Some are said to prevent colds, others help memory, or promote a better night’s sleep. However, no matter how good they might sound, herbal supplements are never a sure thing. Many supplements sold today are not required to meet the rigorous standards that prescription medications adhere to, meaning they are not guaranteed to be safe or effective. Even more scary, many herbal supplements can cause a plethora of side-effects, including gynecomastia.
Enlarged male breasts, officially knowns as gynecomastia, can be the result of a variety of factors. These include hormonal shifts and prescription medications. One common trigger, often overlooked by the patient, is the consumption of “innocent” herbal supplements. Although they are marketed as safe and natural, supplements can dramatically change the way the internal systems of the body function, such as hormone levels. Ultimately, without giving it a second thought, men can be promoting excess breast growth while trying to stay healthy.
Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) like prescription medications, meaning many potential side-effects are not known or have not been recorded. For example, protein powder is a dietary supplement made from multiple sources including whey, casein, soy, and egg. In studies, some individuals have found the casein and whey proteins, which are extracted from cow’s milk (containing estrogen), to increase breast growth.
Another body building staple, prohormones, have been shown to quickly increase the development of glandular tissue in the breast. Taken to stave off the aging process and help to build muscle mass, prohormones are converted by the body into sex hormones, which can cause breast development in some men. Of course, this occurrence will depend on the individual’s unique body makeup and hormonal sensitivity.
While research is still underway on prohormones, protein powder, and other herbal supplements, scientific evidence is inconsistent as these additives are not being studies by the FDA. For this reason, always let your doctor know what medications you are taking – including herbal supplements – before starting a new treatment. Keep in mind, anything powerful enough to have a positive effect on the body, such as lowering cholesterol or elevating the mood, is also strong enough to carry significant risk for negative effects, as well.
Herbal supplements have been used for thousands of years, and certainly have a place in many medicine cabinets, but not every herb is right for everyone. Talk to your physician before beginning a supplement, and if you are having any unusual symptoms, immediately consult with a doctor.
If you are wondering if your excess breast tissue could by gynecomastia, consult with a specialist. There is no substitute for a diagnosis and sound advice from a trusted, experienced physician. Let Houston’s top cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Paul Vitenas, guide you through a customized gynecomastia treatment plan. Call Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery at (281) 668-7370, or fill out our online Contact Us form, to schedule a consultation appointment.