by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS
Most men aspire to become enshrined in the Alpha Male Hall of Fame. What makes a man Alpha Hall of Fame worthy?
• Confidence sans arrogance.
• Physical strength and mental acuity, and the discernment of which and when to use.
Whether it’s conjuring up the fortitude to speak to the pretty girl sitting at the bar, or revving up to un- rack a heavily loaded one, testosterone is requisite to the confidence and strength needed for both tasks. For a man, testosterone serves as their chemical foundation. Throughout the lifespan, testosterone levels gradually decline and then sharply drop during older age. Many men elect to do nothing about it, succumbing to disastrously low libido levels and the calamitous metabolic consequences, which render a man’s affinity for gaining fat comparable to Kirstie Alley’s.
Resisting the Decline
Subsiding endogenous testosterone production stems from a reduction in hypothalamic and testicular functioning, two regions in which constituents of testosterone are manufactured.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is secreted by the hypothalamus, which triggers the discharge of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland, in turn stimulating testosterone production within the Leydig cells, located in the testes.
Some men continue to dabble in strength training, which studies indicate is capable of evoking a significant hormonal response (7), however, a majority of their efforts may be halfhearted at best.
There are a few men who opt to go the route of hormonal replacement therapy. However, many health insurers do not recognize HRT as a billable treatment modality and as consequence, will not cover any expenses associated with it.
Boosting T with Supplementation
Supplementing with aphrodisiacs and some commonly found vitamins and minerals has gained traction as a potential strategy to boost testosterone levels.
A number of aphrodisiacs have been appearing in proprietary test boosting blends throughout the past few years and for good reason, many of them work.
Bulbine Natalensis has been appearing in a number of test boosting supplements recently hitting the market. Indigenous to North and Eastern Africa, this plant and its leaf sap is said to boost libido. A study involving its supplementation male Wistar rats revealed that a ratio of 50 mg per kg of bodyweight elicited heightened responses in testicular phosphatase activity and pituitary gland functioning as evidenced by proliferations in FSH and LH hormone concentrations (9).
A figurative staple in many test boosting supplements, Tribulus Terrestris, an herb derived from the roots of vines in tropical soils in southeastern Asia, has long served as an anecdotal remedy for erectile dysfunction. In recent years, athletes have turned to Tribulus supplementation to boost performance as due to elevating LH secretion. Supplementing Tribulus is capable of evoking pronounced elevations in serum testosterone levels on its own (3) and was proven beneficial among men with fertility issues as sperm motility was increased with daily supplementation ranging from 750-1500 mg (6).
Another herb extract hailing from southeastern Asia, Eurycoma Longifolia, also known as Tongkat Ali, has garnered attention in the literature throughout the past decade as a viable testosterone booster. A recent study involving human subjects supplementing with 400 mg per day for five weeks resulted in notable increases in free and total testosterone concentrations as well as blood volume and count (2).
Fat soluble vitamins D and E have been shown to elevate testosterone levels. One recent study indicated that one year of Vitamin D supplementation at 3,000 IU elicited an average increase of 3 nmol (4). Vitamin E has been linked to increased pituitary gland activity among humans and male rats, specifically triggering luteinizing hormone production (8).
Minerals, such as zinc and calcium have been proven to elevate testosterone. Twenty weeks of oral zinc gluconate administration at 30 mg per day among elderly men was found to elevate serum test levels 5.17 nmol (5). Daily calcium supplementation at an amount of 35 mg per kg in conjunction with exercise elevated free and total testosterone levels (1).
Practical considerations and recommended daily dosages
Each of the aforementioned aphrodisiacs, vitamins, and minerals may warrant further consideration, especially if increased testosterone production is desired. It should be noted that the aforementioned collection of aphrodisiacs, vitamins, and minerals may not create a synergistic effect if combined and may not elicit additional improvements if taken in supraphysiological doses. Based on the presented literature, suggested recommended daily dosages are as follows:
• Bulbine Natalensis: 50 mg per kg of bodyweight per day
• Tribulus Terrestris : 750-1500 mg per day
• Eurycoma Longifolia: 400 mg per day
• Vitamin D: 3,000 IU per day
• Zinc: 30 mg per day
Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, hails from a working class section of Philadelphia and is a formerly a manual laborer himself, working in warehouse and landscaping during college to pay his tuition. Joe is an avid Craigslist dater, “swag surfer”, and coupon clipper. He prefers deadlifting and finding money on the ground. He is an extremely private person and does not keep a blog, website, or push products, because he’s not an “expert”, instead he does what he loves – writing, training people, and deadlifting.
Want to boost your Test levels? Give one of Dr Squat’s & Josh’s Dumbbell workouts a shot.
1. Cinar, V., Baltaci, A.K., Mogulkoc, R., et al. (2009). Testosterone levels in athletes at rest and exhaustion: effects of calcium supplementation. Biol Trace Elem Res, 129, 65-69.
2. Henkel, R.R., Wang, R., Bassett, S.H., et al. (2014). Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors–a pilot study. Phytother Res, 28, 544-550.
3. Milasius, K., Dadeliene, R., Skernevicius, J., et al. (2009). The influence of the tribulus terrestris extract on the parameters of the functional preparedness and athletes’ organism homeostasis. Fiziol Zh, 55, 89-96.
4. Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., et al. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43, 223-225.
5. Prasad, A.S., Mantzoros, C.S., Beck, F.W., et al. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12, 344-348.
6. Protich, M., Tsvetkov, D., Nalbanski, B., et al. (1983). Clinical trial of a Tribestan preparation in infertile men. Akush Gineko, 22, 326-329
7. Sato, K., Iemitsu, M., Matsutani, K., et al. (2014). Resistance training restores muscle sex steroid hormone steroidogenesis in older men. FASEB J, 28, 1891–1897.
8. Umeda, F., Kato, K., Muta, K., et al. (1982). Effect of vitamin E on function of pituitary-gonadal axis in male rats and human subjects. Endocrinol Jpn, 29, 287-292.
9. Yakubu, M.T. & Afolayan, A.J. (2010). Anabolic and androgenic activities of Bulbine natalensis stem in male Wistar rats. Pharm Biol, 48, 568-576.
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