Over-the-counter supplements that are marketed as testosterone boosters purport to increase the body’s levels of the testosterone hormone and alleviate symptoms associated with low testosterone. However, there is not sufficient evidence to support this assertion.
What are testosterone boosters?
The main sex hormone in males is testosterone. It affects muscle mass, facial and body hair growth, libido, and sperm production. Nonetheless, testosterone production starts to go down in males when they reach the age of thirty. In general, males’ testosterone levels should range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). An insufficient amount of testosterone may be due to health conditions involving the testicles, pituitary gland, and thyroid. Moreover, diet, exercise, medications, and illnesses can also have an impact on testosterone levels.
People may resort to testosterone boosters to correct this deficiency, as these supplements are specifically formulated to increase testosterone in the body. These supplements are usually composed of ingredients found in traditional medicine, such as ashwagandha, maca, and fenugreek. Despite their popularity, no further evidence is available as to whether they are effective. Also, due to a lack of FDA regulation and oversight, the contents and quality of these supplements are uncertain.
Who should use testosterone boosters?
Some individuals may rely on testosterone boosters as a potential solution for symptoms associated with low testosterone levels, despite the lack of evidence proving their efficacy. While there are no proven benefits to using these products, people may choose to do so if they believe their symptoms are caused by low testosterone.
Symptoms of low testosterone in men include:
decreased facial and body hair, gynecomastia (an increase in breast tissue), difficulty gaining muscle mass, low sperm count, reduced libido, osteoporosis, and hot flashes.
Is it permissible to take testosterone boosters?
Using testosterone boosters to boost performance in sports is considered unethical in the eyes of the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Nevertheless, testosterone boosters are generally legal supplements, as most of them do not bring about a marked increase in testosterone.
However, if a certain testosterone booster is effective in raising testosterone levels or performance, it would be classified as illegal and barred under the USADA’s policies. Athletes who make use of testosterone boosters to raise their physical capabilities should be aware that it is a breach of the rules. On the contrary, if taken in appropriate amounts, testosterone boosters may promote muscle growth and improve body function.
Are there any positive effects from using testosterone boosters?
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Research suggests that popular ingredients such as fenugreek, zinc, maca, and ashwagandha found in testosterone boosters are not significantly effective.
Research on the impact of fenugreek on testosterone shows mixed and inconclusive results. A 2018 study, which lasted 8 weeks and involved 88 participants, found that 34% of those who took a fenugreek and Lespedeza cuneata supplement had a change in their testosterone levels compared to their baseline readings. However, this difference was not statistically different from the testosterone levels of the placebo group. Other studies on fenugreek supplements and testosterone have similarly not exhibited any statistically significant changes in comparison to participants who took a placebo.
Zinc is important for maintaining testosterone levels, and there is no evidence that increased zinc consumption can lead to an increase in testosterone. Many testosterone supplements contain large amounts of zinc (around 272% of the recommended daily intake), which may cause unpleasant side effects like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and headaches in large doses. Additionally, severe zinc toxicity can reduce copper levels, weaken immunity, and reduce HDL cholesterol.
Maca is often cited as having the potential to increase testosterone levels; however, there is no empirical evidence to support this claim. Additionally, due to the lack of research surrounding the standard or toxic dose of maca, the potential short-, medium-, and long-term safety of this supplement is unknown.
A systematic review published in 2022 found some evidence that ashwagandha may increase testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone levels in individuals with infertility or low sperm count after 90 days of supplementation. However, these results cannot be generalized to other populations due to the limited scope of the studies included in the review. Furthermore, only one of the included studies was a double-blind study; the other studies were observational.
Therefore, further research needs to be conducted on a larger sample size with varying conditions to establish the effects of ashwagandha on testosterone. Additionally, the safety profile of the supplement has yet to be determined.
Is it safe to use testosterone boosters?
The intake of common ingredients found in testosterone booster supplements can bring about certain side effects. Fenugreek may lead to low white blood cell counts, which in turn might affect an individual’s immunity.
Zinc, consumed in high dosages for a prolonged period, may result in gastric distress, headaches, and dizziness and may even interfere with copper and iron levels as well as an individual’s immune system.
Maca could possibly cause high blood pressure, although further research is needed to establish its safety. Lastly, the intake of excessive quantities of Ashwagandha could result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Before taking any type of testosterone booster, people should seek the advice of a healthcare professional. It is important to inform healthcare professionals of any dietary supplements a person is taking since these may have interactions with prescription or nonprescription medications.
Testosterone-boosting supplements vs. testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and testosterone-boosting supplements are two methods of increasing testosterone levels. TRT is a medical treatment administered by trained healthcare professionals that contains testosterone and can boost libido, treat erectile dysfunction, and improve strength, energy, and mood.
However, TRT is accompanied by risks, such as affecting fertility and increasing the risk of cardiovascular events in people with obesity or overweight.
On the other hand, testosterone-boosting supplements are available over-the-counter and contain vitamins and herbs. Although they may come with side effects, research does not show these products to be effective. Unlike those receiving TRT, people who take testosterone supplements do not have the benefit of healthcare professionals monitoring side effects. Read Testoprime Testosterone Booster Review here..
Many supplements claiming to increase testosterone levels are available to purchase without a prescription. However, the FDA does not oversee these items, and there is not enough evidence to prove their effectiveness.
To increase testosterone levels naturally, a person can make lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy bodyweight, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise. If a person believes they have low testosterone, they should talk to a doctor who can test for and treat any possible deficiencies.