If men take a daily dose of the supplement Alphastat, their testosterone level rises, according to a study at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon. The active ingredients in the supplement, the carotenoid astaxanthin, and an extract of the saw palmetto Serenoa repens, reduce the conversion of testosterone into estradiol and DHT.
The sponsor of the study is the American company Triarco Industries, the maker of Alphastat. Alphastat contains a mix of saw palmetto extract and astaxanthin, which in laboratory studies slowed down the enzymes 5a-reductase and aromatase. These enzymes transform testosterone into DHT and estradiol, respectively, leaving more testosterone over.
Triarco has called the mix Mytosteron. Triarco Industries put Alphastat on the market as a prostate protector, and wanted to know whether the supplement also increased testosterone levels in humans. So Triarco asked researchers in Cameroon if they wanted to study this in an independent trial.
The researchers gave 40 healthy men aged between 40 and 70 a daily dose of either 800 mg or 2g of Alphastat. They were given the supplement for two weeks. Below you see how both dosages increased the concentration of testosterone in the blood of the test subjects.
Both dosages lowered the concentration of DHT in the blood, as you can see below.
When it came to reducing the estradiol level, the lighter dose was a little more effective than the heavier dose (see below).
Human studies have never shown saw palmetto to have a testosterone-increasing effect. The effects that the researchers noticed were therefore probably due to the astaxanthin. At least, if they didn’t just make up the results. The reported increase in the testosterone level seems too good to be true.
And what usually seems to be too good to be true in the wonderful world of supplement research, usually turns out to be so.
Astaxanthin is on its way to becoming incredibly hip. Give it to rats that have to run in a wheel, and they burn more fat and their stamina increases. In endurance tests with mice, astaxanthin maintains the glycogen stores. Give astaxanthin to mice you are fattening up and they become less fat. If astaxanthin really is a testosterone booster – which we doubt, but anyway – it’s on its way to becoming as unstoppable a hit as resveratrol.
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Aug 12;5:12.