Testosterone Creams & Gels: Victor Conte Revisited

DISCLAIMER: Artificial testosterone, whether creams, orals or injections,  is a prohibited substance for tested athletes, including Masters athletes. This article is not to encourage you to take testosterone, but to educate you.

It’s no secret men over 50 are getting testosterone injections to treat hypogonadism.   The primary reasons are for increased sex drive, osteoporosis and muscle loss, among other symptoms.

Last week, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc. won the USA’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance to sell “Bio-T-Gel”, a testosterone replacement therapy for men.  BioSante is the original developer of “Bio-T-Gel” and they in turn license the cream to Teva, the world’s largest generic-drug maker based in Petach Tikva, Israel.

You might remember Abbott Laboratories won FDA approval last April 2011 for a testosterone product known as “AndroGel”, which contained 1% and 1.62% testosterone.  At 1%, each gram of cream contains 1 milligram of testosterone.

Victor Conte and “The Cream”

Testosterone creams and gels may be a new drug for the FDA, but it certainly isn’t a new thing, as least not in the world of Athletics.

Over 10 years ago, Victor Conte was giving his athletes “the cream” and “the clear”.

Victor Conte’s formulation of “the cream” was 10 percent testosterone thus each gram of cream contained 10 milligrams of testosterone. I do not know what strength “Bio-T-Gel” will be, but most likely it will be near 2% and possibly as high as  5%.

How much is 10 mg of testosterone worth to you?

A Vial of Testosterone Enanthate

Modern treatment through injections to treat hypogonadism start around 100-200 mg of intramuscular testosterone, repeated every 1-3 weeks in the form of injectable Testosterone Enanthate or Testosterone Cypionate.

So one is a cream, applied topically, and the other is a needle. If you do use the cream, you have to watch out because you can transfer it by close skin contact!

Oral testosterone, which is broken down in the liver,  may cause long term liver damage.

One can easily find out your testosterone levels by a simple blood analysis (and I’ll discuss a great service next week).  When you do go for testing, you should aim for a morning test when your testosterone levels are at its highest. Leave the Morning Woody at home!

Normal total testosterone levels range from 300 – 1000 ng/dL, with 500 – 700 ng/dL considered normal for young, healthy men from 20 to 40 years of age.  Men should monitor this carefully by the age of 50.  If you start hitting the low end of the scale, then more advanced testing should be used to calculate free testosterone levels.

So for borderline cases of hypogonadism, you may want to consider a cream or gel if the thought of needles make you squeamish, but don’t think of running track!  That’s cheating!

Use and Abuse

I’ll simplify this overly complicated subject of drugs:

DRUGS are used to change cells from a diseased state to a healthy state, so they have its place is modern medicine.  The market for male testosterone products is over $1 billion in the USA alone.

However, like any drug, it can be used and abused.

Without proper out-of-competition testing, especially for Masters where it’s non existent (and some questionable Caribbean countries), I can easily see testosterone being used by men (and women!) to get an edge. 

Unfortunately some athletes have such huge egos and will do anything to win… including taking banned substances.  I won’t mention any names, but if you start seeing Masters improving with age, you know something is up.

Natural Ways to Increase Testosterone and HGH

Here are 2 ways to increase natural levels of Testosterone and HGH, both which I recommend with trial and error.

1. ZMA

Yes, shades of Victor Conte is back, since he invented the Zinc-Mg-B6 mixture, but the exact formulation is patented and sold through many vendors and not just by SNAC. (again, I’ll discuss a great service next week to test for zinc, magnesium and testosterone).  I’ve discussed my experience with ZMA in several past articles with the only side effects being lucid dreaming from deeper sleep!  Not bad for a bunch of vitamins and minerals!

2. ZERO CARBS in the post-workout recovery drink

To increase your natural HGH release, you should have ZERO CARBS in the post workout recovery drink.  Sure, if you want to maximize recovery, I recommend a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.  But if you want HGH, you are better off with a high quality protein shake with little or no carbs.  That’s your tradeoff.  Younger professional athletes  should focus on recovery and performance (because your paycheck depends on it), but if you are an old geezer like me, it may be worth a try.

  • So hypothetically, if a 30 year old athlete had T levels of around 300, would it be considered cheating if he had a legal prescription, proven low beginning blood levels and regular blood level tracking, and never increased T levels above an acceptable natural level? Not trying to cheat, but just be normal?

  • Whoa! Some of us Masters athletes lose weight, get a trainer, and/or get a coach, thus improving year over year. Not everyone improving can be looked at suspiciously, but I do understand your concerns. Maybe we should look for unbelievable improvements or other signs of doping instead? Or maybe lobby for increased testing at the Masters level?

  • Hello

    What about someone( a masters) getting “replacement” therapy ?
    Should he be banned as well ?