What are Testosterone Boosters & Testosterone Supplements?
Testosterone boosters are supplements that work to increase levels of testosterone present in the blood and are taken to promote muscle growth.  Testosterone or testo boosters, have been revered for their ability to increase the sex hormone and boost libido in men. 
Do you need Testosterone Boosters?
Low of levels of testosterone may occur in patients undergoing chemotherapy, those that have testicular injuries, irregularities in the hypothalamus and pituitary regions of the brain or underlying genetic problems.  Introducing testosterone supplements into your daily routine may help promote an increase in muscle mass and definition when combined with endurance and strength training.
Formats of testosterone booster include capsules, powders, transdermal patch, injections, topical cream or application to the buccal system (inner cheek or gums). 
Natural Testosterone Booster
For males who suffer from low levels of testosterone, many struggle with how to increase testosterone naturally. Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in muscle mass, bone mass, libido, accumulation of central body fat and decrease in overall quality of life.  With an increasing amount of herbal or natural remedies available to consumers, it’s time to evaluate which test boosters are worth your time.
The first way to increase testosterone is to evaluate your current diet and lifestyle habits. Identifying a lack of vitamins or nutrients can be the first step to help increase testosterone levels.
A diet lacking in Zinc an essential mineral that helps growth and development can lead to a decline in the immune system and ability to maintain normal testosterone levels. You can raise your daily intake of Zinc by increasing the consumption of red meats (particularly lamb), lobster, whole grains and beans. Adding a ZMA (zinc, magnesium, aspartate) supplement can also support the absorption of Zinc. Making overall changes to your dietary intake may go a long way in boosting testosterone back to regular levels.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps regulate body functions, including testosterone production, plays a key role in healthy bone density, supports the immune system and reduces inflammation. In 2010, an Austrian study researched how to boost testosterone levels by supplementing Vitamin D as a nature testosterone supplement in healthy overweight men. They found that subjects who received a daily dose of Vitamin D displayed a significant increase in bioactive, free and total testosterone levels, compared to those in the placebo group.  As the body cannot produce Vitamin D naturally, taking time to get outdoors is crucial so it can be absorbed through the skin.
If you’ve adjusted these lifestyle factors and are still experiencing irregular levels of testosterone, starting a testosterone treatment plan may be right for you.
What Does Testosterone Do?
Testosterone is the naturally occurring male growth hormone responsible for the development of male sex organs and the production of secondary male sex characteristics.  Produced in the testes, testosterone is the primary sex hormone found in men.  Testosterone helps contribute to typical male characteristics such as: muscle and fat distribution, growth of sex organs, sperm production, deepening of the voice and producing body hair.  While both men and women produce testosterone, women have much smaller amounts.
How to Increase Testosterone
New studies on D-Aspartic Acids (D-AA), an endogenous amino acid involved in the release of testosterone show positive results for temporarily increasing male fertility rates. In a cohort study of 60 infertile men subjects, D-AA was taken over 90 days. The researchers observed a 30-60% increase in testosterone concentrations in serum, increase in seminal motility and a 60-100% increase in seminal count. 
In healthy males, a 2013 double-blind study reported that D-AA had little significant changes in body weight, lean mass or power output compared to a placebo when used in combination with resistance training. 
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Epimedium or Horny Goat Weed has been promoted as one of the natural testosterone supplements available for men. Regarded as an aphrodisiac, it’s active ingredient Icariin has been thought to increase libido for both genders.  With minor significance on bone mineral density and no strong influence on female growth hormones,  more research is needed to determine if Epimedium is a significant testosterone booster.
To research the potential testosterone boosting effects of Icariin, the active ingredient in Epimedium, researchers administered the herb to a controlled group of laboratory rats at a dose of 200mg a day for seven consecutive days. 
The animals were randomly divided into groups of 12 each. The first was a control group (C), model group (M), the icariin group (ICA) and the testosterone groups (T). Groups M, ICA, and T received five days of cyclophosphamide treatment to inhibit testosterone production and damage the reproductive system to mimic the effects of low testosterone. The control group was administered nothing.
On the sixth day, the ICA group was administered Icariin at 40% purity for seven consecutive days. The T group was injected with sterandryl (a fast-acting testosterone) for seven consecutive days. The results concluded that the administration of Icariin improved the circulation of testosterone and function of reproduction organs, compared to the model and controlled groups.  While the levels of serum testosterone concentration were highest in the synthetic testosterone group, Icariin proved to be the most effective natural ingredient to increase testosterone levels.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone which is naturally produced in the body which can additionally switch into testosterone or estrogen depending on the user. Taking a dosage of 200mg has been observed to boost testosterone levels in adults over 40. 
Emerging research show positive results linking caffeine to increased levels of testosterone when taken before resistance training exercise. In 2008, a double-blind study followed the effects of caffeine on twenty-four professional rugby players who ingested varying doses: 0, 200, 400 and 800mg.  The subjects’ testosterone levels were measured at the time of ingestion, at 15 minute intervals throughout the workout, then an additional 15 and 30 minutes after the session concluded. The results indicated that caffeine at the highest dosage of 800mg increased testosterone by 21% and cortisol by 52%. 
Testosterone Booster Side Effects
Introducing testosterone booster supplements can result in changes to the physical, hormonal or even mental state of the user. 
Supplements such as D-AA work by stimulating the hypothalamic region. As the brain is signaled to increase testosterone levels, the body may try to increase the production of estrogen to match demand.  Further anti-estrogen steps can be taken to combat this reaction and inhibit the enzyme that converts androgen hormones into estrogen.  
High doses of Zinc, DHEA or D-AA may lead to side effects that include elevated cholesterol, increased risk for liver or kidney problems and increase risk in prostate cancer.  Prolonged stimulation can lead to fatigue of the adrenal gland over time. 
Testosterone Booster Benefits
There are numerous benefits of testosterone booster therapy which can include improvement of muscle mass, body composition, bone density, mood, sexual function and quality of life.  While less researched, improvements of self-image, cognitive function and reduction of sleep apnea may occur. 
GNC Testosterone Booster – and other retailers
If you’re looking to buy a testosterone booster, there are plenty of over the counter testosterone supplements that can easily be purchased in store or online. GNC, along with other local supplement retailers carry a variety of products to fit your individual needs.
Common formats of GNC testosterone booster include: capsules, powders or liquid soft gels. Injections, skin patches or topical creams may be prescribed by a physician once diagnosed for testosterone deficiency.
A quick search for testosterone booster GNC, testosterone supplements GNC or testosterone pills GNC provides nearly 100 different products to choose from including Nugenix Testosterone Booster, King Fisher Black Hardcore Formulation Testosterone Booster and Force Factor Test X180 ALPHA.  Don’t waste time trying to find out which product is right for you – read our Buying Guide to discover the best testosterone booster. (link to buying guide)
Controversy – Are testosterone boosters safe?
While the research is still ongoing on the long term health effects associated with testosterone booster pills and therapies, men suffering from low testosterone levels still wonder are testosterone boosters bad for you?
The most effective way to evaluate what’s the safest testosterone booster for you is to cautiously integrate any supplement into your daily routine. Untreated low testosterone levels over long periods of time may be associated with producing onset markers for cardiovascular disease.  You should always consult your health care provider before incorporating a new supplement to your routine to ensure it is right for you.
In 2011, the FDA recalled an on the shelf male testosterone booster, Uprizing 2.0 after tests showed the testosterone booster pills contained a banned synthetic steroid, Superdrol which can lead to possible acute liver injury and further serious long-term health risks.  While hundreds of testosterone pills exist today, the FDA only review prescription testosterone booster therapies. Most testosterone boosters are sold over the counter and do not require a prescription to be purchased. Many test boosters use ingredients that can be found on the FDA ingredient website which have been deemed safe for human use.
Health Canada has also conducted a safety review on whether taking prescription-only testosterone replacement therapies have a connection to increased cardiovascular risks. The review concluded that a possibility of increased risk for cardiovascular disease may exist in patients taking testosterone replacement therapy for long periods of time. 
Health Canada maintains an active list of approved natural health products for consumers to purchase. Testosterone boosters such as Six Star Testosterone Booster and NOW ZMA – along with many others- maintain active approval status as reviewed and licensed natural health products in Canada. 
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