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‘I Was Hooked’: Bodybuilder Rich Piana’s Deadly Battle with Steroids

Super high testosterone levels will eventually kill you.

Dead at age 46, decades of abusing steroids made Rich Piana a god in the bodybuilding world.

But it ultimately killed him.

Testosterone therapy and steroid abuse. What’s the difference?

The difference is huge. Literally.

Super High Testosterone Levels Are Dangerous

Muscles the size of Rich Piana’s aren’t natural. They simply don’t exist without using massive amounts of steroids. To get those muscles, a bodybuilder will raise his testosterone levels to what’s called supra-physiological levels … 2x, 3x, sometimes more than 10x normal levels.

That’s good, right? No, Bob, that’s bad. Supraphysiological testosterone levels may be great for muscles, but for your health … not so much. As so many bodybuilders discover.

So, what’s normal for testosterone? Well, the reference ranges say that anything between about 300 to 900ng/dL is ‘normal’. But normal isn’t optimal.

Reference Range for ‘Normal’ is Too Broad

For one thing, that’s a huge range. Obviously, the poor guy with T levels of 300 isn’t going to feel anywhere near as well as the guy whose levels are at 900. No matter whether you call it normal or not.

Reference Ranges Don’t Take Age Into Account

Those ranges also don’t take into account age. So yeah, your testosterone levels may be normal … for a 90-year old man!

Not Too Cold, Not Too Hot … Just Right

With testosterone therapy, all you’re doing is bringing your body back to a healthy level. The question you need to ask when it comes to testosterone levels is, “What is a healthy level?” What is optimal for health, energy, and motivation?

Well, you have to be in the mid-500’s for protection against cardiac problems. Higher levels are also associated with lower rates of diabetes and Alhzheimer’s Disease. Guys with lower testosterone levels are four times more likely to be depressed, and increasing those T levels tends to result in less depression.

When it comes to testosterone, you don’t want to be super high, and you don’t want to be super low. Most guys seem to feel their best when they’re somewhere in the top third of the reference range, so somewhere around 800-900. That’s where they feel energetic, motivated, and happy.

If you haven’t felt like that in a long time, do yourself a favor, go check your testosterone levels. See if they’re optimal. Not merely normal. Optimal.

For more on the tragic death of Rich Piana.