If you’ve been checking out different kinds of testosterone boosters, you might have noticed that a lot of them pride themselves in having rich amounts of saponins. What you probably didn’t know, is that different kinds of saponins work very differently. That said, some of these compounds might not actually suit your goal.
In this article, allow me to help you understand better what some of these saponins are as I review some of the research that surrounds them. Let’s get to it.
WHY TEST BOOSTER SUPPLEMENTS USE SAPONINS
Saponins are glucosides that foam and bubble like soap. Actually, the term saponin was coined from soapwort which was a plant used to make soap by our early ancestors. This trivia may sound a little cool but that’s really not what you’re here for isn’t it? So, enough of the small talk and let’s get to the heart of this article – testosterone and manly health.
Saponins can be found in different plants including ones that are commonly used as ingredients in testosterone boosting supplements. Some of the most common examples include Testosterone Terrestris, Fenugreek, and Ashwagandha. Some not so common are Red Clover and Licorice.
However, when we say saponins, it’s not actually just one compound. It’s actually a group of plant steroids that differ from plant to plant. For example, there’s ginsensoides for Ginseng and fenusides for Fenugreek. As such, each saponin has a different characteristic and therefore different effects on manly health.
Some of these saponins do great in boosting testosterone while some others positively influence other aspects of manly health without necessarily boosting T. Some others, on the other hand, do absolutely nothing. Worse, some of them even harm our revered manhood. Let’s check out some of the research on these different plant steroids and see how they do.
STUDIES ON SAPONINS SUGGEST:
Furostanol and spirostanol had no effect on testosterone
Let’s start with what may be the most popular plant in testosterone boosters that’s rich in saponins – Tribulus Terrestris. This herb has long since been used to increase libido and to improve erectile function in men. The main saponins that can be found here are furostanol and spirostanol.
This research studied the effects of Tribulus Terrestris extract on androgen metabolism in healthy young males. These men were divided into two groups where they took either 20 or 10 mg/kg body weight of Tribulus Terrestris extract for 4 weeks. Measurements of testosterone, androstenedione, and luteinizing hormone levels were taken. Below are the results:
- no significant difference in serum testosterone
- no significant difference in androstenedione
- no significant difference in luteinizing hormone
As you can see, both dosages of Tribulus Terrestris had no effect on these measured hormones. These results led the researchers to anticipate that “Tribulus terrestris steroid saponins possess neither direct nor indirect androgen-increasing properties“.
Fenuside enhanced lean body mass and testosterone
Next we have another herb that’s also widely used in the testosterone boosting industry. This next research uses a branded form of Fenugreek in Testofen, which is standardized to contain 50% fenuside saponins. The goal of the research was to determine the effects of Testofen on strength, body composition, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained men.
These men were divided into either a placebo group or a group taking 500 mg of Testofen once per day for 8 weeks. Both groups were to participate in a 4 day/wk resistance training program throughout the entirety of the supplementation. Below are some of the results of the Testofen group as compared to the placebo:
- significant decrease in body fat percentage
- significant increase in total testosterone
- significant increase in bioavailable testosterone
In accordance to those results, the researchers concluded Testofen (Fenugreek standardized to 50% fenuside saponins) supplementation “significantly affected percent body fat, total testosterone, and bioavailable testosterone“.
Glycyrrhizin decreased testosterone
When we talk about the taste of herbs, the first thing that comes to mind is bitter, right? Well, that isn’t the case for this next plant. Licorice is known to be 50 times sweeter than sugar. It’s most active saponin is glycyrrhizin.
This next research says that after one week of Licorice supplementation, “the mean testosterone values decreased by 26%“. Testosterone isn’t the only hormone Licorice influences though. Check out some of the other results below:
- significant increase in 17-OHP (a hormone similar to progesterone)
- significant increase in LH
- slight but insignificant decrease in “free” testosterone
Ginsenosides enhanced different aspects of male health
The research is entitled “Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer saponins on male fertility“. From there, you can pretty much tell what this study is all about. It was conducted by dividing their subjects into 3 groups. 2 for experimental purposes and a 3rd one serves as a control group. According to the research, Panax Ginseng was able to:
- increase spermatozoa number/ml and progressive oscillating motility
- increase plasma total and free testosterone, DHT, FSH and LH levels
- decrease in mean PRL
As you can see from those results, Panax Ginseng was able to improve different aspects of male health. First of all, the improvements in sperm quality and quantity is astounding. Probably more important to this review though, is the increase in total and “free” testosterone along with other manly hormones. The decrease in prolactin seems pretty good for male health, too.
The research ended with a statement saying that ginsenosides (the active saponin exlusive to Ginseng), “may have an effect at different levels of the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis“.
How Do I Take SAPONINS?
Honestly, I’m not too sure if there’s any supplement that supplies pure saponins and if there were any, I’m not too sure how well that would work, too. This is because most saponins are taken as a part of their respective herb and really, there’s not enough fingers between you and me to count plants that have saponins. To make matters even harder, some plants have multiple saponins.
As such, it’s impossible for me to tell you a specific dosage. If you were to take an herb rich in these plant steroids, my advise is to think of it as a whole plant rather than thinking about the amount of saponins you should take. That said, branded or standardized herbs usually take less dosage to be effective compared to their plain counterparts.
Aside from the researches I’ve shown here, there are still so many more plants that contain different kinds of saponins such as Tongkat Ali and Red Clover. Regardless, I think I’ve made my point clear that different kinds of saponins yield different results.
There’s Tribulus Terrestris that enhances libido but doesn’t do anything for testosterone. There’s also Fenugreek that has the capability to increase “free” testosterone by inhibiting aromatase and 5a-reductase activity.
The ginsenosides in Ginseng, although from an elusive study, did show potential in benefiting different aspects of male health. Licorice on the other hand, is probably the worst of all these plants as its glycyrrhizin saponin showed a negative impact on testosterone.
As such, if you were planning on taking a supplement for the amount of saponins it shows on the label, you might be surprised that the effects were different from what you expected. The kind of saponin is important in determining the effects it holds and to me, it’s really more important to consider the plant as a whole.
TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS THAT USE SAPONINS
- Test1fy – Uses Ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali standardized to different concentrations of their respective saponins
- True Grit – Has a highly concentrated Fenugreek and Safed Musli standardized to 50% and 5% saponins respectively
- Alpha Jym – Has 3 different herbs that’re highly rich in saponins including Fenugreek, Ashwagandha, and Tongkat Ali
- Super Male T – All the herbs found here are either branded, standardized, or highly concentrated with their respective saponins
- Alpha Test – Top quality testosterone booster using standardized Fenugreek and Tribulus Terrestris