When it comes to maintaining a healthy body and mentality testosterone is a major factor people can often overlook. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that controls a high proportion of key bodily functions. Raising levels of it can promote a healthier and fuller life in both males and females.
It makes sense then boosting testosterone levels is something that is done for medical reasons, but also for personal and professional reasons.
There is a number of ways to raise testosterone. One of the more widely known is with controlled anabolic steroids. Another, is natural dietary supplements known as testosterone boosters.
But What Is the Difference Between Testosterone Boosters and Steroids?
Steroids are a drug used by competitive athletes and for those with conditions such as hypogonadism, or clinically low testosterone.
Different steroids have different effects, however all impact your hormones in some way. The ones that are more commonly used by bodybuilders areAnabolic-androgenic steroids and are synthetic testosterone.
This testosterone is injected normally and sends your levels through the roof. Signaling muscle growth and fat loss.
Due to your testosterone levels shooting up though, your body will self regulate. This is when the side effects like small testicles, mood swings and gynecomastia occur.
Steroids can also put a very high strain onto your liver and other organs and steroid abuse are proven to sometimes lead to an earlier death.
These products are not for the casual gym goer and are worlds apart from natural testosterone boosters in terms of their effects.
Whilst steroids are often illegal and carry numerous major side effects, testosterone boosters are always legal and normally completely safe.
They are however not as potent as steroids as most natural testosterone boosters do not contain any testosterone but instead use blends of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that are thought to aid with the bodies production of it.
The jury is still out on the effectiveness of testosterone boosters though. Often, they can seem to promise more benefits than they deliver. Due to outdated and unproven ingredients, or weaker and proprietary blends.
Effects of Testosterone Boosters
Reviews are mixed with testosterone boosters, however, some people do report good changes to both muscle mass, health and recovery.
Generally these supplements are sold on:
- More energy
- Better sleep
- More muscle
Whilst these effects are all associated with higher testosterone levels, they can also be attributed to higher amounts of vitamin D and other well-researched ingredients in these supplements. Meaning that people who find these products effective are enjoying better overall health as opposed to higher levels of testosterone.
Alongside these, you’ll find Vitamin D and K, again which play a role in the production of luteinizing hormone, which controls the amount of testosterone produced.
These ingredients are essential to a healthy diet and normal bodily function.
It’s with the other ingredients that testosterone boosters generally face controversy over.
For example, Mucuna purines are a bean native to Africa that has some use when it comes to treating snake venom. They are commonly touted as an effective testosterone booster in products, but research hasn’t really found anything to support this.
There’s potential that they could treat low testosterone in males who are deficient, but this seems unlikely. And if it is the case, it will not raise testosterone above a normal level.
Studies are often skewed to support the financial gain of the retailer and not of the customer. This is why you should take time to consider what you want from a product and make sure you research ingredients that go into it, trying to find relevant studies if you can.
Which is Best?
These products are very different when it comes to their ingredients and also their effects. Recommending one or the other isn’t possible.
Steroids should only be used if you are prescribed by a physician. Due to their strict dosing structure and potential side effects, these are a form of medicine and not something for daily use.
Testosterone boosters are often safe, but can be expensive and may not bring you the benefits the product states. If you are set on buying one, you need to research the ingredients as we’ve mentioned. This is the only way you are going to find a product that has a chance of working.
It’s worth remembering that if you suffer from low testosterone, you should speak to a doctor and see if a prescription is required.
If you just want to increase testosterone for athletic performance or to boost libido and energy levels then you should always try and do this naturally.
There are luckily some lifestyle changes you can make to help your body create a better anabolic environment.
Here are a few that are tried and tested:
#1 Clean up your diet
A bad diet can cause weight gain and really damage testosterone levels. 8500 adults and children were studied and a link between phthalates (a salt or ester of phthalic acid) and junk food. Another study found that high levels of phthalates are linked to low testosterone levels.
Eat your greens and cut the junk. You should be doing this anyway.
#2 Get more sleep
There’s been a few studies done on the relationship between sleep and testosterone. And the results are conclusive. A lack of sleep can be hugely detrimental to levels of t.
One major study found the men who slept for four hours had testosterone levels of around200-300 ng/dl. But those who slept for 8had their levels at around 500-700ng/dl.
Get to bed.
Getting to the gym and more specifically lifting weights is a surefire way to help boost testosterone. Couple this with plenty of sleep and a clean and well-planned diet and you’ll see your test levels shooting up.
A study found that over 6 months of both resistance training and explosive exercise increased free testosterone, growth hormone and total testosterone in the volunteers. Obviously, you’ll see some physical appearance changes and improve overall fitness and health too.
Investing in a PT for a few weeks can be a great way to get into the gym and start lifting weights. The knowledge will stay with you for life too!