I always thought that I had healthy testosterone levels. My body responds well to strength training and my body composition is pretty stable, to name just a couple of indicators.
However, with a growing market for nutritional supplements, there is a growing number of testosterone boosters emerging and I'm pretty interested to know what they can do.
So, armed with APE from Monkey Nutrition, and a couple of testosterone level test kits from MediChecks, I embarked on a month-long trial of a testosterone booster.
The Brand - Monkey Nutrition
Monkey Nutrition is a relatively new brand to the supplement world and, to me at least, they really stand out. Not only are they uniquely branded (although slightly masculine - not that it really matters), they offer products that are really high quality and very obviously well-researched by a passionate team.
The Product - APE Testosterone Booster
First thing’s first: this supplement does not contain testosterone. The supplements aren’t hormones in themselves and absolutely do not contain steroids.
APE is marketed as a testosterone booster. A tub includes 30 days of individual daily packs, containing 4 capsules, 2 tablets, and 2 softgels. I found the way that this was packaged really useful, as I could drop the packets into my handbag or leave them discreetly on my desk at work.
Here’s what Monkey say about the product:
“Monkey APE is a potent fusion of natural testosterone boosters and nutrients essential to hormone synthesis and regulation. The matrix and support systems within APE are designed to boost growth, development and libido, whilst inhibiting aromatisation [the process by which the body converts testosterone to estrogen] and preventing the biosynthesis of estrogen.
Increased testosterone levels encourage the growth and development of muscle tissues, assist fat loss, improve immune function and are key to maintaining positive sexual health and energy levels.”
This stack is packed full of vital nutrients to support your body’s functions. There are lots of ingredients that are highly recognisable (hopefully from your own supplement supply) such as vitamin D3, zinc, essential fatty acids, and lots of fruit extracts. Not too scary, hey?
Zinc, vitamin D and fatty acids are the nutrients that appear to have the most research behind them in this area.
Other ingredients may appear a little less familiar.
Fenugreek is commonly used in testosterone boosting supplements. While it's used as a herb and spice, it also plays a role in improving milk production when breast feeding. The research on it's ability to increase testosterone has been debated.
This is also the case with tribulus terrstris; while it's inclusion in testosterone boosters is popular, the evidence behind it is inconclusive.
Other ingredients in the testosterone amplification matrix also lack concrete evidence behind them when it comes to enhancing testosterone, such as Maca Powder and Horny Goat Weed Extract.
However, what all of these ingredients have in common is that they are typically linked to an increase in libido. This is associated with healthy testosterone levels, but the ingredients don't appear to be proven to have a strong correlation with increased testosterone levels.
Does it Work?
Before I started taking this supplement, I suspected that I already had healthy testosterone levels, for a few reasons.
As I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading about the topic lately, I decided (in the interest of curiousity, as always), to use a MediChecks Testosterone Test to see if this was the case.
My results came back normal, at 1.5 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre). While what is considered the normal range can vary between labs, a guide for women is 0.52–2.4 nmol/L (to put this into perspective, a normal range for men is 9–38 nmol/L).
Given that I had already done this test, I decided to follow up with another test after completing a 30 day period of supplementation with APE.
My second test result came back, also normal, at 1.3 nmol/L. This shows a slight drop after taking APE. Of course, I’m not suggesting at all that this is due to the supplement itself, but it’s a great example of how variable hormone levels can be!
Testosterone levels are higher in women in the morning than later in the day, and this could explain this difference. Levels also fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle. I’d love to see MediChecks provide this information, to allow people to better plan their testing. Instructions such as to take a testosterone test blood sample between 8am - 10am would be useful. I took my levels at different times of day, because the chaos of life just didn’t allow for consistency here!
I don’t consider this a reliable ‘experiment’ that can draw a conclusion on whether APE works for the above reasons.
In terms of what differences I noticed when taking APE, there were a few, albeit subtle.
Firstly, I seem to have noticeably better definition in my arms; less fat, more muscle.
Secondly, I’ve had more energy. During the 30 days, I started a full-time job, have still been trying to fit in adequate training, as well as a lot of other activities and projects, and have been getting up earlier but still functioning really well with plenty of energy.
Thirdly, my recovery from training has been quicker and less painful. Possibly due to improved sleep, as above.
The price of APE £28.99 for 30 packs. To me at least, that can seem like a lot to spend for a single tub of stuff. Realistically though, under £1 a day for all of those quality ingredients, is pretty good!
The results that I saw were quite subjective and could have been down to any number of variables.
However, I’ve definitely been feeling good and had no symptoms that are commonly associated with low testosterone.
I personally don’t think that these tablets can do any harm, and regardless of whether they do or do not effectively boost testosterone from one person to another, there’s no denying that some of the nutrients in this stack are really important to be taking.
I probably wouldn't buy a testosterone booster supplement stack in the future because I have healthy levels and tend to build my own 'stack' based on my more individual needs.
If you don't know what individual supplements to take, or if you feel that you would benefit from boosting your testosterone levels, I would recommend APE.
What is your perception of testosterone boosters? Has it changed since reading about my experience? Would you try it for yourself?