Olimp Sport Nutrition

Testosterone is a steroid male hormone. It is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics at puberty and is indispensable for muscle mass building. Testosterone levels can be safely increased by using exogenous sources. All you need to do is use plants which produce equivalents of the hormone.


Testosterone and muscles

Steroids are chemical compounds that are indispensable for the correct functioning of plants and animals alike. Testosterone is a male sex hormone (androgen). It controls a number of male functions and retains protein in the human body, thus leading to muscle mass growth. For this reason, testosterone derivatives (anabolic/androgenic steroids) are used as strong anabolic medications, or as a doping. Obviously, as athletes are not allowed by law to use such enhancers, they keep searching for alternatives. One of them can be herbal substances proved to raise testosterone levels, known as testosterone boosters.


Plants stuffed with testosterone

Vegetal steroids are very similar to human hormones. Research shows that some of them have anabolic effects (which is also true for testosterone). Additionally, plants produce analogues of human sex hormones. For instance, mushrooms and pollens contain relatively high amounts of androgens, including anabolic testosterone, the most prominent in the group.

At the end of the 1930s and beginning of the 1940s, scientists grew to boldly state that vegetal steroids can be converted in the human body into testosterone in the same way as in pharmaceutical laboratories, thus increasing the blood concentration of the hormone. Similar conclusions were drawn from tests of adaptogenic plants, commenced during World War 2 by Nikolay Lazarev. The plants were proved to enhance strength, endurance, sexual activity and protein anabolism in both experimental animals and humans. They had a positive effect on all parameters regulated in the human body by testosterone. Additionally, the analysis of chemical content of the plants showed that vegetal steroids are the main active ingredients in the strongest adaptogens.


Studies on steroid plants

Unfortunately, the more than half a century of research proved not enough to demonstrate whether vegetal steroids are converted in the human body into testosterone. Neither do we know whether they use any other mechanisms to raise the blood level of the hormone. Among the most frequently tested steroid plants are: ginseng, the Far East panacea; goat’s-head, the secret weapon of Bulgarian weightlifters and fenugreek, an anabolic used by elderly ancient heroes to restore their vital forces. Experiments conducted on each of these plants showed a significant increase in testosterone, but there were also cases in which no increase was observed or when the substance levels dropped. Nonetheless, orally administered vegetal steroids from goat’s-head raised testosterone in castrated rats by 25%, which may be indicative of the compound’s conversion into testosterone. Contemporary scientific research has proved anabolic activity of the following vegetal steroids: furostanols, ecdysteroids, brassinosteroids, ginsenosides, maslinic acid, ursolic acid and tomatidine.


When searching for safe steroids, researchers started to use the anabolic androgenic index, i.e. the proportion between the anabolic force of the compound to its androgenic activity. The stronger the anabolic activity and the weaker the androgenic activity, the safer the steroid, as then it is not dangerous to the prostate in men and does not cause beard growth in women. The anabolic androgenic index is usually calculated by administering the anabolic steroid tested to one group of castrated rats and of testosterone to the other. After completion of the test, the weight of the levator ani and the weight of accessory organs of male reproductive system (i.e. seminal vesicles, bulbourethral glands and the prostate) is compared. The testosterone group is the group of reference. The bigger the weight of muscles and the lower the accessory organs mass, the more favourable the anabolic androgenic index. A similar procedure was used in tests of natural vegetal steroids.


Fenugreek, a safe steroid

In 2010, Indian scientists from the Bharati University, led by Urmil Aswar, hit upon an idea to check the anabolic androgenic index of fenugreek. They chose this plant knowing that ancient heroes used to eat it to boost their strength, and that it is still popular among athletes. The weight of the levator ani and the overall muscle mass in the castrated rats grew equally in the testosterone and in the furostanol (i.e. the fenugreek) group. It was concluded that furostanols are purely anabolic steroids, devoid of androgenic activity.

There was one more test performed in the same year, which showed that glucose levels dropped significantly in the furostanol group, with simultaneous increase in the number of insulin-producing pancreatic cells and growing activity of enzymes that produce testosterone in testicles. The blood testosterone levels increased as well. What was the difference between these two tests? In the latter, the animals had testicles, which is why furostanols caused testosterone increase.

These observations were expanded by research conducted by Chris Pool from the University of Texas. 49 male strength athletes were given 500 mg of standardised fenugreek extract or a placebo. The test lasted 8 weeks. It was observed after the end of the test that the strength performance of participants of the fenugreek group as well as their muscle mass was bigger than in the placebo group, with simultaneous fat reduction.


Goat's-head good for muscles

Goat’s-head is a popular Ayurvedic plant and is widely used in the Chinese medicine. It is known for its energizing, calming and diuretic properties. In the West, goat’s-head is a popular ingredient of medications for potency disorder, as it enhances erection. In the 1970s, Jeffrey Peterman, an American bodybuilder, distributed a theory that goat’s-head increases testosterone levels and enhances muscle growth.

As a plant rich in furostanols, in 2008 goat's-head became the subject of interest of a scientist named Gauthaman. The results of his tests showed a 52% increase in testosterone and a 29% growth in DHEA in monkeys after IV administration of 7.5 mg of the extract per 1 kg of the animals’ body mass. When administered orally for 8 weeks, the extract caused a significant testosterone increase and a very high increase in DHT (testosterone metabolite) in rabbits. Particularly interesting were the results of the experiment on castrated rats. The rodents, with their testicles removed, were divided into two groups, of which one had testosterone injections every fortnight for 8 weeks (10 mg/kg), and the other was given 5mg of tribulus extract per 1 kg of body mass daily, also for 8 weeks. The injections increased blood testosterone in the animals by 51%, while administration of the extract produced a growth by 25%. The authors attributed all these excellent effects to the protidioscin contained in the extract, which is considered to be the most active vegetal steroid (furostanol derivative).

It is worth noting that volunteer tests on goat’s-head impact on testosterone were initiated by Bulgarians. In her work of 1981, Zarkova discussed a test of the 1970s carried out on infertile couples, in which the administration of goat’s-head caused a significant increase in testosterone and lutropin (LH) (which stimulates testosterone synthesis in testicles) in men.

Up-to-date information about goat’s-head was delivered in 2012 by Sellandi. In the study in question, volunteers aged 21-50 were given extract of the plant for 60 days. The average increase in testosterone observed exceeded 16%.

It needs to be remembered that not all tests on the goat’s-head confirmed its effectiveness. Nonetheless, when taking into account the experiments which confirmed the increase of testosterone levels in the human body under the influence of the plant, it can be concluded that goat’s-head is an effective testosterone booster.


Fenugreek and  goat's-head. A testosterone-boosting mix.

When concluding the studies described above, we need to say that testosterone boosters with herbs among their ingredients are effective. Even if your testosterone will not rise to astronomical values, they will surely give you a decent anabolic effect. Your muscle mass will grow and your fat will be reduced.

It is good to remember that steroids are fat soluble and that the gut flora converts vegetal steroids into compounds with higher anabolic activity. How can this knowledge be of aid to a physically active person? The meals with which you take testosterone boosters should be rich in healthy fats (vegetable fats). Then, you will achieve better results and deliver more testosterone to your body. To further enhance the effect, you may supplement your diet with a capsule of lecithin daily, taken with a cup of yoghurt or kefir.