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David

Natural Stimulants/tongkat Ali/gingseng/maca

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Hi, has anyone tried Tongkat Ali? it's an Asian herb that's marketed as a natural way to boost t-levels. Among, um, other things.

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Never tried it, but all of these natural tboosters are probably useless.

 

About the most you can hope for is to be brought up into normal range due to the supplement covering some kind of mineral/vitamin deficiency you might have.

 

Also taking a supp for improving...clears throat...morning wood, is not the same as improving gym performance and muscularity.

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As Simon said most seem bunk, Examine.com is a good place to check the research and find out if something works.

 

If you specifically want to increase testosterone naturally you want to make sure you sleep plenty (depending on other factors bad sleep might only low testosterone marginally but it certainly will mess up the T/C ration through increased cortisol, the stress hormone). Secondly you want to look to your diet, mineral deficiencies (especially zinc) cause lower testosterone production and a lot of people avoid the foods that most Men crave and actually need i.e. a shit ton of red meat and eggs. They are high cholesterol but dietary cholesterol does not mess with your blood if you have a balanced diet.

 

If your looking at sexual characteristics then red meat and eggs are the way to go.

 

Most of the men in my team at work (from my age 30 to 40s) eat low fat diets and avoid red meat and eggs and needed a ton of fertility treatment.  

 

I got my wife pregnant literally the instant we started trying (we did deliberately time things with her cycle but still...), and I eat a ton of red meat, eggs and lift heavy. Now this is anecdotal evidence, and I am younger but my body is also broken to fuck with a number of chronic health issues - combined with insomnia does not bode well for such things.

 

I am 100% convinced that my lifting life style with plenty of red meat and eggs, helped things on the sexual side of testosterone.

 

The story is the same with some of my friends and family, low fat diets = bad fertility (which I believe to be testosterone related). 

 

The only real proven benefits of natural t-boosters is on the fertility aspect (not training) and this is only in people who are pretty deficient anyway. So the only benefit for natural testosterone boosting is going to be sexual, but you may be wasting money on supplements that could buy you a steak which when cooked rare also contains more creatine (cooking breaks it down) so that's another benefit.

 

There are a few which are proven like d-aspartic acid ( I think thats the spelling off the top of my head) but again this is only on the fertility side for people who are deficient, and the benefits are short term (the body stops increasing production after a while so it no longer works).

 

 

Check here for specifics: http://examine.com/supplements/Eurycoma+Longifolia+Jack/

(thats another name for the same thing). If you check the matrix it shows the results of studies in an easy to read chart, but there is little evidence it seems (scientific consensus is 50% over 3 studies as to whether or not it does actually boost testosterone or not, and while there is a 100% for some fertility aspects - it is taken from a single study which means little on a grand scale, you need more studies for accuracy etc)

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Thanks much guys.  I've been obsessively reading around - several sites including examine.com, and taking another look at earlier threads on this forum  - and have come to the same conclusion about natural alleged t-boosting: i'm going to save my money.  

 

@Leon - many thanks for the detailed info.  In my case, the two things I really haven't looked more closely at are sleep and stress.  I don't get enough of the former and probably too much of the latter.  Both are due to my line of work (news media).  I've always kind of thrown up my hands about both issues, but there really may be some things I can do.  I am going to take a closer look at herbal supplements that might help with the stress.  

 

Regarding that, um, other issue not related to muscle growth, may give ginseng a try. :)

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Apparently Maca also has benefit for both men and women in that arena--and it does not manipulate hormones.

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Thanks, Mav.  I've done some more reading and will try one or the other - Maca or Ginseng - and see what happens, if anything.  

 

One thing I didn't mention, and which is another (and probably more important) reason I'm looking for some kind of natural supplement, is that I drink a ton of coffee every day and would like to cut back on that a little without feeling like i'm going to fall asleep halfway through my morning.   So we'll see.  

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FWIW, I tried Maca in capsule form a few years ago after reading that it can boost energy and endurance.  It made me itch horribly, so I abandoned it after a few days.  I saw no positive effects, though that's probably because I didn't take it long enough.  (I'm not allergic to broccoli or other cruciferous veggies related to maca, so I have no idea why the capsules made me want to claw my arms off.)

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You can get green tea with ginseng ( I have seen it with rapsberry as well for flavour). Tastes great and is basically 0-1 calories per cup as you don't add milk with green tea (and providing your not a sugar fiend). That might be a good sub for your morning coffee.

 

Some people are aware that tea contains more caffeine than coffee but this should be specified to the tea leaves containing more than the coffee bean, once the beverage is actually prepared you would normally have much less caffeine in the tea as less transfers into the hot water (unless you steep it for a long time). Coffee is usually brewed with more coffee bean than the equivalent tea leave weight as well (especially if you like it strong). Green tea also contains less caffiene than black tea, so if your wanting to reduce your caffeine intake this would be a great substitute in my opinion (and kills two birds with one stone if you have it with ginsing). Some studies suggest green tea may also aid fat loss, but I am not sure there has been enough evidence on that yet.

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Regarding cutting coffee down, the approach I took worked well.  Set yourself a "No coffee after this time" limit, and back it down one hour a week.  If your last drink happens to be at 9pm, make the first week no coffee after 8pm.  Finally, when you get to noon, start dropping one serving of coffee a week until you get to just one in the morning.

 

It's really all about easing out of the caffeine addiction and giving your body time to adapt to the new lower levels of caffeine.  This approach seemed to minimize headaches from caffeine withdrawal.  By the end of the week my energy levels normalized.

 

Caffeine is a dopamine receptor inhibitor, which leaves the adrenaline to dominate.  When used as a training tool, caffeine before/during training can help you work a bit harder.  When used to help you get through the day, your body adapts by either producing more dopamine or less adrenaline (probably a combination of both).  Cutting cold turkey throws your body out of whack because it's so used to it's presence now.  That's why you can get so tired when you don't have it (dopamine levels are increasing above normal).

 

Long story short, if you deal with the caffeine issue, your energy levels will normalize and you will feel more alert throughout the day because your body isn't working so hard.

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Some people are aware that tea contains more caffeine than coffee but this should be specified to the tea leaves containing more than the coffee bean, once the beverage is actually prepared you would normally have much less caffeine in the tea as less transfers into the hot water (unless you steep it for a long time). Coffee is usually brewed with more coffee bean than the equivalent tea leave weight as well (especially if you like it strong). Green tea also contains less caffiene than black tea, so if your wanting to reduce your caffeine intake this would be a great substitute in my opinion (and kills two birds with one stone if you have it with ginsing). Some studies suggest green tea may also aid fat loss, but I am not sure there has been enough evidence on that yet.

 

Green tea contains about 25mg caffeine per serving while coffee can have in excess of 100mg.  Black teas can be even more than that.  Herbal teas don't have caffeine usually.  However, I do recommend slowly easing out of the higher caffeine intake to the lower caffeine intake or your alertness will nosedive and you can get some pretty bad headaches.

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Thanks all. I've gotten some Maca powder and am going to give that a try. My intention is to stick with it for a few weeks.

At the same time I'm going to try to cut back on caffeine. FM your plan sounds like a good one. Biggest hurdle right now is that when I was in Italy a few weeks ago I fell in love with espresso. I'm now making myself a couple of pots a day at home. That's on top of a couple of cups at work every day. I know that much caffeine can't be good. Must be a better way to stay energized and on top of my game.

EDIT: And Berin, I definitely hear you about the gradual cutback. I've experienced the withdrawal headaches many times. My hope is as the natural stimulant kicks in, I'll need the caffeine less and less. We'll see.

Also,I have renamed this thread as the topic has broadened out.

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Yep.  Gotta get that body chemistry back on track.

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Jesus, I thought I drank a lot of coffee! Having an espresso machine is dangerous business.

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Hey Mike. It's not a machine actually, it's a moka pot. 30 bucks from bed bath and beyond. Common item in Europe, known as the poor mans espresso machine. It's simple, brilliantly designed and awesome. Anyway.

Fwiw I bought some organic powdered maca yesterday and threw a few teaspoons in my Greek yogurt this morning. I really like the taste. Time will tell about the alleged benefits. I'll update here. If it doesn't work in a few weeks then it's onto ginseng

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