Natural testosterone boosters are a hot topic right now in the world of bodybuilding.
They are currently one of the fastest selling supplement categories; manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand as their natural test boosters fly off the shelves.
However, they are also widely-admonished. Lots of people hate testosterone boosters. They are extremely vocal in their disliking too; it isn’t hard to find articles, YouTube videos, and interview segments where people have called them an outright scam.
This hasn’t been helped by the advent of prohormones. This class of substances has attracted an enormous amount of attention over the past couple of years, most of it negative. Rightly so; prohormones are billed as “safe, natural alternatives to steroids”, but they are far from safe. They have a range of short term side effects comparable to anabolic steroids, and their long-term effects are likely to be just as severe. Yet they were – up until recently – sold online with few restrictions.
It’s therefore easy to understand why so many people are sceptical of natural testosterone boosters. They get a lot of negative press, and many people lump them together with prohormones.
And yet they remain one of the most popular and enduring supplement categories in the world.
So what’s the truth?
Do testosterone boosters actually work?
Or are they another rip-off you need to avoid?
Let’s take a look at what the scientists have to say. That’s the only way to really judge the value of natural testosterone boosters. So let’s cut the crap and get straight into it.
What Are Testosterone Boosters?
It’s important to nail down exactly what natural testosterone boosters are and what they are not.
They are not steroids.
If a product claims to be a natural testosterone booster, but it contains any form of an exogenous human sex hormone, then it is lying. To class as a natural testosterone booster, it must contain no synthetic sex hormones, performance enhancing drugs, fat burners, or anything else that could not be readily obtained from nature.
They are not prohormones.
Prohormones are substances which get converted into anabolic sex hormones within the human body. They are androgen agonists, just like all anabolic steroids. This means that they act on the androgen receptors, which govern male characteristics (body hair growth, increased sex drive, etc). Stimulating your androgen receptors is also a very good way to stimulate muscle growth and strength increases. Prohormones have very similar effects on the body as anabolic steroids. They also have very similar side effects (impotence, aggression, high cholesterol).
The conversion of prohormones into sex hormones is a natural process. However, the presence of these prohormones – and in such large quantities – is NOT natural. Some prohormones are naturally-occurring in the human body, but it is not natural for humans to consume large amounts from an exogenous source.
They are strictly natural stacks made from herbal extracts, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
Testosterone boosters should not contain anything that you could properly call “androgenic”. They contain only substances which you could theoretically consume through your diet, but obviously in a purified, concentrated form. Obviously, they contain substances thought to elevate free serum testosterone levels.
Do They Work? – What The Science Says
Contrary to what many people say, there’s a lot of scientific evidence showing that many popular natural testosterone boosters actually work.
Of course, not every substance found in test boosting stacks works.
Lots of them don’t. Most of them even.
But there are plenty of herbal extracts, minerals, vitamins and amino acids out there which do seem to reliably and significantly elevate free serum testosterone.
For example, several studies have found that D-Aspartic Acid led to a rapid and significant increase in free testosterone levels. That said, there has been some contradictory findings when researchers have focused specifically on trained individuals, such as in this study. It seems to us that D-Aspartic Acid may be effective for some but not for everybody.
Another trial, which you can read here, found luteolin acts as a powerful aromatase inhibitor, which means that it prevents testosterone from being converted into estrogen in the body. This will have a massive impact on free serum testosterone levels.
We all know that zinc is supposed to be great for supporting testosterone levels during periods of heavy training. Well, this isn’t just hype; zinc is absolutely vital for the natural synthesis of testosterone in the body, and a zinc deficiency is known to cause a rapid decline in free testosterone levels. Thankfully, many studies (such as this one) have shown that supplementing with zinc can quickly cure low testosterone.
Vitamin D is a popular ingredient in natural testosterone boosters, and with very good reason. There is overwhelming evidence that Vitamin D supplementation leads to increased testosterone levels, as we explained in this article.
Should You Use Testosterone Boosters?
It’s clear that natural testosterone boosters – or at least some of the ingredients usually found in them – do have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use them.
If you think you might have low or even sub-optimal testosterone levels, we believe a better way to tackle that is to first sort out your diet and lifestyle. After all, the main reasons why a guy might be suffering with low testosterone are his diet and lifestyle.
Try getting more sun, or eating more foods rich in Vitamin D.
Up your zinc intake – eat less processed crap and more nuts and seafood.
Lift heavy weights more often – weight training is a great way to quickly spike your testosterone levels (which is why you feel like Superman after a heavy squat session).