Testosterone boosters are sports nutrition and supplements used to stimulate muscle growth, increase strength and libido, and prevent male menopause and correct sex hormone levels. The effect of testosterone boosters is due to their ability to increase natural testosterone production. Most testosterone boosters come in the form of sports nutrition or dietary supplements, which can be freely purchased over-the-counter at sports nutrition stores and pharmacies.
Boosters usually contain natural and herbal ingredients, vitamins and, rarely, synthetic substances, which, according to manufacturers, have the ability to increase testosterone levels. However, the validity and evidence base of many testosterone boosters remains questionable, and other boosters (such as the widely known ZMA complexes) have already been found to be completely ineffective, although they continue to be sold and used in bodybuilding.
Who testosterone boosters are made for
Testosterone boosters are usually used by men who seek to increase lean muscle mass. These supplements are not recommended for use under the age of 20, and according to some reports, 23. This is due to the fact that the young body has a highly unstable hormonal system, particularly this applies to sex hormones. Using boosters at a young age, can disrupt this unstable hormonal metabolic system. Moreover, young people have a naturally elevated level of testosterone, so they do not need any additional stimulation. In addition, taking such supplements is not recommended for girls due to the development of masculinization.
Rational use boosters are found in people over 30 and even 40 years, when the natural level of testosterone decreases due to age, in which case their use not only has a positive effect on muscle growth, but also increases potency and libido.
In addition, testosterone boosters are great for PCT. After a cycle of steroid hormones or prohormones it is desirable to take a 4 weeks booster based on Tribulus terrestis. The booster allows you to neutralize the side effects of steroid hormone withdrawal and maintain testosterone levels, thus preventing muscle breakdown or the so-called “kickback” phenomenon.
Keep in mind that boosters only work for the time they are taken and all effects disappear after cancellation. Decrease in muscle mass is possible, although not as pronounced as with steroids.
Known testosterone boosters
Effects of boosters on testosterone and LH levels (Author: Vitaly Evsyukov)
Many anabolic complexes and boosters contain more than a dozen components, but most of the components have no effect on testosterone levels. Their presence can only be explained as an advertising ploy. Below is a brief description of the most common remedies:
- Aromatase inhibitors.
A highly effective and safe class of drugs. According to a study one tablet of Letrozole (2.5 mg) can increase testosterone levels by about 50% over a month if taken in portions (0.02 mg each). Higher dosages lead to a much stronger effect. In addition, estrogen levels are reduced.
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) has been shown to increase serum testosterone concentrations by 142% of initial levels when used for 10 days at 20 mg daily.
- Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol).
Studies have found a correlation between vitamin D levels and testosterone.
A new synthetic substance that can prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogens, thereby increasing the concentration of the former. There are no studies confirming the effects of 4-androstene-3,6,17-trione on muscle growth.
- D-aspartic acid.
The D-isomer of the asparagine amino acid, which naturally interacts with certain areas of the pituitary gland to increase testosterone secretion. Efficacy is questionable.
A substance derived from the Coleus forskohlii plant, very often included in boosters. Lack of evidence (apart from a few small studies with contradictory results). Lack of positive feedback from athletes who have taken the supplement. A clear exaggeration of forskolin’s properties in the product descriptions: burning fat, increasing muscle mass, changing the concentration of several hormones at once, and all this in the absence of side effects. Perhaps the supplement has a moderate positive effect on body composition. Maybe it will enhance the effect of other drugs if you take them in combination. However, there is no reliable clinical evidence for the effectiveness of forskolin.
A relatively new nitric oxide booster that, among other things, can stimulate the secretion of your own gonadotropin and gonadoliberin. Agmatine sulfate is an imidazoline receptor agonist. It has nootropic effects.
- Tribulus terrestris.
The most popular component of testosterone boosters, it has the strongest evidence base. Despite the fact that Tribulus has been classified as a drug and is not subject to free sale in sports nutrition stores (only pharmacies can sell drugs), most stores continue to sell it. Sports supplements come out much cheaper. One should look not only at the weight of the pills, but also at the percentage of saponins, i.e., the active ingredient (found between 35% and 95%).
Quite a popular complex, found to be completely ineffective. It has virtually no side effects.
- Fenugreek hay (Trigonella)
A plant extract with the active ingredient trigonellin. It has anti-aromatase activity, but has had no effect on androgen levels or athletic performance in human studies.
- Maca peruviana.
The extract is used as an aphrodisiac. It has no effect on sex hormone levels or anabolism.
Regimen of ingestion
The mode of ingestion depends on the specific manufacturer. However, most often boosters are taken from 1 to 3 times a day immediately after meals. The average duration of the cycle is 4 weeks. It is recommended to combine with physical activity.
Abuse of any drugs that affect testosterone levels is fraught with dangerous complications. Prolonged use of testosterone boosters leads to a decrease in the body’s ability to produce a sufficient amount of testosterone on its own, since it becomes accustomed to constant supplementation. Thus, the body does not produce enough sex hormones after the end of the supplement, leading to significant muscle mass loss, depression, impotence, and other problems.
The following side effects are very rare during taking: aggressiveness and irritability, acne, blood pressure fluctuations. Extremely rare: hair loss, gynecomastia, feminization, decreased testosterone secretion, testicular atrophy.
If the supplement is taken in the prescribed doses and for an acceptable period of time, side effects are virtually non-existent, but there is also no significant effect in terms of muscle mass gain.
Do not take testosterone boosters if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or kidney failure. If you experience any side effects, stop taking the supplement. Almost all side effects are completely reversible after withdrawal.
For a good effect testosterone boosters should be combined with a proper high-calorie diet, systematic strength training, and additional sports nutrition. Of sports nutrition good potentiating effects and optimal compatibility with testosterone boosters are:
- Protein – to enhance muscle growth you need 2-3 g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
- Creatine – 3-5 grams taken orally once a day. Creatine with a transport system is also a great option.
- Vitamin and mineral complex – for active muscle growth you need a sufficient intake of vitamins and other essential substances.
This is the minimum list of sports supplements that are shown to be taken together with boosters, in addition, you can simultaneously use BCAA, amino acid complexes, reducing agents, adaptogens and other supplements.
It is not recommended that testosterone boosters be taken with prohormones or steroid hormones, and the two boosters should not be combined.