Battle Fuel XT is MusclePharm’s test-booster which contains a wide array of test-boosting and libido enhancing ingredients, some of which appear more effective than others.
Studies investigating the relationship of Vitamin D to Testosterone have found a strong correlation between adequate levels of Vitamin D and normal Testosterone levels, indicating that Vitamin D plays a role in normalizing Testosterone. However, when looking at the research as a whole, nowhere is there an indication that excess Vitamin D supplementation may result in above normal Testosterone levels. Individuals who receive the proper amount of Vitamin D, either from direct sunlight or through supplementation, will not experience increases in Testosterone as a result of excess Vitamin D consumption.
Magnesium supplementation is alleged to increase, or at the very least, “optimize” Testosterone but, despite these claims, the relationship between Magnesium and Testosterone remains relatively under-researched. A 1992 study, published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” found that Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide) supplementation resulted in a minor, though statistically insignificant, increase in Testosterone. A more recent (2011) study from “Biological Trace Element Research” yielded similar results, and noted that Magnesium increased Testosterone more in exercise subjects than in sedentary ones. Overall, the research indicates that, while Magnesium may play a role in normalizing and possibly increasing Testosterone, any increases are likely to be small.
Zinc is required for the conversion of cholesterol (and other lipids) into sex hormones, as well as the existence of androgen receptors, as evidenced in a 1996 study, in which rats fed a zinc deficient diet experienced a decrease in androgen receptor sites and an increase in estrogen receptor sites. So while Zinc deficiency can certainly result in low testosterone, there is no evidence indicating that supplemental Zinc can increase Testosterone above normal. In fact, there is ample evidence to the contrary. A 2009 study, published in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition”, concluded that zinc (ZMA) supplementation had no influence on serum testosterone levels in non-zinc deficient men. A similar failure to influence testosterone via zinc supplementation was seen in a 2011 study, the subjects of which were trained cyclists who consumed sufficient dietary zinc. However, a 2005 study, the subjects of which were wrestlers, demonstrated that zinc supplementation was able to attenuate exercise-induced declines in testosterone levels. Unlike Magnesium, The relationship of Zinc and Testosterone is quite clear: Zinc supplementation will not increase testosterone above baseline in healthy, non-zinc deficient humans, but can be effective for maintaining consistent testosterone levels during exercise.
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 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 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 evidence so far indicates that D-Aspartic Acid is 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.
Mucuna Pruriens contains a compound called L-Dopa which primarily acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter, Dopamine. A 2008 study found that “Treatment with Mucuna Pruriens regulates steroidogenesis and improves semen quality in infertile men.” In addition to increased levels of Dopamine, Adrenaline, and Noradrenaline, the subjects who recieved Mucuna Pruriens also experienced elevated Testosterone levels. Unfortuantely, there is no evidence to suggest that Mucuna Pruriens can increase Testosterone in healthy individuals with normal Testosterone levels, but the research thus far indicates it may be useful for maintaining optimized Testosterone levels.
Astaracantha Longifolia is an Ayurvedic herb with historical use as an aphrodisiac, and as with most herbal supplements, research is very limited. A 2011 study from “Natural Product Research” found that 100-200mg/kg Astaracantha Longifolia extract fed to rats over 28 days caused an increase in the weight of sexual organs and Prostate, as well as an increase in semen count. While these sorts of physiological changes are generally associated with increased hormone production, the study did not directly measure Testosterone. Currently there is no research to indicate Astaracantha Longifolia can increase Testosterone in humans, but the preliminary findings certainly warrant such research.
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.
Anacylus Pyrethrym is yet another Ayurvedic herb that is alleged to enhance male virility. Evidence regarding it’s potential for boosting Testosterone up to this point is strictly preliminary limited to non-human studies, but the results are relatively promising. A 2013 study from “Phytotherapy Research” demonstrated that Anacylus Pyrethrym (50-150mg/kg daily for 28 days) was able to approximately double testosterone levels in otherwise normal male rats, compared to baseline. This substantial increase in Testosterone would likely explain the equally substantial libido boost seen in an earlier 2009 study involving male rats and using roughly the same dose. While the evidence is still in the preliminary stage, these findings do certainly warrant further research in humans to find out if these effects carry over, and to what degree.
Curculigo Orchioides, like the above mentioned Anacylus Pyrethrym, has some preliminary support for libido/sexuality enhancing. A 2007 study noted a marked increase in sexual activity and weight of sexual organs following treatment with 100mg/kg Curculigo Orchioides extract in male rats. A follow-up (2008) study replicated these findings, and noted increased sperm count as well. While the findings of these two studies can’t conclusively be tied to increased Testosterone, they do support the use of Curculigo Orchioides as an aphrodisiac and warrant further investigation regarding it’s potential for boosting Testosterone.
Suma Extract contains a group of hormones called Ecdysteroids, which have essentially the same function in insects and plants that androgens (like testosterone) have in humans. A 2009 study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism” found that oral supplemental Ecdysterone (10mg/kg daily for 13 weeks) decreased obesity and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet and produced a significant decrease of weight gain and body fat mass. It was noted that Ecdysterone supplementation resulted in mouse adipocytes (fat cells) secreting more Adiponectic, a protein which regulates glucose levels and the breakdown of fatty acids. In vitro studies have demonstrated the potential for Ecdysterone to induce protein synthesis, as well, though it is unknown whether oral supplementation is effective in humans. Given that Ecdysterone appears to produce testosterone-like effects, it has been hypothesized that supplementation may increase testosterone levels.
However, a 2006 study published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found that resistance trained males who were given Ecdysterone (200mg daily for 8 weeks) experienced no changes in free Testosterone levels. A 2008 study, published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” confirmed that Ecdysterone cannot bind to androgen receptors. Therefore, any anabolic effects are not due to increased Testosterone. So, while Ecdysteroids do not affect the hormonal environment in humans, they may help build lean body mass via another mechanism, creating the illusion of increased Testosterone.
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 effect of Maca is not caused by an elevation of testosterone, nor does it have any significant impact on any hormones. 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.
Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) is found mostly in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, etc), but has become relatively popular as a dietary supplement for its potential to alter estrogen metabolism, as evidenced in a 1990 study published in the “Journal of the National Cancer Institute” in which 500mg Indole-3-Carbinol administered to humans significantly up-regulated the conversion of estradiol (major estrogen) into its less active counterparts, Estrone and Estriol. It’s important to understand that the term “Estrogen” is really an umbrella term that refers to a group of compounds including Estradiol, Estrone, and Estriol. The type of “bad estrogen” hated by bodybuilders and cancer patients alike is Estradiol. However, Estradiol can be converted into Estrone and Estriol which don’t cause the negative effects “Estrogen” has become known for. Indole-3-Carbinol may in fact help this conversion take place, leaving less “bad estrogen”.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a byproduct created during the digestion of Indole-3-Carbinol. DIM has been shown to inhibit Estrogen in women with breast cancer, but it is tricky when it comes to its effects on estrogen. In low doses, DIM has been shown to act as an Aromatase Inhibitor (anti-estrogen). Aromatase is the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. By blocking the action of this enzyme, less testosterone is converted into estrogen, and the result is increased levels of testosterone relative to estrogen. A 2011 study found that, when given to subjects at a dose of 300mg daily for 14 days, DIM produced anti-estrogenic effects. Under different circumstances however, DIM has shown the opposite, meaning it actually has the capacity to increase Estrogen. So, rather than labeling DIM as pro-estrogen or anti-estrogen, it should be considered an estrogen modulator (meaning it has the ability to alter levels of estrogen one way or another). DIM appears to increase the level of 2-hydroxyestrogens (“good Estrogen”), relative to the other types, 16a-hydroxyestrogens and 4-hydroxyestrogens (“bad Estrogens”), the result of which is less of an “estrogen-like” effect, even though total Estrogen (good and bad) is being increased.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Battle Fuel XT contains a few ingredients that may ultimately increase Testosterone, several ingredients that may optimize Testosterone levels, and a few ingredients that may enhance libido, creating the illusion of increased Testosterone. As far as non-hormonal Testosterone boosters go, this is actually one of the more well-formulated ones, although some of the ingredients (such as Carnitine) may be at less than the optimal dose. Will Battle Fuel XT skyrocket your Testosterone to near steroid levels? Of course not! But it may result in a moderately noticeable increase and will no doubt ensure optimization. At about $1.50 per serving, MusclePharm isn’t charging the ridiculous premium that most Testosterone boosters go for, but it’s also far from a steal.
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