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20-02-2019

Boosting testosterone: the best supplements for counteracting deficiency related to age and excess weight

Manque de testostérone

Question:
How can you increase your testosterone production naturally?


Answer:
There are several nutrients and supplements available to help men increase both their endogenous production of testosterone and the levels of active testosterone circulating in their bloodstream.

For most men over 60, such a strategy is virtually essential. It can also be very helpful for certain sportsmen, diabetics and men carrying excess abdominal weight.

Why is testosterone so important for men?

First of all, it’s important to note that men are men primarily because of testosterone. It plays a key role in the development of male sex characteristics during adolescence, it ensures masculine aspects are maintained throughout life (muscle mass, body and facial hair, voice pitch, libido, functioning of the sex organs, distribution of fat …) and it also helps the central nervous system function healthily (well-being, mood, fulfilment, motivation, resistance to fatigue …). Less well-known is the fact that testosterone also affects other important areas of health such as maintaining bone structures, increasing physical performance, ensuring healthy spermatogenesis and supporting protein synthesis …

The problem is that with advancing age, there is a decline in circulating levels of testosterone. Unlike the menopause in women, the hormone changes in men do not appear suddenly at the age of 50 or so: levels of testosterone decrease slowly but surely from the age of 30 (there’s a fall in active testosterone of about 2% a year) until what’s known as the ‘andropause’, marked by the onset of physical and mental symptoms.

Some men reach this stage very quickly while others experience no symptoms until they’re beyond the age of 60. Broadly speaking, we know that testosterone production in a 70 year-old male is 30-50% lower than that of a young man.

What are the consequences of age-related testosterone deficiency?

This fall in testosterone production has a clear impact on a man’s physical and mental health. There’s a whole range of symptoms directly or indirectly linked to this decline:

  • A decrease in physical performance;
  • A deterioration in the general sense of well-being (1-2);
  • A fall in energy levels;
  • The development of benign prostatic hyperplasia (it may even be the most common effect);
  • Urinary problems;
  • Frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction;
  • A fall in libido (decreasing sexual appetite).
  • Insulin-resistance;
  • An increased risk of several diseases such as sarcopenia, cataracts, depression and cardiovascular disease (3-4);
  • A higher risk of mortality(5).

So why does testosterone production decline?

Testosterone is produced by Leydig cells in the testicles from mitochondrial cholesterol. This production is controlled by two hormones generated by the pituitary gland in the brain. The testosterone is then converted by two enzymes, one called 5α reductase, which reduces it into dihydrotestosterone or DHT, and the other aromatase, which produces oestradiol (a feminising oestrogen). The remaining testosterone is transported in plasma.

The fall in circulating levels of testosterone may therefore be linked to a decline in endogenous production in the testicles, to disruption in the pituitary gland, and/or to an increase in activity of 5α reductase and aromatase.

There are 3 major risk factors that predispose towards a more rapid decline in testosterone levels:

  • Waist size. The bigger a man’s waist, the more his testosterone levels diminish. It’s thought that cytokines produced by adipose tissue gradually damage Leydig cells (6), while adipose tissue is also the primary site for conversion of testosterone into oestrogens (7-8) … 40 % of overweight men may have abnormally low testosterone levels, irrespective of their age.
  • Diabetes. A number of studies show that men suffering from diabetes have reduced levels of testosterone (9-11). Almost 45% of diabetic men may be affected (12), irrespective of their age. This is the most significant risk factor after excess weight (13).
  • Age. Testosterone levels in men reach a peak at around the age of 30. After that, aromatase activity increases contributing to the decline in testosterone, production starts to dry up and testosterone tends to bind more easily to proteins which reduces the amount of free testosterone available for use by tissues.

The best supplements for increasing blood levels of testosterone

Using natural products and supplements to take care of your testosterone levels is by no means an outlandish idea: they are officially recognised for increasing blood levels of testosterone by the European Urology Association (14).

Most of these products work in two ways:

  • By directly or indirectly increasing testosterone production;
  • By preventing testosterone from being converted into oestrogens or DHT.

Extract of Saw palmetto or Serenoa repens

This is the most widely-studied and commonly-used extract for increasing testosterone levels and treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, one of the most frequent consequences of hypogonadism. It contains several beneficial active principles which inhibit 5α reductase (15-16) and which therefore increase the amount of usable testosterone: campesterol, betasitosterol, stigmasterol, lauric acid and oleic acid.

Administration of a 160mg dose of a lipid extract of Serenoa repens, twice a day for at least six months, was shown to significantly improve several parameters associated with age-related testosterone deficiency (17-20) in a number of good quality studies (21-24) .

Extract of Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris also contains compounds with the potential to improve serum testosterone levels: furostanol, dioscin, diosgenin and protodioscin. These micronutrients work in a different way from Saw Palmetto: they influence the hypothalamus by increasing secretion of luteinising hormone (LH) which leads to an increase in testosterone production.

In several studies (25), administration of an extract of Tribulus terrestris (500mg, several times a day) was thus shown to increase testosterone production, and as a consequence, production of DHT and DHEA too. It also stimulates androgen receptors in the brain which results in greater LH secretion and thus testosterone. However, it appears that Tribulus is only effective in men who are genuinely deficient in testosterone and will not raise levels beyond physiological thresholds, a goal sometimes pursued by elite sportsmen.

Extract of blue Passion flower (standardised in chrysin)

Extracts of blue passion flower, propolis and royal jelly share a common factor: they all contain the flavonoid chrysin, a powerful inhibitor of aromatase, the enzyme which accelerates the conversion of testosterone into oestradiol (26). It also works by stimulating testosterone production. (27).

The only problem is that chrysin has very low bioavailability, limiting its testosterone-raising efficacy. Passion flower extract therefore has to be combined with other compounds that increase its bioavailability such as piperine (28-29).

Zinc

Inadequate zinc status (now widespread among Western populations) has been shown to be associated with decreased blood levels of testosterone and low sperm concentrations. This is because zinc is an aromatase inhibitor. It may also play a role in testosterone production though the mechanism responsible has yet to be established (30-31).

One study of zinc-deficient men showed that six months’ supplementation (30mg zinc a day) led to a doubling of serum testosterone levels (32).

Vitamin D

Research has clearly demonstrated that a lack of vitamin D also restricts testosterone production (33-35). It’s no surprise then that supplementing with vitamin D helps increase circulating levels of testosterone (36).

Given the widespread prevalence of serious vitamin D deficiency across the globe (particularly in higher latitude countries in Europe, Canada and the US), vitamin D supplementation is probably one of the key supplements to prioritise for boosting testosterone. All the more so as supplementing with vitamin D offers countless other health benefits !

Tongkat Ali extract (Eurycoma longifolia)

While this extract does not have the same level of scientific support as those mentioned above, the latest studies do show that the eurycomanone it contains is able to increase serum levels of testosterone (37-39). In one study where supplementation was administered for eight weeks, researchers observed both an increase in testosterone levels, and a 5% rise in lean mass (40). Two mechanisms of action may be responsible for these improvements: inhibition of aromatase and secretion of LH and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) in the pituitary gland.

Other supplements with the potential to affect testosterone are still being investigated, such as Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus) (41), fenugreek extract (42), Mucuna pruriens extract (43-45), Rhodiola rosea extract and nettle root.


Two formulations have fortunately been developed which incorporate the majority of these ingredients, so avoiding the need to take multiple supplements:

  • Natural TestoFormula : Eurycoma longifolia, fenugreek, Mucuna pruriens, Tribulus terrestris, nettle root… A complete formula designed to support and stimulate testosterone levels at any age.
  • Natural Anti-Aromatase Support: zinc, chrysin and various flavonoid substances (quercetin, naringin, genistein…). This supplement is recommended more for those suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia and the harmful effects of aromatase.

References

  1. Laaksonen DE, Niskanen L, Punnonen K, Nyyssönen K, Tuomainen TP, et al. (2004) Testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin predict the metabolic syndrome and diabetes in middle-aged men. Diabetes Care 27: 1036-1041.
  2. Laughlin GA, Barrett-Connor E, Bergstrom J (2008) Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93: 68-75.
  3. Kaufman JM and Vermeulen A. The decline of androgen levels in elderly men and its clinical and therapeutic implications. Endocrine Reviews, 2005; 26:833-876.
  4. Khera M. Patients with testosterone deficitsyndromeand depression. Arch esp Urol. 2013; 66(7):729-36.
  5. Shores MM et al. low testosterone is associated with decreased function and increased mortality risk. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004; 52(12):2077-2081.
  6. Pitteloud N, Hardin M, Dwyer AA, Valassi E, Yialamas M, Elahi D, et al. Increasing Insulin Resistance Is Associated with a Decrease in Leydig Cell Testosterone Secretion in Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. mai 2005;90(5):2636 41.
  7. Arianayagam R et al. Androgen deficiency in the aging man. Aust Fam Physician, 2010; 39(10):752-755
  8. Horstman AM etal. Therole ofandrogensand oestrogensin healthyaging longevity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2012;67(11):1140-1152.
  9. Dhindsa S, Prabhakar S, Sethi M, Bandyopadhyay A, Chaudhuri A, Dandona P. Frequent Occurrence of Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism in Type 2 Diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1 nov 2004;89(11):5462 8.
  10. Dhindsa S, Miller MG, McWhirter CL, Mager DE, Ghanim H, Chaudhuri A, et al. Testosterone Concentrations in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Obese Men. Diabetes Care. Juin 2010;33(6):1186 92.
  11. Pitteloud N, Hardin M, Dwyer AA, Valassi E, Yialamas M, Elahi D, et al. Increasing Insulin Resistance Is Associated with a Decrease in Leydig Cell Testosterone Secretion in Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. mai 2005;90(5):2636 41.
  12. Dhindsa S, Miller MG, McWhirter CL, Mager DE, Ghanim H, Chaudhuri A, et al. Testosterone Concentrations in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Obese Men. Diabetes Care. juin 2010;33(6):1186 92.
  13. Tajar A, Forti G, O’Neill TW, Lee DM, Silman AJ, Finn JD, et al. Characteristics of Secondary, Primary, and Compensated Hypogonadism in Aging Men: Evidence from the European Male Ageing Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1 avr 2010;95(4):1810 8.
  14. Oelke M et al. Guidelines on the treatment of non-neurogenic male LUTS. https://uroweb.org/gls/pdf/12Male LUTS (pdf).
  15. Abe M etal. Pharmacological relevant receptor binding characteristicsand 5 alphareductase inhibitory activities of free fatty acids contained in Saw Palmetto extract. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Apr; 32(4):646-50.
  16. Penugonda K et al.Fatty acid and phytosterol content of commercial saw palmetto supplements. Nutrients, 2013; 5(9): 3617-33.
  17. Plosker GL etal. Serenoa repens (Permixon) A review of its pharmacology and therapeuticefficacyin benign prostatic hyperplasia. Drugs Aging, 1996; 9(5):379-95.
  18. Marks LS et al.. Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol 2000; 163(5):1451-6.
  19. Pytel A et al. Long-term clinical and biologic effects of the lipidosterolic extract of serenoa repens in patients with symptomatic benign prostate hyperplasia. Adv Ther 2002; 19:297-306.
  20. Debruyne F et al.. Evaluation of the clinical benefit of Permixon (Serenoa repens) in severe BPH patients. Permal study analysis. Eur Urol, 2004; 45:773-779.
  21. Plosker GL etal. Serenoa repens (Permixon) A review of its pharmacology and therapeuticefficacyin benign prostatic hyperplasia. Drugs Aging, 1996; 9(5):379-95.
  22. Marks LS et al.. Effects of a saw palmetto herbal blend in men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. J Urol 2000; 163(5):1451-6.
  23. Pytel A et al. Long-term clinical and biologic effects of the lipidosterolic extract of serenoa repens in patients with symptomatic benign prostate hyperplasia. Adv Ther 2002; 19:297-306.
  24. Debruyne F et al.. Evaluation of the clinical benefit of Permixon (Serenoa repens) in severe BPH patients. Permal study analysis. Eur Urol, 2004; 45:773-779.
  25. Milanov S etal.. 1985. Tribestan effect on concentration ofsome hormones in serum of healthy volunteers. Med Biol, 1985; 4:27-9.
  26. Ta N and Walle T. Aromataseinhibition by bioavailablemethylated flavones. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;107(1-2):127-129
  27. Jana et al. Chrysin, a natural flavonoids, enhances steroidogenesis and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein gene expression in mouse Leydig cells. J Endocrinol, 2008; 197(2):315-23.
  28. Ouyang DY etal. Piperineinhibitsthe proliferation of human prostatecancer cells via induction of cell cycle arrest and autophagy. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013; 60:424-30.
  29. Mahkov P et al.. Co administration of piperine and doxetaxel results in improved anti tumor efficacy. Prostate, 2012; 72(6):661-667.
  30. Gonzales GF, Tapia V, Gasco M, Rubio J, Gonzales-Castañeda C (2011) High serum zinc and serum testosterone levels were associated with excessive erythrocytosis in men at high altitudes. Endocrine 40: 472-480.
  31. Oluboyo AO, Adijeh RU, Onyenekwe CC, Oluboyo BO, Mbaeri TC, et al. (2012) Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria. Afr. J. Med. Med. Sci 41: 51-54.
  32. Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ (1996) Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition 12: 344-348.
  33. Lerchbaum E et al. Vitamin D and fertility: a systematic review. Eur J Endocrinol, 2012; 166(5):765-78
  34. Nimptsch K, Platz EA, Willett WC, et al. Association between plasma 25-OH vitamin D and testosterone levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2012; 77(1): 106-112.
  35. Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, et al. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2010; 73(2): 243-248.
  36. Anagnostis P et al. Vitamin D in human reproduction: a narrative review. Int J Clin Pract, 2013;67(3):225-35.
  37. Ang HH, Sim MK (1998) Eurycoma longifolia JACK and orientation activities in sexually experienced male rats. Biol Pharm Bull 21: 153-155.
  38. Low BS, Das PK, Chan KL (2013) Standardized quassinoid-rich Eurycoma longifolia extract improved spermatogenesis and fertility in male rats via the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. J Ethnopharmacol 145: 706-714.
  39. Zanoli P, Zavatti M, Montanari C, Baraldi M (2009) Influence of Eurycoma longifolia on the copulatory activity of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats. J Ethnopharmacol 126: 308-313
  40. Hamzah S, Yusof A (2003) The Ergogenic Effects Of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack: A Pilot Study. British Journal of Sports Medicine 37: 464-470
  41. Kim W, Kim SH, Park SK, Chang MS (2012) Astragalus membranaceus ameliorates reproductive toxicity induced by cyclophosphamide in male mice. Phytother Res 26: 1418-1421
  42. Bushey B, Taylor LW, Wilborn CW, Poole C, Foster CA, et al. (2009) Fenugreek extract supplementation has no effect on the hormonal profile of resitancetrained males. In: Proceedings of International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings. Anonymous 13.
  43. Muthu K, Krishnamoorthy P (2013) Evaluation of androgenic activity of Mucuna pruriens in male rats. African Journal of Biotechnology 10: 15017-15019.
  44. Shukla KK, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Shankhwar SN, Rajender S, et al. (2009) Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamuspituitary-gonadal axis. Fertil Steril 92: 1934-1940.
  45. Shukla KK, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Jaiswar SP, Shankwar SN, et al. (2010) Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile Men. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 7: 137-144.
Order the nutrients mentioned in this article
Saw Palmetto 320 mg

320 mg of standardized saw palmetto extract

us.supersmart.com
Tribulus Terrestris 500 mg

Improves parameters of sexual response

us.supersmart.com
Natural Anti Aromatase Support

Enhanced formulation with DIM, quercetin and epilobium

us.supersmart.com
Vitamin D3 5000 IU

To help prevent the risks of vitamin D deficiency
Fat-soluble vitamin in oil form = increased bioavailability

us.supersmart.com
Natural TestoFormula

Improved formula with extract of bulbine and divanillyltetrahydrofuran

us.super-nutrition.com
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