The mere presence of the word Testosterone draws attention. We all know of the potential benefits of increased testosterone, such as larger muscles, greater strength, higher metabolism, better recovery ability, and so on. Testosterone is the primary anabolic hormone in males, but it is also a very important hormone in females. Both genders do benefit from increasing the effects of testosterone, but how can we increase testosterone legally and safely. Once again, to answer this question we will have to look at how testosterone functions. Researchers are still learning about the function of testosterone and probably will be for years, simply because the muscle – hormone interaction is incredibly complex.
How Does Testosterone Work?
Testosterone is one of many hormones that govern the functions of the body. Testosterone is extremely important for muscle development and recovery, metabolic rate, fat metabolism, energy, sex drive, and many other functions. It is very important for health and, for us lifters, critical for performance. This is true for both the male and the female, but the female will have lower levels of testosterone and, the increase in testosterone output may occur over shorter periods of time.
The benefits of testosterone are amazing, but these are not going to occur just because we want them to happen. There needs to be a stimulus, something that will create a need for testosterone release. One of the most potent stimuli for testosterone release is weight training. We supply that stimulus when we train hard, and that is one of the most important variables in testosterone release, the intensity of the training. During an intense workout (whether it is high volume, high intensity, or a combination of both), we damage tissue (just microtrauma, not an injury) and there becomes a need to rebuild and reinforce the muscle. From this point, a biological feedback system begins to function, where messages are sent from damaged tissue to the brain, and here is what happens. As you can see from the diagram (below), input from the brain is sent to the hypothalmus, which determines that there is a need for anabolic hormones to be produced to signal the start of the repair and rebuilding of muscle. The hypothalmus sends the information to the anterior pituitary gland, which releases Lutinizing hormone that travels to the gonads and stimulates the Leydig cells, which produce testosterone. *(Side note, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands in the female.)
Testosterone than travels to receptor sites (androgen receptors) in muscle cells and tells the cell nuclei to start the process of creating specific proteins for repair and rebuilding.
Like most biological feedback systems, the process of releasing testosterone is a negative feedback system, so as more testosterone is released into the blood stream, the hypothalmus receives information about testosterone levels rising, and it will stop sending signals to the anterior pituitary, which will stop releasing the Lutinizing hormone, and shut down the production of testosterone. This prevents over production of the hormone.
Key Variables in Testosterone Production and Influence:
There are 3 very important variables that influence the effects of testosterone:
- The stimulus – The larger the stimulus, the greater demand for testosterone to signal repair and rebuilding of muscle.
- The stimulus will determine the amount of testosterone released.
- The stimulus may determine the sensitivity and quantity of the androgen receptors in the muscle tissue.
Basically, if the stimulus, or overload on the muscle is not great, there will be less need for testosterone. An easy workout will not create a huge stimulus; therefore, less testosterone is released and the androgen receptors in the muscle tissue will not be as sensitive to testosterone. This means our workout must involve large muscle mass and a significant overload to receive the benefits of testosterone. If there is no demand, there will be little or no added hormone.
Now, here are the variables that are still not well understood about testosterone:
What is most important, the quantity of hormone released, the quantity of receptors, or the sensitivity of receptors? How long does the testosterone increase have to be to create the changes in muscle that we seek? Are there other variables we are not aware of when it comes to testosterone? Yes, is most likely the correct answer to this last question.
How do Testosterone Boosters Work?
This is a question that has not yet been satisfactorily answered by research. There are many personal testimonies about the benefits of Testosterone Boosters, but research in this area is lacking in depth and number of studies. The haters always quote an Australian study on rugby players that found no increase in blood testosterone levels after 5 weeks, but there are many questions that need to be answered. Was the training and diet sufficient? When did they measure the blood testosterone levels? Did they measure androgen receptor activity in the muscle tissue? It is very difficult to make conclusions about a product with these questions left unanswered.
The proponents of testosterone boosters have been around for many years. One of the key ingredients used in MaxEffort Muscle’s Testosterone Booster is Tribulus, which has been used in many countries for centuries. Tribulus has been used as a natural plant product to increase performance, libido, and energy. This means that, before there was ever a need for gyms, ancient people found Tribulus to be an effective way to improve performance for survival. MaxEffort Muscle’s Testosterone Booster contains both Pro Tribulus and Tribulus Terrestris, which create numerous health benefits, such as blood sugar regulation, cholesterol control, and increased libido. Before I talk about Tribulus and the possible effects on testosterone, let us take a closer look at some of the other ingredients in MaxEffort Muscle’s Testosterone Booster.
Rhodiola Rosea and Longjack Extract Root are both adaptogens, which help the body adapt to physical stress by enhancing energy, stamina, and metabolic rate. This is great for fat burning and recovering from workouts. Cayenne Pepper is well known for increasing metabolic rate, energy, and lowering health risks, while Quebracho Extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and aid in digestive health.
Ok, do Testosterone Boosters boost testosterone? This is a question that has not been answered by research but has been answered by thousands of users of this product. Now, I know if you are a research purist, personal testimonies add up to nothing, but there must be something to the benefits received by many. Let us take another look at Tribulus, a plant product that has been used for centuries for improving performance in different areas. Research on testosterone boosters is lacking, so what might be happening to create positive results from using testosterone boosters? Here is a theory by the Brofessor. It may very well be feasible that Tribulus increases the activity, or sensitivity, of the androgen receptors of the muscle cells. This could explain why we see results in individuals who take Tribulus. Research has not investigated this possibility (to my knowledge) and it is just as important as quantity of testosterone when it comes to muscle repair and rebuilding. In other words, perhaps what is boosted is the androgen receptor activity.
In a very interesting 2018 study (Front. Physiol., 09 October 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01373), healthy males were place on a weight training regimen and developed both muscle strength and hypertrophy with no increase in blood testosterone levels. There was, however, a significant increase in androgen receptor activity in the muscle cells, which lead to the increases in hypertrophy and strength. Interesting research that may suggest that previous researchers are looking in the wrong place for the reason behind performance enhancement with testosterone boosters.
Bottom line, if you are training hard, eating clean, and recovering well, adding this product can give you a performance boost. Remember, testosterone boosters are not magic pills, there must be a need for the product to get results from this product. Train hard, eat clean, recover well, and take MaxEffort Muscle’s Testosterone Boosters, and experience the benefits.
By Don Laubenthal, MS, CSCS
Professor and Coordinator
Sport and Exercise Studies – Exercise Science
Columbus State Community College