Testosterone boosting formulations are one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements on the market. As with any supplement, the results obtained are dependent on the quality and strength of the formulation, but the ones that do deliver on the promises made for them can boost performance levels, increase gains, and help bodybuilders get the kind of physique they are striving for.
Women produce most of their testosterone via their ovaries, with men the production process takes place in the testes, but both sexes share a common problem – testosterone production diminishes with age. In fact many people can experience a severe drop in testosterone by the age of 20.
The Importance of Testosterone
Testosterone is required for strong bones. It can also offer protection against heart disease, encourage fat burning, and improve the sex drive. Important benefits each and every one, but the main reason testosterone is so important to bodybuilders is because it can encourage the growth of lean muscle tissue.
Complicated Chemical Actions & Conversions
Unfortunately the body’s natural predisposition towards an age-related lowering of the testosterone production process is not the only problem bodybuilders have to address. Other factors can rob the body of some of the testosterone that is available.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG): A glycoprotein manufactured by the liver. It binds to all the sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogenic, making them unavailable to use. Fortunately, some supplements have the power to block SHBG.
Aromatization: This is a natural process the body utilizes to convert testosterone to estrogen. The process takes its name from the enzyme that is required to perform the process. Its name is aromatase and it tends to be more active in males than females.
The conversion of testosterone to estrogen may not seem to be desirable, but estrogen is a natural steroid that can contribute to muscle mass, and the amount of testosterone converted each day is usually negligible. Nevertheless some supplements are designed to preserve testosterone levels by interfering with the process of aromatization. In certain cases, a man’s aromatization activity will be higher, and these supplements can be really effective for those people.
Luteinizing Hormone: Also known as lutropin, luteinizing hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. In females it can trigger ovulation; in males it triggers testosterone production. Not surprisingly some supplements are designed to stimulate the process.
A Few Commonly-Used Testosterone Boosters
A plant derivative favoured by dieters and bodybuilders alike. It appears to stimulate testosterone production by boosting cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels, which is a natural agent in the body’s energy cycle. It appears that when cAMP is elevated in the testicles, it can trigger the release of Luteinizing Hormone and thus the production of testosterone.
A form of aspartic acid that is often used to raise the testosterone levels of infertile men. It is believed to stimulate activity in the brain that results in the brain releasing luteinizing hormone and human growth hormone. Some studies indicate it may have merit as a testosterone booster. D-AA could have one of the fastest-acting non-steroidal effects on the testosterone axis; according to some studies it is possible that it can raise T levels by 50% in just two weeks.
A resin taken from the commiphora mukul tree. It is widely believed to be a testosterone booster, but probably has more to offer as a fat burner and can also be used to lower cholesterol levels.
A plant extract that is believed to protect testosterone levels by manipulating the actions of reductase, thereby enabling testosterone to be converted into a more powerful sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone. Does it work though?
More study may be required.
A natural ingredient that is often used to purge the body of estrogen and interfere with the testosterone binding powers of SHBG. DIM is often used in ‘dry’ supplements because one of the anti-estrogen side effects is ridding the body of excess water. Good for the cut-‘n’-dry competition look and anyone wanting to lower their aromatization rate.
Although many testosterone boosters may look good on paper, the fact is, in the majority of cases, more scientific evidence is required, and where it is available it is restricted to a few case studies conducted on laboratory rats that were lacking the get up and go required to further their species.
It could be that some of the ingredients really do have potential, and the empirical evidence put forth by many bodybuilders is promising to say the least. These people may or may not care what scientists are finding in the lab because there are some supplements which are working for them.
One final point is this: there is much debate as to whether a libido enhancer can be (a) classed as a Testosterone Booster, and (b) classed as an exercise performance enhancer, or (c) used to improve body composition.
Put it this way: the heightened libido might be the performance enhancement; whether it’s in the bedroom or the gym – because the extra energy you have can be re-directed, so to speak.