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MTS Nutrition Barracuda Review

Barracuda is MTS Nutrition’s testosterone optimizer/booster. It contains clinical doses of some pretty well-researched ingredients…

MTS Nutrition Barracuda

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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 has been shown to significantly increase Testosterone. 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 Testosterone 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 published in “Nutrition Research” found that athletes who supplemented with D-Aspartic Acid for 28 days showed no difference in testosterone levels.

So, what was different between these studies? Duration. D-Aspartic Acid is alleged to cause “negative feedback” in those normal Testosterone levels, meaning that it can raise Testosterone in the short-term (1-2 weeks), but prolonged supplementation will result in Testosterone levels returning to baseline. This explains why men with low Testosterone can benefit from long-term supplementation, but those with normal Testosterone levels only benefit from short-term supplementation.

Ultimately, D-Aspartic Acid may certainly cause a relatively significant, but short-lived increase in Testosterone. Barracuda contains 3000mg of D-Aspartic Acid, in-line with what has demonstrated efficacy in the above mentioned studies.

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

Carnitine has been investigated for potential benefits ranging from weight-loss to exercise performance and recovery. However, an often over-looked aspect of Carnitine is its ability to optimize Testosterone levels.

A 2003 study found that, while L-Carnitine L-Tartrate was effective at reducing markers of exercise-induced muscular damage, it did not further elevate Testosterone beyond exercise alone. A 2006 study, this time using mice as the subjects, found that Acetyl-L-Carnitine did not outright increase Testosterone but was effective at preventing Testosterone decline resulting from stress, indicating that Carnitine, similar to Zinc, may help to optimize Testosterone. Another 2006 study, published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, found that 2g/day L-Carnitine (as L-Carnitine L-Tartrate) for 21 days increased the density of androgen receptors in muscle cells, which would not directly increase Testosterone but may enhance its effects. These findings suggest the same as those of the study involving mice, which is the Carnitine can be effective for maintaining optimized Testosterone levels, but does not outright increase Testosterone.

Barracuda contains 3000mg of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate which is actually substantially more than what has demonstrated efficacy with regards to optimizing Testosterone.

MacaPure

Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) is a relative of Broccoli, indigenous to Peru, which has historically been used as an aphrodisiac. While frequently included in products aimed at increasing Testosterone, research has confirmed that the aphrodisiac effects of Maca are not caused by an elevation in Testosterone, nor does it have any significant impact on any hormones.

A 2002 study, published in “Andrologia”, found that Maca supplementation increased sexual desires, but that this effect was independent of Testosterone, which stayed the same. These findings were replicated in a 2003 study, published in the “Journal of Endrocrinology”, in which supplementation with 1.5 and 3 grams of Maca extract for 12 weeks had no influence on Testosterone levels in healthy men.

In several human studies, Maca has demonstrated a clear aphrodisiac effect when at least 1.5 grams is consumed. A 2009 study using 2400mg of Maca showed “a small but significant effect of Maca supplementation on subjective perception of general and sexual well-being in adult patients with mild ED.” A separate 2009 pilot study, this time investigating a potential effect on physical performance, found that Maca supplementation effectively improved physical performance (cycling) in trained male cyclists, while simultaneously increasing sexual desires. Overall, it appears Maca supplementation with at least 1.5 grams may increase sexual well-being and possibly improve certain aspects of physical performance, but will not increase Testosterone.

Barracuda contains 250mg of Macapure, a standardized extract.

Safed Musli

Safed Musli is an Indian herb which has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and remedy for sexual dysfunction. A 2011 study, published in “Andrologia”, found that mice fed Safed Musli improved erectile function on par with low dose Testosterone treatment. No studies have directly tested the effects of Safed Musli on testosterone, but a 2009 study noted increased prostatic weigh in mice fed 200mg/kg/day for 30 days, indicative of increased Testosterone. Unfortuantely, this study did not measure serum Testosterone, so it can’t be definitively stated that the results were due to increased Testosterone.

Due to the lack of human studies, Safed Musli still has a long way to go before it can be considered an effective test-booster, but the preliminary evidence suggests that, at the very least, it may enhance libido and improve sexual health.

Eurycoma Longifolia

Eurycoma Longifolia, also known as Tongkat Ali has been shown, in various studies, to increase Testosterone in male rats, but there are currently not many human studies in existence. A 2010 study published in the “Asian Journal of Andrology” found that supplementation with 200mg of an extract of Eurycoma Longifolia significantly improved various indications of male fertility (in humans), though the mechanism of action was unknown. A 2012 study published in “Andrologia: Volume 44” (the same researchers from the above mentioned human study) found that men suffering from hypogonadism (diminishing functionality of the gonads) who were treated with a 200 mg daily dose of Eurycoma longifolia extract reached normal testosterone levels after a 30 day period. To be fair, at the start of the study about 35% of the men were showing normal testosterone levels, and at the end about 90% showed normal levels. Still, 35% to 90% is clearly statistically significant.

Barracuda contains the same 200mg dose shown to restore Testosterone levels in men with low Testosterone in the above mentioned study, and while we can’t say for certain whether this dose can raise Testosterone in healthy individuals, it is effective for restoring/optimizing.

Fenugreek

Trigonella Foenum Greacum (also known as Fenugreek) is an herbal extract that has gained traction in the supplement industry as a libido enhancer. However, a 2009 study, published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, found that males who supplemented with Fenugreek extract showed no increase in anabolic hormones (i.e. testosterone). A 2011 double-blind, placebo controlled study found that 6 weeks of supplementation with a Fenugreek derived supplement (Testofen) led to scoring 25% higher on a libido test (sexual arousal and orgasm in particular) than the placebo group, but with no increase in Testosterone levels, meaning that the mechanism of action was not an increase in Testosterone.

So if these studies have concluded that Fenugreek does not increase testosterone, then how has this supplement gained traction? Well, one 2010 study, published in “The International Journal of Sports Nutrition”, found that supplementation with 500 mg of Fenugreek extract (Testofen again) resulted in a significant increase in free-Testosterone levels. Ultimately, the results are mixed, with two studies indicating no increase in Testosterone and one indicating increased Testosterone. More research is needed to clear up this discrepancy, but for now it appears Fenugreek is only reliable as a libido enhancer, not a Testosterone booster.

Barracuda contains 200mg of Testofen, though as mentioned above Testofen has returned mixed results with regards to raising Testosterone in healthy humans.

Black Pepper Extract

Bioperine is a patented form of Black Pepper Extract which is generally standardized for Piperine. Several studies have found that Piperine can enhance the absorption of various nutrients when co-ingested. This enhanced absorption is due to the inhibition of certain enzymes which breakdown most compounds, as well as the slowing of intestinal transit (increasing the amount of time these compounds are exposed to the possibility of uptake). So, while Bioperine certainly doesn’t have any Testosterone boosting implications, it may enhance the efficacy of the formula in general.

The Bottom Line

Barracuda is definitely one of the most effective natural test-boosters we’ve analyzed, and while there are certainly some questionable ingredients in the formula, there are also some effective Test-boosters/optimizers. The doses of key ingredients are far beyond those found in the average “test-booster”, and ultimately that is what separates Barracuda from products with similar ingredient profiles.

Not sure which test-booster is good for you?  Check out our Best Testosterone-Boosters List!

References

  1. Thakur, Mayank, et al. “Improvement of penile erection, sperm count and seminal fructose levels in vivo and nitric oxide release in vitro by ayurvedic herbs.” Andrologia 43.4 (2011): 273-277.
  2. Thakur, Mayank, et al. “A comparative study on aphrodisiac activity of some ayurvedic herbs in male albino rats.” Archives of sexual behavior 38 (2009): 1009-1015.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bidzinska, B., et al. “Effect of Different Chronic Intermittent Stressors and Acetyl-/-Carnitine on Hypothalamic β-Endorphin and GnRH and on Plasma Testosterone Levels in Male Rats.” Neuroendocrinology 57.6 (1993): 985-990.
  7. Kraemer, William J., et al. “Androgenic responses to resistance exercise: effects of feeding and L-carnitine.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise38.7 (2006): 1288.
  8. Kraemer, WILLIAM J., et al. “The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery.”Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 17.3 (2003): 455-462.
  9. Zenico, T., et al. “Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well‐being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double‐blind clinical trial.” Andrologia 41.2 (2009): 95-99.
  10. Stone, Mark, et al. “A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 126.3 (2009): 574-576.
  11. Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men.”andrologia 34.6 (2002): 367-372.
  12. Gonzales, G. F., et al. “Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men.” Journal of Endocrinology 176.1 (2003): 163-168.
  13. Tambi, M. I. B. M., M. K. Imran, and R. R. Henkel. “Standardised water‐soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late‐onset hypogonadism?.” Andrologia 44.s1 (2012): 226-230.
  14. Ang, H. H., S. Ikeda, and E. K. Gan. “Evaluation of the potency activity of aphrodisiac in Eurycoma longifolia Jack.” Phytotherapy Research 15.5 (2001): 435-436.
  15. Zanoli, P., et al. “Influence of< i> Eurycoma longifolia on the copulatory activity of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 126.2 (2009): 308-313.
  16. Ang, H. H., S. Ikeda, and E. K. Gan. “Evaluation of the potency activity of aphrodisiac in Eurycoma longifolia Jack.” Phytotherapy Research 15.5 (2001): 435-436.
  17. Tambi, Mohd Ismail Bin Mohd, and M. Kamarul Imran. “Eurycoma longifolia Jack in managing idiopathic male infertility.” Asian journal of andrology 12.3 (2010): 376-380.
  18. Bhat, Rajeev, and A. A. Karim. “Tongkat Ali (< i> Eurycoma longifolia Jack): A review on its ethnobotany and pharmacological importance.”Fitoterapia 81.7 (2010): 669-679.
  19. Bushey, Brandon, et al. “Fenugreek Extract Supplementation Has No effect on the Hormonal Profile of Resitance-Trained Males.” International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings. Vol. 2. No. 1. 2009.
  20. Steels E, Rao A, Vitetta L. Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation. Phytother Res. (2011)
  21. Majeed, Muhammed, and Lakshmi Prakash. “Targeting Optimal Nutrient Absorption with Phytonutrients.” (2007)
  22. Badmaev, Vladimir, Muhammed Majeed, and Lakshmi Prakash. “Piperine derived from black pepper increases the plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 following oral supplementation.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 11.2 (2000): 109-113.
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