Men typically experience a decline in testosterone – the hormone derived from the testes and responsible for male secondary sexual characteristics – production after age twenty. Weight training can offset some of the age-related testosterone decline as output increases markedly during the first 45 minutes of a sufficiently intense weight-training session. Even still, a lot of men training with weights don’t train with sufficient intensity to boost testosterone through exercise. Some men are at an age with legitimate chances of having a significant fall in testosterone. With so many perceived and real needs, testosterone boosters are quite popular among struggling beginners, frustrated amateurs, lethargic middle-aged men, and testosterone-deprived seniors lamenting the wasting of muscle and lack of sex drive.
While you may have a real need for a means to boost your testosterone levels, it’s also worthwhile facing up to the fact that testosterone boosters aren’t going to compensate for bad habits, laziness, and ineffective and inefficient workouts. Making gains in muscular size and strength is not a simple process and there are no simple solutions. For most men, the absence of a testosterone booster is not an impediment to becoming more muscular, stronger, and mentally and physically fit overall. Moreover, it’s not a replacement for an effective weight training routine, proper diet, and adequate rest.
Testosterone boosters are an ergogenic, that is, a substance that enhances performance. Testosterone boosters are often assumed to be natural, safe, and legal; in fact, some are synthetic, risky, and illegal, especially as they become more effective and potent. Some of the riskiest testosterone boosters are pro-hormones that are a metabolic step away from steroids. Popular and perhaps infamous pro-hormones include the following:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
When introduced into the body, it can convert them into its own “natural” steroids (i.e., hormones normally produced by the body) using naturally occurring enzymes. The naturalness of the process doesn’t mean this type of testosterone booster risk free. Pro-hormones are often times considered “gray market” products for their dubious benefits and side effects – like high blood pressure, hair loss, acne, and breast growth in men. They also can show up as a “steroid” on a drug test and can convert further, undesirably, into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estrogen. To counteract the undesirable aspects of excess testosterone and estrogen, many such testosterone boosters also have (or necessitate co-supplementation with) DHT blockers and aromatase (enzymes producing estrogen) inhibitors or antiaromatic such as milk thistle, chrysin, and the more potent 6-OXOA, a drug that increases the testosterone to estrogen ratio.
There are several naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and plants, as well as synthetic chemicals that supplement companies claim boost testosterone and other hormone and peptide levels, including:
- Zinc monomethionine aspartate magnesium aspartate (ZMA)
- Tribulus terrestris
Tribulus terrestris is a flowering plant with an extract that allegedly increases testosterone. The active chemical protodioscin (PTN), similar to DHEA, increases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that stimulates the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which together instigate the Leydig cells in the testicles to produce testosterone. Some users of this supplement report positive results whereas other allege no positive effect and others still report side effects such as hair loss.
Considering testosterone boosters don’t always deliver desired anabolic, sexual, and youthful effects and sometimes do deliver undesirable side effects, it makes sense, and then only for senior men, to consult a physician before administering any testosterone booster to counteract “male menopause.”. Your doctor can verify testosterone levels with a blood test and help you consider the risks versus the rewards based on your medical history.