Do Testosterone Boosters Really Work?
You already know that testosterone is the main male sex hormone produced by humans, and you probably also know that both men and women produce testosterone at differing levels. Did you know, though, that recent scientific research has found that testosterone is involved with multiple systems of the body and that a testosterone deficiency can lead to numerous issues?
For years, men with low testosterone counts have taken testosterone supplements to help with fat loss, muscle gain, libido, and other issues. Bodybuilders and weightlifters have also taken testosterone to improve recovery time and build more muscle mass and strength, as well. We know that testosterone injections can be effective in all of these aspects, but are testosterone boosters really effective?
Testosterone Injections vs. Boosters
When you go to a doctor for prescribed testosterone injections, you will have synthetic testosterone injected into your body. When you take a testosterone booster, you will take a pill made of herbs and other supplements designed to increase your testosterone levels naturally. While these supplements do not require a prescription or doctor’s supervision, the question remains – do they really work? The answer lies in which supplements you take.
An herb originating from India, fenugreek is currently under investigation for its anabolic properties. In a recent study, participants were either given fenugreek or a placebo over a period of several weeks. All participants engaged in resistance training throughout the study, and all participants noticed increased strength. The participants who took fenugreek, however, saw significantly more increases in strength than those who took the placebo.
Men naturally produce low levels of estrogen in their bodies, in addition to testosterone. This is primarily done when the aromatase enzyme converts testosterone and other androgens into estrogen. Some testosterone boosters seek to increase testosterone levels through the use of aromatase inhibitors. These block the aromatase enzyme, thereby both decreasing estrogen levels and, at least slightly, increasing testosterone levels.
D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA)
D-AA actually occurs naturally in men’s bodies. This amino acid is found in testicular cells and acts as a messenger between them and the brain. Basically, when D-AA is present, it signals the body to convert cholesterol into testosterone. Thus, taking D-AA supplements should increase strength by decreasing cholesterol levels and increasing testosterone levels.
Potential Side Effects of Testosterone Boosters
While testosterone boosters have shown some increase in performance and muscle growth, there are also some side effects and potential problems to consider. According to a 2010 study in The New England Journal of Medicine, testosterone supplements were associated with an increased risk of heart disease in men over the age of 65. Further studies have shown that this risk may extend to younger men, as well.
Testosterone supplements have also been linked with increased instances of testicular cancer. While these instances may be fewer and farther between than those associated with testosterone injections, they still pose a potential health risk.
In addition to these issues, other potential side effects of taking testosterone boosters include acne, enlarged breasts, sleep apnea, and testicular shrinkage. However, before all of this talk of side effects scares you away entirely, a study published in the National Library of Medicine states that concerns about negative side effects have been overstated while benefits in multiple systems of the body have been understated.
Clearly, from what we can see here, testosterone boosters can have some positive effects, but they may also cause some problems, as well. Understanding whether or not those problems pose significant risks to most users will require more studies, but current findings look pretty good for those who want to gain more muscle, improve their sex drive, and lose fat.
How Fast Can You Really Lose Fat?
New fad diets and workout routines come out all the time, and they all seem to claim the same thing. They all tell you that they’ll help you lose fat very fast. Without killing yourself in the gym or ever feeling hungry, with these diets, you’ll supposedly shed fat and inches in weeks instead of months or years.
We all know that those fad diets are almost 100% marketing and that they don’t really work the way they claim. After all, if any of them really did all that they said, we’d see a lot more svelte and gorgeous people running around, right?
All of this raises the question: can you actually lose fat as fast as some of these diets claim? And whether or not any of their claims are true, how fast can you really lose fat? Let’s explore how fat loss works, and then we can discuss the possibility of losing fat at a very fast rate.
Slow and Steady Doesn’t Always Win the Race
Traditional wisdom tells us that we have to spend as much time losing weight as we spent gaining it. Basically, your body has taken several years to get to its current size, and it’s had a lot of time to adjust to that size. So, to lose weight and keep it off, you have to lose it slowly and steadily.
However, a study performed in 2000 completely contradicted this old “wisdom.” It showed that people who use a short-term restrictive diet or other means to lose weight fast, who then transition to a long-term diet and exercise regimen, are more likely to lose more weight and keep it off. Why? Essentially, when people see results, they are more likely to continue to follow their weight loss goals. If they spend weeks or months trying to lose weight slowly but see no progress, they are more likely to give up.
What You Eat Matters as Much as How Many Calories You Eat
Another piece of traditional wisdom, “Eat less, move more,” has also been at least slightly debunked. It’s been shown that, even when calories are restricted, eating simple carbohydrates (like sugars and starches) will lead to insulin spikes, followed by crashes. These contribute to insulin insensitivity, which retards weight loss.
So, in addition to limiting calories, you can lose more fat at a faster rate by loading up on protein, good fats, and vegetables while you cut out sugars and other simple carbs. Drinking lots of water can help, as well, as you’ll feel less hungry when you are properly hydrated.
Building Muscle Burns More Fat Than Cardio
The final factor in the fat-burning equation is muscle. People assume that you can burn more fat by running and doing other cardiovascular exercise than you can by lifting weights and other strength-building exercises. However, though you will not burn as much fat in a weightlifting session as you will on the treadmill, you will continue to burn fat far longer, and you will burn more fat when you are at rest, thanks to your increased muscle mass.
So, how fast can you burn fat? If you understand how diet and exercise can improve your chances of weight loss and you follow the right regimen to optimize this, your fat loss will depend a great deal on your current body fat percentage. The more fat you have, the more you will burn. So, men and women who are overweight can readily burn between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half pounds of fat per week, while leaner men and women may only burn half-a-pound to two pounds per week.