Our readers have come to rely on us not just for our opinions, but for our own stringent adherence to scientific data. Short-hand translation–we don’t lie, we don’t disguise, and we absolutely won’t sugar-coat the truth.
My research with Muira Puama goes back to the very beginnings of my fitness and health writing. Like many people, I’d read on a seemingly credible website that it “mimics the effects” of Testosterone, or “stimulates androgen receptors,” and I’d take it face value. The actual scientific literature, however, has a much different take on the matter.
What You Need to Know
How Did We Get Here?
Many male-enhancement supplements get lumped in with one another. We’ve all seen the late-night commercials. A large ex-athlete tells the disheveled middle-aged man at the gym that the way to get his “drive” back was to take this pill. And the implication is that it will fix all the man’s marital problems, as well.
Fast forward to today. Substances like Muira Puama, which really does help with sexual health in men and even in postmenopausal women, are now thought to improve actual testosterone.
Trouble is, there is no proof, at all, that Muira Puama affects Testosterone at all. How did it get confused? Let’s play the telephone game.
Garbling the Message
We have to play detective a little bit to get our answer. But I’ll keep it short. Studies have shown that a certain plant compound family, known as Sterols, contain hormone-like cholesterol fatty acid chains that can affect certain biological functions. In some cases even improving Testosterone levels related to things like Prostate Cancer.
Then a separate team of researchers in Brazil (where Muira is native), who produces an advanced spectrometer chemical breakdown of Muira–and finds Sterols! This is where people start connect unrelated dots–Sterols from plant A can help with prostate cancer. Muira Puama has another type of Sterols. Muira Puama helps men with ED–the only possible conclusion is that it boosts T, right?
Dead wrong. Take a one year study of Sterol intake that found no changes to Total or Free Testosterone. Or that the Brazilian study found no hormone impact. We also have one of the most comprehensive herbal medicine reviews, researching both exercise performance and hormone levels–where Muira Puama doesn’t even have enough evidence to be mentioned outside of a list of herbs. No evidence of any affect.
More recently, an even more exhaustive study of male-sexual-health herbs and their effects was published, listing everything from Zinc to Horny Goat Weed. Nearly every entry at least warranted mentioning Testosterone, even if it was a simple claim that they disprove. It’s noteworthy that the Muira Puama entry has no mention of Testosterone.
Can’t Stop Misinformation
I’d never attribute malice to the actions of people I don’t know. But to highlight how the Muira Myth is still being perpetuated, consider the following: an article about Asian Aphrodisiacs states as a fact that Muira Puama contains Sterols that will activate testosterone. As proof they link to an article—about American Red Deer antlers and sperm counts.
I had an old University friend check up on the data of that second article. No mention of Sterols, any sterol-like compound, or even a mention of Muira Puama.
Muira Puama has no scientific proof of enhancing Testosterone. Worse, there appears to be actual error or outright misquotation of literature out there. It may increase your libido, and we could’ve jumped down a rabbit whole on smooth muscle relaxation and blood flow. But if you’re only interested in proven T-Boosting, stay away from Muira Puama. All the best supplement makers have ditched it–so should you.