown that men who ate diets rich in healthy fats like monounsaturated fats & Omega-3 fats had the highest testosterone levels. You can naturally raise your testosterone levels by adding more healthy fats by eating more nuts & seeds, fatty fish like salmon & tuna, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and natural peanut butter. Eating a very low-fat diet can actually lead to lowered testosterone levels because your body needs healthy fats in order to produce testosterone this doesn’t mean you need to eat a REAL HIGH fat diet – Just make sure at least 20-to-30% of your total daily calories comes from healthy fats.
Take 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day
Now if you have a hard time avoiding stress – you want to start taking 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day because. Vitamin C has been shown to lower cortisol levels allowing your body to make more Testosterone and like Zinc. Vitamin C reduces the armostase enzyme that converts your Testosterone into Estrogen.
So in summary there are perfectly natural and safe ways to boost your testosterone so why take such a risk with PEDs or with the yet unproven and untested TRT?