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A product called ‘TESTWORx®’ deserves some objective analysis. Not just due to its catchy name, but because it appears to be the best selling product of its kind on Amazon. It’s a vitamin and herbal-combined ergogenic purported to naturally increase testosterone. And given its clearly listed and well-known batch of ingredients, it should be fairly easy to analyze.

Notice I said analyze and not review. An upfront admission: I haven’t personally tried this product as of this writing. But being a natural muscle and strength builder well into middle age – as well as an avid ‘ergo-experimenter’ – I’ll admit to combined intrigue and skepticism while viewing TESTWORx®. The intrigue comes from the many (apparently authentic) positive reviews. My skepticism stems from having seen studies on some of the product’s chosen ingredients.

In this entry of Strong with Age, let’s analyze the ingredients of TESTWORx® in objective a manner as possible, keeping the “does TestWORx work” question in perspective of most men’s interest, which is whether it actually boosts testosterone (as opposed to just energy).

 

TESTWORx® Ingredients

Let’s start with a list of what ‘SuperiorLabs’ has as ingredients on its TESTWORx® label. They’ve put down a serving of the product as two capsules. There are 60 capsules in a bottle for a one-month supply in each. Here’s what they list as active ingredients for two capsules.

Vitamin B3 (as niacinamide)……………………40 mg.

Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxal 5 phosphate……….5 mg.

Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)………500 mcg.

Zinc (as zinc citrate)………………………….20 mg.

TestWORx Proprietary blend:                    950 mg.

Tribulus Terrestris (standardized to 20% Saponins), Maca Root, Nettle Root, Eurycoma Longifolia Extract (LJ 100®) (standardized to 40% Saponins and 22% eurypeptides), L-arginine

The first ingredients worth discussing are the B vitamins. Though often beneficial as supplements, the ones on the label are not known testosterone boosters. Perhaps they’ve been added as mere energy boosters, which B3, B6, and B12 can surely be.

The only B-vitamin in this product that might indirectly help testosterone is B3. Let me add that this benefit would be very indirect. Since B3 (niacin) has been shown to improve vascular endothelial function and erectile performance in some men, it could increase sexual activity for guys who gain more of this function. Increased sexual activity typically leads to a 20% bump or so in testosterone.

But adding B-vitamins to natural T-boosters might be for a somewhat delusive reason. Many guys have heard that improved testosterone creates higher energy. In addition, higher energy levels provide evidence the product’s ‘doing something.’ So if you don’t notice other tell-tale signs of boosted testosterone while using the product, greater energy from filling a possible vitamin B deficiency is your magic sign. This can give reason to try another bottle before giving up on it.

What surprises me is that the creator/s of TESTWORx® didn’t add any B5. If there’s one B-vitamin that could have a direct effect on testosterone, that’s the one.

The addition of zinc citrate in the product is a wise choice. Many guys are deficient in zinc, which has been shown in plenty of studies to boost both free and total testosterone. Although too high of zinc intake can cause problems, the amount in TESTWORx® is actually on the low side.

 

‘Proprietary Blend’: Four Herbals and an Amino

The biggest factor affecting the ‘does TestWorx work’ question is the proprietary blend of exotic ingredients. Of note, each of the listed plant extracts could be purchased and taken on its own. So could the L-arginine, for that matter. However, if we do that, we won’t get the exact combination that TestWORx’s makers think is best (which might be).

 

There’s strong anecdotal evidence supporting TestWorx. But some ingredients lead one to wonder why questionable additives were chosen over possibly better ones.

 

Tribulus Terrestris: Here’s an ingredient that goes on my list of “this blows the credibility of the product” skepticism builders. Not that its addition means the product doesn’t “work.” Even if ‘tribulus’ adds no value, it doesn’t mean the other ingredients couldn’t provide immense value while tribulus sits as an idle extra. The issue is that when updated research shows an herbal’s impotence at previously purported performance, a company still using it loses credibility with me.

Both animal and human studies have shown tribulus terrestris as ineffective for boosting luteinizing hormone and testosterone. Its continued use in T-boosting products appears 20 years outdated.

Maca Root: Here’s another ingredient with no real evidence of testosterone raising qualities. A couple of studies, both animal and human, demonstrated this Peruvian root extract to raise sexual desire. The human study revealing this only had eight trial subjects – too small a sample to have statistical significance.

Maybe the creators of TestWORx added this one just for chance effect and reaction: “Wow, I think I’m a bit hornier; this stuff must be working.”

Nettle Root: A group of lignans found in roots of the ‘Stinging Nettle’ plant have been found to attach themselves with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), potentially raising ‘free testosterone.’ One lignan in nettle root, called Divanil, does especially well at deactivating SHBG.

Remember it’s SHBG that binds 97% – 98% of testosterone in the body and it’s only free (unbound) testosterone that’s really active. Thus, anything that can significantly lower SHBG could make a noticeable difference in energy, muscle size, strength, and libido.

So far, this appears to be the most legit ingredient next to the zinc citrate. However, we can’t determine the amount of nettle root present in this “blend.” Plus, its addition might create positive effects only in guys who have fairly high total testosterone and just need to free some up. 

Eurycoma Longifolia Extract: Here’s the ingredient that each bottle of TestWORx has posted on its front label as “proven”: Clinically Proven (LJ100®).

LJ100® is a trademarked name for a 100:1 strength Malaysian root extract of the Southeast Asian plant eurycoma longifolia (aka ‘Tongkat Ali’, aka ‘Longjack’).

Regardless the nickname, there are different brands of Tongkat Ali, most of them coming from either Indonesia or Malaysia. This Malaysian version is trademarked as LJ100® by a company called ‘HP Ingredients.’ There are U.S. patents on this version in collaboration between MIT and the Malaysian government in a quest to standardize the extraction and preparation of Tongkat Ali. This standardization ensures each dosage of LJ100® provides 40% glycol saponins, 28% bioactive eurypeptides, 30% polysaccharides, and 0.8% eurycomanone.

Is it clinically proven?

It’s interesting that HP Ingredients only posts the following on its website in reference to clinical evidence:

“Created by the original researchers at MIT and University Malaya, this product has shown in human clinical trials – an ability to increase energy, enhance sport performance, promote anabolic state, and increase fat free mass.”

Maybe there’s nothing mentioned about testosterone because there’s insufficient evidence as to whether Tongkat Ali significantly and consistently boosts it. However, TA does seem to reduce the catabolic stress hormone cortisol, which in itself could account for better strength and muscle mass gains.

L-arginine: Proven essential for, among other things, the formation of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. This relaxes blood vessels and helps circulation (hence, erectile function).

This amino acid is not a direct testosterone booster. It could help erectile performance, but likely only when combined with pycnogenol (expensive).

 

TESTWORx® Assessment

In keeping with the theme of this article, let’s look at this objectively.

Again, the product gets great overall reviews on Amazon. It obviously has a positive effect on a lot of users. The mixed feedback of positive reviews reflects differing satisfaction levels given varying desires, expectations, and subjective experience. One person might feel the product “works” if they get more energy. Another might measure gym performance. And yet another might monitor libido.

My biggest skepticism comes from the addition of B-vitamins along with outdated/unproven herbals in the proprietary blend. Why was Tribulus added when it’s been shown inept at stimulating hormones? I’d personally try replacing the TT with some ashwaghanda if the idea is to stimulate the T-axis at a pituitary level.

Another drawback of a proprietary blend is in not knowing how much of each root extract (and L-arginine) is in a serving. All we know is the combined total: 950 mg.  This is apparently how to build mystique around a supplement, leading believers in the product to think they won’t match the effect by buying the ingredients piecemeal to save on price.

Whether TestWORx “works” for you depends on two primary questions:

  1. The specific effect for which you’d use it (i.e. libido, strength, energy, fat loss, muscle gain, or all of these).
  2. Whether one or a combination of its ingredients will correct a condition that’s preventing that effect in you now.

TestWORx could have a positive effect on the benefits listed in the first question without ever actually raising a user’s testosterone. The only way to know if such improvement is due to hormone augmentation is to have some before-and-after lab work done.

But it appears that SuperiorLabs offers a money back guarantee on its website, so the company’s willing to absorb the risk if their product doesn’t deliver on expectations.

 

References

 

  1. Rachelle E. Kaplon, Lindsey B. Gano, Douglas R. Seals. ‘Vascular endothelial function and oxidative stress are related to dietary niacin intake among healthy middle-aged and older adults.’ Journal of Applied Physiology (116 no. 2, pgs.156-163) Jan. 2014
  1. Tatsuya YAMAMOTO, Sukanya JAROENPORN, Lingmei PAN, Isao AZUMANO, Masaaki ONDA, Katsuhiro NAKAMURA, Gen WATANABE, Kazuyoshi TAYA. ‘Effects of Pantothenic Acid on Testicular Function in Male Rats.’ Journal of Veterinary Medical Science (Vol. 71, P 1427-1432) Nov 2009
  1. Kilic M. ‘Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc’ Europe PMC (PMID:17984944) 2007
  1. Rita Wegmüller, Fabian Tay, Christophe Zeder, Marica Brnić, Richard F. Hurrell ‘Zinc Absorption by Young Adults from Supplemental Zinc Citrate Is Comparable with That from Zinc Gluconate and Higher than from Zinc Oxide’ The Journal of Nutrition (144{2}: 132–136) Feb 2014
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  1. Mark Stone, Alvin Ibarra, Marc Roller, Andrea Zangara, Emma Stevenson. ‘A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen.’ Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Volume 126, Issue 3, Pages 574–576) Dec 2009
  1. G F Gonzales, A Córdova, K Vega, A Chung, A Villena, and C Góñez. ‘Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men.’ Journal of Endocrinology (176 163-168) Jan 2003
  1. Matthias Schöttner, Dietmar Ganßer, Gerhard Spiteller. ‘Lignans from the Roots of Urtica dioica and their Metabolites Bind to Human Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG).’ Thieme Planta (Med 1997; 63{6}: 529-532, DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957756) April 1997
  1. I. B. M. Tambi, M. K. Imran, R. R. Henkel. ‘Standardised water-soluble extract of Eurycoma longifolia, Tongkat ali, as testosterone booster for managing men with late-onset hypogonadism?’ Andrologia (Volume 44, Issue s1, Pages 226–230) May 2012