Your Supplement Cheat Sheet For Better Health
Like a lot of things, supplements suffer from marketing hype. Are yours safe and effective? Is your time and money being well spent? There is a definitive answer, a resource to help ensure that the supplements you take are doing the job. In this post, I apply my choice of testosterone boosters to the test, but whatever you’re trying to achieve through supplementation, make sure they pass the Supplements Goals Reference Guide.
NOW REACHING toward the end of my fifth decade, I’m concerned about my testosterone levels, as I should be – depending on the source, perhaps 20 percent of men over 30 have less testosterone than is ideal.
I’m a long way from 30.
Maybe you’re young enough for this concern not to be on your radar, or as a woman, thinks this issue isn’t relevant to you (au contrare… read on dear lady).
But fellas, if you expect to reach 40, know this:
“Men lose about 1 percent per year of their testosterone levels after age 40. In middle age and later, levels can dip below the threshold of what’s considered normal.” (Source)
Why does testosterone matter?
Well, choose the thing that matters to you that low testosterone can cause:
· low libido
· erectile dysfunction
· low energy
· man boobs
· Santa belly
Yeah, that would be about six checks for me.
And you gals, well your relationship with testosterone is much more complicated than for men.
As is true with men, there’s a new school of medical doctors specializing hormone therapy that believe it’s healthy to supplement with bio-identical hormones to improve testosterone levels in women.
Here is how a Life Extension Foundation article entitled, Why Aging Women Need Testosterone put it:
“While doctors are slowly recognizing the benefits of testosterone therapy for aging men, evidence that women also become testosterone deficient is largely ignored. Controlled studies show that slightly increasing testosterone levels in aging women restores sexual drive, arousal, and frequency of sexual fantasies. In fact, low testosterone levels in women of all ages seem to suppress libido and cause sexual dysfunction. Restoring youthful testosterone in women has been shown to improve mood and well being, and to provide many other health-enhancing benefits.”
So, you women might want to read on, but if not, skip to here and consider how this resource might improve supplement regime you’re on or considering.
For everyone else, now that I’ve established that testosterone is a worthy hormone to optimize, let me underscore for you new readers that I’ve been on a steady march to improve mine.
Transfixed on my goal of increasing my whimpering testosterone, I continued to test different protocols and, naturally, had to share it with you in posts like, Fellas, How Sturdy Is Your Morning Wood?, which dives into the testosterone-boosting work (and results!) of Dr. Jeffry Life.
Not to mention, Boost Your Testosterone Naturally, which dives deep into my testosterone numbers and presents some details about what I’m doing to improve them.
What’s True in the Testosterone-Boosting Supplement World?
Which brings me to the main point of this post:
–> How do you know what supplements to take to improve whatever ails you? <–
I knew two things:
1. I wanted to increase my testosterone
2. I wanted to increase my testosterone via natural supplements, not drugs or hormones
I have a friend who, under the care of a doctor, rubs a bio-identical cream on himself every morning. Luckily, his medical insurance pays the bill because it would cost him over $200 per month. He’s 60 and has testosterone numbers of a 30-year old. Every six months, his doctor insists that he get blood work done so that they can monitor his numbers, as it’s possible that this therapy can push testosterone numbers above the safe level.
This is working for him, but it’s not my path. I want to boost my testosterone through supplements. And this begs the question posited above, which ponders which of the many supplements that their marketers proclaim will do the job actually do?
When a Christian wants to know what the righteous course of action may be, he may consult the Bible. When I want to give a supplement a litmus test before I spend the money to buy it and the time to use it, I want to check its credentials with the Supplements-Goals Reference Guide.
This “Guide” just came out, so I wasn’t able to check my testosterone-boosting supplements against the Guide, which organizes content thus…
– How to take the supplement
– The Human Effect Matrix
– Studies Excluded from Consideration
– A Complete Detailed Summary
– A List of References
… But let’s do it now…
As you can see from Boost Your Testosterone Naturally, I began supplementing with these:
– Tribulus Terrestris
– Magnesium Oil
– Stinging Nettles
Although there are many other supplements thought to potentially boost testosterone, these were among those that came highly recommended from various authoritative sources.
Collectively, over the last several months they cost a pretty penny, but more significantly, extracted a high opportunity cost from me.
“Opportunity cost” is a term economists like to use to describe what one particular course of action costs in terms of not taking an alternative cost of action.
In my testosterone-enhancing supplement case, the actual dollar costs of the supplements I’ve been taking is far overwhelmed by the value of the time wasted if they’re ineffective.
To my mind, the primary value of the Supplements-Goals Reference Guide is to save time and exasperation by helping to put you on the right, effective supplement protocol for whatever you’re trying to achieve.
If you don’t get it right, after a few months you may abandon any attempt to improve your health with supplements because you chose the wrong set of supplements
That would be unfortunate if the right ones were within grasp if only you knew which ones were best.
Let’s check out how my choice of testosterone-pumping supplements measures up to the Supplements-Goals Reference Guide ’s scrutiny.
I’ll first grab some screen shots from the Guide pertinent to one odd supplement the uninitiated might not think could have any effect on testosterone – stinging nettles – and then summarize what the Guide “thinks” about the others.
Under the Microscope: Stinging Nettles
The first thing you get from the Guide with Stinging Nettles is a big, bold summary:
(Click to enlarge)
Right from the get go, my hopes for this stinging herb are dashed, for right there in beaming white lettering I read, “Does not boost testosterone…”
“What! How dare they desecrate my choice”, I mutter as I scroll down to find out how I, Mr. GarmaOnHealth, could be so led astray about a supplement.
I pass the “Things to Know” section as I quickly see that there’s nothing testosterone related there, my main concern at the moment. My scrolling slows down at the “Human Effect Matrix”.
“OK”, my mutter continues, “Let’s see if stinging nettles scores at all on this A thru D grade scale.”
It does… a nice round “C”, a familiar letter, as it was my most common grade in high school.
In this case, “C” refers to a “Level of Evidence” supplied by “Single double blind study or multiple cohort studies”. This contrasts with a grade of “A”: “Robust research conducted with repeated double blind clinical trials”, which is ideally what I’d like from my testosterone-hyping choice of supplement.
The last thing I noted with a glance (other than the long list of studies referenced) was the “Complete Summary”, which looks like this:
Each of the above topics links to a bunch more information further down the page.
Subjecting the rest of the supplements in my testosterone protocol to the Guide resulted in this:
|Supplement||Testosterone Grade||Guide’s Comment|
|DHEA||A||There appears to be an increase in testosterone following DHEA supplementation, but the vast majority of literature is in menopausal women (where testosterone contributes…|
|Tribulus Terrestris||C||No alterations in testosterone levels are noted with recommended doses of tribulus supplementation|
|Magnesium*||C||No significant influences on testosterone levels noted with magnesium intake|
|Stinging Nettles||C||No detectable influence on testosterone levels|
|Ginseng||C||May increase testosterone in infertile men, has also failed in fertile men to influence testosterone; likely a mere antioxidative effect in damaged testicles|
* The Guide didn’t have a reference for Magnesium “Oil”, so – fingers crossed – maybe this is doing something good for my testosterone after all!
Here I sit, a pretty knowledgeable fella when it comes to supplements, and yet I chose a bunch that do not appear to be worth much when it comes to boosting testosterone.
If “A” = 4.0 and “C” = 2, my overall grade is 2.4.
(And I thought I was done with my high school experience!)
Well, there is a silver lining. Along with my supplements, I have bumped up my protein intake, am doing more resistance and high intensity interval training (which increases human growth hormone) – all collectively resulting in, shall we say, a more trim visage.
Next week I plan on taking another blood test, the so-called Male Comprehensive Hormone Panel Blood Test, and will see if I’ve moved my testosterone numbers up. Of course, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, do yourself a favor and go check out the Guide, get it, and save yourself some time and money.
Over and out.