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Testosterone Boosters Part 1

Posted on April 15, 2020

Testosterone Boosters Part 1Dividerimage

Article by Gavin Deguara, ND, Nutr Med


It’s not surprising that natural testosterone boosters have reached today's burgeoning popularity. Pop culture has been full of muscle-bound men, and women too, for decades. So much so that these idealised physiques have been quietly seeping into our psyches, transforming the way we relate to exercise and how we view muscle.


Actors like Schwarzenegger and Stallone have contributed to this phenomenon in a big way, igniting generations of gym-enthusiasts seeking the ultimate physique, leading to an increased global demand for premium gyms and sports nutrition products.


There's no doubt about it, a fitness and muscle-centric revolution has been bubbling away for decades!


Despite all this, there are many reasons why people are interested in boosting their natural testosterone level, whether they are male or female. Popular motivations include: to support exercise recovery, enhance motivation to exercise, boost libido, provide anti-ageing benefits and reduce all-cause mortality in old age 1.


Do Testosterone Boosters Work?

Probably the most confusing part about testosterone boosting products for consumers is that the ingredients vary considerably from product to product.


And without a background in science it can be hard—perhaps near impossible—for most to know which companies are sticking to the untarnished truth, and which ones are putting a dizzying marketing spin on the scientific evidence, if any.


Finding a quality testosterone booster isn’t as easy as tracking down a decent protein powder. If you pick a protein powder at random, you could be reasonably confident that you’ll have a rich source of essential amino acids at hand, with nutritional and muscle protein synthetic benefits.



Image Courtesy of Yanalya, FreePik


That’s because powdered sources rich in essential amino acids are easy to find and are available from hundreds of suppliers. And there is loads of scientific evidence indicating that essential amino acids do trigger muscle protein synthesis and assist with adaptation to exercise.


But when it comes to testosterone boosters, there is no select set of nutrients sought after, like essential amino acids for a quality protein. And so it is left up to research and development teams from supplement companies to decide on what they believe will be a perfect nutritional and/or phytochemical mixture to increase free testosterone levels.


Sometimes, there is in fact very little evidence, if any, in support of a testosterone boosting ingredient.


After all, if your sole focus as a supplement company is profit, then why not just use ingredients that consumers believe willwork? You know, the ingredients that are popular in social circles or that the media have been reporting favourably on.


Forget about the published scientific research on humans, right? This is about selling products and making profits!


Occasionally, companies draw upon rodent research and in vitro studies (isolated cells in a lab) as solid proof of some biological effect in humans.


The point here being, there’s evidence … and then there’s evidence. And there’s anecdotes … and then there’s general confusion!


To compound the issue further, most who gravitate toward testosterone boosters are young, healthy, active men.


And guess what? Testosterone levels only start dropping by 0.4-2% per year after the age of 30 2.


But it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to testosterone boosters, otherwise there wouldn’t be references at the end of this article!


You know, references pointing to placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials undertaken on actual human beings, using standardised herbal extracts or bioavailable nutrients at practical dosages.


Woman Biceps Curls.jpg

Image Courtesy of Senivpetro, FreePik


There are benefits to be attained by young men and women from testosterone booster products, as long as they are careful in their selection. It also depends on what you want from the product, whether it’s an ergogenic boost, sexual support or to enhance testosterone levels in order to improve exercise recovery.


Testosterone is an important hormone, crucial for a lot more than a couple of bicep peaks. This hormone is important for sexual function, mood, physical strength, quality of life, bone mineral density, with preventative effects on obesity and insulin resistance.


Elderly men tend to be a lot more responsive to testosterone boosters. And it’s important to try not to cross reference research undertaken on an elderly population and apply that to young healthy men and women, expecting similar results.


Because more often than not, it just doesn’t work.


For the purposes of this article, the focus will be primarily on the impact of natural supplements on free testosterone levels and sometimes other anabolic hormones, like IGF-1 and Insulin.


Though there will be a lean muscle gain focus, with reference to age, certainly other benefits will be mentioned here and there with reference to libido and ergogenic effects.


Unfortunately, most clinical trials on this topic are conducted in men. However, this anabolic hormone is also produced by women in smaller quantities, primarily in the ovaries and adrenal glands. Where research can be located in women, it is included and discussed.


Caruso’s Testorod

This product has been available for many years, originally called Testoroid (note the inclusion of the “i”), and for a while was even offered in an enriched protein powder form.


Though consumers are always looking for the next best thing, Testorod’s market longevity should in no way detract from its relevance today as a quality product with scientifically verified benefits.


Testorod contains a range of herbs, minerals and vitamin B6. The main ingredient is Trigonella foenum graecum, commonly known as Fenugreek seed (brand name is Testofen). Each tablet of Testorod contains 9.9 grams of Testofen.


A study published in 2016 by Aging Male was undertaken on 120 men with an age range of 43 to 70 years. The study was in a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled fashion, using a standardised fenugreek seed extract dosage of 600mg per day for 12 weeks 3.


The results of this study indicated significant increases in free testosterone, with improved sexual function, increased morning erections and frequency of sexual activity.


That’s quite impressive for a natural testosterone booster, and proves that natural products can certainly have a solid effect on our hormonal balance.


But the question remains, what about young men with an age range of 18 to 40 years or so?


Do they get a nice free testosterone boost like the 43 to 70 year olds in this study, even though their testosterone levels are likely to be quite healthy already?


The evidence is saying yes, though only just, with a 12% increase in free testosterone and a slight decrease in bodyfat after 8 weeks of 500mg daily supplementation for men in their early to mid-twenties and late teens 4.


In this study, estradiol and dihydrotestosterone levels also increased, by 27% and 6%, respectively. And this is where the natural aromatase and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors in Testorod come in handy.


If you’ve got no idea what this is all about, check out the diagram below. This is a basic biochemical pathway delineating the biological flow of hormones in the human body.




This diagram shows how one hormone gets converted into another by the activity of an enzyme. For example, testosterone can get converted into estradiol by an enzyme called aromatase.


So it’s built into the biochemical ebb and flow of the human body that a proportion of testosterone will get converted into estradiol and DHT, which is not ideal, particularly for the former hormone.


This is where the research and development behind Testorod shines, with the inclusion of Nettle Root and zinc.


Zinc and Nettle root will assist in the inhibition of aromatase and 5-alpha reductase activity, thus helping to keep testosterone levels elevated.


But the benefits of zinc don’t stop there, with each Testorod tablet containing 15mg of elemental zinc in a highly bioavailable amino acid chelate form.


Low zinc status is a strong predictor of low testosterone status, even in young healthy men 5,6.


At risk groups for zinc deficiency are diabetics, the institutionalized elderly and aboriginal Australians, with 30% of men older than 70 years having low levels 7,8. Low zinc levels are associated with greater testosterone conversion into estradiol 9.


Hooded Gentleman.jpgImage Courtesy of FreePik


ZMA Supplement

Caruso’s Testorod also contains Magnesium and Vitamin B6 on top of some quality bioavailable zinc, making this a convenient ZMA product as well.


A study published in 2000 showed that a supplemental combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 for 8 weeks in football players, compared to placebo, led to a huge increase in free testosterone, with a decreased level in the placebo group 10.


A slight increase in IGF-1 was also noted in the treatment group, compared to a decrease in the placebo group.


Though evidence indicates that treating a zinc deficiency may lead to increased free testosterone levels, as well as slow down some enzymatic bioconversion, evidence also suggests that magnesium may also increase free testosterone, perhaps by binding sex-hormone binding globulin 11,12,13.


Fenugreek for Women?

Though most of this research tends to be male dominant, a study looking at fenugreek seed supplementation in healthy menstruating women aged 20 to 49 years for 8 weeks indicated that sexual desire and arousal were increased, along with increases in free testosterone and estradiol 14.  


This puts fenugreek seed extract in prime position to assist women with sexual health and perhaps even motivation to train and recovery from resistance exercise.


Okay, so a product called Erectomax may not conjure up the right kind of mental imagery when it comes to women’s supplementation. However, Erectomax and Testorod, both from Carusos, contain the exact same ingredients, delivering quality herbal extracts along with zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6.


So either product will get the job done.


There are many other biological effects of the ingredients of Testorod that are beyond the scope of this article to go into any great depth on, otherwise this article would quickly become a novel and send many readers off into a deep sleep, if they haven’t already.


To mention a few briefly though, there are some insulin sensitising ingredients, notably fenugreek seed, panax ginseng, zinc and magnesium.


Insulin sensitivity decreases with age, and is important for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, and keeping body composition in check. As insulin is a potent anabolic hormone, this insulin sensitising benefit may assist with lean muscle gains.


Though there is ample research demonstrating the effectiveness of Panax Ginseng, also known as Red Ginseng and Korean Ginseng, for the treatment of men with erectile dysfunction, its effects on testosterone are a little more elusive 15.


Though effects of Panax Ginseng on sexual function, the immune system, physical and mental performance are without question, evidence suggests that this ginseng does not work via the modulation of anabolic hormones 16.


All in all, Testorod is a fantastic product, not diminished in any way by its age, just as it will help elderly people not feel diminished by their age! If your young or middle aged, however, this product still offers benefits.


Herbs of Gold Bulgarian Tribulus Complex

Herbs of Gold produce a range of quality products, from multivitamin and minerals to anxiety support. Tribulus has been a popular product for a long time for its purported hormonal support and effects on physical performance.


Originally, a lot of excitement surrounded tribulus due to the fact that it contains steroidal saponins, supported by the fact that it has been used by Bulgarian weight lifters for more than half a century.


bulgarian_tribulus_complex_by_herbs_of_gold.pngGiven the name of this naturally occurring class of compounds in Tribulus, many enthusiastic weight lifters mentally jumped ahead a few steps, assuming that based on the name—steroidal saponins—it must be a seriously anabolic product.


Lookout young Ronnie Coleman, I’m coming for you!


And though tribulus certainly does not do what many young men want it to do, it is still a viable and therapeutically active herbal medicine, with plenty of interesting research supporting of its use.


There is no doubt that quality Tribulus terrestris, standardized to steroidal saponins and protodioscin, increases free testosterone and reduces erectile dysfunction in aging men, as a number of studies have demonstrated 17,18.


The questions remains, does it boost testosterone in young healthy men and women?


So far, the evidence is pointing towards other benefits for young active individuals, with clinical trials indicating that Tribulus terrestris does not alter testosterone levels in young men 19.


However, this doesn’t mean that tribulus does nothing for the young and healthy. In fact, research published in 2017 based on trained male boxers (sorry gals) showed that this herb does indeed promote anaerobic performance and reduces markers of muscle damage.


Though testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and IGF-1 levels were not changed by tribulus, IGFBP-3 levels did decrease. This means there was more active insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the blood as a result of tribulus supplementation.


This may be why the herbal medicine had a performance enhancing effect. With regards to this product’s free testosterone increasing benefits, it really is age-dependent.


If you are low in testosterone, it will most likely help. If your levels are normal, it may still offer some ergogenic and recovery benefits for exercise via increased IGF-1 signaling, but probably won’t increase your testosterone level per se.  



Image Created by FreePik


Tribulus terrestris for Women?

Again, there isn’t as much research as we want here to draw any concrete conclusions.


But isn’t that always the way?


I couldn’t count the number of times an author concludes a research article with more research is warranted.


Like grains of sand at the beach folks. An empty beach, that is …


Fortunately, tribulus has been examined in premenopausal women with low libido, showing that free testosterone levels were increased, and symptoms alleviated 20.


In post-menopausal women, though testosterone levels weren’t monitored, the supplementation group certainly did have improvements in a range of signs and symptoms associated with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) 21.


Does this mean any young woman will achieve a testosterone boost? This is yet to be studied. However, if you are suffering with HSDD, then there’s a good chance you will achieve a nice free testosterone boost.


It’s also worth a mention that Switch Nutrition Adrenal Switch contains quality standardized Withania extract as well, in addition to a solid ZMA that offers solid   elemental dosages of magnesium (300ng), zinc (20mg) and Vitamin B6 (20mg).


This might uniquely place this product in the position of helping people with long-term stress and serious fatigue. Not only does Adrenal Switch help to regulate the HPA axis and reduce the stress response, but will support free testosterone levels and DHEA, reducing any unnecessarily high cortisol peaks.


This makes for a rejuvenating product that can help you get back on track with training in a more calm and practical manner, supporting faster lean muscle gains, performance and recovery.


Herbs of Gold Anxiety Ease

You might be wondering why a Testosterone Boosters article is reviewing an anxiety product.


And rightly so, it’s an obscure inclusion alright!


anxiety-ease.jpgWithania somnifera is one of those herbs that most people can take and derive a great deal of benefit from.


Whether you’re struggling to sleep, stressing out too often or trying to crank up your testosterone naturally, withania has got the goods.


Herbs of Gold Anxiety Ease contains primarily withania, containing 3.75 grams per tablet, along with 400mg lavender flowers.


Importantly, the withania is in the form of KSM-66, a powerful clinically studied form of withania, certainly not just the cheapest stuff available on the market.


Withania offers a range of benefits for anyone experiencing long-term stress— which is plenty of people.


How would you like to reduce your cortisol level, if elevated due to long-term stress, and increase you DHEA and testosterone 22?


This powerful herbal medicine has also been shown to increase testosterone and DHEA levels in overweight men 23.


In addition, it can improve strength and body composition, mental-wellbeing, improve eating behavior and decrease food cravings 24,25.


On top of these abundant benefits, withania can support healthy thyroid function. If you suffer with subclinical hypothyroidism, which is a mildly underactive thyroid, it is harder to access your fat stores for energy 26.


This is simply due to the fact that your metabolism is not being provoked by thyroid hormones like it should be.


So its’ fair to say that if you are overweight, have a mildly underactive thyroid or are experiencing long-term stress and want to improve your hormonal profile and anabolic status, withania is a great way to go.


Herbs of Gold Anxiety Ease has a lot to offer apart from simply supporting mild anxiety. So if you want to feel cool, calm and collected, as well as completely ready to build some lean muscle mass, this product is worth your consideration.


In fact, it might be just about the most anabolic natural product out there for you if you are overweight or struggle with chronic stress.


Final Verdict

18-40 Years of Age, Any Gender.

If you are reasonably healthy, Testorod is the best bet for a natural free testosterone boost, due to its ZMA and Testofen content, as well as some aromatase blocking.


However, if you are suffering with considerable long-term stress or obesity, starting with Anxiety Ease (even if you don’t have anxiety) may provide some exceptional benefits, including a nice testosterone boost.


If you are a young women experiencing low libido, tribulus might actually be the way to go, at least in the short term until symptoms subside, followed by a switch to Testorod.


>40 Years of Age, Any Gender

From 41 and upward, the older you are the more benefit that can be expected from a natural testosterone booster—there have to be some perks, right?


Testorod or Tribulus both offer hormonal benefits within this age bracket, supported by clinical trials, and are fantastic natural treatments for low libido.


If you are particularly overweight, or experience chronic stress, Anxiety Ease is the way to go, at least until these issues are rectified.




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Header Image Male Weight Lifting Image Created by Yanalya, Courtesy of FreePik.

Header Image Female Boxer Image Created by Senivpetro, Courtesy of FreePik.

Final Image of Man Performing Bicep Curl, Courtesy of drobotdean, FreePik.