Testosterone Boosters: Do They Really Work?

How amazing it would have been to tweak one single hormone in your body to gain muscle faster, lose fat effectively, increase energy levels, and feel strong and assertive. That is possible simply by raising your testosterone levels.

Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and not only does it increase muscle mass, energy, and mood, it also helps you sleep better and look younger too. It dramatically improves your mood and helps you enjoy your sex life better. Yes, testosterone is an important hormone and it really makes a huge difference to the quality of your life. The question is, can you do something to increase levels of testosterone that naturally go down after your thirties? Supplement manufacturers have introduced many testosterone boosters that claim to raise the levels of free testosterone in the body. Interestingly, not all those supplements are ineffective!

More about Testosterone

Testosterone BoostersProduced primarily in the testicles in men, testosterone is mainly a male sex hormone, though women also have this hormone produced in the ovaries.

Testosterone levels affect many things in the body, including sex drive, sperm production, muscle strength, energy levels, and red cell production. Lower testosterone levels are responsible for erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, muscle loss, sleep problems, depression, increased body fat, and mental fogginess.

An important thing to learn about testosterone is that many supplements do not raise the levels of free testosterone.

The testosterone in your body binds to sex hormone binding globulin and albumin, but it cannot be disassociated from these proteins. Free testosterone is what makes all the difference. Even if testosterone levels are high in the body but there are lower levels of free testosterone, you will experience symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. Therefore, it is important to consider whether a supplement promises to increase testosterone levels or it makes higher levels of free testosterone available in the body.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that what is considered normal testosterone levels for one person may be quite low or high for another individual. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the symptoms you are experiencing to determine whether you need to take a supplement to increase testosterone levels or not.

  • Research shows that in men younger than 40 years old, the probability of symptoms of low testosterone increase as total testosterone levels dips under 400 ng/dL. The symptoms most strongly associated with decreased testosterone levels were sadness; decreased energy, strength, and ability to play sports; and a deterioration in work performance.
  • Another study found that in men aged 40 to 90 years old, symptoms of low testosterone were most associated with total testosterone levels of sub-300 ng/dL. The symptoms in middle-aged men were similar but included sexual factors: erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, energy, strength, endurance, and ability to play sports, and falling asleep after dinner.

It shows that what is considered normal may vary greatly when it comes to total testosterone levels. However, one thing is for sure that you are likely to build muscle faster when you can find a way to keep your T-levels high. The interesting thing is that not all testosterone boosters are going to help because you see results only when you dramatically raise testosterone levels. Here is what experts say:

  • Fluctuation of testosterone levels within the physiologically normal range doesn’t significantly help or hurt muscle growth.

What it suggests is that even if you take a testosterone booster and it does work, you may not experience any muscle building benefitsif the levels stay within the range of normal.

  • A study conducted by researchers at McMaster University investigated if the acute hormonal changes that happen during weightlifting affect muscle and strength gains. The subjects were young, resistance trained men, and they did 5 weightlifting workouts per week and followed a standard “bodybuilding” diet. After 12 weeks, scientists found that exercise-induced spikes in anabolic hormones like testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1 had no effect on overall muscle growth or strength gains.

Another study showed that unless there is a significant increase in the levels of total testosterone, the results are not evident.

  • Another study worth reviewing was conducted by researchers at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. This involved manipulating the testosterone levels of 61 young, healthy men using a combination of testosterone and drugs to inhibit natural testosterone production. After 20 weeks, scientists found there was a dose-dependent relationship between testosterone and leg strength and power (higher testosterone levels meant more strength and power), but the effects weren’t significant until testosterone levels exceeded the top of the natural range by about 20 to 30% (about 1,200 ng/dL).

It shows that even when some testosterone boosters work, they may not promise exceptional gains because they cannot raise testosterone to a significantly high level. However, the good thing is that when there is an increase in your testosterone levels, even within the physiologically normal range, you become lean. It implies that increasing your testosterone levels will help you lose fat and become lean.

With low T-levels, you are likely to feel depressed, and many people start eating more when they are under depression. This is exactly where testosterone boosters may be of assistance. If you are trying to lose weight and think your T-levels are on the lower side, taking a high-quality testosterone booster may help.

Pick Your Supplement with Care

Testosterone Boosters SupplementWhile it is true that testosterone boosters do not always work, you can get better results by opting for a right supplement.

The vast majority of testosterone boosters do not work because they are full of ingredients that are not backed by scientific evidence. For instance, many of these supplements contain D-aspartic acid, Tribulus Terrestris, and ZMA.

Studies have shown that Tribulus Terrestris is not going to help with exercise performance, body composition, or T-levels. Similarly, ZMA offers a combination of magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6, but it is never going to offer any testosterone related benefits unless you are extremely deficient in zinc.

In case of D-aspartic acid, you may experience some benefits, but studies have shown that its effects are mild, unreliable, and temporary. In addition to these, you will find many other ingredients in testosterone boosters that are less likely to work. Some common examples include holy basil, saw palmetto, velvet antler, and horny goat weed.

However, you may want to try a high quality testosterone booster because it is possible that your body responds to those ingredients in a positive way. Even if you do not see a change in muscle size, you will certainly be able to lose fat more efficiently. Moreover, taking a supplement to raise your testosterone levels higher than normal would also help improve libido.

Bottom Line

The fact of the matter is that testosterone boosters are certainly becoming quite popular these days, but the truth is that they are not going to make a huge difference to your gains. Some studies show that increasing T-levels through supplements may help you become leaner, but do not expect a significant increase in your muscle size. However, increasing T-levels or at least keeping them within the normal range as you grow older has its own benefits.

Therefore, you may consider taking a good quality testosterone booster, but be sure to take other steps to increase your T-levels. For instance, you should eat the right amount of calories per day and eat plenty of nutritious foods. Be sure to balance your macronutrients in the right way and lift weights regularly. Avoid going overboard with your cardio sessions and get plenty of sleep to raise your testosterone levels naturally.

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