Gorilla mind Sigma is a test booster containing the famous combination of Fadogia and Tongkat Ali, which neuroscientist Andrew Huberman first talked about on the Huberman Lab podcast.
Derek and Andrew had a long conversation on his youtube channel specifically discussing this formulation. Derek wanted to make sure that he based his supplement on a strong foundation of extensive research studies.
It contains a total of 6 natural ingredients.
Low vitamin D has been associated with low testosterone and that’s why most testosterone contains vitamin D.
This one study showed that supplementing 3 332 IU vitamin D for 1 year saw a 2.7nmol/L (78ng/dl) increase in testosterone (R). If someone had a testosterone of 400ng/dl, it would increase to 478ng/dl after 1 year.
However, most other studies show that vitamin D supplementation doesn’t increase testosterone.
- 20,000IU per week for 12 weeks: “We found no significant treatment effect on serum TT” (R)
- 600 to 1200IU daily for 16 weeks: “did not affect mean testosterone concentrations at the end of the study” (R)
- 800IE daily for 12 weeks: “Testosterone levels did not change significantly” (R)
But it’s not that vitamin D is useless. It obviously has a lot of benefits.
A few benefits include:
- Inhibiting the deactivation of androgens from the androgen receptors by inhibiting the glucuronidation (a mechanism that inactivates and eliminates substances) of DHT, resulting in an accumulation of DHT to exert a more powerful effect. (R)
- Increasing androgen receptors as well as the androgen affinity to their receptors. (R, R)
- Increasing IGF-1 (R). IGF-1 stimulates 5-alpha reductase leading to more DHT.
But alas, as this 2020 study writes it quite elegantly: “Mechanistically, vitamin D exhibits essential roles in the testis and prostate; otherwise, there is no apparent evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplementation to increase testosterone levels and to improve clinical outcomes related to the male reproductive system.“
If I were to make a testosterone booster, I would not add vitamin D to it. Getting lots of sunlight will increase testosterone and have a much better impact on your health than vitamin D supplementation.
Magnesium Glycinate and testosterone
Low levels of magnesium can lead to low testosterone.
Magnesium supplementation is able to increase testosterone in sedentary, beginner and advanced athletes and it potentiates the testosterone boost induced by exercise (R). The dose used in this study was 10mg/kg of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), which has roughly 1mg of elemental magnesium (10%) per 10mg.
Other good sources of magnesium include magnesium (Mg) hydroxide, which contains 42% elemental magnesium, Mg citrate which contains 16% elemental magnesium, Mg glycinate which has 14.1%, Mg chloride which has 12%, Mg gluconate which has 5%, Mg taurate which has 8.9% and Mg threonate which has 7.2%.
Magnesium can increase testosterone in 6 main ways, namely:
- Lowering gut inflammation and preventing leaky gut
- Improving energy production
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Reducing cortisol
- Increasing thyroid hormone production
- Regulating the metabolism of vitamin D
Zinc glycinate and testosterone
Zinc is one of the most important minerals for testosterone optimization.
Low zinc in the body leads to:
- Low testosterone
- high estrogen
- very low testosterone-to-estrogen ratio
- low DHT
- high 3alpha-diol (weak DHT metabolite) and
- an awful DHT to 3 alpha-diol ratio.
Eating a low-zinc diet can significantly tank your testosterone.
In this experimental diet, they put 22 adult men (medical students, laboratory personnel, house staff, and staff physicians working in the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University) between the ages of 20 and 50 ) on a zinc-deficient diet for 24 weeks (R).
The average daily zinc content of the hospital diet before doing the zinc-deficient diet was 12.5mg. Not a whole lot. But even with only 12.5mg, the average testosterone was 1150ng/dl!
That’s quite remarkable since they worked in a hospital, which is demanding, can be stressful and has a severe lack of sunlight. But I digress.
They were put on a semipurified diet based on texturized soy products with added vitamins and minerals, except zinc. The daily zinc mineral intake on the low zinc diet was between 4.2-5.6mg.
Over 24 weeks, their testosterone went from 1150ng/dl (39.9nmol/L) to 305ng/dl (10.6nmol/L). That’s roughly an x4 drop.
Supplementing zinc can double your testosterone
In another experiment of the same study as above, they took men between the ages of 50 and 80 and gave them 30mg zinc gluconate daily for 6 months (R). The average daily dietary zinc intake was a measly 69% of the RDA. Since the RDA for zinc is 11mg, that would mean they were consuming only 7.6mg of zinc daily.
Over the 6 months, their testosterone doubled from 240ng/dl to 460ng/dl, putting them in the normal range (R).
Other benefits of zinc include:
- Increasing the androgen receptors. Zn-finger proteins are involved in the genetic expression of various growth factors and steroid receptors (R).
- Lowering estrogen receptors. Zinc-deficient rats have significantly increased estrogen sensitivity due to more estrogen receptors (R).
- Lowering excess aromatase. Zinc-deficient rats have significantly more estrogen and lower testosterone (R)
- Being a cofactor for the enzyme, 17 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD), which converts androstenedione to testosterone (R).
- Increasing DHT. Low zinc leads to increased DHT breakdown into 3α-diol. Zinc supplementation (120mg twice daily) significantly increased DHT (19%), and also slightly increased testosterone (8%) in eugonadal men (490 to 750ng/dl), showing upregulation of 5 alpha-reductase even at a very high dose of zinc (R).
- Helping with muscle growth
Fadogia Agrestis and testosterone
Fadogia Agrestis is a perennial shrub that is native to West Africa where it’s long been used as an aphrodisiac.
In this animal study, the water extract of Fadogia increased testosterone 6 fold in albino rats after just 5 days (R).
The different doses used were 18, 50 and 100mg/kg of the extract. That would translate to 291.89 mg, 810.81 and 1621.62mg for a 100kg individual.
It doesn’t seem to stimulate the pituitary gland to release LH, but mainly affects the testes.
As I mentioned in my Tongkat Ali and Fadogia article, the Fadogia Agrestis extract is really important. The extract that boosted testosterone was a water extract.
Tongkat Ali and testosterone
Tongkat Ali is found in Southeast Asia where it’s used as a traditional medicine to enhance sexual function.
Studies have shown that Tongkat Ali can increase testosterone levels in humans (men) in a dose-dependent manner.
Meaning, 200mg of Tongkat Ali can increase testosterone by about 25-50ng/dl, whereas 600mg daily can increase testosterone by 120ng/dl on average.
The cool thing about Tongkat Ali is that it can increase testosterone in young, healthy males, with already high testosterone.
According to this clinical trial, 600 mg of Tongkat Ali extract (1.45% eurycomanone; 8.5mg total) increased young (average age 24 years) males’ total testosterone from 802 to 924ng/dl in just 14 days.
Make sure you don’t buy just any Tongkat herbal supplement but get a product specifying eurycomanone content, which seems to be the main ingredient for increasing testosterone production. The best Tongkat Ali supplement will have a high eurycomanone content.
In summary, use at least 8mg+ eurycomanone per day for a good increase in testosterone.
Tongkat Ali also stimulates the nervous system to release dopamine and noradrenaline, both of which will boost sex drive.
There isn’t evidence that Tongkat Ali increases LH, but it might have an indirect effect by lowering prolactin (prolactin lowers LH).
The amount of Tongkat Ali in Sigma is only 400mg for 4 caps. I’d prefer to use a higher dose, at least 600mg, based on the study above. Plus, I prefer to use a product that specifies how much eurycomanone it contains.
Ashwagandha and testosterone
Ashwagandha aka Withania Somnifera, boosts natural testosterone production, not only in infertile men, but also in normal men.
Let’s look at these studies:
- Ashwagandha root powder increases testosterone significantly in infertile men, as well as lowers prolactin (possibly via lower 5-HT2A binding) (R).
- 675 mg/d of ashwagandha full-spectrum root extract increases testosterone by 17% and LH by 34% after 12 weeks of treatment in oligospermia (low sperm count) men (R).
- 5g/d of ashwagandha root powder increases testosterone by 13% after 12 weeks in men with normozoospermia (normal sperm count, meaning, not low testosterone). (R)
- 300mg of ashwagandha extract (KSM-66; 5% total withanolides) twice daily combined with resistance exercise resulted in a significantly greater increase in strength (nearly double), significantly greater muscle gain and fat loss after 8 weeks plus significant greater increase in testosterone (630 to 726.6 ng/dl) compared to the placebo (675 to 693 ng/dl) group. (R)
Many ashwagandha users can attest to its anabolic and androgenic effects.
Its main use in Ayurvedic medicine is as an adaptogen to help with stress management and lower cortisol levels. Basically, it increases the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promotes or restores normal physiological functioning.
Stress can powerfully lower testosterone, increase aromatase (which increases estradiol) and prolactin and cause low testosterone and estrogen-dominant symptoms.
Boron for free testosterone
The last ingredient is the addition of boron citrate.
Boron is somewhat of a rare mineral to consume and our diets can be relatively devoid of it. And even if we do consume some of it, it’s usually around 1-3mg daily. Research shows that 10 mg of boron supplementation results in a significant decrease in SHBG and an increase in free testosterone (R).
If you plan on using boron, use 10mg, as 2.5mg of boron daily had no effect on androgens (R).
👇Make sure you use boron correctly! Here I explain how.👇
Of all the testosterone boosters, I’m going to give this one an 8 out of 10 (if I had to pick between 6 or 8 out of 10).
For the best results, I’d use 4 to 6 caps.
There are quite a few positive reviews on the website where men have gotten higher testosterone levels (over 800ng/dl; confirmed by blood tests) using this supplement.
There are other testosterone-boosting compounds such as Fenugreek, Shilajit extract (high fulvic acid), etc, that he could have added, but I guess he wanted to base it primarily on Andrew’s combo.
When trying to optimize your testosterone, be sure to base that on a strong foundation of diet and lifestyle. Without this foundation, supplements won’t help much.
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