The following article is a sequel to Testosterone Boosters Part 1. To better understand this article and the list of ingredients below, we strongly suggest you read the first part before continuing with this one.
Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a plant widely used as a herbal tonic in South America, which was said to be fed to Inca warriors before battle to make them ferocious and made them very virile, to such an extent that women had to be protected from them![i]
Doubtless that story is overblown, and given the fact that these tribes also frequently indulged in the use of cocoa leaf (used to make cocaine), perhaps other factors were more important in this story. Trials conducted in the modern day have shown that Maca can increase libido as well as improve seminal volume in men[ii][iii]
Widely eaten to this day in modern day Peru, Maca has not been shown to increase testosterone levels in any research to date. Indeed, one small trial showed that while it increased libido in most men, it actually decreased testosterone levels in more men than it increased testosterone. [iv]
Instead, it is often regarded as a superfood, containing a high level of a number of nutrients which makes it useful as a general food staple. Although Maca cannot hurt, and it is cheap enough, its ability to do more than increase libido is in doubt, hence it is mainly found nowadays in products that promote themselves as sexual enhancers rather than testosterone boosters.
Fadogia Stem Extract
Fadogia is a very new product to the testosterone boosting scene, and there are not that many reports from users on this compound although it has attracted a significant degree of interest. It has proven difficult to source for some time but products containing Fadogia are starting to appear on the bodybuilding supplement market now.
There is some research supporting its ability to increase testosterone levels. [v] However, this research was with Fadogia stem extract NOT Fadogia plant extract, or the Fadogia plant material itself. This is very important, since in the same way Tribulus plant material will do nothing for users, Fadogia stem extract is what is needed to enhance testosterone activity. Users should look for a Fadgoia stem extract with at least 10% active steroidal sapogenins.
Best selling product with Fadogia: Competitive Edge Labs M-Test
Fenugreek is cultivated worldwide and frequently found as an ingredient in currys. It has been shown to stimulate appetite, which is not surprising to anyone who has eaten too many curries, but there is no research showing it does anything useful for athletes, beyond some supplement company sponsored trials. With so many effective testosterone boosters out there we would leave Fenugreek on the shelf for now, until further research supports its usage.
Best selling product with Fenugreek: Universal Animal M-Stak
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone which can undergo conversion to both testosterone and estrogen – essentially it is a prohormone. Widely sold in the United States as a supplement, it is usually of benefit only to older people whose DHEA levels decline with age (around the age of 30 onwards), but even there, its estrogenic effects make many baulk at taking this compound. DHEA is a controlled substance in most countries outside the US and banned by the IOC and IAAF.
A recent innovation in the supplement industry, D-Aspartic Acid has been shown in a twelve day clinical study to elevate testosterone by 42%, increasing luteinizing hormone at the same time. As such, I expect it will become a standard in many testosterone boosters in the coming years. For now, Predator NutritionD-Aspartic Acid is the one to go with if you are looking for a product containing D-Aspartic Acid..
Commonly known as 6-bromodione in the supplement industry, this is found as either 6-alpha-bromodione, or 6-beta-bromodione. 6 alpha-Bromodione is a competitive inhibitor of aromatase enzymes [vi]. Basically this means it works by way of binding to the active binding site of the aromatase enzyme resulting in prevention of interaction with androgens. This is good for rapid binding and short term aromatase control, but unfortunately a competitive inhibitor will eventually let go of the enzyme and allow it to do feminizing things to male hormones. It is also worth mentioning that 6 beta-Bromodioneis is a suicide inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme.
Together the two will provide for a powerful one-two punch that should reduce estrogen while increasing testosterone at the same time. There is some concern over 6-bromodione owing to the fact that in the words of supplement guru Patrick Arnold, (who probably has more experience with these types of products than anyone else) “Other 6alpha halogenated androstenes (6alpha fluoro, 6alpha chloro) have anabolic androgenic activity. I strongly suspect the 6alpha bromo would too, since in the the 4-halo series of testosterones all 3 halogen substitutions are effective... So you would want to stay away from 6-alpha-bromoandrostenedione if your goal is HPTA recover” .
This basically suggests the possibility that rather than being a natural testosterone booster working with your body to elevate testosterone, 6-Bromodione has the potential to lower your body’s natural testosterone levels after the product is discontinued.
This covers most of the popular ingredients found in testosterone boosters today, although supplement companies are always looking to add anything that sounds new to help their latest products sell, often stacking testosterone boosting compounds with others designed to reduce estrogen, or offer some synergistic activity to enhance overall product effectiveness. We will concentrate now on examining some of the best current crop of testosterone boosting products on the market and offer readers practical advice on how to best take them.
Eurycoma Longifolia Jack
This herb, also known as Malaysian Ginseng, is often used for treating erectile dysfunction, increasing sex drive, as well as boosting athletic performance. While there is a good amount of evidence that Eurycoma is an aphrodisiac which is able to increase libido and sexual drive, there are also suggestions that it may have anti-estrogenic effects. However, very little real research supports its benefit as a testosterone boosting agent. A recent study suggest that Eurycoma may increase testosterone levels in individuals who naturally have low levels of testosterone (hypogonadism), but no such benefit could be observed for healthy males.[vii]
Best selling product with Eurycoma Longifolia: Blue Star Nutraceuticals Status
Potassium is a mineral that the body needs to function properly. Studies show that insufficient amounts of potassium can affect the pituitary gland and thus not secrete luteinizing hormone, leading to lower testosterone synthesis.[viii] Therefore, it is suggested that having enough potassium in the body may cause increased production of testosterone in the testes. This is the reason why this mineral is included in many test boosters, as to ensure that there is no deficiency of it and the body works at maximum rate in producing testosterone.
Butea Superba is a plant that has been used in traditional Thai medicine. The root has been suggested to act as an aphrodisiac and improve erectile dysfunction through better circulation.[ix] There is some evidence suggesting that the components in Butea Superba can have direct androgenic effects. It is to be noted, however, that the majority of those studies used rats and when replicated with humans with erectile dysfunction, no such results were evident.[x] What we can draw as a conclusion from the studies is that while Butea Superba has some testosterone boosting properties on paper, in reality (when given to humans) its effects are unreliable in regards to circulating testosterone.
Best selling product with Butea Superba: Evomuse Testruction
Anacyclus pyrethrum, also known as Akarkara, is a herb that enhances vitality and also acts as a brain tonic. One of its most significant benefits is that it has been shown to increase testosterone and luteinizing hormone.[xi] There is a good number of studies supporting the benefits of Anacylus as a testosterone boosting herb with some noticeable anabolic effects.[xii] The increased weight of sexual organs further supports the evidence that Anacyclus is indeed a herb that possesses androgenic properties and is a worthy substance for every testosterone boosting supplement.[xiii]
Best selling product with Anacyclus pyrethrum: Fusion supplements Progenadrex
This aphrodisiac herb originates from Nigeria and has been shown to increase sexual drive in males, as well as increase testosterone levels.[xiv] The famous bodybuilding maxim “more is not always better” is fully applicable here as studies show that lower dosages of MA are more effective than the higher dosages. Nevertheless, Massularia is still a rather new entry in the supplement industry and you won’t find many products that contain this ingredient. So far, it is AI Sports Nutrition Massularia and probably a couple of more products out there that give you the chance to try the herb and see the results for yourself.
Best selling product with Massularia Acuminata: AI Sports Nutrition Massularia
Popular Products Available Today
Activate Xtreme - Driven Sports’s Activate Xtreme is a popular testosterone boosting product with a significant following in the United States. Containing Divanil, Basella Alba, and Icariin, it is dosed at 4 capsules a day for a month’s supply. Users frequently report improved muscle gain, enhanced recovery, heightened libido, as well as reduced body fat, so this makes it a very popular product. Typically, users take this for 4-6 weeks followed by 2-4 weeks off.
ZMA – Basically this product is a combination of Zinc, which we have discussed previously, magnesium and vitamin B6. This combination should meet an athlete’s nutritional needs for these essential nutrients, ensuring testosterone levels are optimised, as well as promoting restful sleeping patterns. At 3 capsules daily, a bottle of 90 capsules will last 30 days.
Animal Stak – Developed by Universal’s Animal division, it complements the rest of the Animal range, being a product designed for the hardcore lifter. Containing Longjack, Avena Sativa, and Tribulus, this is more of a complete health product rather than a pure testosterone booster. Dosage is one pack a day, making a 44 pack bottle last 44 days.
We hope readers now have an idea about the uses and applications of testosterone boosters as well as an understanding about how they work, and which product is best suited for them. With so many on the market, it is wise to try them one at a time and assess for yourself how well you respond to them. Compared to the products available even ten years ago, this field has advanced significantly and today a number of products offer valid alternatives to the natural bodybuilder wishing to avoid the use of illegal drugs but still wanting something to enhance muscle size, strength, and libido in a natural manner.
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[i]Downie, Andrew. "On a Remote Path to Cures" New York Times. January 1, 2008.
[ii]Gonzales, GF.; Cordova A., Vega K., Chung A., Villena A., Gonez C. & Castillo S. (2002)."Effect of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men
[iii]Gonzales, GF; Cordova A., Gonzales C., Chung A., Vega K. & Villena A. (2001). "Lepidium meyenii (maca) improved semen parameters in adult men"
[v]Yakubu MT, Akanji MA, Oladiji AT. Aphrodisiac potentials of the aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis (Schweinf. Ex Hiern) stem in male albino rats.
[vi]Osawa Y, Osawa Y, Coon MJ. Stereochemistry of the functional group determines the mechanism of aromatase inhibition by 6-bromoandrostenedione.
[vii] Tajul Ariff AS, et al. Effects of Eurycoma longifolia on Testosterone Level and Bone Structure in an Aged Orchidectomised Rat Model. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2012)
[viii] Sanchez-Capelo A, Castells MT, Cremades A, PeÃ±afiel R. Hypokalemia decreases testosterone production in male mice by altering luteinizing hormone secretion. Endocrinology. 1996 Sep;137(9):3738-43.
[ix] Tocharus C, Sooksaen P, Shimbhu D, Tocharus J. "Butea superba (Roxb.) improves penile erection in diabetic rats." Andrologia. 2012 May;44 Suppl 1:728-33.
[x] Cherdshewasart W, Nimsakul N. Clinical trial of Butea superba, an alternative herbal treatment for erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl. (2003)
[xi] Sharma V, et al. Androgenic and Spermatogenic Activity of Alkylamide-Rich Ethanol Solution Extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. Phytother Res. (2012)
[xii] Sharma V1, Boonen J, et.al. Androgenic and spermatogenic activity of alkylamide-rich ethanol solution extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. Phytother Res. 2013 Jan;27(1):99-106. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4697. Epub 2012 Apr 4.
[xiii] Sharma, Vikas, et al. “Effects of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum DC. on sexual behavior in male rats.” 中西醫結合學報 8.8 (2010): 767-773.
[xiv]Yakubu MT, et al. Pro-sexual effects of aqueous extracts of Massularia acuminata root in male Wistar rats. Andrologia. (2011)