Source: Bodybuilding on
So, most of you have probably heard about the means to increase the mass and strength, acting similarly, but somewhat weaker than anabolic steroids – testosterone boosters. At its core, these are nutritional supplements that are designed to increase the body’s own androgen production, thereby stimulating the growth of muscle mass, strength, and sexual desire. In stores and sports pharmacies, testosterone boosters can be found in combination with protein, creatine, or separately in the form of capsules, liquid solutions, tablets. I am glad that for the purchase of the absolute majority of them do not need a recipe.
As part of testosterone boosters, you can find vitamin complexes, minerals, and, most importantly, substances of plant or other origin that can affect the level of human endogenous testosterone. Unfortunately, most of the new-fashioned boosters are inefficient, and the effectiveness of others is in doubt (for example, ZMA). Despite this, they still continue to be on sale, bringing benefits to its manufacturer, but not to the athlete. Perhaps the only more or less effective booster – drugs based on the well-known tribulus.
The main contingent to whom testosterone boosters are shown is male bodybuilders who want to increase muscle mass without taking potent anabolic steroids. Young people with not yet established hormonal background (under 20 years old) are not recommended to take these drugs, because otherwise it is easy to upset the balance of their own sex hormones, which can lead to impotence or infertility in the future. Testosterone boosters are also not suitable for girls and women – they can trigger symptoms of masculinization – coarsening of the voice, male-type hair growth (including a mustache and beard), redistribution of subcutaneous fat from the thighs and buttocks to the stomach and chest .
Boosters are much more pronounced for men over 40 years of age to maintain androgen production at a sufficient level. With age, the amount of testosterone begins to decrease – there is a relative, and then real hypogonadism. Gently stimulating the synthesis of FSH, a hormone that enhances the function of Sertoli and Leydig cells in testicular tissue, testosterone boosters have a very positive effect not only on muscle growth, but also on sexual desire and potency. Unfortunately, there are boosters only when you accept them. After the end of the course, all the effects achieved with their help are declining, although not to the same extent as after taking anabolic steroids.
For athletes taking anabolic steroids (AS) testosterone boosters are the perfect way to recover after completing a course. When taken together with vitamins and mineral complexes, they help reduce the negative impact of the abolition of the AU on the sex glands and the body as a whole. Especially useful here is a preparation containing saponins – Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris).
Let’s now look at the most common and massive testosterone boosters:
Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris) and drugs based on it are the most common, and perhaps the most effective. Saponins and protodioscin contained in this plant have a stimulating effect on the pituitary gland, forcing it to produce more FSH and LH – hormones that directly affect the number of androgens in men and the processes of ovulation in women. You can buy tribulus in stores selling sports nutrition, and in pharmacies (tribestan). Of course, to compare the effects of taking tribulus and anabolic steroids is not possible. The increase in testosterone levels when taking tribulus and drugs containing it is extremely small.
6-OXO or an aromatase inhibitor, an enzyme that converts androgenic hormones into estrogenic ones. The manufacturer claims that due to a decrease in the level of free estrogen in the body, the amount of endogenous testosterone will increase. Aromatase is completely blocked when it is taken in and becomes inactive, as a result of which the synthesis of female sex hormones (in the normal case, and in men) slows down dramatically. The consequence of this process is an increase in the amount of free testosterone and LH. In addition, 6-OXO will be useful for full men – after all, the greater the mass of subcutaneous fat in the body, the greater the amount of aromatase accumulated there, the higher the level of estrogen production. However, no scientific studies that could confirm the effectiveness of this drug for gaining muscle mass, has not yet been conducted.
ZMA – testosterone booster, the effectiveness of which is questioned. Despite the love of bodybuilders for him, the latest research has proven its ineffectiveness. However, this booster has its own advantage – the absence of side effects. ZMA contains zinc, magnesium and B-group vitamins – nothing more. Of course, all these components, both vitamin and mineral, are important for the body, but even with a normal diet, they are sufficient. Therefore, you can put the question as follows – if you can get all the same components from food, then why spend money to buy a drug, the effect of which is very controversial?
Aspartic acid D-form – a stereoisomer whose molecule is mirror-symmetrical to the L-form. It is synthesized in the body independently, and does not require the introduction from the outside with sufficient protein nutrition. This amino acid is very important in the functioning of the nervous system – being a neurotransmitter, aspartic acid promotes the passage of nerve impulses through neurons. In addition to affecting the nervous system, this amino acid affects the endocrine system – acting on the hypothalamus, it enhances the secretion of the releasing factor of somatotropin (growth hormone), as well as the releasing factor of gonadotropic hormone, which in turn through the effects on the pituitary gland and the increase in production FSH and LH affect the production of testosterone by the sex glands.
Unfortunately, now on the market appeared (and every day their number is growing) a lot of boosters and other complex drugs, which, according to the manufacturers, allegedly have a powerful anabolic effect. If you carefully examine what they are composed of, it can be concluded that substances that directly affect muscle growth or the level of androgens are found in minimal amounts, and most of them are taken in ordinary vitamins and mineral salts. Thus, the allegedly new and “extremely effective” drug is nothing more than an attempt by a manufacturer to make money on people’s trust. Be careful!
The method of taking testosterone boosters and their dosages are different, details should be found in the instructions for each specific drug. But on average they are taken in a course of 3-4 weeks, 1-3 times a day.
Are there any side effects to testosterone boosters?
Yes, when taking any drug that somehow affects the endocrine system and the balance of hormones, quite serious complications can occur. Taking such drugs for more than 6 weeks can potentially lead to an adverse effect on the gonads and a decrease in their hormone-producing function – thus, the same effect as when taking anabolic steroids, which is only less pronounced, is not excluded. After discontinuation of the drug, especially if the body is already “used” to it for a long time, one or more symptoms of androgen deficiency may occur: depression, apathy or irritability, decreased sexual desire and interest in exercise, increased body fat and muscle loss. More rare side effects that may occur during the drug intake: skin rashes (pustular), instability of blood pressure, baldness, change in mood and sexual desire. At the first suspicious symptoms, the booster should, of course, be stopped – usually all side effects of them are short-lived and are very quickly leveled after the end of treatment.
To reduce the likelihood of any side effects, testosterone boosters should be taken only in doses determined by the manufacturer and not longer than the time specified in the instructions. Testosterone boosters are contraindicated in people with chronic pathology of blood vessels and the heart, kidneys, and liver.
To achieve the best result from taking testosterone boosters, you must first pay attention to the diet. If its caloric content is low, and protein and carbohydrates are clearly not enough, there can be no talk about muscle growth. You can take boosters with sports nutrition, such as protein, creatine, vitamins and minerals, BCAA, adaptogens. The combination of testosterone boosters and anabolic steroids or other agents that affect hormonal balance is extremely dangerous.