All things "T"

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    All things "T"


    This is a thread that will be driven to talk about all things testosterone-related (levels, age-related decline, etc...)...this is NOT a place for PCT and/or AAS discussion; that will be discussed in a separate place.



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    Dr. H, what supplement protocol could be recommended for a male in their mid 30's looking to maximise endogenous T production? Wondering in terms of both vitamin/mineral supplementation as well as supplementing with things like DAA, anti-e, cortisol controller etc.

    What do you think about the claims of transdermal magnesium oil in regard to naturally increasing DHEA levels?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    Dr. H, what supplement protocol could be recommended for a male in their mid 30's looking to maximise endogenous T production? Wondering in terms of both vitamin/mineral supplementation as well as supplementing with things like DAA, anti-e, cortisol controller etc.

    What do you think about the claims of transdermal magnesium oil in regard to naturally increasing DHEA levels?
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    I also have a question of my own, which I know you won't be able to give a definitive answer, but maybe make a recommendation for me.

    My age is 29 years old. It seems I've been suffering from somewhat low energy levels, especially in the mornings, and an overall lack of "motivation". Now, this could be due to the fact that I work somewhat of a screwed up shift, 12:30pm to 8:30pm if I'm lucky. This throws off my sleep patterns and really alters the time of day I get things done (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking), usually later at night. This makes it a pain to wake up in the morning to workout but I get through it. I do need to work on getting better quality sleep, that's just about priority #1 for me.

    I have a sky high libido, no "performance issues", I get "no reason boners" throughout the day at work (which are a pain in the arse haha!), have slight acne at 29years old, and oily skin. Signs of at least somewhat normal T levels. Last summer I was in the doctors office and had mentioned to him that I wanted a hormone test done just to see where my levels were at. He asked me if I was having any ED and I said no, but didn't bring up the energy levels at that point because it hadn't been an ongoing issue. He basically blew off the question, which surprised me b/c he's actually an awesome doctor, and I walked out with no answers and no tests.

    Also I've been really stressed for about the past year or so. I got a promotion last summer to supervisor of my shift which came with more hours and more responsibility (which is fine with me). And also I've been trying to dig myself out of debt, so money has been stressful as well. I seem to carry stress with me.

    To you, just going by my slight description above, what do you think? Something to do with T levels? Maybe screwed up Cortisol? I know there's no way to tell for sure, and before the end of the year I'm going to get bloods done whether he wants me to or not. I simply can't afford to get ANYTHING like that done at the moment, so I NEED to wait. Anything you could maybe suggest trying in the meantime that COULD help?
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    You could always get your own labs done through privatemdlabs.com. I had mine done last year for $50, a full blood test, total T, E2, LH, and FSH.

    I too would be interested in the Doc's thoughts on maximizing age related T through supplementation and lifestyle / diet.
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    Dr. Houser,

    A. I am not too familiar with the MOA of most herbal T-boosters. Could you possibly elucidate on these mechanisms for common t-boosting ingredients (Divanil and/or Fadogia).

    B. If someone has low testosterone, could OTC testosterone boosters provide any chance of an HPTA restart/boost?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    Dr. H, what supplement protocol could be recommended for a male in their mid 30's looking to maximise endogenous T production? Wondering in terms of both vitamin/mineral supplementation as well as supplementing with things like DAA, anti-e, cortisol controller etc.

    What do you think about the claims of transdermal magnesium oil in regard to naturally increasing DHEA levels?
    Your question is two-fold...maximizing endogenous T is not that tricky per se. We have already discussed some agents in this subforum at large DAA + Various AI (potent versus more mild) in the DAA thread. Mucuna, as discussed in the fertility thread and DAA threads may also interest you. There are some other ones that work on libido efforts, but alas - it may not sound like what you are looking for (although I am unsure). Sometimes libido is a marker of low-T or low-E if non-existant. Likewise high libido is a marker of high-T OR high-E for different reasons (will discuss this in a later response). Fertility too is a good surrogate for low T levels and the treatment of fertility has some utility in management of low tesstosterone, so while many may not be concerned about fertility and libido...they are great outward markers to assess how we're "doing."

    ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ____

    Vitamin/Mineral supplementation will likely not do much unless you are deficient in a particular nutrient. Vitamin D, Boron, Zinc, Magnesium, Selenium are all good choices (in order from most data to least). I don't care for multi-vitamin preps because even though people think they are "cost efficient" - you wind up neutralizing half of the mineral content and you may as well go without in my estimation.

    ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ____

    Anti-cortisol cascade worth talking about:

    I will over-simplify this to illustrate a point...

    DHEA --> 7-keto DHEA --> 7-OH DHEA --> bAET

    Oral bioavailability decreases going Left to Right
    Anti-Cortisol properties increase going Left to Right
    You have a heightened response from the thyroid gland with 7-keto which is lost 7-OH onward.

    * I think 7-OH and bAET, UNLESS transdermal will suffer too much from oral preps and need to be dosed EXCEEDINGLY high.
    * 7-Keto has decent data at 200mg / day which you can find at your local vitamin shoppe in 100mg caps for like $20 (probably even cheaper on-line, but I haven't priced it). You get the added thyroid effect at no additional cost to you.
    * I think Patrick Arnold makes a transdermal 11-oxo product which (although not outlined in this cascade) would also be decent in this regard, but you might get a little more "T" boosting in higher dose.

    I personally just find transdermals to be a pain in the a**.

    ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ___

    As for transdermal magnesium oil...why would you if oral is probably utilized at a rate sufficient to prevent deficiencies and beyond that data is scant for a more efficacious offering - at least on the testosterone scale. As for DHEA, it's too far upstream (meaning a potential for increased E > T) for a guy in his 30's to be concerned about anyway.


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    Quote Originally Posted by BurghHardcore View Post
    I also have a question of my own, which I know you won't be able to give a definitive answer, but maybe make a recommendation for me.

    My age is 29 years old. It seems I've been suffering from somewhat low energy levels, especially in the mornings, and an overall lack of "motivation". Now, this could be due to the fact that I work somewhat of a screwed up shift, 12:30pm to 8:30pm if I'm lucky. This throws off my sleep patterns and really alters the time of day I get things done (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking), usually later at night. This makes it a pain to wake up in the morning to workout but I get through it. I do need to work on getting better quality sleep, that's just about priority #1 for me.

    I have a sky high libido, no "performance issues", I get "no reason boners" throughout the day at work (which are a pain in the arse haha!), have slight acne at 29years old, and oily skin. Signs of at least somewhat normal T levels. Last summer I was in the doctors office and had mentioned to him that I wanted a hormone test done just to see where my levels were at. He asked me if I was having any ED and I said no, but didn't bring up the energy levels at that point because it hadn't been an ongoing issue. He basically blew off the question, which surprised me b/c he's actually an awesome doctor, and I walked out with no answers and no tests.

    Also I've been really stressed for about the past year or so. I got a promotion last summer to supervisor of my shift which came with more hours and more responsibility (which is fine with me). And also I've been trying to dig myself out of debt, so money has been stressful as well. I seem to carry stress with me.

    To you, just going by my slight description above, what do you think? Something to do with T levels? Maybe screwed up Cortisol? I know there's no way to tell for sure, and before the end of the year I'm going to get bloods done whether he wants me to or not. I simply can't afford to get ANYTHING like that done at the moment, so I NEED to wait. Anything you could maybe suggest trying in the meantime that COULD help?
    One of the failings of "modern" medicine. To me, EVERY male should have baseline male panel labs drawn between the ages of 20-25 years. This offers a gauge on what people are feeling when they come to me with any subjective offering (low libido, low energy, etc...). If there levels dipped say 20% too quickly, they may feel it more than 20% gradual decline over the last decade or two.

    For you...one of two hypothetical reasons sounds on point IF "low energy" equals "low T" in you although that may be hard to discern with just what you have presented alone because of all you have going on that confounds the picture... (1) If your work schedule etc... is the root, it could ultimately have lead to the "big drop too quick I referenced above" and you are just seeing early manifestations...don't worry, if that's the case, libido will likely follow (although if you're not married, you may have a lot more advantage as being presented with the novel female does have its advantages in that department). (2) It could be that you have high E and low T (or at least estrogen dominance). In that case, and what people forget, is that estrogen DOES in fact play a role in sex drive. Both estrogen receptors, namely ERα and ERβ, which bind to estradiol with similar affinity, have been identified in numerous sites in the brain. For example, both are present in the arcuate nucleus and the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, while ERα is present in the ventromedial nucleus and ERβ in the paraventricular nucleus. These regions of the hypothalamus are important in reproduction, sexual behavior, thermoregulation, and feeding behavior. Both receptors also appear to be present in the amygdala and hippocampus, where they may be involved in short-term memory and emotion. ERβ has also been identified in the cerebellum and in cortical regions. So, higher order issues could theoretically be at fault here as well on more of a high E scale.



    Quote Originally Posted by cosmosis View Post
    You could always get your own labs done through privatemdlabs.com. I had mine done last year for $50, a full blood test, total T, E2, LH, and FSH.

    I don't think this is a bad idea; in fact, I have had some guys do this since Patrick Arnold pointed it out to me if I figure insurance coverage would be an issue anyway. The only thing I caution against is SELF-INTERPRETATION; minimally have a qualified on-looker suggest if something warrants further work-up. Sometimes "normal range" values are a problem in that people never had a chance of falling in "range."

    I would add a lipid panel, chemistry, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (all inherently involved with testosterone) to the above mentioned things. If you can actually see ESTRONE (E1) and ESTRADIOL (E2); that information would be VERY useful.


    I too would be interested in the Doc's thoughts on maximizing age related T through supplementation and lifestyle / diet.
    In the finishing stages before copyright on a book on this very topic; because there were enough thing to write a book on...maybe you could direct your question a little bit more as I wouldn't know where to begin. There are plenty of lifestyle and diet modifications that can be undertaken.

    Basic Lifestyle things lie with endocrine disrupters (i.e. - phytoestrogens, xenoestrogens)...

    Basic Diet things lie with androgen precursor like Monounsaturated Fats and Saturated Fats increasing T; while Polyunsaturated Fats increase E ... but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have polys in your diet...they are heart and brain healthy and essential like omega-3's.

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    thanks Dr.D!
    I will soon be starting bulk DAA + Sarcosine at 3 grams each per day. For estrogen control I have some DS Triazole which I am planning to use at 4 caps/day (http://www.nutraplanet.com/product/d...ease-caps.html). For anti-cortisol I will be using 600-800mg Phoshatidyl Serine in the AM post cardio. I will look into your 7-keto suggestion when that is finished.

    "As for transdermal magnesium oil...why would you if oral is probably utilized at a rate sufficient to prevent deficiencies and beyond that data is scant for a more efficacious offering - at least on the testosterone scale. As for DHEA, it's too far upstream (meaning a potential for increased E > T) for a guy in his 30's to be concerned about anyway."

    If the transdermal mag is not beneficial from a T vs E standpoint, would it at least provide any benefit to cortisol control?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    thanks Dr.D!
    I will soon be starting bulk DAA + Sarcosine at 3 grams each per day. For estrogen control I have some DS Triazole which I am planning to use at 4 caps/day (http://www.nutraplanet.com/product/d...ease-caps.html). For anti-cortisol I will be using 600-800mg Phoshatidyl Serine in the AM post cardio. I will look into your 7-keto suggestion when that is finished.
    Are you into anti-cortisol for the purposes of shifting toward anabolism or fat loss? Remember that fat loss is catabolic and in order to truly rid the body of fat...cortisol (major catabolic hormone) is not always a bad thing....IF that's what you're trying to do.

    I wish I had more experience with Triazole. I like Matt Cahill (company owner) a great deal and feel his products have usually delivered. Lastly I have heard great things about it...I just am a guy who needs to see visual lab proof in my own hands for me to ever consider recommending it. That doesn't mean I don't; I'm just not qualified to make any suggestions on it.


    "As for transdermal magnesium oil...why would you if oral is probably utilized at a rate sufficient to prevent deficiencies and beyond that data is scant for a more efficacious offering - at least on the testosterone scale. As for DHEA, it's too far upstream (meaning a potential for increased E > T) for a guy in his 30's to be concerned about anyway."
    If the transdermal mag is not beneficial from a T vs E standpoint, would it at least provide any benefit to cortisol control?
    Magnesium, itself, is good in the testosterone department. I have just seen absolutely NO data outside of the use of oral and intravenous magnesium in their (manufacturers') ads. The mineral itself is incapable of making an oil...When magnesium chloride blends with water, it creates a solution that can have a somewhat 'slick' feeling. That experience is not the result of oil in any way. This is a mineral and oil is not produced by its chemical breakdown at all. A lot of people offer complaint about washing it off, etc... and not much in the way of positive effects. I am unsure why people would put their money into it when there are so many more EFFECTIVE (research-backed) items. Alas, I will point out as objective an argument as I can and avoid subjectivity...it is your guys' opinion if you'd like to invest in various products...you can be the judge beyond this.


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    Dr. Houser, I just had some bloodwork done and was wondering if you could point in a direction of where to go next and any other thoughts you have. I have been having some issues with feeling lethargic a lot since mid-June, and I've been to a couple different doctors, who ran some tests which all came back negative (liver, kidney, lipids, glucose, mono). I finally convinced them to test for thyroid function which came back normal. The doctor kind of shrugged it off and said if you are still having symptoms when you come back, we can rerun the tests. I was very annoyed by this, so I went through privatemdlabs and had my own bloodwork done, specifically for male hormones (testosterone).

    The results were:
    TSH 0.940uIU/mL (0.450-4.500)
    Thyroxine 10.7ug/dL (4.5-12.0)
    T3 Uptake 39% (24-39)
    Free Thyroxine Index 4.2 (1.2-4.9)
    Testosterone, Serum 301 ng/dL (249-836) *A note said range will change today to 348-1197, which would put me in the low value
    Testosterone, Free 11.8 ng/dL (5.00-21.00)
    % Free Testosterone 3.92 % (1.50-4.20)
    Estradiol, Sensitive 14 pg/mL (3-70)
    Insulin-Like Growth Factor I 350 ng/mL (116-358)

    There is more in the results including CBC, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, and Lipids. If any of that would be helpful, I can post those as well.

    I'm thinking that since I'm 25, my test should be higher than what it is, and that I need to find a good endocrinologist in my area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.cooper69 View Post
    A. I am not too familiar with the MOA of most herbal T-boosters. Could you possibly elucidate on these mechanisms for common t-boosting ingredients (Divanil and/or Fadogia).

    Nettle (from which "Divanil" is the most prominent extract in sports nutrition) is commonly used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and the best suggestion of a mechanism has lied with a rat study (frankly, all mechanisms are best understood with rat studies actually just due to the ability to manipulate said subjects in the research setting, but people usually will try and denounce the studies and that is probably the biggest misdirection). You hear a lot about dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent natural by-product of testosterone, as causing BPH, but the finger of guilt is turning toward ESTROGEN (as it does in many things). Estrogens (yes...pleural) are found in men as well BUT become more dominant as men age. In order for estradiol (E2) to enlarge the prostate, it has to first stick to a protein called sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) while this protein is attached to a prostate cell membrane (the same mechanism can be suggested around hair follicles with age-related alopecia). The linkage between estradiol and SHBG on the cell membrane directs another protein called insulin-like growth factor (something you may have heard of for other reasons) to stimulate the growth of prostate cells, causing prostate enlargement. Nettle might stop E2 from doing this in a couple of ways.

    Some aqueous lignans from nettle root can significantly bind to SHBG and prevent it from anchoring to its realm of activity, the cell membrane, at least in test tube studies. Lignans from other plants, like flaxseed are also capable of binding SHBG (but also increase estrogen as a result of this binding, so using it in any therapeutic way is very limited as there is an upper limit to how much you can use). The lignan in particular 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofurn (Divanil, made popular by DS or Designer Supplements and a lot of other companies) binds SHBG "outstandingly" well. The same German researchers also suggest that it harbors some level of aromatic blockade preventing conversion of T to E but this data is not readily available for review and does not appear to have been repeated. Pervasive rumors that nettle is an aromatase inhibitor are thus premature.


    Because of this SHBG binding, it has been extended to the world of sports nutrition for perhaps obvious reasons, BUT one must also consider estrogen-binding now also being "freed" up and as a result a higher level of circulating free E...so I don't think it is best taken without concurrent use of an anti-E supplement...so DS has probably again gotten it right with their Triazole component to their T-boosting stack. I won't get into the issues surrounding the percentage based extracts.


    Fadogia, while less clear simply because it hasn't been studied as well seems to look like a testosterone upregulator simply by the aqueous extract's biochemical concentrations alone. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of alkaloids and saponins while anthraquinones and flavonoids are weakly present. In the rat studies to illicit what mechanism was at hand...it merely came down to the clinical effects of increased "mount activity," intromission frequency and significantly prolonged the ejaculatory latency. There was a decrease in mount and intromission latency (likely correlating with refractory periods in humans). Now, whether it amounts to anything more than an aphrodisiac is beyond me, but it is usually a good libido boost minimally in these preparations if not anything else.



    B. If someone has low testosterone, could OTC testosterone boosters provide any chance of an HPTA restart/boost?
    Possibly...see DAA thread as its probably the best thing we have with its triphasic mechanism.



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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymode View Post
    Dr. Houser, I just had some bloodwork done and was wondering if you could point in a direction of where to go next and any other thoughts you have. I have been having some issues with feeling lethargic a lot since mid-June, and I've been to a couple different doctors, who ran some tests which all came back negative (liver, kidney, lipids, glucose, mono). I finally convinced them to test for thyroid function which came back normal. The doctor kind of shrugged it off and said if you are still having symptoms when you come back, we can rerun the tests. I was very annoyed by this, so I went through privatemdlabs and had my own bloodwork done, specifically for male hormones (testosterone).

    The results were:
    TSH 0.940uIU/mL (0.450-4.500)
    Thyroxine 10.7ug/dL (4.5-12.0)
    T3 Uptake 39% (24-39)
    Free Thyroxine Index 4.2 (1.2-4.9)
    Testosterone, Serum 301 ng/dL (249-836) *A note said range will change today to 348-1197, which would put me in the low value
    Testosterone, Free 11.8 ng/dL (5.00-21.00)
    % Free Testosterone 3.92 % (1.50-4.20)
    Estradiol, Sensitive 14 pg/mL (3-70)
    Insulin-Like Growth Factor I 350 ng/mL (116-358)

    There is more in the results including CBC, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, and Lipids. If any of that would be helpful, I can post those as well.

    I'm thinking that since I'm 25, my test should be higher than what it is, and that I need to find a good endocrinologist in my area.
    The difficulty I have in interpreting your results is that, although you are very young (and I don't believe no matter what the "normal values" are quoted at that a reading of 301 on the total T scale is "normal," I don't have a baseline number. I think everyone ages 20-25 years NEEDS baseline lab work. If your reading is 301 now and was say 350 in June...it probably doesn't account for the change in energy, et al... However, let's say your bloodwork in June would have shown an 800 or even a little lower...the net change is far greater and will manifest as clinical symptoms easier.

    I fault you for getting a "Free Test" level (and I don't know if privatemdlabs.com does equilibrium dialysis method of collection; I will check it out - if its not that method, then this value is essentially worthless). Now, its NOT that I think a Free Test level isn't needed, however, if a physician sees these numbers...(s)he would possibly negate necessity of starting you on anything simply because the "free test" number is "normal" again, not accounting for serum change over time. Because of the "free test percentage," I am also inclined to believe you were on either a test booster (that worked unusually well) or PH/PS/DS/AAS - but I could not just "assume" this - but I am telling you what would be thought (even by an endocrinologist) if you presented these values to an MD who is savvy at reading these things.

    Yet another thing; what time of day was the blood drawn? This is a quintessential question when evaluating androgens; as time of day will impact (potetnially in a BIG way) your reading with regards to "normal values." If you could, please post your entire lipid panel and the following values from your CBC: Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), red cell distribution width (RDW). This would give me the best chance at helping you interpret these to the best of my ability and offer you discussion points with your EXAMINING physician(s) - endocrinologist or otherwise.

    Your IGF-1 value in relation to your estradiol is pretty high as well - you may consider getting a PSA done in the near future just to have a baseline assessment of prostatic volume (in patients with a number less than 4, the test is pretty inconsequential....but any rapid changes in number or increasing values do invite further assessment as I am unconvinced there are many physicians who do a great prostate exam).


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    Quote Originally Posted by dinoiii View Post
    The difficulty I have in interpreting your results is that, although you are very young (and I don't believe no matter what the "normal values" are quoted at that a reading of 301 on the total T scale is "normal," I don't have a baseline number. I think everyone ages 20-25 years NEEDS baseline lab work. If your reading is 301 now and was say 350 in June...it probably doesn't account for the change in energy, et al... However, let's say your bloodwork in June would have shown an 800 or even a little lower...the net change is far greater and will manifest as clinical symptoms easier.

    I fault you for getting a "Free Test" level (and I don't know if privatemdlabs.com does equilibrium dialysis method of collection; I will check it out - if its not that method, then this value is essentially worthless). Now, its NOT that I think a Free Test level isn't needed, however, if a physician sees these numbers...(s)he would possibly negate necessity of starting you on anything simply because the "free test" number is "normal" again, not accounting for serum change over time. Because of the "free test percentage," I am also inclined to believe you were on either a test booster (that worked unusually well) or PH/PS/DS/AAS - but I could not just "assume" this - but I am telling you what would be thought (even by an endocrinologist) if you presented these values to an MD who is savvy at reading these things.

    Yet another thing; what time of day was the blood drawn? This is a quintessential question when evaluating androgens; as time of day will impact (potetnially in a BIG way) your reading with regards to "normal values." If you could, please post your entire lipid panel and the following values from your CBC: Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), red cell distribution width (RDW). This would give me the best chance at helping you interpret these to the best of my ability and offer you discussion points with your EXAMINING physician(s) - endocrinologist or otherwise.

    Your IGF-1 value in relation to your estradiol is pretty high as well - you may consider getting a PSA done in the near future just to have a baseline assessment of prostatic volume (in patients with a number less than 4, the test is pretty inconsequential....but any rapid changes in number or increasing values do invite further assessment as I am unconvinced there are many physicians who do a great prostate exam).


    D_
    Thank you for the reply. I understand the need for a baseline test and wish I had gotten one. The free test was part of the hormone level and is described as "Testosterone (Free) , Serum (Equilibrium Ultrafiltration) With Total Testosterone" done through LabCorp. The blood was drawn at 8 am, which is when the lab opened.

    As far as history with PH/DS, I did one cycle of AndroHard (500 mg Androsterone (5a-androstan-3b-ol-17-one)/day) for 4 weeks starting in mid-January, followed by Nolvadex. As far as test boosters go, I have used them, most recently VidaTest, but I stopped taking it at the beginning of September, so I had been off of test boosters for over a month. The ingredients for VidaTest can be seen here: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...cts90caps.png/

    I also know that these results need to be discussed with my examining physician. Here are the other values that you asked for:

    Lipid Panel
    Cholesterol, Total 166 mg/dL (100-199)
    Triglycerides, 64 mg/dL (0-149)
    HDL Cholesterol 43 mg/dL (>39)
    VLDL Cholesterol Cal 13 mg/dL (5-40)
    LDL Cholesterol Calc 110 mg/dL (0-99) *High

    Prostate-Specific Ag, Serum (Roche ECLIA methodoloy) 0.7 ng/mL (0.0-4.0) Note: I'm assuming this is what you meant by PSA

    CBC
    Hemoglobin 15.9 g/dL (12.5-17.0)
    Hematocrit 46.7% (36.0-50.0)
    MCV 93 fL (80-98)
    RDW 13.7% (11.7-15.0)
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymode View Post
    Thank you for the reply. I understand the need for a baseline test and wish I had gotten one. The free test was part of the hormone level and is described as "Testosterone (Free) , Serum (Equilibrium Ultrafiltration) With Total Testosterone" done through LabCorp. The blood was drawn at 8 am, which is when the lab opened.
    Equilibrium Ultrafiltration is not the same as Equilibrium Dialysis (the gold standard).

    Standard citation to understand these different methods might look like this....

    Forest, M.G., Rivarola, M.A. & Migeon, C.J. (1968) Percentage binding of testosterone, androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone in plasma. Steroids, 12, 323-343.

    Vermeulen, A., Verdonck, L. & Kaufman, J.M. (1999) A critical evaluation of simple methods for the estimation of free testosterone in serum. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 84, 3666-3672.

    Viahos, I., MacMahon, W., Sgoutas, D., Bowers, W., Thompson, J. & Trawick, W. (1982) An improved ultrafiltraton method for determining free testosterone in serum. Clinical Chemistry, 28, 2286-2291.


    What we can say is that these methods are lengthy, require a high degree of skill and are unsuited to routine use and hence to the routine investigation of hypogonadism; so it would be hard to interpret if we are to generalize (even with Equilibrium Dialysis, an acceptable error is about 20%...everything falls in line after that with analog method probably being the worst). This is also a reason that I would avoid this measurement if you are looking for a routine doctor to cover any kind of replacement. Now, shifts in the results could also be seen by foods you eat (but your samples tell me you were fasting so I am not concerned there) and also recent ejaculate. Sometimes, in order to get the most accurate sample - avoidance of new ejaculate may be necessary 2-5 days prior to evaluation. Now, the converse is also likely true - that if you are seeking lower numbers, recent ejaculate may also assist this plight. I am not asking you to confess your "intimate settings," but for yourself be aware too that this may throw numbers off easily.

    Now, I don't want to bog you down with all that mumbo-jumbo talk which you might not take much from, but understand the utility and limitation of getting a Free Testosterone value and how it may influence your physician's opinions on what treatment modality to embark upon.




    As far as history with PH/DS, I did one cycle of AndroHard (500 mg Androsterone (5a-androstan-3b-ol-17-one)/day) for 4 weeks starting in mid-January, followed by Nolvadex. As far as test boosters go, I have used them, most recently VidaTest, but I stopped taking it at the beginning of September, so I had been off of test boosters for over a month. The ingredients for VidaTest can be seen here: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...cts90caps.png/
    While this product doesn't look bad on paper...the LJ100 could prove to hamper your blood values for time that would extend - possibly longer than a month - especially if you get resetting of the HPGA. While the average time to regain control is about 4-6 weeks (and you're on the lower end); any hormonal offering can incite issues up to 2 years after use (probably most prominent with AAS sitting at about an average of 22 months suppression - on average....and finally literature is piling up to support our earliest suspicions here.





    I also know that these results need to be discussed with my examining physician. Here are the other values that you asked for:

    Lipid Panel
    Cholesterol, Total 166 mg/dL (100-199)
    Triglycerides, 64 mg/dL (0-149)
    HDL Cholesterol 43 mg/dL (>39)
    VLDL Cholesterol Cal 13 mg/dL (5-40)
    LDL Cholesterol Calc 110 mg/dL (0-99) *High

    Prostate-Specific Ag, Serum (Roche ECLIA methodoloy) 0.7 ng/mL (0.0-4.0) Note: I'm assuming this is what you meant by PSA

    CBC
    Hemoglobin 15.9 g/dL (12.5-17.0)
    Hematocrit 46.7% (36.0-50.0)
    MCV 93 fL (80-98)
    RDW 13.7% (11.7-15.0)
    This tells me collectively that there may still be some issues you were experiencing from the LJ100 or even another product. Why? Couple of things:

    (1) Your LDL is higher for a fasting sample of someone 25 years of age - which is NOT always a bad thing in light of a lower testosterone. Remember this - cholesterol (predominantly LDL) is the substrate for endogenous testosterone synthesis. This could be higher because you are still trying to up-regulate your natural production.

    (2) Your hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, and RDW are also interesting.

    An MCV > 90 (despite being quoted "normal;" some labs even use a standard 100 as being the lower limit for being suggested "high" but LabCorp looks like they compromised and brought it down a little - "98") is NOT normal for the average person. I could suspect some inherent DNA synthesis issues in RBC formation secondary to drinking (don't know if you are big into Alcohol; nor would I ask you to suggest that on a forum like this in the public domain, but it does tend to be the biggest reason one might be at that number...although there are others). That MCV is telling me that your cells are "big." Your RDW tells me that there's not a lot of variation in size; they are predominantly uniformly big. The Hemoglobin and Hematocrit are on the higher side (although not quoted polycythemic); again supporting that you still have some hormonal variation.




    My off the record recommendation would be the following: Stop any hormonal altering agent for another month or so if you have been off since September or whatever. Get re-evaluated from the SAME lab at the SAME time of day to trend it. The free test number can and should be left off for many reasons. IF your physician opts to repeat the labs on his schedule; make certain he sends away for equilibrium dialysis method (there are only a few places in the country that really do this well). If your numbers are still mildly off, you could be seeing the beginning of a downward trend.


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    Quote Originally Posted by dinoiii View Post
    Nettle (from which "Divanil" is the most prominent extract in sports nutrition) is commonly used for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and the best suggestion of a mechanism has lied with a rat study (frankly, all mechanisms are best understood with rat studies actually just due to the ability to manipulate said subjects in the research setting, but people usually will try and denounce the studies and that is probably the biggest misdirection). You hear a lot about dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more potent natural by-product of testosterone, as causing BPH, but the finger of guilt is turning toward ESTROGEN (as it does in many things). Estrogens (yes...pleural) are found in men as well BUT become more dominant as men age. In order for estradiol (E2) to enlarge the prostate, it has to first stick to a protein called sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) while this protein is attached to a prostate cell membrane (the same mechanism can be suggested around hair follicles with age-related alopecia). The linkage between estradiol and SHBG on the cell membrane directs another protein called insulin-like growth factor (something you may have heard of for other reasons) to stimulate the growth of prostate cells, causing prostate enlargement. Nettle might stop E2 from doing this in a couple of ways.

    Some aqueous lignans from nettle root can significantly bind to SHBG and prevent it from anchoring to its realm of activity, the cell membrane, at least in test tube studies. Lignans from other plants, like flaxseed are also capable of binding SHBG (but also increase estrogen as a result of this binding, so using it in any therapeutic way is very limited as there is an upper limit to how much you can use). The lignan in particular 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofurn (Divanil, made popular by DS or Designer Supplements and a lot of other companies) binds SHBG "outstandingly" well. The same German researchers also suggest that it harbors some level of aromatic blockade preventing conversion of T to E but this data is not readily available for review and does not appear to have been repeated. Pervasive rumors that nettle is an aromatase inhibitor are thus premature.


    Because of this SHBG binding, it has been extended to the world of sports nutrition for perhaps obvious reasons, BUT one must also consider estrogen-binding now also being "freed" up and as a result a higher level of circulating free E...so I don't think it is best taken without concurrent use of an anti-E supplement...so DS has probably again gotten it right with their Triazole component to their T-boosting stack. I won't get into the issues surrounding the percentage based extracts.


    Fadogia, while less clear simply because it hasn't been studied as well seems to look like a testosterone upregulator simply by the aqueous extract's biochemical concentrations alone. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of alkaloids and saponins while anthraquinones and flavonoids are weakly present. In the rat studies to illicit what mechanism was at hand...it merely came down to the clinical effects of increased "mount activity," intromission frequency and significantly prolonged the ejaculatory latency. There was a decrease in mount and intromission latency (likely correlating with refractory periods in humans). Now, whether it amounts to anything more than an aphrodisiac is beyond me, but it is usually a good libido boost minimally in these preparations if not anything else.





    Possibly...see DAA thread as its probably the best thing we have with its triphasic mechanism.



    D_
    ^^ Great info!

    Have you looked/researched much about Bulbine natalensis? If so, how would you compare its strength/level of T increase against DAA?
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    Also interested on dinoii's thoughts on bulbine
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    Quote Originally Posted by schizm View Post
    ^^ Great info!

    Have you looked/researched much about Bulbine natalensis? If so, how would you compare its strength/level of T increase against DAA?
    Quote Originally Posted by broons View Post
    Also interested on dinoii's thoughts on bulbine

    Bulbine natalensis is an "interesting" compound based on the data we have (not comparable to DAA IMO simply because we don't have the human comparison, but also some other interesting points). Keep in mind that the four studies suggesting androgenic changes (all in albino rats) were supplied by the same researchers (in other words, this data has NOT been replicated - "red flag"). But it doesn't end there...

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    Let's look at the "interesting" part:

    Int J Androl. 2009 Dec;32(6):629-36. Epub 2008 Aug 15.
    Effect of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis (Baker) stem on the sexual behaviour of male rats.

    Yakubu MT, Afolayan AJ.
    Source

    Centre for Phytomedicine Research, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa.

    Abstract

    The phytochemical constituents of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis (Baker) stem and its effect on male rat sexual behaviour were evaluated for 7 days. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of saponins, cardiac glycoside, tannins, alkaloids and anthraquinones. Administration of the extract at the doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg body weight resulted in the significant increase (p < 0.05) in mount frequency, intromission frequency, ejaculatory latency, ejaculation frequency, serum testosterone and luteinizing hormone concentrations, computed indices of sexual behaviour, erection, quick flips, long flips and total penile reflexes whereas the mount latency, intromission latency and post-ejaculatory interval were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) throughout the experimental period. The 100 mg/kg body weight of the extract produced contrasting pattern to the lower doses of the extract in all the parameters of sexual behaviour monitored throughout the experimental period. The results are indicative of prosexual stimulatory potentials of Bulbine natalensis in male rats. The aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis stem at these doses (25 and 50 mg/kg body weight) may be used in the management of disorders of desire/libido, premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in males.

    PMID:18710410[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]



    Now - according to this research done by the group giving Bulbine natalensis it's spotlight suggests 25 and 50 mg/kg aqueous extracts (mind you, no supplement on the market I am aware of uses to have benefit but not at 100mg/kg. If you look at the p value (p < 0.05); this is some statistical wizardry and not as significant results as I would like it. The researchers made the results look more "significant" than they really are (kind of like the saw palmetto + astaxanthin complex in the JISSN with a p value , 0.5 - Jesus, does anyone know how to read research in the formulation part of the industry?). Still, taken outside of this solitary study...(see next post)...


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    Indian J Exp Biol. 2009 Apr;47(4):283-8.
    Effect of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis Baker stem on haematological and serum lipid profile of male Wistar rats.

    Yakubu MT, Afolayan AJ.
    Source

    Centre for Phytomedicine Research, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa.

    Abstract

    Bulbine natalensis stem extract (25, 50 and 100 mg/kg body weight for 14 days) did not significantly alter the red blood cell count, haemoglobin, packed cell volume, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and red cell distribution width in male Wistar rats. In contrast, the white blood cell count increased by the end of the experimental period. While the levels of neutrophils, lymphocytes and eosinophils decreased after the administration of single dose of the extract (day 1), those of the platelets and monocytes increased. The extract also reduced the levels of basophils and large unstained cells after the seven daily doses. All the doses increased the serum concentrations of cholesterol and triacylglycerols. Whereas the serum concentration of low-density lipoprotein was unaffected throughout the experimental period, the decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was accompanied by increase in the atherogenic index. The results showed that aqueous extract of B. natalensis stem exhibited localized systemic toxicity mainly on the white blood cell count and related indices. The alterations in the serum lipid profile may predispose the animals to atherosclerosis especially when consumed repeatedly for two weeks.

    PMID:19382725[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    It is more interesting to see the above because the parameters affected were the lipids in a manner that closely approximates exogenous test (unfortunately presented by the same group and in the same journal). The Red Cell parameters identified above inclusive of indicies and LDL levels both remaining stable probably is representative of not enough time on the agent before presentation of these statements. 14 days is simply not long enough to see these effects on a magnitude of significance.


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    Pharm Biol. 2010 May;48(5):568-76.
    Anabolic and androgenic activities of Bulbine natalensis stem in male Wistar rats.

    Yakubu MT, Afolayan AJ.
    Source

    Centre for Phytomedicine Research, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa.

    Abstract

    Aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis Baker (Asphodelaceae) stem at 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg body weight was investigated for anabolic and androgenic effects in male Wistar rats. Sixty male rats were grouped into four (A-D) consisting of 15 each. Group A (control) was orally treated with 0.5 mL of distilled water for 14 days while groups B, C and D were treated like the control except they received 0.5 mL containing 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg body weight of the extract respectively. All the doses of the extract increased (P <0.05) the testicular-body weight ratio as well as alkaline phosphatase activity, glycogen, sialic acid, protein, and cholesterol content of the testes except the single administration of 100 mg/kg body weight which compared well (P>0.05) with the controls for glycogen and cholesterol. The testicular and serum testosterone concentration were increased except in the 100 mg/kg body weight where the effect on the tissue and serum hormone did not manifest until after the first and seven daily doses respectively. Testicular acid phosphatase activity, serum follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormone concentrations also increased at all the doses except in the 100 mg/kg body weight where the effect on the enzyme and the hormone did not manifest until after seven days. The increases were most pronounced in the 50 mg/kg body weight extract treated animals. The results indicate anabolic and androgenic activities of Bulbine natalensis stem in male rat testes with the 50 mg/kg body weight of the extract exhibiting the highest anabolizing and androgenic activities. These activities further support the folkloric use of the plant most especially at 50 mg/kg body weight in the management of male sexual dysfunction in South Africa.

    PMID:20645801[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


    This more closely represents a MAXIMUM dose eliminating the 100 mg/kg from suggestion when looking at organ volume (but same dismal p value). Unsure how to interpret as if this was solely an anabolic/andorgenic effect by the Bulbine; a dose max would be seemingly asymptotic and given the short duration...HPGA shutdown and negative feedback doesn't appear to offer rationale to the contrary.

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    Theriogenology. 2009 Aug;72(3):322-32. Epub 2009 May 1.
    Reproductive toxicologic evaluations of Bulbine natalensis Baker stem extract in albino rats.

    Yakubu MT, Afolayan AJ.
    Source

    Phytomedicine Research Centre, Department of Botany, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa.

    Abstract

    The effects of oral administration of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis Baker stem at daily doses of 25, 50, and 100mg/kg body weight on the reproductive function of Wistar rats were evaluated. The indices of mating and fertility success as well as quantal frequency increased after 7 days of treatment in all the dose groups except the 100mg/kg body weight group. The number of litters was not statistically different (P>0.05) from the control. Whereas the absolute weights of the epididymis, seminal vesicle, and prostate were not affected, that of the testes was significantly increased. The epididymal sperm count, motility, morphology, and viscosity were not different from the control after 7 days of treatment. The male rat serum testosterone, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone significantly increased in the 25 and 50mg/kg body weight groups, whereas the estradiol concentration decreased significantly at all the doses. The extract dose of 100mg/kg body weight decreased the serum testosterone and progesterone levels in male rats. The prolactin concentration was not affected by all the doses. All the indices of reproduction, maternal, embryo/fetotoxic, teratogenic, and reproductive hormones in the female rats were not statistically different from that of their control except the resorption index, which increased at the dose of 100mg/kg body weight of the extract. Histologic examination of the cross section of rat testes that received the extract at all the doses investigated revealed well-preserved seminiferous tubules with normal amount of stroma, normal population of spermatogenic and supporting cells, as well as normal spermatocytes within the lumen. The results revealed that the aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis stem at doses of 25 and 50mg/kg body weight enhanced the success rate of mating and fertility due to increased libido as well as the levels of reproductive hormones in male rats. The absence of alterations in the reproductive parameters of female rats at doses of 25 and 50mg/kg body weight of Bulbine natalensis stem extract suggest that the extract is "safe" for use at these doses by females during the organogenic period of pregnancy, whereas the extract dose of 100mg/kg body weight portends a negative effect on some reproductive functions of male and female rats.

    PMID:19410284[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

    I am uncertain how to best interpret this. The same study group uses the same data presented over 4 papers...here, they present fertility parameters based on 7 days (not the 14 used elsewhere); I am concerned that their data might have not been as favorable so they presented it when it was. This group already has presented using a less-than-stellar p value. This is the one study from this group that I just don't look as favorable upon. There is something very fishy about this presentation to me.


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    Well when I use the herb at normal dosages my bloods come out perfect, however I have noticed that when I use higher doses I get high increases in body heat, strength, aka androgenicity, but my chest gets uncomfortable which I assume is an increase in LDL.
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    Andrew; I am uncertain how to translate what you have written. Your description of bloods coming out "perfect" and mine may vary quite significantly...what is it you mean by that statement?

    Also, there are (as suggested by the Bulbine trials above) NO effects on LDL in the first 14 days of usage and you wouldn't be able to "feel" increases in LDL in any acute manner. I am NOT contesting that you may have felt something in the chest; just challenging the hypothesis that it was secondary to increased LDL - that seems unlikely.

    Now, for any of those confused...I am NOT against the use of Bulbine natalensis! That's not what I am saying above. I try and present things in as objective a way as I can. I will present the research and call BS on it as need be; the very last trial I presented above is "concerning" for the reasons identified. Also, 4 papers presenting the same data from the same group is a bit gimmicky and unnerving to rest my hat on. That was what I had said.


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    I looked into bulbine a fair bit when it came out. For natural athletes of course the claims were far fetched but needed researching before coming to any conclusion.

    From a company stand point it concerned me that all the hormone panels released by iForce were using subjects that had a hypogonal initial reading which prompted some skepticism that they may have been post cycle. Another round of blood panels were said to come out but never came to fruition. I asked about them a few times and in the end was branded with the label of a "hater" because marketing tactics are used across the board and they disliked that I pointed out the lack of transparency in the write-up that it was based solely from rat studies rather than human studies.

    I think when something claims to raise a specific hormone by a specific amount if needs to be put into context. I have no issue with ingredients which start out in rat studies but I feel enough research needs to be made available to the consumer even if it is simply stages of testing or hormone panels.
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    I remember reading the second study you posted and it raising concerns. I also remember reading another study that raised some concern with me. Apologies, I do not recall exactly what it was and I'm not able to dig it up at the moment. When I broached the subject, I believe I was told prolensis was not an aqueous extract so there was no concern? To which I replied that the alleged benefits were also based on aqueous extract so were we to then believe that there would be no benefit?

    I tried two of the more popular supplements and had zero to little success with them personally.
  

  
 

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