Testosterone boosters for building muscle

Prohormones are banned — what else works?

Testosterone is known to be the most important anabolic (muscle building) compound in the human body. It accelerates muscle building, increases the formation of red blood cells, and speeds up recovery time after injuries or illness. It also stimulates your metabolism which determines how quickly you burn fat.

Young men, 18-25, want to maximize the testosterone they produce naturally to build muscle, and compete in their chosen sports. Men who are 25-40 want more muscle mass, strength and endurance. After men reach 40, testosterone levels start to decrease every year. This decline results in a reduction in muscle mass, strength, sexual desire, and mental capacity. Boosting the natural production of testosterone can help fight these issues.

On January 20, 2005, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 went into effect. This law, signed by President Bush, effectively eliminated nearly all prohormone supplements from the marketplace if they were structurally related to or had effects like that of testosterone.

The following is information on natural testosterone boosters that are legally available, but don't have the inherent problems that prohormones could cause.

Any product that is not chemically or pharmacologically related to testosterone is legal and available to boost testosterone naturally. This means there are still a number of natural testosterone boosters available ranging from herbs to minerals. Let's have a look.


ZMA is a vitamin-mineral combination of zinc monomethionine aspartate, mMagnesium aspartate and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Supported by two studies, this product has been around for nearly 10 years. The data shows total and free testosterone increases of up to 30% in athletes taking ZMA. There was also corresponding increases in strength and power measurements. Zinc and magnesium play a role in over 500 metabolic reactions in the body while vitamin B6 is very important for muscle protein synthesis. The normal dosage for ZMA is 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10.5 mg of vitamin B6, taken about an hour before bed.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris also known as puncture vine, tribulus has been researched for its ability to indirectly increase testosterone naturally. Studies indicate that tribulus can increase luteinizing hormone by as much as 70% and thereby elevate testosterone production by 40%. Luteinizing hormone is released from the pituitary gland and stimulates the testes to produce testosterone.

There is data to support other benefits of tribulus as it was shown to increase endurance 75% and sexual performance by 80% in a study on 20 males and females. By increasing testosterone production, it follows that tribulus may increase muscular development and strength although more research is needed in this area. For women, Tribulus might reduce PMS symptoms due to its effect on luteinizing hormone by assisting in the release of the egg during menses and helping to modulate the complex hormones of the female menstrual cycle.

The normal dosage for tribulus terrestris is 200 to 750 mg per day. The best tribulus products contain about 20% protodioscin, which is thought to be one of the most active components of tribulus. Products with this level of protodioscin cost at least five times more than lower priced tTribulus products that simply contain saponins or sapogenins.

DHEA (hormone)

Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a precursor to many hormones in the body including testosterone and estrogen. DHEA supports natural testosterone production because it is a precursor that the body can convert into testosterone. As we age our production of DHEA declines. This decline can be associated with lethargy, lack of sexual desire, loss of muscle mass and strength, and mental deficiency. DHEA is generally for individuals over the age of 30 since younger men and women usually have plenty of DHEA production naturally. The normal supplement dosage for DHEA is 25 to 50 mg per day with a high dose being 100 mg.

EPA / DHA (essential fats)

The essential fats, EPA and DHA, are extremely valuable for hormone production including testosterone. Without adequate fat in your diet, your body will not be able to produce testosterone and many other hormones. Essential fatty acids like those found in fish oil and flaxseed oil are beneficial for testosterone production, anti-inflammatory effects, and cell membrane health. Getting 3 to 5 grams of essential fats per day is vital to proper hormone production.

Estrogen Blockers

An herbal flavonoid called chrysin has preliminary lab research behind it showing its ability to block the aromatization of testosterone to estrogen. However, human studies are lacking. The normal dosage for chrysin is 200-600 mg taken nightly with a meal. 

Lifestyle Changes

Other supplements that will assist in the muscle building process should be considered. Taking a daily multi-vitamin and mineral will help provide your body with the nutrients you need to produce testosterone. Creatine can assist in building more muscle and increasing strength. Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid and is abundant in muscle tissue. Protein supplements are always useful, especially in our world of high-carb fast food where it can be difficult to find clean, low-fat sources of protein when constantly on-the-go.

Testosterone production is affected by many variables. Eating a balanced diet with meals timed throughout the day will go a long way toward maximizing testosterone production. Getting regular sleep every night is also vital, not to mention recovering from your workouts. Reduce stress in your life by practicing relaxation. Stress causes disease and increases the production of muscle-destroying cortisol. If you are stressed, your testosterone levels will never be optimal.

Using a combination of exercise, healthy nutrition, supplementation, relaxation and rest will go a long way to optimizing your natural testosterone production to help you achieve the body you want.

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