Women accidentally exposed to prescription testosterone can grow body hair and develop acne. In children, exposure can trigger premature puberty. Why mess with that when you can boost your testosterone with a supplement? Or can you?
Claim: “Naturally Increase Testosterone.”
Among the ingredients: fenugreek seed extract.
List price for a month’s supply: $79.99.
Evidence: Fenugreek seed extract is marketed to bodybuilders as a testosterone booster. It doesn’t work.
In four trials, the extract was no better than a placebo at raising the testosterone levels of mostly young men.
Sources: Phytother. Res. 25: 1294, 2011; Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 20: 457, 2010; J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 7: 34, 2010; Int. J. Exerc. Sci. Conf. Proc. 2: 13, 2009.
Ageless Ultra T Gold
Claim: “A revolutionary supplement that naturally increases free testosterone levels.”
Among the ingredients: Tribulus terrestris.
List price for a month’s supply: $39.99.
Evidence: The botanical Tribulus terrestris hit the news in the 1970s when Bulgarian Olympic weightlifters claimed that it was responsible for their success in competition.
But in three trials, mostly in young men, Tribulus terrestris failed to increase testosterone levels.
Sources: J. Ethnopharmacol. 101: 319, 2005; J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 20: 520, 2001; Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 10: 340, 2000.
Nature’s Plus T Male Testosterone Boost for Men
Claim: “Works by promoting the body’s natural testosterone production.”
Among the ingredients: zinc.
List price for a month’s supply: $40.80.
Evidence: Companies like to toss inexpensive zinc (the “ultimate sex mineral,” according to menshealth.com) into supplements marketed to men.
Depriving young men of zinc lowers their testosterone levels, but giving healthy men zinc doesn’t raise theirs.
Sources: Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 56: 148, 1992; Int. J. Androl. 29: 339, 2006.