Most of the Testosterone boosting ingredients out there rely on secondary or even tertiary mechanisms. They uncouple bound Testosterone, for example, or reduce aromatase converting T into estrogen. Every so often, however, we come across something special: a compound that literally fuels T-production.
With Luteolin we may have found that rarest of T-Boosting ingredients. But its benefits aren’t limited to simple T-production, powerful as that may be. It also appears to fulfill other roles related to optimum male health.
What You Need to Know
Let’s get right to it. We all know that testosterone goes down as we age, but many of us remain in the dark as to why. One indicator is the slowing down of a protein messenger called the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, or STAR protein for short. This protein converts cholesterol in the mitochondria (aka, “battery”) of our Leydig cells in our testes. Using specialized enzymes, it is this very protein that is responsible for all Testosterone production in men.
Our first indication that Luteolin could help with STAR protein regulation came just a few years ago. Scientists found a correlation between as little as 10 μM of Luteolin and better hormone production. For reference, that’s 0.01 milligrams.
This paper hypothesized that Luteolin was acting on the STAR protein and its receptors. Other researchers picked up that baton and ran.
The next year a team of scientists were able to prove that Luteolin directly triggered STAR expression and Testosterone production. Their data were so strong that they indicated Luteolin as a treatment for low T in aging males, and even as a pretreatment for certain cancers caused by improper mitochondria function.
These findings have been empirically measured and documented in a recent paper published at a Canadian University–full of chemical and model proof that Luteolin improves STAR protein expression in the male Leydig cells, and that this process leads to higher Testosterone production.
As if all that chemistry wasn’t enough to convince anyone, there are two other important properties of Luteolin that are worth pointing out.
- The first has to do with estrogen, and
- The second with protecting the cells of the testes themselves.
1. “Powerful” Estrogen Blocker
In a recent article about how to reduce estrogen in men I had our team pull together a list of foods that block the process of converting testosterone into estrogen. One of the foods we kept coming back to was citrus, specifically lemons. Which of course takes us right to Luteolin.
Researchers working directly with plant compounds and endocrine receptors (cells that trigger hormones) found that Luteolin was a “potent estrogen agonist.” In plain language, Luteolin hates estrogen. Not only that, but Luteolin seems to be able to block the receptors that lead to aromatase, or the conversion of Testosterone into estrogen.
2. Testes Protection
If you’re ever wondering, lab rats have it the absolute worst. Not only are they often euthanized after experiments, but what they go through first is sometimes truly awful. But the science they yield is often invaluable, if somewhat obscure at first.
Cases in point, we have two studies. One looked at damage to Leydig cells caused by a chemotherapy drug called Doxorubicin, and the other study looked at testicular damage caused by lead poisoning.
In the first case, doctors were able to show that unique antioxidant properties of Luteolin were able to protect the cellular tissue of the testes after exposure to chemotherapy. The second study, with lead, proved just as effective. Damage to the testes and Leydig cells in lead-poisoned rats was dramatically reduced by the introduction of Luteolin.
All of this may seem as if it has limited applications to you and I. But two things to keep in mind. One, testosterone levels are dropping the world over and the causes are myriad. Anything that can protect against such a wide array of threats can surely help the rest of us.
The second thing to keep in mind is that preventative medicine is far more effective than remedial. Meaning if there’s ever a risk to your Leydig cell health, it’s far better to have nutrient protection ahead of those events than for wait for damage to be done.
Supplement formulation is a high-stakes game. Manufacturers want to stay on the forefront of medicine and science, but they don’t want to jump the gun. That can get you in trouble with dubious ingredients whose uses are later debunked.
Research into STAR expression and Luteolin is very, very new. So it’s no surprise that many supplement makers are still doing their due diligence before including it in their products. But the data is in, for us, and it’s been corroborated by independent labs. Luteolin really does lead to actual testosterone production, and could make a great addition to anyone’s T-Boosting program.