MuscleTech’s AnoTest is a testosterone booster, the primary driving force behind which is D-Aspartic Acid…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
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.
In one study, L Carnitine L Tartrate was 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 LCLT will not dramatically increase testosterone but may boost levels to the upper end of the normal range.
Boron has somewhat of a questionable track record regarding it’s use as a test booster. In the early days of bodybuilding, Boron became popular, but then lost popularity (one would think because it doesn’t work). Recently, however, Boron is making a come-back with the same claims attached to it. A 2011 study, published in the “Journal of Trace Minerals in Medicine and Biology”, found that boron supplementation (11.6 mg daily) over a one week period was found to increase testosterone to a statistically significant degree (28%). An earlier study (1993), found that daily supplementation with 2.5 mg of boron over a 7 week period failed to increase testosterone levels. The obvious reason for the discrepancy is that the 2011 study used 4-5 times as much boron as the earlier study. While there does appear to be something here, we would still consider the evidence a bit too inconclusive to be sold on boron as a test booster. However, preliminary evidence suggests high doses (over 10mg) may be effective.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that is required for a lot of bodily processes, from immune health, to providing an alternative fuel-source for the brain. However, if you’re a regular at the gym (we assume you are if you’re reading this), you have probably heard of glutamine as it relates to working out. You may have also realized that glutamine, despite being one of the most widely used supplements, is also one of the most debated.
It is true that some of the alleged effects of this amino acid are not quite as grounded in science as some supplement companies (or guys at the gym) might have you think, but to say that it’s completely useless is a gross misconception. Because glutamine is an amino acid, some people assume that it may have a muscle sparing effect. However, these claims are far from substantiated, and while we won’t dispute them, we can’t believe them. So what is glutamine really good for? Glutamine has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression.
While it is true that our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, in the short-term, exercise actually temporarily lowers our immune system, thus making us more susceptible to infection during that time-frame. This temporary compromise of the immune system has been proven to correlate with lower levels of glutamine. For this reason, it is suggested that increased uptake of glutamine may help keep the immune system strong post-exercise. In addition, lower glutamine levels have been recorded in over-trained athletes, which suggests that higher levels of glutamine may help to prevent overtraining.
Leucine is an amino acid that is part of what are known as the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). If you have ever purchased a BCAA product, you may have noticed that it contains more leucine than the other two BCAAs (isoleucine and valine). The ratio is generally something along the lines of 2:1:1 and, while we’re not convinced (because of a lack of scientific studies regarding designed to test this) that the ratio matters all that much, studies do point to luecine as possible “more important” than the others. Therefore, we are comfortable with a higher level of leucine than isoleucine or valine. Leucine is probably the most frequently studied branched chain amino acid out of the three. Supplemental leucine has been shown to increase protein synthesis in rats as well as humans. A 2012 study found that supplementation with 12 g of L-leucine per day resulted in improved protein synthesis in elderly males consuming a low protein diet. While 12 grams is far more than the amount of leucine contained in Amino Energy, these results simply lend credibility to already established notion that supplemental leucine improves muscle protein synthesis.
ISOLEUCINE AND VALINE:
Isoleucine and Valine belong to a group of amino acids known as the branched chain amino acids, as discussed in the L-Leucine section above. The reason they are distinct from other amino acids is that they are metabolized in the muscles, as opposed to the liver. BCAA’s play an important role in that they assist in the manufacturing of other amino acids. Amino acids are rapidly depleted during intense exercise, so replacing BCAA’s allows for more protein synthesis to take place. A 2004 study conducted by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences found that BCAA requirement was significantly increased by exercise and that supplementation had “beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis”. A second study, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, found that, while BCAA intake did not seem to affect amino acid concentration during exercise, it did have a protein-sparing effect during recovery. In other words, we do not necessarily subscribe to the theory that BCAA’s increase strength or muscular performance during exercise, but there is ample evidence that supplemental BCAAs prevent the excessive breakdown of muscle protein.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is required for a wide range of bodily functions, the most well-documented of which is its role in immune function. Several studies have demonstrated the ability of zinc to shorten cold symptoms. Zinc has also been studied for its possible role in testosterone production. A 2005 study noted that men with fertility issues stemming from low testosterone also had low plasma zinc levels. Further research has indicated that low testosterone can be caused by low zinc intake, but there is no evidence that zinc intake can increase testosterone beyond the normal range. People who eat a diet with plenty of meats and seafood (especially shellfish) receive enough dietary zinc to fulfill all physiological needs, and will not experience low testosterone levels related to zinc intake. The only people likely to experience increased testosterone levels as a result of zinc supplementation are those who have low testosterone levels solely because of low zinc intake. However, these individuals could just as easily consume more dietary zinc to correct the problem.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
D-Aspartic Acid is clearly the main attraction here, but we acknowledge that Boron and L-Carnitine may help to enhance the overall hormonal environment as well. Realistically, the most likely candidates to see results from this product are those with low tesosterone levels, but it is possible that people with normal test levels may derive some benefit as well. However, It is also important to understand that, in order to consume scientifically validated doses of the ingredients, two servings must be consumed. At a price of $50 for 40 servings, or $1.25/serving, which doubles to $2.50/serving (20 servings) if you take two at a time, AnoTest is certainly on the expensive side compared to similar supplements. However, this is common with MuscleTech products as they do charge a premium for the transparency and brand name.
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- 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.