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Testosterone boosters are a very popular category of supplements these days. Are they worth using? Are they safe? Is there any solid research they increase muscle mass and strength? Learn the facts here on testosterone boosters. Increasing testosterone, foods that increase testosterone. Do these products increase libido? Male size? Can women use testosterone boosters?
However, this write up is not going to cover the hormone per se, but to discuss the various over-the-counter (OTC) products/formulas claiming to increase it. As there are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of products/formulas on the market at this point, all claiming to boost this important hormone, I am going to be talking in generalities about these products vs. a specific ingredient or formula.
A few ingredients in these formulas have been shown via dubious research at best to have a small impact on T, with the majority of them either having no research behind them or research that found they did nada for T levels.
To summarize this supplement category, the T booster supplements generally contain ingredients that:
• Have no data behind them or -
• The data they do have is of very poor quality/ and/or taken out of context/not applicable or -
• The doses used in the formula are far below what a study used to get the effect.
Obviously, the above can (and does!) apply to many products/formulas in the sports nutrition industry, but I find the T boosters worse then other categories in that respect.
OK, so lets give some T booster product the benefit of the doubt and say it does have some effects on T. That brings up a few important issues to consider.
Physiological Threshold Concepts
Heres a simple thought experiment: If you take a small amount of testosterone, say 25mg per week of T- propionate•, will your testosterone levels go up slightly for a short time? Yes. Will your muscle mass increase and or your strength increase? Nope. Anyone who has ever taken any T or knows the first thing about the topic knows theres a threshold dose at which one actually experiences changes in body composition and or strength.
The point being, its one thing to show formula/ingredient X has had some small impact on serum testosterone (and most have not), quite another to show that change actually had any effects on body composition or other end points people using such products generally care about, such as increases in strength and muscle mass.
As with any hormone, theres a physiological threshold that has to be met before it actually impacts muscle mass, strength, etc.
Anyone who has ever used T in the form of cypionate or enanthate (both long acting esters of T) knows that changes in body composition generally start at around 200mg per week at the least, with more being the norm.
The above assumes a person with normal testosterone levels vs. HRT/TRT therapy for those who are found to be medically low in T.
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