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USP Labs Test Powder Review

Test Powder is a “natural” test-booster by USP Labs which makes use of some effective test-boosting ingredients (namely D-Aspartic Acid) at effective levels…

USP Labs Test Powder

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BETAINE ANHYDROUS

Betaine Anhydrous, also known as Trimethylglycine, is primarily found in Beets (hence the name), but has recently gained popularity in the supplement community for its potential ergogenic effects.

A 2010 study from the Journal of the International to Society of Sports Nutrition found that daily supplementation with 2.5g (1.25g twice daily) of Betaine positively influenced strength and power, but did not determine a mechanism of action.

A 2011 study, published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research”, found that subjects who consumed 2.5 grams of betaine daily for 14 days were able to achieve more repetitions while bench pressing. The researchers in this study also noted signs of increased muscular oxygen consumption (a first step towards findings a possible mechanism of action).

A 2013 study, published in “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found that 6 weeks of daily Betaine supplementation improved body composition, arm size, bench press work capacity as well as power (but not strength).

USP Labs does not disclose the exact dose of Betaine in Tet Powder but, given a roughly 4g proprietary blend, there is no reason to suspect anything less than an effective dose.

L-CARNITINE L-TARTRATE

In one study, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate has been shown to “enhance the hormonal environment” post- resistance training. Although these results are certainly promising, there are two things to keep in mind: First, this study used 2 grams/day for 21 days. Secondly, the hormonal response was elevated, yet remained within the normal range. Since LCLT is listed second in a 4005 mg proprietary blend, and has several ingredients following it, we can conclude that the level is less than 2 grams. That being said, it is possible that, at whatever level, there is still some benefit. The important thing to keep in mind, is that this ingredient is by no means a miracle ingredient, and its addition into the formula will not result in steroid-like gains. LCLT should simply be regarded as a potential tetosterone optimizer, capable (at best) of keeping test levels towards the upper end of the normal range. Individuals with low testosterone levels are more likely to experience any noticeable change.

AFROMOMUM MELEGUETA

Aframomum melegueta, also known as Grains of Paradise, is an African herb with a variety of implications as a dietary supplement. Most notably, the extract has been shown to augment the effects of Brown Adipose Tissue, which is certainly of interest to those looking to lose weight. Grains of Paradise has also been investigated for aphrodisiac and Testosterone enhancement benefits, but only in mice. A 2002 study from “Bahavioural Pharmacology” found a libido enhancement effects (increased mounting) in male rats treated with Grains of Paradise extract. A more recent (2011) study published in “Andrologia” found that male rats treated with 115mg or 230mg of an ethanolic Grains of Paradise extract experienced a significant 278-316% increase in Testosterone over 8 days. Unfortunately, no human studies exist currently so it is unclear to what degree these findings apply to humans as well, if at all. Anti-estrogenic effects have also been noted in one in vitro study from “Pharmacology Research”, but again, the lack of human studies make it difficult to determine the true value if any.

GARCINIA MANGOSTANA

Garcinia mangostana (AKA purple mangosteen) is a tropical tree that yields a fruit you may have heard of called (quite obviously) mangosteen. The active compounds in Mangosteen, chiefly Gamma-Mangostin, have been investigated primarily with regards to anti-oxidant properties. Of particular interest, is the potential for mangosteen to combat breast cancer cells via its ability to act as an aromatase inhibitor. If you’ve researched the endocrine system, you’ve probably come across the term aromatase before, but for those who are unfamiliar, let’s explain. Aromatase is the chief enzyme responsible for the synthesis of estrogen. This synthesis involves the conversion of androgens (i.e. testosterone) into estrogen. Aromatase inhibition results in increased levels of testosterone, but currently this effect has only been recorded in vitro.

D-ASPARTIC ACID

D-Aspartic Acid is an amino acid that acts as a precursor to N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA), which takes on a similar role to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamic acid. In rats, D-Aspartic acid supplementation was found to increase testosterone significantly. For this reason, it has become a popular additive in workout supplements.

Out of the three human studies done specifically to test the effect of D-Aspartic Acid on testosterone, two have shown a significant increase in testosterone levels. One study, the subjects of which were infertile men (low testosterone) showed a significant increase in tesosterone after 90 days of supplementation. Another study, this time on men with normal test levels, found a significant increase in testosterone after just 12 days. However, a 2013 study found that athletes who supplemented with D-Aspartic Acid for 28 days showed no difference in testosterone levels.

It is possible that D-Aspartic Acid did not increase testosterone in athletes because their testosterone levels were already maximized. Since the 12 day study showed significant increase but the 28 day study showed no such results, it is also possible that DAA increase testosterone in the short term, but the effect begins to degrade somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks of supplementation. What is needed is a double-blind placebo controlled study that monitors the daily free testosterone levels of all subjects.

Until such a study is published, it is hard to say how beneficial D-Aspartic Acid may be to increasing strength, but the eveidence so far suggests there may be something to this ingredient. Ultimately, D-Aspartic Acid appears effective for increasing testosterone in individuals with low testosterone levels, and may be effective in the short term for individuals with normal testosterone levels as well.

AGMATINE SULFATE

While Agmatine is commonly touted to increase Nitric Oxide, there is preliminary evidence which indicates it can induce the secretion of Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which can in turn trigger Testosterone production. A 1995 study found that rats treated with Agmatine experienced increased LH secretion in a dose-dependent manner. Due to the lack of research on humans, no optimal dose has been identified with regards to performance enhancement, but the average range for pre-workouts tends to be 500-1000mg Agmatine per serving.

MUCUNA PRURIENS

You may have also seen this listed as Velvet Bean extract on other supplements (PowerFULL by USP comes to mind). To make a long story short, Mucuna Pruriens contain a compound called L-Dopa which primarily acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter Dopamine. You may also come across the actual compound L-Dopa as an ingredient in certain supplements which most likely means it was created synthetically. Aside from increasing dopamine, a 2008 study found that “Treatment with M. pruriens regulates steroidogenesis and improves semen quality in infertile men.” In addition to increased levels of dopamine, adernaline, and noradrenaline, the subjects who recieved Mucuna Pruriens also experienced elevated testosterone levels. We generally caution against consuming substances that drastically alter neurotransmitters, but given the relatively low level of Mucuna Pruriens present in the Test Poweder formula, the risks seem relatively low. However, there is no evidence that Mucuna Pruriens effectively raise testosterone in individuals with normal testosterone levels already. Those suffering from low testosterone levels are much more likely to benefit from supplementation.

THE BOTTOM LINE

As far as natural test-boosters go, Test Powder does seem to be a well-rounded formula. It should be noted that Test Powder, as well as most “test boosters”, are more likely to produce noticeable effects in individuals with low Testosterone levels, as opposed to those with healthy initial Testosterone levels. The test-boosting effects of Test Powder are mostly dependent on D-Aspartic Acid which may produce a significant but short-lived increase in Testosterone levels.

Still not sure which Test-Booster is right for you? Check out our Best Testosterone Boosters List!

References

  1. i, Cheng, Masao Shinohara, John Kuhlenkamp, Christine Chan, and Neil Kaplowitz. “Mechanisms of Protection by the Betaine-homocysteine Methyltransferase/betaine System in HepG2 Cells and Primary Mouse Hepatocytes.” Hepatology 46.5 (2007): 1586-596.
  2. Trepanowski, John F., Tyler M. Farney, Cameron G. McCarthy, Brian K. Schilling, Stuart A. Craig, and Richard J. Bloomer. “The Effects of Chronic Betaine Supplementation on Exercise Performance, Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Saturation and Associated Biochemical Parameters in Resistance Trained Men.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 25.12 (2011): 3461-471.
  3. Hoffman, Jay R., Nicholas A. Ratamess, Jie Kang, Stefanie L. Rashti, and Avery D. Faigenbaum. “Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Power Performance and Fatigue.”Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6.1 (2009): 7.
  4. Kraemer, William J., Jeff S. Volek, Duncan N. French, Martyn R. Rubin, Matthew J. Sharman, Ana L. Gómez, Nicholas A. Ratamess, Robert U. Newton, Bozena Jemiolo, Bruce W. Craig, and Keijo Häkkinen. “The Effects of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate Supplementation on Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise and Recovery.” The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 17.3 (2003): 455.
  5. Effects of the aqueous extract of dry seeds of Aframomum melegueta on some parameters of the reproductive function of mature male rats. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.
  6. Xanthones from the Botanical Dietary Supplement Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) with Aromatase Inhibitory Activity National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.
  7. Shan, T., Q. Ma, K. Guo, J. Liu, W. Li, F. Wang, and E. Wu. “Xanthones from Mangosteen Extracts as Natural Chemopreventive Agents: Potential Anticancer Drugs.” Current Molecular Medicine 11.8 (2011): 666-77.
  8. D’Aniello, Autimo, Anna Di Cosmo, Carlo Di Cristo, Lucio Annunziato, Leonard Petrucelli, and George Fisher. “Involvement of D-Aspartic Acid in the Synthesis of Testosterone in Rat Testes.” Life Sciences 59.2 (1996): 97-104.
  9. Agmatine activation of nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cellsMun, Chin Hee, Won Taek Lee, Kyung Ah Park, and Jong Eun Lee. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Sept. 2010. Web. 14 May 2013.
  10. Shukla, Kamla Kant, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Mohammad Kaleem Ahmad, Satya Narain Shankhwar, Singh Rajender, and Shyam Pyari Jaiswar. “Mucuna Pruriens Improves Male Fertility by Its Action on the Hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal Axis.” Fertility and Sterility (2008)
  11. Willoughby, Darryn S., and Brian Leutholtz. “d-Aspartic acid supplementation combined with 28 days of heavy resistance training has no effect on body composition, muscle strength, and serum hormones associated with the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in resistance-trained men.” Nutrition Research 33.10 (2013): 803-810.
  12. Topo, Enza, et al. “The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats.” Reprod Biol Endocrinol 7 (2009): 120.

 

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