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Testosterone Support Still Going Strong in Men’s Supplements?

Testosterone Support Still Going Strong in Men’s Supplements?

Photo © Shutterstock.com/Dean Drobot

“Low T,” a term popularized by commercial tv, has become one of the most successful modern ad campaigns for men’s health. If you believe those “Low T” commercials, the inability to produce sufficient levels of testosterone (a condition also known as hypogonadism—or, in the case of lower production related to natural male aging, as andropause) is likely responsible for a number of men’s present-day health woes, with decreased energy and suboptimal libido among the most advertised.

Research focus around testosterone is gradually moving beyond just energy and libido alone. According to those specializing in the men’s dietary supplements market, attention around testosterone support may be slowly—slowly—extending to the role that healthy testosterone levels play in areas less sensational, but nevertheless extremely important, to male health overall.

Paul Clayton, PhD, chief scientific advisor to ingredients firm Gencor (Irvine, CA), describes the evolving interest in testosterone support. “Interest in testosterone fell back a little after the initial articles (e.g., see TIME magazine’s “Manopause?!” cover from August 2014), but then stabilized and has recently seen an uptick due at least in part to the publication of various scientific articles showing that low testosterone is bad for men’s health in a variety of ways, and that returning testosterone in low-testosterone males to physiological levels does not cause adverse effects.” He continues, “Male performance is still interesting to a section of the market and likely always will be, but now we see a larger number of men who are more interested in improving their general well-being.”

And, increasingly, science continues to support the notion that testosterone does play an important role in general well-being. As Clayton says, “Testosterone exerts multiple effects on the body, and libido/anabolic effects (where the market started) are not necessarily the most important ones.”

Testosterone, for instance, is intrinsic to men’s bone health. In a recent International Journal of Endocrinology paper1 reviewing the link between testosterone deficiency and bone structure, researchers explained, “Testosterone has a clear, direct effect on bone health. Testosterone signaling stimulates osteoblasts to form trabecular bone and helps osteocytes prevent trabecular bone loss. This leads to the decreased [bone mineral density] and increased fracture risk seen in men with both primary and secondary hypogonadism.”

Testosterone is also increasingly being noted as important to heart health and brain health, Clayton says. It’s a theory supported by ongoing research2,3. “This trend is likely to increase,” he adds, “as recent work at the University of California, Los Angeles, has shown that restoring testosterone in middle-aged and elderly males is also neuro-protective and likely to find a role in protecting against dementia.”

Emerging markets like bone, brain, and heart health are certainly areas where dietary supplement companies will want to lay their bets in the future. For the present time, however, dietary supplement makers report still seeing most success in the market-proven categories of testosterone supplementation—namely, sexual health. Ahead, we take a look at some of the ingredients with new science in this area.

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