If you’re asking the question “does Ageless Male work”, you’ve probably heard the hyped radio ads to which I’ve likewise been exposed. They’re the ones here in the U.S. iterating the statistic that testosterone drops in males by as much as fifty percent after age thirty-five. The ad asks rhetorical questions to which most guys over the hump of the mid-point of their fourth decade are supposed to inwardly conclude:
“Oh crap… I’m feeling some, if not all of all those symptoms. I must have low testosterone. Will ‘Ageless Male’ cure it… does Ageless Male work? Send me a bottle of that stuff – it’ll be well worth a try.”
The ad’s questions go something like the following (paraphrased)…
- Is your energy not what it used to be?
- Is your sport’s game not what it used to be?
- Is it easier to pack on the pounds around the middle?
- Be honest… is your sex drive (or performance in the bedroom) not what it used to be?
Never mind that any or all of these conditions could be caused by something else; the commercial’s designed for you and me to conclude that middle aged testosterone drop is the culprit and ‘Ageless Male’ is the cure.
How much of a cure?
The ‘Ageless Male’ commercial goes on to assert that the product can raise testosterone by as much as fifty percent – presumably the whole fifty percent that’s statistically lost by middle age. What a coincidence… huh?
But if you’re thoughtfully asking ‘does Ageless Male work’, you’ve got to consider at least four slightly more specific questions:
- Do I have age related low testosterone levels?
- If so, how low is “low?”
- What’s the main cause? (Other than just… age)
- Will the ingredients in ‘Ageless Male’ fix the problem?
Let’s look at each of these in analyzing the ‘does Ageless Male work’ question.
Middle-Aged Low Testosterone (‘Male Menopause’): How would you know?
First, how would you even know if your testosterone is lower than it once was and should be?
The first possible signs are the regular occurrence of the symptoms the Ageless Male commercial actually mentions. Low libido coupled with low energy levels are probably the most telling indications of low T-levels. If you experience these symptoms, especially together, it’d be a good idea to get a physical by your doctor that comprises hormone level tests, including both ‘free testosterone’ and ‘total testosterone’ levels.
But what constitutes a “normal” testosterone level? Many urologists will tell you that anything between 600 and 1200 nanograms per deciliter is normal; a fairly wide window. Assuming it’s correct, a ‘total testosterone’ reading below 600 ng/dL is low. Given that the bottom end of the low level can have a man carrying as little as 150 to 200 ng/dL of this vital male hormone, a 50% increase might only get a guy halfway toward the low end of normal; not a promising proposition.
In other words, even if Ageless Male is all it’s hyped to be and can really jack up anybody’s testosterone by 50%, we’ll still fall short of “normal” levels if we start with a level of 200 ng/dL. Now we’ll have a level of 300. Assuming these levels below 600 ng/dL are low enough to ‘knock our “you-know-whats” in the dirt’, a fifty percent increase will likely not get them out of it.
But… in all fairness, if you try Ageless Male and your sex drive suddenly takes an upward spike, you’ve got good anecdotal evidence of a positive answer to the question ‘does Ageless Male work.’ Libido is probably the most sensitive feedback to changes in testosterone levels.
‘Does Ageless Male Work?’ What causes low testosterone?
Of course, if someone has a total testosterone level of 500 ng/dL, a fifty percent boost would bring it up to 750 ng/dL; a respectable increase. But this could be done without a dietary supplement. If a middle-aged guy just brings his waistline down from the forty inch span to something in the low thirty inch range, he could increase his testosterone by 50%. That’s because, for men, ten pounds of belly fat can lower testosterone levels by half what they’d be otherwise.
Since significant body fat levels can lower a guy’s testosterone, a good question to ask is whether a dietary supplement purported to raise testosterone would even be effective without the supplement user first being free of excess body fat. Instead of mentioning this, the marketers of ‘Ageless Male’ (and other herbal “testosterone boosters”) bring up the topic of excess body fat as a symptom of low testosterone rather than a cause. Since testosterone does help prevent fat gain (at least indirectly), the proverbial ‘chicken and egg’ question naturally arises:
Does low testosterone cause fat gain or does fat gain cause low testosterone?
The answer is… probably both… with a self-perpetuating effect feeding the whole problem. Which came first is better left moot if losing the fat is a primary prerequisite for getting hormones up to healthy balances. It’d be nice to believe that an herbal supplement can awaken enough dormant testosterone production to get the fat losing mechanism kick-started, but I wouldn’t bet money on it happening.
Although fat gain is often a major cause of low testosterone in middle aged men, it’s probably the simplest of many possible causes. That’s why it’s important to first get checked by a physician if you suspect you have chronically low testosterone levels. It might be a more serious medical complication.
‘Does Ageless Male Work’: How are they claiming it “works?”
The reason body fat gains reduce testosterone in middle-aged men is because they cause more testosterone to be converted to estrogen (female hormone) in the body. The process of this conversion is quite normal and natural. The ratio at which the testosterone is converted, however, can become unhealthily ‘abnormal.’ A guy in his twenties might have a 50-to-1 ratio between testosterone and estrogen. By contrast, a middle-aged guy can easily be down to a 20-to-1 ratio and even much lower if he doesn’t take care of himself. The higher estrogen levels can effectively “shut down” some of the feedback mechanism used to signal more testosterone production by the body.
Ageless Male allegedly works by eliminating some of this detrimental excess estrogen. Its main ingredient is a combination of Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto. A study done back in 2008 at the University of Yaounde in Cameroon purportedly demonstrated a significant rise in testosterone among a control group of males taking this supplement combination. The apparent reason for the T-level increases: Reduction of estradiol and the enzyme 5alpha-reductase (5AR).
What’s questionable about this study is that it was sponsored by a company (Triarco Industries Inc.) that markets this supplement combination under the product name Alphastat. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; studies cost money. But to assume the study was unbiased would be naïve.
So ‘does Ageless Male work?’
I wouldn’t bet on it doing anything unless other measures are taken to increase natural testosterone levels. Then, it would be less expensive to make the bet by buying Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto separately in order to give it a try.
If you’ve tried this combination, I encourage you to give us your comments.