Testosterone Boosting Supplements - Do They Work?
By Nick Gold
It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 4 adults has low total testosterone levels, especially those who are over 40 years of age.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and it's responsible for numerous body functions and processes. People with normal testosterone levels feel more confident, have more energy, increased libido, and sex drive, and are more stable from an emotional point of view.
On the other hand, low testosterone can cause mood swings, low libido, irritability, loss of muscle mass, lack of confidence and poor mental clarity. One of the best ways to treat low testosterone symptoms is by using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is a tried and tested method of administering testosterone to patients using injections, creams, gels, patches, etc.
However, many men with low testosterone levels are reluctant to go the TRT route. They usually try their luck with testosterone boosting supplements which claim to improve libido, mood, increase energy levels, and enhance the quality of life.
But do these supplements really work? Are their claims supported by science?
This article is going to provide an answer to these questions, so keep reading. You’ll learn more about testosterone boosting supplements, how they work, and whether or not they’re worthy of your money.
Studies Done on 50 Testosterone Supplements Show Interesting Results
A study performed at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles reveals interesting details about testosterone supplementation in general.
After a simple Google search, the researchers discovered 50 different testosterone boosting supplements which make various claims and contain different types of ingredients. This study focused on literature published on PubMed regarding these supplements. It’s not a study involving actual people, control groups, etc.
The purpose of the study was to determine if testosterone boosting supplements’ claims are backed up by the academic literature. It has been discovered that nearly 50% of the American adults take some form of supplements, including testosterone boosting supplements.
The reason why such supplements are taken is to help increase the endogenous testosterone levels. In other words, American adults take supplements to help to boost their natural testosterone levels and reap all the benefits associated with it. Some of these supplements also contain popular herbs and plant extracts which claim to have anti-aging properties.
Although testosterone boosting supplements are quite popular, there’s little to no evidence to support their claims. These supplements are also loosely regulated by the FDA and other health organizations. For example, the FDA made a statement mentioning that supplements are not intended to treat or cure a disease and they should not make claims such as “reduce pain” or “Improve libido”. With that being said, testosterone boosting supplements are filled with such claims in an attempt to attract a broader audience.
Some of these claims include:
1. Boost free testosterone
2. Feel stronger
3. Enhance sex drive and libido
4. Increase muscle mass
5. Help to burn fat more quickly
The study has compiled a broad list of claims made by testosterone boosting supplements on the market.
A Review of PubMed Literature on These 50 Testosterone Boosting Supplements
The 50 testosterone boosting supplements found in this study have been closely evaluated. The researchers have discovered up to 109 different ingredients in their composition and analyzed them extensively.
Each of these ingredients has been analyzed and compared against the FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) levels. At the same time, the ingredients have also been compared with the upper tolerable intake level (UL), a standard which reveals how much of a particular substance or ingredient is safe for the human body.
Each testosterone boosting supplement contained an average of about 8-9 of these ingredients. Some of the most popular substances were zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, boron, Maca Extract, and others.
The PubMed literature contained no studies for approximately 67 of these ingredients out of the 109 studied. For the other ingredients, PubMed showed at least one or more studies analyzing their effect on testosterone levels and whether or not they had anti-aging properties.
27 of these ingredients showed that they can increase testosterone levels when supplementing on a regular basis. Approximately 11 ingredients were actually decreasing testosterone levels. 20 ingredients didn't do anything to improve testosterone levels and they had no effect on the human body whatsoever. For the other 15 ingredients, there was no data on PubMed showing their effects on testosterone levels.
It's interesting to note that some of the testosterone boosting supplements analyzed contained zinc and vitamin B3 above the standard UL. This is not a good thing because over-supplementation with zinc can cause different types of health complications such as an increase in bad cholesterol levels. Similarly, too much zinc in the body can interfere with the proper absorption and utilization of iron and copper, so patients must be careful when it comes to taking too much zinc.
Taking A Closer Look at the Claims Made by Testosterone Boosting Supplements
The 50 testosterone boosting supplements analyzed revealed interesting claims which usually sound “too good to be true”. Most of these supplements mentioned that they can “boost free T levels” as well as “increase lean muscle mass”.
However, as mentioned earlier, just 27 out of those 109 ingredients found in supplements might show an increase in testosterone levels. Some of them can decrease T levels while most of them have no effect. From these facts, we can deduce that many of the claims made by manufacturers of testosterone boosting supplements are simply not true.
Men are usually attracted by testosterone boosting supplements because they believe that these products can magically improve their health and make them feel better. On the contrary, all reputable scientists and experts say that there's no substitute for a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular exercise and a proper diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
Therefore, each time when you see a testosterone boosting supplement making claims such as “make you feel stronger” or “give you more energy”, you should take these statements with a gram of salt.
Although the study looked at the published academic literature without patient involvement, studies done on the ingredients contained by testosterone boosting supplements reveal that roughly 25% of them might have beneficial properties.
Therefore, low testosterone levels shouldn’t be treated with testosterone boosting supplementation. TRT is a safer and more efficient approach in this case. The patient should speak with his doctor and find out if he’s a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.
How Can You Test Your Testosterone Levels?
On top of that, people shouldn’t just take testosterone boosting supplements because they think they have low T levels. If you do feel the classic symptoms of low T such as excessive fatigue, poor performance at the gym and decreased sex drive then you should test your testosterone levels.
The best way you can do that is by using a direct-to-consumer lab which can be ordered from DiscountedLabs.com. The Regular Testosterone Test is ideal for most people, but if you want a more comprehensive test, you can check out the Free and Weakly Bound Testosterone Test.
1. Hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis disruptions in older men - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=18270261
2. Treatment of symptomatic androgen deficiency - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=18504335
3. Consumer usage and reasons for using dietary supplements - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=24724775
4. An evidence-based approach to medicinal plants - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=27681644