Red Clover is a lot like women. It’s a pretty flower, no doubt, and women are always beautiful in my eyes. However, also like women, Red Clover is so damn confusing. I mean, it’s like asking your girl what she wants for dinner and she says ‘anything’ so you end up taking her to eat tacos because it’s a Tuesday and then she ends up disappointed because that’s not what she wanted. What the hell did you want, woman??
On a more serious note though, Red Clover really is a mystery because it can be both pro estrogen or anti testosterone. You’ll see what I mean when you read this research review.
WHY TEST BOOSTER SUPPLEMENTS USE RED CLOVER
That’s a question I ask myself every time I see a supplement utilizing this plant in their formula. I mean, it’s both anti and pro estrogen which essentially makes it both anti and pro testosterone. Confusing, right? Let me help shed some light on this mystery but first, let’s talk about what this beautiful but puzzling plant is.
What is Red Clover?
Despite not looking like it, Red Clover is actually a plant belonging to the legume family. In health care, the red flower is usually dried for use in therapy. It’s been used to treat several ailments such as cough and other respiratory problems, psoriasis, eczema, and is also believed to be a diuretic and an expectorant that helps clear the lungs and the liver.
It also contains isoflavones (phytoestrogens). According to this article, isoflavones are “plant-based chemicals that produce estrogen-like effects in the body”.
In well-rounded and smartly formulated testosterone boosters, estrogen regulating ingredients are used in conjunction with natural test boosting elements to promote a more androgen friendly internal environment. As such, a few stacks use Red Clover as a supplement to reduce levels of estrogen.
By now you might be thinking, “doesn’t the phytoestrogens in Red Clover mimic estrogen?” Well, yes they do. Which is sort of bad news for us. However, because it mimics estrogen activity, these isoflavones might also lower E. I know this is mind-boggling so let’s get to the research part of this review and find out more.
STUDIES ON RED CLOVER SUGGEST:
Before we get to the actual studies, I have to inform you that the research surrounding Red Clover are pretty sketchy. I’m not saying that they weren’t done well because that would be an insult to the hardworking researchers who conducted them but in terms of testosterone boosting, I personally wouldn’t say that these are reliable for a couple of reasons.
- Red Clover is more popular as a women’s menopausal supplement so the research surrounding it are mostly geared towards women of this demographic.
- Although the aim of these studies are quite similar, the results are conflicting.
Now that that’s out of my system, let’s jump right into the research.
Minor change to testosterone related hormones
A research was done to evaluate the effects of Red Clover on hot flash and hormonal concentrations on menopausal women. The researchers scanned MEDLINE (1966 to July 2014), Scopus (1990 to July 2014), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library issue 1, 2014) for randomized controlled trials to use in their study.
Out of 183 relevant publications, only 11 met their criteria. They then gathered information from these articles and analyzed their data. The results are the following in favor the groups that supplemented with Red Clover:
- Decrease in FSH and SHBG
- Increase in LH, testosterone, and estriadol
The increase in LH and testosterone is (obviously) good because that’s what we men want in a testosterone booster. Unfortunately, the increase wasn’t also high enough for the researchers to say that it was significant. The rise in estriadol was the only statistically significant increase.
The decrease in FSH and SHBG is also good because these are hormones that work against testosterone. However, the study did say that the changes to these two hormones were also not significant.
Similar to the previous study, another research was done to investigate the effects of isoflavones (an active compound found in Red Clover) on the hormones of postmenopausal women. The isoflavones on this study, however, was extracted from soy.
The research divided their subjects into 3 groups depending on how much isoflavones they were given relative to bodyweight.
- Control group
- Low isoflavone: 1.00 +/- 0.01 mg/kg/day
- High isoflavone: 2.00 +/- 0.02 mg/kg/day
The supplementation spanned over 93 days. The high-iso group had the following results:
- Small but significant decrease in estrone-sulfate (E1-S)
- Decrease in estriadol (E2)
- Decrease in estrone (E1)
- Small but significant increase in SHBG
Other hormones were also tested but the researchers deemed these changes to be “small and probably not of physiological importance”.
The decrease in estrogen found here may be small but it still is big enough to be significant. This is good. However, the results of this study does contradict the results of the previous one which is pretty troubling.
Promote prostate health
A research was done to asses the effect of a Red Clover isoflanonoid extract on prostate, liver function, quality of life, and sexual function in men. This study was done on men with elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) – a protein produced by the prostate that may also indicate some kind of abnormality to our precious family jewels. The results of the research are the following:
- 33% decrease in PSA
- Slight decrease in prostate volume
- No changes to sex hormones including testosterone, estrogen, LH, and FSH
- Significant increase in liver transmitase
- No change in sexual function
How Do I Take RED CLOVER?
In the researches that I’ve read on Red Clover and isoflavones being studied on hormones, the dosages ranged somewhere between 40-80 mg. However, the different researches also used different forms of these ingredients. Moreover, the research also seem to contradict each other so I can’t tell you an exact number as to which Red Clover can be beneficial for testosterone.
My advise is to take it daily at around 50-70 mg, falling inside the 40-80 mg mark that the studies used. Personally, I’d say this dose should be enough to somewhat gauge if Red Clover works for you or not. In terms of form, look for a supplement that gives you Red Clover standardized and isolated for its active nutrients.
I honestly don’t know if the research I provided here helped shed some light on the Red Clover mystery or if it opened up more questions. What I am sure though, is that you should now be more knowledgeable when it comes to this confusing plant.
The studies contradict each other. Red Clover might be able to lower levels of estrogen and increase levels of testosterone but it could also work the other way in that it increases estrogen and lowers test. That said, I personally wouldn’t rely on Red Clover to control my estrogen especially since there are more promising natural E-blockers in the market.