Over the years, many bodybuilders have taken under-the-table steroids to boost their muscle development, but how much do we know about these supplement options? Read more to find out!
Firstly, there has been an abundance of ‘natural’ supplements that claim to up that magical hormone. If you walk into any health store, you will surely find a full aisle of these supplements. These supplements claim to work in different ways, such as by blocking estrogen, stimulating growth factors, and sensitizing insulin in the blood.
Boost your testosterone – Supplementation: Gold or Trash?
1. Eurycoma longifolia:
Eurycoma works by enhancing the production of DHEA, a precursor of testosterone. Therefore, it is no surprise that testosterone levels increase as a result of this mechanism. Eurycoma also inhibits aromatase, which prevents the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Estrogen is a reproductive hormone found mostly in women. Therefore, more testosterone = more muscle development. Sounds promising, right! But what do studies show?
Not many studies to date have analyzed the effects of this supplement on direct muscle growth. However, one promising study conducted on 14 subjects found that participants who took Eurycoma gained more muscle mass than the controls (1).
With regards to testosterone enhancement, studies are more promising. One study observed a significant increase of free testosterone in senior-aged men, after consuming 400 mg of this supplement for 5 weeks (2).
2. Androsta-3,5-diene-7, 17-dione (AD)
This is a popular one among the female bodybuilders! AD works by inhibiting estrogen, therefore increasing testosterone levels in the body. However, research on this supplement is quite scarce, and side effects have not been fully recognized.
3. Saw Palmetto + Astaxanthin
These herbs also work like AD, by inhibiting estrogen and DHT levels in the body. Saw palmetto has been commonly displayed as a sexual libido enhancer, due to its effects on increasing testosterone. However, studies conducted on these two herbs are inconclusive, as many ‘promising’ trials are actually sponsored by their manufacturers.
This steroid has been marketed as a testosterone booster for years, by promoting the production of growth factors (IGF-1). However, what does the evidence show? Not much really! Many studies have failed to show any improvement on body composition while taking this supplement (3). The only promising trials have been conducted on animals, so further research is definitely required to assess if it is a promising supplement (4).
This plant has been around for years, promising to boost testosterone and prevent diabetes. With regards to diabetes, fenugreek has a compound that enhances insulin sensitivity and secretion (5). So, if you are at risk of diabetes, this is a great one to take! However, what can it do for testosterone? Some studies show hopeful results, where fenugreek successfully doubled testosterone levels in the body (6).
These are just some examples of available supplements that claim to boost testosterone. However, the science is still quite weak, and further research is needed to see if the pros outweigh the cons, and what the side effects may be. Also, some may work better at enhancing libido, rather than promoting muscle mass. With anything, it is crucial to analyze your options, study the facts and do your research before taking anything into your body. Even if you are desperately seeking extreme muscle mass, your long-term health is more important, so choose wisely!