Herbal Test Boosters; wading through a lot of shit
I previously wrote about D-Aspartic Acid which, as a ‘natural testosterone booster’, is looking pretty effective thus far. That being said, it doesn’t have too much evidence behind it. Just one _in vivo_ study; although there is a ton of knowledge behind its mechanisms in the body since it was a neuromodulator well before people starting to superload it for testosterone.
So that being said, do other testosterone supplements hold promise?
For the purposes of the article, I will be linking each compound to the Examine.com page (hey, I wrote them, I can do this) but will also reference the most highly related studies here. I will also not talk about compounds colloquially known as ‘steroids’ (ie. testosterone in all its conjugates, Deca, Tren, etc.) since most of my readers are not interested in that stuff anyways.
Maca Root [Examine]
Maca root is usually touted as a testosterone booster, vitality increasing agent, and longevity compound. In actuality, it just seems to make you horny.
It has been shown to pretty much not exert any direct anabolic effects when ingested.[x]
No word on whether it can exert indirect effects, like acting similar to testosterone and inducing its receptor effects independent of testosterone (like Ecdysterone, to be discussed later). It is also possible that increases in horniess can translate into more sex, which can then boost dopamine and testosterone. This, however, is incredibly indirect and likely to be insignificant. You can just punch a stranger angrily and to get the same test boost Maca *might* give you, and save some money if you avoid the legal fees.
There is some preliminary evidence (very promising looking) to suggest an increase in aerobic capacity with Maca supplementation, but it is only one study. More will need to be conducted.[x]
So in short, Maca seems to be a good compound for getting your game on but does not seem to exert any actions which can be taken advantage of for its muscle building properties.
Tribulus Terrestris [Examine]
Trib also makes you horny.
Tribulus terrestris is a cocktail of 6 (or more) subcomponents. The principally active one is called ‘protodioscin’, and it has been shown to increase testosterone when injected into rats and primates.[x]
There really is no evidence to suggest that Trib, on its own, increases testosterone levels. It makes you horny, injecting protodioscin might increase testosterone. Beyond that, its jumping from the evidence (A) to marketing (D) and skipping the intermediates of in vivo evidence (B) and logic (C).
Eurycoma Longifolia [Examine]
An incredibly nice, boner pill.
Eurycoma Longifolia is able to increase sexual desire and seminal volume. Its main constituent, 9-hydroxycanthin-6-one, when injected is able to increase time to ejaculation as well. Sadly though, its not taken up intestinally all that well and thus consuming a pill would not yield this last effect.
As for testosterone? It seems to be able to elevate it in men with testosterone production problems like hypogonadism.[x] That’s about it though.
Another case of a herb making you horny, people thinking that this horniess was due to testosterone, and then having the marketing demon take the reins and make a new compound hit the market.
Horny Goat Weed [Examine]
Whoo, another boner pill.
Horny Goat Weed, via its main constituent Icariin, is actually a pretty nice compound to fight erectile dysfunction. The evidence isn’t as strong with this one in regards to making you actually crave sex, but that may be expected when you get a visit from Mr.Rigid for the first time in a few months.
It shows testosterone boosting properties in all manners of rodents with reproductive damage [x] [x]. So if you’re a mouse that just lost a game of vigorous Rhoshambo, then this is the compound for you. If you are a weight-training male, skip it for now.
I specify ‘for now’ as it might exert testosterone like effects as a test mimetic [x], which could potentially mean that it exerts the effects of testosterone without actually increasing testosterone. However, there is not much study in humans on this compound nor in rats for changes in body composition. That last studied link is, as far as I have seen, the only study looking at its effects on testosterone like actions.
In researching this compound, I was taken by surprise. Not due to its efficacy in boosting testosterone, but due to its other properties.
Ecdysterone is a really healthy compound (its found in a lot of plant life, by the way, and may be one of the reasons why vegetables are seen as ‘healthy’)
It seems to have anti-diabetic effects, increases protein synthesis rates, reduces cholesterol levels, protects the liver from toxins and helps to flush the kidneys; it can even protect against lipid peroxidation, assuring its status as an anti-oxidant.
Of course, most people are probably wanting me to talk about its effects on testosterone.
The one study I could find talking about ecdysterone supplementation in vivo used 200mg taken during exercise. Overall, it showed no effects in body composition changes or changes in hormones. So no positive results here.[x]
That being said, it has been shown to induce signal transduction and possibly act on the same receptors that testosterone does, thus exerting testosterone like effects in the body independent of testosterone levels. Which is plausible given the structural similarity of ecdysterone and testosterone (although ecdysterone’s small structural changes do result in large changes in its actions in the body; its wholly plausible that the opposite notion of no interaction is true as well). That, and it does increase protein synthesis directly.[x]
So at the moment, it falls in the same category as Tribulus Terrestris and Icariin. The mechanisms are there but the human data is looking kinda pathetic. It could easily increases testosterone, but it would be good to wait until further studies are done on the matter.
Although if you had to get one of the above herbals, why not use ecdysterone? Quite a healthy compound and safe to boot.
This article may be edited in the future when I research more less direct ‘testosterone boosters’ (such as aromatase inhibitors, which boost test indirectly though preventing its decline), I just wanted to get the more socially known and direct testosterone boosters out of the way first.
Nothing I stated above states that something does not work. If anything I want to say that ‘It is not known if this works reliably’. Even Maca, which has absolutely no evidence suggesting it boosts test, might be able to; there aren’t any studies it completely ineffective either. Its just not known.
Something may also not necessarily boost testosterone, but it may still exert testosterone-like effects (which, in the end, results in mostly the same thing). This may help explain the discord between in vivo results showing no changes in testosterone levels in Trib, Icariin and Suma (ecdysterone) yet there is still plausible in vitro results on testosterone mimetic effects.
In summation, if you want to boost test significantly go on a damn steroid cycle. If you are not old enough or don’t want to bother with that, get some D-Aspartic Acid and *maybe* Ecdysterone. If you don’t want to supplement just have sex a lot and listen to intense music you enjoy while lifting weights and eating your protein and fat filled hypercaloric diet. (Although you should be doing this last one anyways for muscle building; the sex comes with the muscle)