Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chrysine: 5,7-dihydroxyflavone for Bigger Balls and Higher Serum Testosterone

Polyphenols in general and flavonoids in particular are every supplement producer's favorite. Its so easy to pick up some exotic plant from somewhere deep down in the jungle, extract an exotic flavonoid, give it a fancy chemical looking name and provide some in-vitro data on his anti-oxidant omnipotence or whatever. In most cases the compounds disappear from the market within weeks, yet chrysine which is extracted from the Common Passion Flower, has been around for years. A recent study (Ciftcy. 2011) by Ciftci et al. provides further evidence that its market persistence may not be without a reason.

Over the time course of the scientists fed a group of lab rats 50 mg/kg chrysin (human equivalent ~8mg/kg) or placebo for 60 days and found:
that chrysin significantly increased GSH, CAT, GSH-Px and CuZn-SOD levels, but did not change the formation of TBARS significantly. In addition, sperm motility, sperm concentration and serum testosterone levels significantly increased, whereas abnormal sperm rate significantly decreased with chrysin treatment.
In essence the improvement in antioxidant markers (vs. placebo) went hand in hand with a measurable increase in sperm health and serum testosterone.
Figure 1: Testosterone levels of rats after 60 day intervention with 50mg/kg chrysin. (Ciftcy. 2011)
 "Great", well, maybe not so... although this is an almost 50% increase in testosterone, we do not know how other important hormonal parameters such as SHBG (binds testosterone and thus renders it basically useless), estrogen or cortisol looked like. An estimation of the "muscle building effects", the producers of respective supplements are advertising, is thus futile. And, if you asked my opinion, even if SHBG did not budge and we have an appropriate increase in free testosterone, the latter is probably too little to induce noticeable changes in strength and/or body composition.