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Do Testosterone Pills Or Boosters Work?

Medically reviewed by Raymond Radiguet M.D.

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Old age causes many changes to the human body. One of these is a decline in one’s sex drive. Most men experience low libido as they get older. You see, men usually have a high level of testosterone from the start of puberty until the age of 30. That’s when the level peaks. Women also have some testosterone, but it is not as high as that of men. Testosterone controls bone density, fertility, sex drive, fat storage, development and strength of muscles, and red blood cell production.

When a man ages, his sex drive takes a dip. This means that he won’t be such a stud in bed as he used to. This can trigger depression or cause problems in his intimate relationship. Yes, it is a natural issue, but one can and should do something about it.

From the many functions that testosterone performs in the human body, one can say that is something of a wonder-drug. Yes! But does it mean that the more of it that we get in our bodies, the better for us? I think this is debatable. Several studies have indeed proven the many benefits of testosterone, but then, most of the effects are still debatable. What’s more? There is a lot of misinformation in the testosterone market, all coming from self-styled experts making cool videos on YouTube in an attempt to convince the public that they’ve got the best products.

But what does the research say about testosterone pills or boosters? Do they work as they claim to? We’ll find the answer to that in this article.

What are the functions of testosterone?

There are two main sex hormones in humans – testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men, while in females, it is estrogen.

Testosterone is responsible for the development of male sex organs. It is also responsible for the development of masculine features like broad shoulders, beards and facial hairs, and muscle development.

It is also important to note that testosterone partly contributes to sexual excitement in men. Our testosterone levels are not constant. They fluctuate throughout the day. Some men may feel a rush of excitement early in the mornings because that’s when testosterone level is at its highest.

What’s more? Just as testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, so does it throughout our lifespan. This means that men may begin to experience a decline in their sex drive after the age of 30. Also, their erections may be less firm, and muscle tone, softer.

Another thing that you should note is that aging is not the only factor that causes a fall in testosterone levels. Other factors may contribute to it, including:

  • Testicular injuries
  • Tumors in the testicles
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, or other inflammatory conditions
  • Disorders of the pituitary
  • Cancer treatment

What is the normal testosterone level?

The level of testosterone in a man’s body is determined with a blood test. A normal testosterone level ranges from 270-1070 ng/dL. A 2018 publication by the American Urological Association shows that testosterone levels from 300 ng/dL and below mean low testosterone. It is important to note that these values may vary depending on where you have your test.

We have noted above that testosterone levels in men decline as they age. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) corroborates this claim. According to the 2001 study, 20% of men over the age of 60 were affected by low testosterone, while 30% and 50% of men over the age of 70 and 80 were also affected respectively.

A look at testosterone boosters

A testosterone booster is a term used to describe herbal supplements that claim to enhance sexual function or increase libido. Some of these pills also claim to boost sperm count, improve muscle mass, and body composition. Testosterone boosters are marketed in many forms, such as capsules, powders, and pills.

Examples of testosterone boosters or pills include:

  • DHEA supplements
  • Fenugreek
  • Ashwagandha
  • D-aspartic acid
  • Tribulus Terrestris

But these are not all. There is another category of testosterone booster. They are always lined on the shelves of health-food or vitamin stores. They have eye-catchy bottles with fancy names like Stack, Monster, Andro, and Power, etc. they claim to help build the muscles, boost testosterone, and also have prohormone effects.

The question is, “are all these claims supported by science?”

Do testosterone supplements work?

Testosterone therapy is effective in treating hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a condition caused by testosterone deficiency. This means that the body cannot produce an adequate amount of testosterone. However, whether supplements can help or not is unclear.

A 2013 study published in the Journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology did not recommend the prescription of testosterone to men above the age of 65 with normal or normal-to-low levels of testosterone.

Some studies have found that testosterone boosters may be more problematic than useful. These studies have found a link between the intake of testosterone boosters and heart conditions. A study conducted in 2010 and published in The New England Journal of Medicine observed that men above 65 years of age suffered heart conditions after extended use of testosterone gel.

A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE found that men younger than the age of 65 had a high risk of heart conditions and heart attack when treated with testosterone boosters.

What are the side effects of testosterone pills?

Testosterone pills may probably have more risks and side effects than benefits.

In the United States, for instance, the FDA does not strictly regulate supplements, as compared to prescription medicines. So, because of this loose end, there is a chance that they could contain unsafe ingredients.

Also, supplementing testosterone without a prescription can alter the natural production of testosterone. You see, these pills are formulated to mimic testosterone. Now, testosterone production occurs in a negative feedback loop – this means that the product of a reaction triggers a decrease in that reaction. So, when you take these boosters, your body now believes that you have a lot of testosterone, and so, doesn’t produce anymore.

What can you do?

If you have a low sex drive, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. They will guide you on the right steps to take to increase your testosterone levels.

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