Testosterone Boosters: Is the Latest Supplement Safe for Men?

Friday Apr 4 | BY |
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Fenugreek

It’s selling out at GNC, and it comes from a plant, but is it safe?

If you haven’t heard the clamor yet, you will. There’s a new supplement out that pumps up a man’s sex drive. This supplement is so hot it’s outselling nearly all of the rest of GNC’s extensive line of nutritional products.

It’s a free testosterone booster called “Test X180.” The product’s key ingredient is a fenugreek seed extract known as “Testofen.”

It’s not just GNC that sells the trademarked product. There’s lots of completion from body building supplement companies that include Testofen in testosterone-boosting products. Even Swanson’s, the supplement company that your grandmother orders vitamins from, carries it on Amazon.

The New Science of Peak Performance

About ten years ago, I researched and designed a men’s libido formula based on Amazonian herbs. The research was, and remains, limited and sketchy, however, so I abandoned the product due to limited evidence that it would work well enough to support claims. But that doesn’t seem matter to most men who want peak performance, a sculpted body, and heightened sexual energy.

Testosterone boosters are mainly used by bodybuilders to improve muscle mass. Many of these men and women are serious athletic professionals. They take great efforts to find what works and are always on the look out for new products. They search for innovative uses of drugs and nutraceutical products, and I pay attention when something new comes along.

Professional athletes other than bodybuilders, like Olympic runners and baseball players, also value the effects of testosterone enhancers, but this class of compounds is banned. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has strict and extensive guidelines for all classes of banned drugs and supplements.

Testosterone boosters are not just for professional athletes. Men of all ages, mostly those over fifty, want maximum drive and a leaner body.

The holy grail of testosterone boosting supplements would be a natural compound that is legal and works. It would increase libido, make erections firmer, and improve muscle mass, tone, and definition. It looks like fenugreek extract comes close. It also has the ability to increase the effectiveness of insulin, growth hormone, and testosterone.

I’m always on the look out for a great blog topic, so last week when my hair stylist asked me, “What’s the latest and greatest supplement for men?” I answered, “Have you heard of Testofen?”

How Does a Common Herb Used in Indian Cooking Boost Testosterone?

Testofen® is a fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) extract standardized for 50% Fenuside™. It is manufactured by Gencor, a company with offices in India, Hong Kong, and Irvine, California.

Fenugreek is a well-known culinary herb used in India and Persia, and has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Scientists found the seed contains over 100 phytochemicals, including furostanol, a steroidal saponin or plant steroid. Saponins are a class of chemicals found in many plants and have a variety of properties, including acting as anabolic steroid building blocks. The specialized group of standardized saponin glycosides extracted from fenugreek is trademarked as Fenuside.

Furostanol is also found in Tribulus terrestris, another testosterone boosting herb, that is better researched then Testofen. Both tribulus and fenugreek contain another steroidal saponin, protodioscin, which increases testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, and helps makes up DHEA. It improves erections through the release of nitric oxide.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

In India, fenugreek is called Methi. It’s highly aromatic with a bitter taste. In small quantities, it’s used to flavor traditional curry dishes. In traditional herbal medicine, it’s considered a women’s herb that eases PMS, increases breast milk, and as an extract, is used to augment breast size.

Modern research found it helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol and controlling diabetes, and it may have weight loss properties. A number of studies confirm the benefits of fenugreek extract in lowering glucose and blood fats, including cholesterol. It may also help lower hemoglobin A1C, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. Fenugreek extract improves how platelets work, resulting in less sticky blood. Fenugreek’s hypoglycemic effect may be useful in managing both types 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Fenugreek seeds contain 45.4% dietary fiber (32% insoluble and 13.3% soluble), the plant sugars galactose and mannose, as well as vitamins and minerals. It has antioxidant activity, antimicrobial action, and protects DNA from oxidative damage. It may also prevent breast cancer. Fenugreek is a healing plant used in cooking and medicine, but it’s the plant steroidal saponins that get supplement companies excited.

Can a Small, Simple Seed Produce Such Big Results?

It seems that the 50% Fenuside—the active component in Testofen—works by increasing androgen production in the adrenal cortex by stimulating the hypothalamus to produce Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH), which then acts on the anterior pituitary, causing it to produce Adrenocorticotrophin Hormone (ACTH). It’s the ACTH that then stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce androgens (male hormones) that can be converted by the body to testosterone.

Testofen may also have testosterone-like properties. It binds to androgen receptors on cells, resulting in similar anabolic and androgenic activity. Apparently Testofen works because of a dual effect: (1) increasing the natural production of testosterone, and (2) activating androgen receptors to produce testosterone-like effects.

Is Testofen Safe?

Fenugreek extracts are considered safe. Side effects of over use can include diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, gas, and a “maple syrup” odor in urine. Fenugreek can cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive people. It might lower blood sugar. For those who have trouble managing glucose, watch for signs of low blood sugar, and if you are diabetic, monitor your blood sugar carefully when taking fenugreek supplements.

Fenugreek is not recommended for children, nursing mothers, or during pregnancy.

Benefits of Fenugreek Extract

  • Improves glucose levels
  • Lower total and LDL cholesterol
  • Increases muscle mass and improves muscle tone
  • Increases fat burning
  • Enhances joint and muscle repair
  • May increase total and free testosterone

It’s almost as easy as you think to begin benefitting from natural testosterone boosters. There many companies selling trademarked, standardized fenugreek and tribulus extracts. However, high quality generic fenugreek or tribulus extracts are as effective.

Though there are some research studies, the science of peak performance is in its infancy, so evidence-based data is limited. Most of the research is from basic analysis of the compounds found in the plant, not clinical trials.

Remember, Testofen is a concentrated herbal extract with hormone-like activity. In addition to testosterone-like compounds, it also contains diosgenin, another plant steroid saponin, but with estrogen properties. When taking herbal testosterone boosters containing Testofen or Fenuside, check you total and free testosterone, and estradiol levels regularly.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

Visit Dr. Williams’ Website: https://drjewilliams.com/

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Sarah Burgin says:

    No one ever told me that I should get my hormones checked and consult a doctor before taking any type of supplement. I have yet to do that, and even though I am a woman, I would definitely not want to mess with the balance of my hormones, especially since I am on the pill, and that also affects estradiol in the body…
    Thanks for writing this, definitely gave me some food for thought.

  2. June Hanson says:

    Thanks, to you, Dear Doctor, my bio identical hormones are working fine. Fenugreek is an interesting product. Use to take it as a tea, for abdominal spasms. Terrible tasting stuff! Sure love it in curries, and ride and Indian dishes. If, it works for the male population, they should go for it, also for women too.

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