LOS ANGELES — If you’ve visited a health or fitness supplement store recently you’ve probably seen testosterone boosters, or “T-boosters,” for sale. These supplements are marketed as a natural way for men to gain muscle and increase their libido, but new research finds that these supplements have little to no real scientific evidence to support their claims.
Researchers from the University of Southern California say that the marketing departments for numerous brands of supplements are taking serious liberties.
“Many supplements on the market merely contain vitamins and minerals, but don’t do anything to improve testosterone,” explains lead author Dr. Mary K Samplaski, assistant professor of clinical urology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, in a statement. “Often, people can be vulnerable to the marketing component of these products, making it difficult to tease out what is myth and what is reality.”
Men’s testosterone levels naturally decline after the age of 30, sometimes causing problems like erectile dysfunction. Some men look to T-boosters to help with age-related testosterone levels, while others use the products at a younger age in the hopes of achieving larger muscles and body mass.
Samplaski and her team performed a Google search for “Testosterone Booster” and analyzed the ingredients and advertised claims of the first 50 T-boosters that appeared in the search results. They also cross-referenced each ingredient with its Recommended Daily Allowance according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Zinc, fenugreek extract and vitamin B6 were among the most common ingredients in the supplements.
Researchers discovered that while 90% of the products analyzed claimed to increase testosterone levels, only 25% could actually show data that supported those claims. Furthermore, many of the supplements contained amounts of vitamins well beyond the upper tolerable limit, effectively neutralizing any potential health benefits they may have provided.
It’s clear that more regulation is needed in regards to T-boosters and similar products in order to protect consumers, according to researchers.
“The safest and most effective way for men to boost low testosterone levels is to talk with a medical professional or a nutritionist,” says Samplaski.