Table of Contents:
- 1. What are Testosterone Boosting Supplements
- 1.1. D-Apartic Acid and Dosage
- 1.2. Tribulus Terestris and Dosage
- 1.3. ZMA and Dosage
- 1.4. Eurycoma longifolia (Longjack) and Dosage
- 1.5. Epimedium (Horny Goat Weed) and Dosage
- 1.6. EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and Dosage
- 1.7. DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) and Dosage
- 1.8. Anti-Estrogens (Aromatase Inhibitors) and Dosage
- 1.9. DIM (Diindolymethane) and Dosage
- 1.10. Chrysin (5,7-Dihydroxyflavone) and Dosage
- 2. Benefits of Testosterone Supplements
- 3. Frequently Asked Questions
This Guide Teaches You:
- What testosterone boosting supplements are, and how they can help with muscle building, mood and libido.
- About the main type of testosterone boosters, including Tribulus and ZMA.
- How to determine the proper dosage for common testosterone boosting supplement ingredients.
- Why testosterone boosting supplements are safe, completely natural and without side effects.
- The answers to frequently asked questions regarding testosterone supplementation.
We've all seen them before. You know the type; they are those people that seem to build muscle just by looking at a weight. Once they start training they seem to explode with muscle everywhere. They may even look muscular before they start training.
While we all feel a bit of jealousy that we do not possess such muscle building skills, we also strive obtain what they have, the ability to gain muscle at an alarming pace. So what is it that sets these elite few apart from the rest of the pack? It is simple these lucky few often possess higher than normal levels of testosterone.
This one little hormone is what separates elite athletes from the average and causes the muscular differences between men and women. To build muscle, increase strength, and improve endurance, testosterone is a must.
There are many natural supplements that have been designed to support optimal testosterone levels and make sure that you are getting the most out of your hormones. Some products are sold as individual ingredients and others are sold as a blend of several potent test boosters combined into one product.
In this guide we’re going to be looking at some of the most popular compounds used to boost testosterone naturally.
Dosage: studies have shown 3 grams per day first thing in the morning is best. (5)
D-Aspartic acid is a testosterone optimizer that has quickly become one of the most popular and one of the most proven on the market. D-aspartic acid is an amino acid present in neuroendocrine tissues of humans, playing a role in the synthesis of luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone. (1,2,3)
LH signals the release of testosterone from the testes. D-aspartic acid is synthesized when aspartate converts L-aspartic acid into D-aspartic acid. (4) This conversion occurs in the testes as well as other tissues throughout the human body.
D-aspartic acid has also been shown to directly increase testosterone production by the testes. So, not only does d-aspartic acid cause the release of more testosterone but also the production of more testosterone. This is a double assault on testosterone optimizing.
A study dosed 3 grams of sodium-d-aspartate to adult males age 27 - 37 years old for 12 days resulting in a 42% increase in average testosterone levels. (5) These may not seem like huge increases in testosterone but these are controlled, scientific results in normal healthy men. For a natural lifter a 42% increase in testosterone is nothing to laugh at.
Dosage: typical usage is 300-600mg per day
Tribulus Terestris has been one of the most popular testosterone boosting supplements on the market for years. Tribulus is actually the extract of a plant found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Tribulus contains compounds called steroidal saponins that may increase test levels. The most notable of these saponins is protodioscin.
Protodioscin is a steroidal saponin found in a variety of plant species. Protodioscin may be able to increase levels of the hormones testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and dehydroepiandrostand. Bodybuilders have used tribulus for years in an effort to increase testosterone levels, improve muscle mass, fat loss, strength, and endurance.
Tribulus works through its active constituent protodioscin to boosts testosterone levels via stimulation of the pituitary gland. This stimulation is thought to promote the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), which may increase unbound free-testosterone levels.
Also, while it is still categorized as a testosterone boosting agent, protodioscin has also shown promise in its ability to increase nitric oxide production. Increased nitric oxide can lead to increased blood flow and overall growth. Since the effectiveness of tribulus seems to be tied to protodioscin it is best to look for a product that is standardized and contains a high amount of the active ingredient.
Dosage: optimal usage is one serving 30 minutes before bed. (6)
ZMA is a testosterone boosting products consisting of three different ingredients. ZMA stands for: Zinc (as l-monmethionine and aspartate), Magnesium (as aspartate), and Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCL). ZMA is useful for all athletes as it helps to guard against depletion of these three important minerals, and vitamins, which often occurs following intense or prolonged training.
Zinc is a micromineral involved in the action of several hormones including insulin, growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen. It is involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions. Research has indicated that exercising individuals have a greater need for zinc as they are more prone to a zinc deficiency. ZMA typically contains 30 mg. of zinc.
A 1996 study entitled "Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults" showed that taking 30mg of supplemental zinc daily by healthy men experiencing moderate zinc deficiency doubled their testosterone levels in a 6 month time frame. So you can see how zinc deficiency can have a significant impact on testosterone levels.
Magnesium is a macromineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body including glycolysis, the krebs cycle, creatine phosphate formation, nucleic acid synthesis, amino acid activation, cardiac and smooth muscle contractability, cyclic AMP formation, and most importantly for strength athletes, protein synthesis. With magnesium having a hand in all of these functions a deficiency may impair testosterone levels and muscle growth on many different levels. ZMA will typically contain 450 mg. of magnesium.
Last but not least in the ZMA formula, vitamin B-6 which is also known as pyridoxine and has major implications on protein synthesis. The coenzyme form of this vitamin is associated with a vast number of enzymes, the majority of these enzymes are a part of amino acid metabolism. It is necessary in glycogen catabolism to "unlock" carbohydrate energy and has also been shown to diminish the actions of certain catabolic steroids such as glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol). This can boost the testosterone to cortisol ratio which can lead to positive muscle building effects. ZMA will typically contain 10.5 mg. Vitamin B6.
These three ingredients in ZMA have been shown to increase free testosterone levels by up to 30%. (6)
Eurycoma longifolia (Longjack)
Dosage: 200-600mg per day has been shown to be effective. (7,8)
Eurycoma longifolia (or longjack for short) is yet another testosterone optimizing supplement that may be of use for the natural lifter. Longjack is an herb that is commonly found in Indonesia and has long been touted for its testosterone boosting benefits.
A large portion of the testosterone that circulates within the body is bound by a protein called SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). Testosterone that is bound to SHBG is considered ineffective and has no effect on muscle growth. Only free testosterone exerts the effects that are attributed to the hormone. These effects are androgenic (masculinizing and sexualizing, both physiologically and mentally, and thus enhancing libido) and the other is anabolic (building tissue, mainly muscle).
It is thought that longjack’s active ingredients capture and bind SHBG and therefore prevent SHBG from capturing circulating free testosterone. (7) This increase in free testosterone will allow for an increase in all the muscle building benefits that come with higher test levels. Longjack has also been shown to increase recovery from fatigue and increase strength as well. (8) This is a huge benefit to any hard training athlete or weightlifter.
Epimedium (Horny Goat Weed)
Dosage: Since product purity and potency ranges between brands you should follow label instructions.
Horny goat weed is a leafy plant that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean region and has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. While it has a somewhat humorous name the effects of horny goat weed are nothing to laugh at.
Horny goat weed contains an active ingredient called icariin. Icariin is believed to be the compound responsible for horny goat weed's testosterone boosting properties. Studies have shown that when rats were given doses of icariin they showed a 3 fold increase in test levels. While there has yet to be a human study that has duplicated this, horny goat weed appears that it may be an effective testosterone boosting supplement.
Another added benefit of horny goat weed is that icariin also inhibits the PDE-5 enzyme and contains similar compounds as many erectile dysfunction drugs. This leads to increase blood flow and libido. Look for a product containing at least 10% icariin.
EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids)
Dosage: Typical intake is 2-3.5 grams per day of Omega-3 and 7.5-14 grams per day of Omega-6 from both supplement and whole food sources.
While EFAs may not seem as fancy as some other testosterone boosters, essential fatty acids are nutrients that your body needs to be able to function properly. In strength athletes and bodybuilders EFAs assist in muscle growth by enhancing testosterone levels.
In addition to being necessary for muscle development and energy in bodybuilders and powerlifters, there is mounting evidence that shows that EFAs are necessary for countless metabolic processes in the body including, improved fat metabolism, healthy sex drive and libido for people in general, and most importantly the production of testosterone. (9,10)
Since EFAs are so heavily involved in the synthesis of testosterone a deficiency in Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids can lead to decreased testosterone levels.11 While intake of EFAs will not push testosterone levels to above average levels it is a safeguard to make sure that you are not short changing your natural test levels.
Dosage: typical usage is 10-50mg per day.
DHEA is a topic of controversy as a supplement as whether or not it can be considered natural. DHEA is a hormone found in the body and secreted by the adrenal gland. It has been implicated in a broad range of biological effects in humans.
It acts on the androgen receptor both directly and indirectly through its metabolites, androstenediol and androstenedione. Both of these can convert to produce testosterone and estrogens. DHEA is actually considered a neurosteroid.
The thought behind DHEA supplementation is that it will eventually convert to testosterone leading to higher test levels. Levels of DHEA typically peak in humans between the ages 25-30 and will fall after that. By the time a person is 80 years old they will likely only have 5-10% of the DHEA that they did in their 20's.
This is why DHEA is often recommended for people in their late thirties and older. While DHEA can convert to testosterone in the body the jury is still out on whether or not it can boost test levels when taken as a supplement.
One final note about DHEA, since DHEA is a pro hormone it is banned by many sports organizations. If you are an athlete or compete in any athletic organization it is best to check with your governing body to make sure DHEA is legal in your organization.
Anti-Estrogens (Aromatase Inhibitors)
Many people do not realize that men also possess estrogen within their bodies. It is just present in lower amounts than women. When trying to maximize muscle mass testosterone is not the only thing that matters. The ratio of testosterone to estrogen is also very important.
For optimal muscle growth the goal is to raise test levels as high as possible while keeping estrogen as low as possible. The problem is that when test levels are high there is an enzyme called aromatase that will convert testosterone to estrogen.
This is actually the primary way in which males produce estrogen. This is exactly what you don't want when taking measures to increase testosterone. Luckily, there are supplement that supplements that may minimize this conversion and lower the presence of estrogen within the body.
Dosage: typical usage is 100-300mg per day.
DIM is a phytonutrient that is derived from the digestion of indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol is found in cruciferous vegetables and is partially responsible for the health benefits from these types of foods.
DIM has the ability to speed up the metabolism of harmful estrogens. (12) This quicker metabolic process of estrogens will lessen the time within the body and eventually be excreted through the urine. (13)
Dosage: typical usage is 1-4 grams per day.
Chrysin is a flavonoid that is extracted from a member of the passion flower family. It has been reported to have the ability to inhibit the aromatase enzyme that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
For this reason Chrysin has been a popular anti-estrogen within the bodybuilding community for years.
So there you have it! This is your full arsenal in the war against low testosterone. Whether you decide to go with product that has many ingredients combined into an all-in-one blend or you decide to buy separate ingredients, these are the prime test boosting players to be on the lookout for.
Testosterone may not the sole factor that determines the success of your training but it is one large piece of the puzzle that simply cannot be ignored. From bodybuilder, to powerlifters, to athletes increasing testosterone will lead will lead to improvements across the board.
So start paying closer attention to your hormone levels and who knows? Maybe the next time you take a glance a barbell you may just feel your biceps grow a little.
Can all the products on this list be taken together?
Yes, the products on this list will not interact with each other. Since there are no interactions between these products it is likely that they will work well together. However, to best test the effectiveness of a product it’s recommended to test one at a time without changing diet or training in order to best measure the results.
How old should I be before beginning to take testosterone boosting products?
It is generally recommended that you be at least 25 years old before beginning any testosterone boosting products. Natural testosterone levels are already naturally very high until the age of 25 at which point they begin to drop steadily each year. So the older you are the more likely that these products should work well for you.
Are test boosters just for weight lifters or can athletes benefit from them as well?
Testosterone boosters can be of use to athletes just as much as weightlifters. Testosterone increases strength, speed, and muscle mass. These benefits are an asset in any sport of choice.
Can testosterone boosters be taken with other supplements such as creatine, BCAAs, or beta-alanine?
Absolutely! There are no interactions between any testosterone boosters and other muscle building supplements. Muscle builders such as creatine, BCAAs, and beta-alanine work great when taken with natural test boosters and there is no reason you would need to stop taking them.
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