Testosterone Supplements: Do They Really Work?
Low testosterone levels create health issues for men. It leaves them vulnerable to a variety of diseases and increases stress. Finding an effective way to restore the balance or even boost those levels can be tricky.
Cases of hypogonadism risk rise at a rate of up to 2% each year after 30. This isn’t too surprising when you realize that 25% of men over 30 have low testosterone but only 5% can attribute this to a medical cause.
Finding an effective and affordable testosterone supplement prevents this increasing risk. As we’ve mentioned before, improving yourself through effort over time makes sense to pursue.
For those looking for more information on what supplements do and how they affect levels, this is the article for you. We’ll also go over what testosterone does and how various supplements on the market work to address health issues.
Testosterone Supplements Promises
Testosterone affects several systems in the body. Normally, the amount of testosterone produced gets controlled by the hypothalamus. Production of the hormone comes mainly from the testicles but also can come from adrenal glands near the kidneys.
When one of these areas becomes damaged, testosterone production may change dramatically. If no damage occurs, a small drop-off happens each year as the systems break down gradually. Humans do have a shelf-life, after all.
But like anything that goes bad over time, steps can be taken to prevent or reverse this process. Testosterone boosters work to combat this slow decline or even bring back function resulting from damage.
These products work by stimulating already existent systems. This keeps the rate of testosterone supplement side effects low. When taking any kind of supplement it is still important to watch out for signs of allergic reaction such as rash or swelling.
We’ll give a brief overview of the major impacts of testosterone. If interested, take a more in-depth look at some of these issues.
Testosterone generates growth hormone which leads to an increase in muscle mass. It also regulates and influences bone marrow to produce red cells. Together these two things greatly enhance muscle growth.
Since testosterone also influences fat burning it can help turn more body mass from potential fat into potential muscle. These effects come directly from testosterone and protein synthesis. As such, effects don’t come from a wide variety of other hormones and chemical sources.
This is important when noting how infrequently supplements work to produce muscle gain.
Fertility and reproductive health present a mixed bag of problems for low testosterone. Insufficient hormone supply leads to erectile dysfunction, which has an obvious effect.
However, it can also lead to a low sperm count, making the fertilization process more difficult. Sperm growth and sperm count can also be affected by vitamin deficiencies and stress.
We’ve mentioned the benefits of overall mental well-being before. Testosterone, in particular, affects competitive and aggressive drives. This complicates other hormone imbalances that may exist.
Without these drives, it can be easy to fall into a depression which exacerbates issues in a vicious cycle.
Finally, raising testosterone levels increases sex drive. An increase in sex drive which leads to more sex will increase chances of fertility. That’s just simple math.
On top of that, a higher libido leading to more sexual activity can increase testosterone production. This feeds into a positive cycle of replenishment and smooths out irregularities in hormone production curves.
While many desire this effect, it leads to a false-positive in understanding the benefit of certain supplements.
Now that you understand what testosterone is doing within the body, we’ll examine some supplements on the market. We’ll talk about both what they do to address these issues and how they work.
Often seen listed by the acronym D-AA, this supplement showed strong increases to testosterone in early studies. Unlike other supplements which can take a lengthy build-up time to see results, D-AA produces significant results in just 10 days. Some effects relating to libido and testicle size were reported in a week.
It produced a peak testosterone boost of 42% in subjects with normal testosterone levels or low levels. For those looking to build muscle, it showed no effect on athletes with strong or elevated systems.
The results also show no staying power, with levels falling back to normal in a month. Researchers continue to look for information about the vector and mechanism.
If you need a quick boost to the system to level out a plummeting testosterone level this is effective. If you suffered minor to medium trauma, this supplement does a good job of restoring levels.
Increases in fertility and function were noteworthy with this supplement. Muscle gain did not increase. Mood and libido lifts came early but faded to a median level.
Magnesium and Zinc
Taken alone as vitamin supplements, these have several health benefits. You may find them in a more popular ZMA formulation. The ZMA version is a patented version that includes B6 and aspartate.
If you suffer from a clear deficiency, these products work to restore you to baseline levels. Tests show that no matter the dosage, testosterone does not rise above a baseline for age.
Unlike D-AA, this product does have a significant use for athletes. Though it will not accelerate muscle gain, it will restore losses that come from increased exercise and muscle building. So, while it will not accelerate gains, it will stabilize the curve.
Mood elevation and libido follow along the same lines. Deficiencies are restored to a baseline and the curve gets smoothed out but significant improvements exist only in cases of high deficiency.
The most popular and common supplement found on the market today is Tribulus Terrestris. Studies provide results at odds with many of the claims made by naturopaths and anecdotal users.
Claims of the efficacy range but many sources boast boosts in confidence, libido, stress reduction, and fertility. Some of those claims are explored further in this article.
Understanding the mechanism of Tribulus Terrestris gives some insight into this disparity. We’ve already mentioned that increases in sexual activity and certain exercise increase testosterone. This result comes about as the body regulates hormone secretion more effectively.
The effect here comes from an increase in libido through stimulation of the hippocampus and the amygdala. These two areas trigger more response in the sex drive. This leads to more sexual activity.
Both the physical exercise and the dumping and replenishing of sperm, serve to produce testosterone.
Regulation of the cycle reduces stress and produces a noticeable effect on mood and health. These cycles help produce many of the effects associated with higher testosterone.
However, the underlying chemicals do not increase testosterone levels even to the baseline.
The benefits of this herb also fall in the libido-boosting category. This gives a boost from low to baseline level for those with ED or similar issues.
Like Tribulus Terrestris, this works on vectors of improving health by boosting one area and then regulating production signals. The benefits to actual testosterone levels above the baseline remain unfounded.
You won’t find Tongkat Ali in a lot of places. This has less to do with its effectiveness as a libido expresser, and more because it is comparatively expensive to other supplements.
Of the natural testosterone supplements for men on this list, fenugreek has the most boosting power. The vector for fenugreek works through a process of inhibitors.
Basically, the 5-alpha reductase in the supplement prevents dihydrotestosterone (DHT) from forming. This leaves more testosterone in the system longer.
The results of fenugreek supplements show libido suppression. This would be a negative but is balanced out by the actual testosterone bonding increase. Mood and infertility issues were much improved with fenugreek use.
Muscle gain remained typical as the boost from the testosterone didn’t go high enough. Of other products listed here, fenugreek lifts testosterone above baseline levels. This is seen in those with low and normal testosterone.
This increase is not in the 40% or more needed to show significant muscle gain.
A known, and odd, side-effect of fenugreek causes sweat and urine to smell somewhat like syrup.
This plant contains L-DOPA, which is a precursor of dopamine. This affects libido in a different way than other products mentioned but creates the same cycle of increase to baseline for low levels.
The second effect of Mucuna Pruriens works by suppressing prolactin. Prolactin negatively regulates hormones such as testosterone and enhances estrogen signals. With more prolactin being suppressed, testosterone rises.
This sounds good but only works if prolactin is higher than normal initially. This increased prolactin is seen in steroid use. A steroid regiment for treating allergies or inflammation such as asthma can cause issues. This can help reduce the side effects associated with that.
Looking for testosterone supplements isn’t a panacea. There isn’t a one size fits all cure. For those dealing with low testosterone levels from trauma or age-related drop-offs, these can be effective.
For more significant and sustainable boosts to testosterone levels, prescribed injections are a direct route. Continue to find information and seek answers, read more ideas and guides to strive for a better you.