Do PEDs Harm Development In Users Under 25?
Conclusion: There is little / no supporting evidence that using PEDs will harm adolescent development outside of closing growth plates. Caveat: just because there’s a lack of evidence doesn’t mean that PEDs won’t harm development. It’s the author’s opinion that 25 is still the right age before fucking around with your hormones.
Before researching this article, I believed I would find a lot of data on the development of brain and endocrine systems and the risks that PEDs pose in the development of both when <25. I was mistaken.
Can you imagine a University ethics committee approving a study where a researcher would unnecessarily inject exogenous testosterone in otherwise healthy individuals to measure the negative impacts on the developing brain and endocrine system, and it getting approved? No, and it likely never would.
After my research, I don’t believe there is data is there to support the broscience. That’s not to say the oft touted wisdom of doing PEDs before the age of 25 is foolish, and will harm the development of the body is incorrect, I just can’t find the evidence to support it. Let me start by saying thanks to /u/the_mad_canadian who covered this article on his site here: http://www.blastthebelly.com/how-old-to-use-sarms/. His opinion on all of this is one I personally still share, despite the lack of evidence, because the logic is sound. Adding a hormone into a developing system is unwise: Testosterone is responsible for mood, judgement as well as the development of the testicles and prostate and all the important stuff that both these organs play. Add in anything that your body recognizes as T before full maturity at your own risk. Further, the brain does not complete development until 25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19609250; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621648/
It’s also possible that using PEDs at a young age increases the chance of HPTA shutdown and infertility. I have no data to support that this is a risk any greater than the fully developed male, so please note this is my speculation only. More info on HPTA shutdown here
On the flip side, hypogonadal children are treated with testosterone, and there seems to be no long term negative effects of doing so beyond the usual risks for TRT. This is telling – the long term negative effects in areas other than HPTA (i.e. brain, growth) are not seen as significant risks. This was the biggest ‘aha’ moment for me personally. I, like most in this community, believe that AAS and SARMs have the power to do much good and much bad, if used in the wrong way. But the fact that testosterone is used in hypogonadal kids leads me to conclude that the risks to anything other than the HPTA are not as significant as I had supposed they were.
The HPTA then, is the biggest area of risk remaining. And again, the data is not present. It is possible that sending in AAS and SARMs into an underdeveloped HPTA increases the risk of permanent damage. It is logical even. But I don’t have any data.
Premature closing of growth plates are another oft touted reason. Testosterone (and estrogen) cause the closure of epiphyseal growth plates. So, if you're still growing, or have the chance to grow, avoid PEDs.
All in all, I’m going to default back to my stance that I think it’s a bad idea to do PEDs before maturation. Doing PEDs is not something that should be hurried. It is a potentially life altering decision, one that puts your liberty and health at risk. At maturity, if you want to risk it, go for it – many do and are fine, if not better for doing so.