'Andro' May Be Useless, May Be Dangerous
WebMD News Archive
Still, Kraemer says he definitely wouldn't recommend use of andro in women
and children, because it could cause masculine side effects -- the growth of
facial hair, for example. He also suggests that there's a real question whether
it's worth the trouble in men -- even in those who might benefit from a bit of
extra testosterone. "Some people have thought about using it in older men,
but the body tightly regulates testosterone production," he says. Which
means andro might send testosterone levels soaring initially, but they would
just as quickly drop back down.
That might make andro sound like a benign substance, but Wadler doesn't
think so. He favors revising the 1994 law which essentially took the FDA out of
the business of regulating dietary supplements, to make an exception for andro.
"How many more people have to have adverse effects down the road before we
say, 'We made a mistake here,'" Wadler says. "This is a public health
Others favor an even stronger approach. "What needs to be done? The
Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 has to be repealed as soon
as possible," says Larry Sasich of Public Citizen, a Washington-based
watchdog group. Sasich suggests that handling problematic supplements in
piecemeal fashion is like trying to reign in liquid mercury: Take one off the
market and you can count on 10 more splitting off to replace it.
- Androstenedione, known as 'andro,' may increase levels of the male hormone
testosterone, but scientists still do not know if it builds muscle.
- Long-term adverse effects of the supplement are unknown and may not show up
until years after taking it.
- Women and children should also stay away from andro because it could cause
masculine side effects.