Testosterone boosters have become increasingly popular among men looking to boost testosterone levels, enhance physical or sexual performance, and more. While these supplements may help users achieve these feats, there is growing concern about their safety and potential side effects.
Let's find out more about this below:
Testosterone and its Importance
It's no secret that testosterone plays a major role in the male body. It's responsible for developing primary male physical characteristics like muscle mass, deep voice, and facial hair and also regulates sexual function, libidos, sperm production, and erections.
According to research, testosterone levels tend to decline naturally as men age. The rate of decline is approximately 1% per year after the age of 30. The decrease in testosterone levels is often accompanied by several symptoms, some of which include:
The consequences of low testosterone mentioned above often vary in intensity and can sometimes nudge men away from getting treatment. However, getting testosterone levels back to their peak is imperative as soon as symptoms start to show. If testosterone levels are not restored to their peak, it can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
Testosterone Boosters: What are they?
Testosterone boosters are supplemental aids that boost testosterone production in different ways. It is essentially designed to combat the symptoms of testosterone decline while restoring ideal levels of testosterone in those who are suffering from Hypogonadism. There are currently several different types of testosterone boosters on the market.
The main types of testosterone boosters are:
1. Herbal Remedies
These remedies typically contain high volumes of a single testosterone-boosting ingredient like Vitamin D, Fenugreek, Tribulus Terrestris, and more. These remedies claim to increase testosterone levels naturally and without prescription medication.
They often promise increased muscle mass and strength, improved libido and sexual function, increased energy and vitality, and improved overall health and well-being. However, the evidence supporting their effectiveness in achieving these claims is limited and varies depending on the type and quality of herb or supplement, the dose used, and an individual's overall health status.
2. Natural supplements
TestoPrime, Testo-Max, and TestoGen are some examples of natural testosterone boosters that contain several ingredients, like Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Zinc, and D-Aspartic Acid in different volumes to form a beneficial blend. The blends, of course, claim to naturally boost testosterone levels, but that's not all they can do.
They also promise benefits similar to those seen on the package of herbal remedies. The benefit claims we've seen most often include improved muscle growth-recovery, sexual function, fat loss, mood, and energy levels.
You can learn more about these supplements and similar options in a recent list of the best testosterone boosters I compiled. Here again, the product's efficacy varies according to the type and volume of ingredients paired with other user factors.
3. Prescription Medications
These synthetic pharmaceutical blends that mimic the testosterone hormone. They come in different forms, including testosterone injections, patches, gels, pellets, and other TRT options. Unlike herbal and natural booster options, which can be accessed online or over the counter, prescription options can't. I found studies that show that these options are effective. However, they are best suited for severe testosterone decline and not the ideal option for mild or moderate cases.
Testosterone Boosters: The Good
One of the best things about testosterone boosters is their natural ingredients and their long list of associated benefits. I listed some of the most common ones below:
These ingredients work by stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which supports the production and release of testosterone. They also reduce levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that affects the amount of testosterone available for the body to use. These two processes increase overall testosterone levels. Once levels are at their peak, a mirage of benefits starts to present itself.
Some of the most compelling benefits I've come across are listed below:
Improved sexual function
Testosterone regulates sexual desire and arousal, so peak levels of the hormone improve sexual functionality. Testosterone can also improve blood flow to the genitals, enhancing sexual function and satisfaction.
Enhanced strength training
Increased testosterone levels can enhance strength training by increasing muscle protein synthesis, which is when the body builds new muscle tissue in response to exercise. The hormone also stimulates growth hormone production, which increases muscle mass and strength.
Maintenance of testosterone levels
Besides these benefits, I also found that these ingredients help maintain testosterone levels by keeping the production cycle of the hormone going.
Marketing as safer alternatives to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)
Due to their effective nature, and low side effect rate and , natural ingredients, testosterone boosters are often marketed as a safer alternative to TRT. While these supplements may not provide as dramatic results as TRT, they can offer a more natural approach with a lower level of risk to sustaining a healthy testosterone level.
Testosterone Boosters: The Bad & the Ugly
We've touched on the good side of testosterone booster use and dissected everything from composition to benefits, but testosterone booster use is not all sunshine and roses. After intensive research, I found the following to be of concern:
Lack of Rigorous Clinical Trials for Safety Evaluation
One of the biggest concerns with testosterone boosters is the lack of rigorous clinical trials to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. While some research trials have shown promising results for certain ingredients, these studies are often small and rarely well-designed. In addition, I found that supplement manufacturing companies fund most studies, so the results are possibly biased.
Possible Health Risks
Some ingredients used in these supplements, such as DHEA and Tribulus Terrestris, for example, have been linked to liver damage and other adverse effects, and they are not the only ones. Other potential risks of long-term use of some ingredients run long and go from increased cardiovascular risks strokes, and more.
Variability in Ingredients and Effectiveness
Testosterone booster supplements contain a mix or blend of several different ingredients, which vary in quality, purity, and effectiveness from one manufacturer to another, posing different safety risks and leaving room for varying ranges of effectiveness. This can hinder treatment goals.
Tips on Choosing a Safe Testosterone Booster
Next to efficacy, safety is an important factor to consider when choosing a testosterone booster. Below I let you in on some tips to help you choose a safe and effective booster that ticks the necessary boxes for a great treatment journey:
Check the List of Ingredients in the formula:
Before purchasing a testosterone booster, carefully review the list of ingredients to ensure they are safe and effective. Of course, look for products that contain natural ingredients that have been well-studied and used for a long time (if they are used in several boosters, there must be truth to their effects).
Ensure Product Quality and Reviews:
Take a look at the manufacturer to make sure the product comes from a reputable company that follows good manufacturing practices (GMP certified). Also, check for reviews from other users to get an idea of their experiences with the product.
Monitor Effects and Adjust as Needed
Once you begin using a testosterone booster, pay attention to any changes in your body and adjust the dosage or stop using the product if necessary. You must listen to your body and take action if you experience any negative side effects.
Consult with a Professional
It's always a great idea to consult with a medical expert before starting a supplement regimen to ensure that it's safe and appropriate for your individual needs and medical history.
Testosterone boosters are a beneficial aid that can help restore ideal testosterone levels. While they are considered generally safe, potential side effects and interactions with medications or underlying health conditions still need to be considered to ensure safety. It's best to consult a healthcare professional before starting a testosterone booster regimen and to always purchase products from reputable sources. Ultimately, testosterone boosters can be safe for consumption if used responsibly and with proper medical guidance.