When it comes to testosterone boosters there are quite a number of choices available, be it synthetic or natural. Synthetic Testosterone Boosters have to prescribed by a practitioner as these drugs have a significant of side-effects involved in them and should only be considered as a last resort. This is where natural supplements come in and provide a natural and safe alternative, with the growing interest in these supplements, there has been more and more scientific research backing their benefits.
Medical Testosterone Treatments and their Side effects
Testosterone replacement therapy
If we accept that we do not have to succumb to the impacts of age and if we accept that our testosterone levels are a major factor in a fulfilling life: then testosterone replacement therapy has to be an option. More than 20 million men in the US suffer from some form of a low testosterone condition. So, if this describes you, then you are not alone. Testosterone replacement therapy is a solution for naturally declining levels through age and as a measure to correct erectile dysfunction.
The aim of any testosterone replacement therapy should be to give you more energy, vitality and vigour. This means that you feel better in your life in general, as well as correcting issues with your reproductive organs.
This is the most popular drug prescribed for low testosterone in the US. It is a synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Cypionate tests 100 on the anabolic/ androgenic structure and all other steroids are tested against this drug. This is the purest form of anabolic steroid available to athletes and is often taken by those who are pursuing more size and strength. Therefore, this drug is often taken to retain muscle in off-season and to burn fat. Athletes report being leaner and stronger due to the impacts of Testosterone Cypionate.
However, one injection of between 100mg to 200mg per injection, taken once every 7 to 10 days, is effective in fighting off the advancement of such age related illnesses as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and issues of erectile dysfunction and libido. Studies show that this is a well-tolerated drug and can be used over a long period of time, without too many concerns about the long term impact on the body.
Testosterone Cypionate is a Schedule III controlled substance and any purchase of this outside of prescribed medication is against the law. This drug is controlled by the FDA and manufactured by Upjohn and Watson in the US. This means very little of the drug makes it on to the black market and you should always turn to a doctor for this treatment.
This is the most commonly used steroid used by countries outside the US. It is a long acting form of the hormone, as the hormone is attached to Enanthate esters to slow release into the bloodstream over several days. This requires an injection once every one to three weeks.
In a study of Testosterone Enanthate scientists found that a dose as high of 600mg produced better results in subjects than lower doses. The participants lost most fat and gained the most muscle mass. The main reason for using injections of Testosterone Enanthate is to break down adipose tissue in the abdomen, which is the hardest of fats to shift through traditional diet and exercise regimes. The drug helps users more effectively use food as fuel, as it is taken straight to the muscle. This means that the user of Testosterone Enanthate enjoys the dual effect of weight loss and muscle gain.
Anecdotal reports suggest that 500mg is the prescribed dose and 750mg is the upper limit, where the balance of risk and reward is at its best. This is a controlled substance and as such is regulated by the FDA. Therefore, the injection should only be used if prescribed by a doctor.
Sustanon and Omnadren
Sustanon and Omnadren are brand names given to two different injectable testosterones, which include a blend of esters. An ester is merely a chemical compound used to help a reaction and therefore the solubility of testosterone in oil, which in turn allows a slow release of testosterone into the body. Without this ester delivery system, the bioavailability of testosterone is poor. The two formulas offer a slow and fast release into the blood and both are injected anywhere from once a week to once every four weeks. These are brands that are more often prescribed outside the US.
This is a fast acting ester with a release of between three and four days. The difficulty with this formula is keeping the levels of testosterone balanced in the blood. Therefore, injections are given between one and three times a week. Some believe this injection is more painful than other injections, resulting in more swelling.
This is a slow acting ester with a release time of between one and three weeks. This is a component of Sustanon and Omandren.
Aqueous testosterone suspension
Injectable Aqueous testosterone is available but is very short acting and will be released into the system within a matter of hours. This would require constant re-injection to maintain regular hormone levels in the blood.
Transdermal relates to the delivery method of the testosterone. This means it’s a patch, gel or cream. This is applied to the skin daily in small doses and is a means of keeping sustained levels of testosterone in the blood. If you receive injections you can experience dips in levels before the next injection, which can cause negative side effects. Using a transdermal testosterone stops this dip of levels and therefore restricts the chances of effects from low levels.
However, Transdermal testosterone is significantly more expensive and can cause skin irritation.
Pure testosterone taken orally is not effective, as it is immediately broken down by the liver. Therefore, the testosterone needs to come as a compound with another chemical, which will act as its delivery system into the blood. Options such as Methyltestosterone and Testosterone Undecanoate are two popular oral compounds for taking testosterone.
Sublingual Testosterone/ Buccal
These are FDA approved slow release formulations for the receiving of testosterone. This acts as either a dissolving tablet under the tongue or a gum that reacts when bitten in to. These deliver testosterone through the mucosa in the mouth and enters the bloodstream, by-passing the gut and potential metabolism by the liver.
Subcutaneous Testosterone Pellet
This is a pure pellet of crystalline testosterone implanted beneath the skin. These pellets are about the size of a grain of rice and are placed in either the buttocks or the abdomen. This is a quick procedure, placed under the skin with local anaesthetic. The pellets are replaced every three months or so and offer a steady rate of testosterone at a rate of 1 – 3mg per day.
Testosterone replacement therapy side effects
Testosterone is an important hormone in our body for improving our sense of contentment and well-being. However, the use of Testosterone replacement therapies can have side effects. Here are the ten most commonly reported side effects of such therapies
- Severe itching and blisters
This is a fairly common reaction. It is a result of the injection or at the site of the pellet. If this gets too severe the doctor can suggest use of a different delivery method of testosterone.
- Pain and swelling
Again, quite common, the injection of some compounds of testosterone can cause pain and swelling at the injection site. Some of the injections are reported as being more painful than others.
- Water retention
Fluid build-up is most commonly reported in the feet, ankles and hands. Most see this as an easily tradeable risk, the reward balances the risk due to the impact testosterone has on other parts of their life.
- The growth of breasts
Maybe a less comfortable side effect will be the potential for the growth of breast-like tissue. The body can sometimes react to other hormones in the body. On rare occasions this can cause an aromatase reaction, where excess testosterone turns into estrogen. This estrogen then starts to have similar effects to the menopause on men. Your doctor will need to run blood tests and urine tests to understand the hormone balance in your body.
- Hot flushes and mood swings
As with the growth of breasts, testosterone therapies can have the effect of bringing on the menopause symptoms of hot flushes and mood swings. The use of injections is the most common delivery method to result in this reaction. Just before the next dose through injection the levels of testosterone can dip. This can then potentially lead to irritability and uncomfortable flushes.
- Increased blood pressure
Testosterone has a complex relationship with blood pressure. If your testosterone levels are low, then the result could be high blood pressure. Men with high blood pressure are twice as likely to have low testosterone levels. However, testosterone replacement therapy has also resulted in issues with blood pressure. This is because testosterone acts upon the blood vessels in multiple ways and therefore can impact on blood flow.
A study of reviews on the internet found vomiting to be one of the most common side effects of testosterone. However, equally the study reported that testosterone can cause an increase in appetite, probably from the additional energy and you are infused with.
Testosterone in pure form metabolises in the liver. In rare cases this can result in the liver condition jaundice. However, this is reported as rare, or a one-in-ten-thousand reaction to testosterone given orally. This is one of the more severe side effects, along with urinary problems and difficulty breathing at night. Experiencing any of these side effects should be reported to a doctor immediately.
- Frequent erections that last too long
With hormones, it is all about balance. Therefore, if there is too much testosterone in the system this can drive your sexual appetite too hard and too far: resulting in some uncomfortable moments. Reducing the amount of testosterone intake is likely to resolve this side effect.
Testosterone levels are at their natural high in men during puberty. This is why teenage boys are prone to acne. Therefore, one of the most common reactions to testosterone replacement therapy is a break out of spots. Is this a reconcilable side effect? It is up to the individual to decide if a break out of acne is a severe enough side effect to stop the testosterone treatment.
There are many reported side effects of testosterone on the body and the mind. Erratic moods, hot flushes, rashes, sickness are all possible when taking replacement therapies. However, the consequence of such therapies also help slow the advancement of Alzheimer’s and help with the impact of erectile dysfunction. Doctors apply a model or risk and reward. If the rewards outweigh the potential risks significantly then the treatment option is seen as viable. The individual who suffers the reaction has to make the same decision.
You should be particularly careful to mention what drugs you are taking to your doctor, to help him when prescribing these replacement therapies. For instance, if you are taking insulin, you should say as testosterone can change your ability to control blood-glucose levels. Equally, such drugs as warfarin, corticosteroids, NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs or Triamcinolone can all interact negatively with testosterone. You should also consider telling the doctor if you have taken recreational drugs, dietary supplements or herbal/ over-the-counter medications. This will give the doctor every chance of prescribing something that will best suit your circumstance.
Testosterone Boosting Foods
There is a chance that you find the idea of drug intervention programs troublesome. Therefore, you may be looking for other ways to simulate the effects of testosterone without resorting to injections or tablets. Looking at your diet is one of the easiest ways that you can impact on hormone levels in your body – and they act as a great symbol to your loved ones that you are caring for their needs too! Here are twenty foods that can help maintain good levels of testosterone.
Bees are pretty miraculous creatures. They have been around for thousands of years. Archaeologists will tell you that Ancient Egyptian sites have revealed that our predecessors used honey for over 500 medical treatments. Honey contains boron, with is a mineral associated with testosterone levels and with levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide opens up the blood vessels, which will help with the strength of your erection. No wonder the queen rules bee-world. The men are far too busy to want to rule the hive!
Eating up your vegetables might be a hated mantra of mothers everywhere but cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Cabbage includes indole-3-carbino, which reduces estrogen, which in turn makes testosterone more effective.
We all know that asparagus in an aphrodisiac and the appearance on a plate at dinner is usually a positive sign for most men! However, asparagus contains folic acid, potassium and Vitamin E, all of which help with healthy testosterone levels.
Garlic is maybe a less hopeful sign for us at meal times… or at least we will need a trip to the bathroom to brush our teeth. However, garlic is a pretty awesome ingredient for our health, not least for its ability to lower levels of cortisol. Garlic therefore helps in the much needed balance between testosterone and cortisol in the blood.
Eggs are pretty much considered nature’s super food. Whoever decided to eat the by-product of chicken fertility were both brave and a genius. The egg is full of saturated fat, omega-3s, Vitamin D, good cholesterol and protein. Eggs are particularly effective for mending muscles, so that helps with erectile dysfunction on one level. However, the combination of goodness in an egg is also vital for testosterone production.
Bananas contain a bromelain enzyme. This is an enzyme that helps to boost testosterone. As an added benefit, bananas are also a means of inputting slow release energy –a benefit when wanting to put the extra testosterone into effect.
Your body reacts particularly well to amino acids. Amino acids help with the delivery of protein to the muscles, which aids repair and strengthening. L-citriline, which is present is spades in watermelon, is converted into arginine in the body. This results in an increase in blood flow, which will aid erection. Each time you are aroused your body injects testosterone into the system to help with sperm production. Watch out the next time your significant other sambas across a bridge with a couple of water melons, it is a sign of some dirty dancing to come.
Almonds contain zinc, which is a natural testosterone booster, which in turn becomes a libido enhancer. Apparently just a handful will do the trick.
Oysters are well known as an aphrodisiac. In fact, like almonds, the shellfish are full of zinc, which are vital for testosterone production. Oysters are in fact the richest form of this mineral, hence it is so well known to boost libido.
- Swiss Cheese and Ricotta
If you struggle to get the slimy little critter of the oyster down your throat, then you can also find zinc in Swiss cheese and ricotta. These are not such potent sources of zinc but they are good sources of this important mineral.
- Porridge Oats
Oats often come fortified, especially if packaged as a breakfast cereal. Manufacturers increase the amount of naturally occurring zinc, as well as other health inducing vitamins and minerals. More usefully, porridge oats contain the amino acid L-arginine, which helps deliver protein to muscle as well as boosting sexual performance.
- Citrus fruit
An enemy of testosterone is cortisol and so any fruit that reduces cortisol in the blood will naturally increase the ratio of testosterone to cortisol. Citrus fruit are a natural means of managing this ratio. The fruits also contain vitamin A, which is required for testosterone production and can help in lowering estrogen levels.
Spinach is a natural means of lowering estrogen levels. As most men from the age of thirty experience drops in testosterone due to increases in estrogen, then eating spinach is an answer. Clearly, Popeye understood the value to his muscles. The leaf is also rich in magnesium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, all of which are essential testosterone builders.
Grapes help in the same way citrus fruit do. However, grapes are also good for your little swimmers, giving them a boost of energy. Studies show you would need to eat a bunch a day to have an effect. But, beware, grapes are high in fructose, a natural sugar in fruit. So, a balanced approach to the power of grapes might be beneficial.
- Wild Salmon
Austrian researchers found out that wild salmon are miracle fish. The salmon lowers the levels of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, which can render testosterone useless. The fish also contains high levels of magnesium, vitamin B and omega-3s – all excellent for all round health and the ability of the body to produce testosterone. Why wild? The nutrients come from the food that the fish eat. The salmons’ fight to survive in the wild means it draws from lots of natural sources that are imbued with minerals and vitamins. Farmed salmon is restricted to the diet that the manufacturers inputs to make the fish bigger with the least cost.
People who enjoy avocado will be certain of the health benefits, as it lessens the unhealthy LDL cholesterol in the blood. With this LDL cholesterol comes a boost to the testosterone levels in those who enjoy avocado oil, as well as certain nut and vegetable oils.
Vitamin D can boost testosterone by up to 90%. If you live in the northern hemisphere, it is unlikely that you will receive enough Vitamin D from sunlight. Therefore, eating tuna can help. The vitamin can help maintain the quality of semen and the sperm count.
If you can get passed the annoying pips in the teeth thing, you can get a lot of power from pomegranate. A glass of pomegranate juice is reported to have helped 47% of impotent men who drank it daily.
Vegetarians are more likely to suffer with low testosterone. The natural extension to this fact is that meat is high in saturates that help with testosterone levels. Beef and lamb are thought to offer the best impact on testosterone levels.
If you are a basic meat and potatoes guy, this is your perfect excuse to justify your dietary choices. Carbohydrates are hugely important for testosterone production. Some sources of carbs aid the production of prolactin – which significantly impedes testosterone. This rules out a lot of grains and simple sugars. However, potatoes are particularly effective carbs that do not promote higher prolactin levels.
Natural testosterone boosters
Horny Goat Weed
Also known as Epimedium, Horny Goat Weed is an erectile aid and an aphrodisiac. It is a traditional Chinese medicine that is also known to increase testosterone. A study of rats found that the active ingredient, a flavonoid called Icarin increased testosterone when given in high doses.
This is a tropical legume, or bean, that grows in Africa and tropical Asia. Mucuna is a protein within the leaves and the fruits of the plant. This is used to add nutrients to soil. The beans are eaten or brewed into a coffee. The bean is high in L-DOPA, which is important to human metabolism. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine because of the impact on dopamine on the human system. Dopamine and testosterone work well together, dopamine encouraging the production of the hormone.
DHEA is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands. This is the most abundant precursor hormone in the body and is responsible for the creation of other vital hormones such as testosterone. Studies suggest that the release of chemicals into the environment is causing a decrease in the amounts of DHEA created in the body. DHEA also declines with age. Therefore, taking a supplement of DHEA seems a logical step in improving the levels of testosterone in your body.
Tongkat Ali is an evergreen shrub, whose root is known for its aphrodisiac properties. However, it is a supplement that can also be used to counter the effects of andropause. This is the natural process that men go through as they age, when the levels of testosterone naturally decline. This can cause men to struggle with fat pockets, low mood and poor sex drive. Tongkat Ali is an herb that can be used to support healthy hormone levels in men.
A 2012 study showed that 76 men experienced improvements in testosterone levels, revealing Tongkat Ali to be 90% effective. It stimulates libido, promotes semen quality and supports muscle growth. This is one useful herb.
Ginseng has been called herbal Viagra by some manufacturers of supplements. It stimulates nitric oxide, which helps blood flow and therefore helps erections. However, Ginseng Root has also been seen to increase testosterone. Ginseng directly stimulates the gonadal tissues – thousands of years of Asian medicine is unlikely to be proven wrong.
Chrysin with DIM
As an effective aromatise inhibitor, Chrysin with DIM can stop testosterone from turning into estrogen, which is the natural impact of ageing on men. This can help to maintain testosterone levels in the body.
Stinging Nettle Root
50 compounds have been found in nettles. These include sterios, oleanol acid, acetylcholine, histamine, flavanol glucosides and a total of six isolectins. Due to this medical mix, the nettle has been used in many supplements to help with conditions as varied as hay-fever to urinary tract infections. It is also felt to deal with the element that prevents testosterone binding with SHBG, which can mean testosterone is not bioavailable for the body. Therefore, rather than increasing testosterone, it ensures the natural levels of testosterone are there for the body to use.
Maca has shown itself an excellent supplement for increasing sperm. Although there is some doubt as to whether Maca can increase testosterone, the impact on sperm count would suggest that the Leydig cells are stimulated and therefore the body is experiencing the same effect as if testosterone is increased. The root contains sterols, which block estrogen, which is what causes a lessening of testosterone levels. Therefore, this suggests that the root does impact on hormone balance in the body.
This is the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and has been around since ancient times. This has incredible results on lowering cortisol levels. If your cortisol levels are too high, this can lead to low testosterone. Therefore, this supplement is a useful means of countering the effects of stress on our body.
Exercise and testosterone
Exercise has a big influence on testosterone levels. Excessive cardio increases cortisol, which depletes testosterone. Therefore, keeping cardio to moderate levels will help your natural levels of hormones remain balanced. If you want evidence of this, take a look at marathon runners. You will notice that they have very little muscle mass in the upper body and this is a sure sign of low testosterone levels.
It is also important to train smart with weights. You grow muscles by tearing existing muscle, which the body sees as a signal to repair stronger than it previously was. Weight training elevates testosterone, particularly in the period straight after workout. Using heavier weights, with fewer reps has been shown by research to increase testosterone levels. Therefore, keep reps to 5 – 8 and increasing rest periods to two minutes between sets is thought to have maximum impact on testosterone.
Testosterone levels naturally decline with age but we do not need to succumb to this ageing process. There are medical solutions, in hormone replacement therapy, but these come with significant chance of side effect. Remedies have existed in nature for centuries. Eating a suitable diet, with the right sort of exercise and some careful supplementation, can have an equal and less risky impact on testosterone levels.