Testosterone remains an interesting substance for the average gym goer. Various legal so-called testosterone boosters are offered on the market, as a counterpart to anabolic steroids. But does such a natural testosterone booster really work?
We can answer this question scientifically based on a new meta-analysis by Morgado et al. The researchers state:
Lax industry regulation has allowed sales of supplements to thrive in the absence of verification of their purported benefits. Our primary objective was to systematically review all data published in the last two decades on testosterone boosters and determine their efficacy.
The researchers studied the effect of testosterone in four different populations: male athletes, men with late-onset hypogonadism, infertile men and healthy men. After research and screening, 52 studies were included in the review, covering 27 proposed testosterone boosters.
The answer? In general, so-called testosterone boosters have little or no effect on total testosterone levels, the researchers say, and according to coach Menno Henselmans even less when it concerns free testosterone and that is what ultimately matters.
The only exception are the supplements HMB and betaine. According to the review, they could increase testosterone levels somewhat in some circumstances. However, most studies are sponsored by the supplement industry, Henselmans notes.
Not all somewhat popular T-boost supplements were included in the review. For example, there is some scientific evidence for a boosting effect of tongkat ali, ashwagandha and boron, but only in (older) men with low testosterone levels. Tongkat ali is no longer available within the EU.
CONCLUSION AND ADVICE
Moral of this story: as a natural bodybuilder, don’t focus on supplements. If you want to optimize your testosterone, do the following:
You can read more tips to maintain your testosterone levels naturally in this article.
In some circumstances you could also use the following supplements: HMB, betaine, ashwagandha and/or boron. For example, if you are in a strict cut or if you are older and have a relatively low testosterone level.