True GRIT Test Booster: Scientific Review on Ingredients, Dosage, and Side Effects
Review of: Test Booster by True GRIT
Summary: True GRIT Test Booster is a best-selling testosterone supplement on Bodybuilding.com. I have not personally used it, but I went through its ingredient profile and dug out all the applicable research regarding how each ingredient interacts with testosterone. A bunch of Test Booster's ingredients are herbs from India that are relatively new to the West, and as such, do not have much research on them. Since most of its ingredients still require human trials to prove a positive interaction with testosterone, I do not recommend this supplement as yet.
Verdict: Not recommended.
DOES TRUE GRIT TEST BOOSTER WORK?
Even though I don't recommend you buy this supplement, I quite like Test Booster. Other than fenugreek, most of its ingredients have been shown to provide a lot of health benefits. Whether they go on to affect testosterone as well still remains to be seen, since many of the herbs have only recently been introduced to the West.
But I like that True GRIT experimented with some new ingredients rather than include D-Aspartic Acid and Tribulus; two popular ingredients that are proven not to work.
But to answer the question:
True Grit Test Booster has the potential to boost testosterone levels, but there is not enough clinical research to come up with a definitive answer to the question of whether it works or not.
TEST BOOSTER DETAILED REVIEW
My review will walk you through the clinical research behind each one of Test Booster's ingredients and how it interacts with testosterone. The bulk of this review is centred on the ingredient analysis and my aim is to provide you with the information to help you make an informed decision before purchase.
Zinc is actually a metal that our body requires in trace amounts to ensure proper development and growth. Maintaining adequate zinc levels is associated with improved immunity, balanced hormones, and better nutrient absorption. Turns our zinc levels are also correlated with testosterone:
- Researchers have found that exhaustive exercise leads to a significant drop in testosterone. Supplementing with 3mg of zinc per kg of bodyweight, however, prevented this drop in elite wrestlers (1).
- Sedentary men exercising on a bicycle experienced a drop in testosterone. Supplementing with 3 mg of zinc per kg of bodyweight, however, prevented this drop (2).
As you can see, supplementing with zinc is more a preventative measure than a testosterone booster. If your zinc levels are currently deficient, then topping them up can have a significant positive impact on your T. But if your zinc levels are already where they should be, then increasing them further will not have any impact on testosterone.
An important point to note is that zinc is evaporated through sweat. Both of the studies above demonstrate this. So zinc supplementation is especially important if you're an athlete or if you live in a hot environment. Either way, if you sweat a lot, zinc supplementation is a must.
With a 15mg dose, Test Booster has your daily zinc requirement covered.
Fenugreek, aka Trigonella foenum-graecum, is a herb that has traditionally been used in India to enhance aspects of male health. Today, it is a popular ingredient in test booster supplements. But does it actually work?
Here's what the research says:
- 30 resistance-trained men supplementing with 500mg of fenugreek (while on an 4-day/week training program) had about 12.26% higher bioavailable testosterone levels compared to placebo after 8 weeks (3).
- 60 healthy men, aged 25-52, received either 600mg of fenugreek or placebo for 6 weeks. The fenugreek group experienced an increase in physiological markers of libido, but testosterone levels remained relatively the same compared to placebo (4).
- 45 resistance trained men supplementing with 500mg of fenugreek (while on a 4-day/week training program) had about 9.42% lower DHT levels compared to placebo after 8 weeks. No significant changes in testosterone levels were noted (5).
Fenugreek is an ingredient that I don't like seeing in testosterone boosters. First of all, it is unproven. Every study performed on fenugreek and its interaction with testosterone has revealed different results. And secondly, it has been shown to decrease DHT.
DHT is an anabolic hormone derived from testosterone with 3-10x the potency. A lot of the benefits that we associate with higher testosterone can actually be tied back to DHT. Lower DHT is definitely something we don't want.
I'm not sure why manufactures continue to include fenugreek in their supplements'. The research is clearly inconclusive and it may even do more harm than good.
The fact that fenugreek is Test Booster's primary ingredient is a let down.
Broccoli, Whole Plant
Broccoli provides a source of Diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound known for its anti-aromatase benefits.
Aromatase is the enzyme that converts testosterone into the female sex hormone, estrogen. The less aromatase you have in your body, the more testosterone is allowed to remain unconverted. Let's see what the research has to say:
- Ingestion of 6-7 mg of indole-3-carbinol (a compound found in broccoli) per kg of bodyweight for 1 week allowed both men and women to excrete significantly more estrogens through urine (6).
That's the only human study I was able to find, but the fact that Test Booster contains 250mg of broccoli extract is definitely a plus point.
Withania somnifera, aka Ashawagandha, is a herb from India used for its powerful restorative properties. In India, Ashwagandha is known as "strength of horse," since it has traditionally been used to strengthen the immune system after illness.
Let's take a quick look at the research on its interaction with testosterone:
- 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress were given either 300mg of Ashwagandha or placebo. After 60 days, the subjects receiving Ashwagandha had 27.9% lower cortisol levels (7).
- 60 infertile men given 5g of Ashwagandha per day had higher testosterone levels (10-22%) and lower cortisol levels (36-48%) after just 3 months of supplementation (8).
- 57 healthy male subjects (with no prior experience lifting weights) were given either 600mg of Ashwagandha or placebo while undergoing an 8-week training program. At the end of 10 weeks, the subjects receiving Ashwagandha had more strength (79.26 kg 1RM on bench press vs 57.77kg 1RM), experienced greater increases in T (15% vs 3%), and lost more body fat (9).
Cortisol, the hormone your body releases when you're stressed, is formed from the same building block as testosterone, i.e. higher cortisol means lower testosterone. Ashwagandha is termed an "adaptogen" for its effectiveness at reducing the physical and chemical effects of stress. By decreasing cortisol, Ashwagandha allows more testosterone to be synthesized.
From the looks of it, Ashwagandha is an all-round super herb. The drawback is that Test Booster only contains 125mg of it. The experiments listed above used a minimum dose of 300mg. Either way, Ashwagandha is an ingredient that I love seeing in testosterone supplements.
Shilajit is a mix of minerals from Ayurvedic Medicine (5,000 year old natural healing system from India) that provides a host of health benefits ranging from better energy to improved brain health. As per its effects on testosterone, there's been only one human study:
- 60 infertile men given 200mg of Shilajit daily experienced a 23.5% increase in testosterone levels after 90 days of use (10).
Although Shilajit has traditionally been used for ages, its introduction to the West is still relatively new. As such, not many studies have been performed with it.
This is the first time I've come across Shilajit extract as an ingredient in a testosterone supplement, and based on the lone human study, I like it. Although an effect of the same extent is unlikely to carry on to an otherwise healthy man, the positive interaction with testosterone is clearly there.
Boron is an important mineral that is often underutilized. Boron supplementation is associated with denser bones, reduced risk of osteoporosis, arthritic relief, and even improved muscle and strength.
Boron is also touted as having a positive interaction with testosterone levels. Let's see what the research has to say about that:
- 8 healthy males were given 10mg of Boron daily for 7 days, after which they had 28% higher free testosterone levels and 39% lower estrogen levels (11).
- 19 male bodybuilders were given a daily dose of either 2.5mg of Boron or placebo. After 7-weeks, subjects in both groups had similar T-levels (12).
Based on the two human studies, Boron's impact on testosterone is unreliable. That being said, the second study only used a 2.5mg dose, i.e. 4x less than the dose used in the first experiment.
Although Boron is not a proven testosterone booster, I definitely think that it has potential. More human research is needed.
Test Booster packs in a hefty 10mg dose of Boron, the same amount used in the first experiment where subjects experienced a 28% increase in free T.
Safed Musli Extract
Chlorophytum Borivilianum, aka Safed Musli, is yet another herb from Ayurvedic Medicine. It has traditionally been used as aphrodisiac and has also been found to have adaptogenic qualities.
The current research on Safed Musli involves some animal studies and only two human studies. But the human studies use equal parts of another supplement (velvet bean) as well, so we can't be sure of the results. Also, the two human studies are funded by companies that manufacture the compound, so the results should be analyzed with a pinch of salt.
At this point in time, Safed Musli Extract is not a proven testosterone boosting ingredient and further research is required to draw any conclusions on it.
Bladderwrack (aka Fucus Vesiculosis) is a type of seaweed that provides a good source of iodine, i.e. the thyroid support mineral. The active compounds in Bladderwrack are known as L-Fucose.
L-Fucose compounds are generally seen to be beneficial for their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. As per the interaction with testosterone, I was unable to find any.
Yacon (aka Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a tuber vegetable commonly used in South America to extract a syrup. It is similar to a potato and has been shown to benefit gut health.
Yacon's interaction with testosterone has only been researched in one rodent study:
- Rats given 200mg/kg of Yacon extract for 5 weeks had 3x higher testosterone levels compared to the control group (13).
Now, although this is an astounding result we cannot say that the same effect will carry on to affect humans.
Due to a lack of human research, Yacon root is only a potential testosterone boosting ingredient.
On Amazon.com, True GRIT Test Booster has an average rating of 3.5/5 after 34 customer reviews.
On Bodybuilding.com, True GRIT Test Booster has an average rating of 8.7/10 after 431 customer reviews.
The cheapest place to buy True GRIT Test Booster is on Bodybuilding.com, where it is currently retailing at $29.99 for a 2-month's supply ($0.50/serving). As of this writing, they're also offering a buy 1 get 1 50% off deal.
Test Booster is definitely one of the more reasonably priced supplements out there.
True GRIT Test Booster Side-Effects
Keep in mind that the side-effects listed below are only likely to occur if you far exceed the recommended dosage of the supplement as written on the label.
Possible Side-Effects of Fenugreek
- Stomach upset
- "Maple syrup" odor in urine
- Nasal congestion
- Facial swelling
- Lower blood sugar
Possible Side-Effects of Ashwagandha
- Stomach upset
Possible Side-Effects of Shilajit
- Increased heart rate
Possible Side-Effects of Boron
- Skin inflammation and peeling
Possible Side-Effects of Safed Musli
Not enough information.
Possible Side-Effects of Bladderwrack
Bladderwrack may contain toxic heavy metals, like arsenic.
Possible Side-Effects of Yacon
- Digestive discomfort
HOW DOES IT COMPARE?
I came across True GRIT Test Booster on Bodybuilding.com's best-selling testosterone supplements. Let's see how it stacks up against some other supplements on that list.
Test Booster vs Alpha JYM
Alpha JYM contains fenugreek, damiana leaf, DIIM, ashwagandha, tongkat ali, and quercetin. Out of these ingredients, you already know that fenugreek is not proven to work. But another one of my favorite test booster ingredients, alongside ashwagandha, is tongkat ali. There's a lot of research backing its positive interaction with testosterone.
Given that Alpha JYM packs in a much higher dose of ashwagandha (500mg vs 125mg in Test Booster), and the fact that it also contains Tongkat Ali, I'll have to say that it comes out on top in this case.
Winner: Alpha JYM
Test Booster vs Alpha Test
The primary ingredient in Alpha Test is also fenugreek. I'm not sure why these big companies keep adding in an ingredient that is not proven to work.
Either way, Alpha Test also packs in some Tribulus and Shilajit. Tribulus is an ingredient that has been proven not to have any impact on testosterone levels, muscular strength, or body composition. It has, however, been shown to boost libido. Shilajit is also in Test Booster, but it still needs more human research to confirm its effects.
Alpha Test and Test Booster contain more or less the same ingredients, with the exception of ashwagandha, which is why Test Booster comes out on top in this case.
Winner: Test Booster
Test Booster vs EVLTEST
EVLTEST is the #1 rated testosterone supplement on Bodybuilding.com. The thing I like about it is the proven micronutrient formula. Vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium have all been shown through clinical research to be positively correlated with testosterone.
What I don't like about EVLTEST is its other ingredients. D-Aspartic Acid, Tribulus, and fenugreek are amongst the most popular test booster ingredients, but they are proven not work.
Even though EVLTEST has a proven micronutrient formula, Test Booster comes out on top in this case due to its ashwagandha, shilajit, and boron content.
Winner: Test Booster
Test Booster vs Animal Stak
Animal Stak is a hormonal support supplement manufactured by Universal Nutrition.
The primary ingredient in Animal Stak is Tribulus. As mentioned prior, Tribulus is proven not to have any effect on testosterone levels. What it does do is boost sex drive. This is why so much anecdotal evidence around Tribulus claims that it boosts T.
Animal Stak is comprised of a bunch of other proprietary blends as well, some with proven ingredients. But I never recommend supplements with proprietary blends, which is why Test Booster definitely comes out on top in this case as well.
Winner: Test Booster