Wednesday, January 25, 2012

+87% Increase in Testosterone Within 21 Days from a 100% Natural Supplement? Study Shows: Soy Bean Extract Can Do Just That While Wreaking Havoc on Your Testes. Plus: Corn Oil Reduces Testosterone to Estrogen Ratio by -50%!

Image 1: I guess the feed of those boars does not contain any corn oil and is spiked with both bisphenol A and soy bean extract - I mean, how else could you possibly explain those balls? (img
Let me start today's post with a few questions: Would you buy a 100% natural product that can lower your estrogen levels by up to -98%, increase the weight of your testes by ~30% and, above all, boost your testosterone levels by a whopping +87%? I guess, at least all those of you who either have not read or not understood the Intermittent Thoughts episode on estrogen's role in skeletal muscle hypertrophy are just sitting there, nodding their heads... I would yet also venture the guess that this nodding will end pretty abruptly, now that I am about to tell you that this all natural testosterone booster is derived from the powder of 2kg of Glycine max soy beans via methanol extraction, subsequently freeze dried and capped into 600mg caps of which the average adult (~80kg body weight) is supposed to ingest two per day.

Chose your poison: BPA, soy, or maybe just some governmentally subsidized corn oil?

The preceding paragraph was an ironic, yet as far as the underlying facts and figures are concerned 100% accurate introduction to today's post which revolves around a study Evanski from the Mind&Muscle forum has brought to my attention (Norazit. 2012). The authors, a group of scientists from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, had set out to investigate the purportedly negative effects of what they call "soya bean extract" (interestingly this spelling of "soy", which is identical to the German version is probably the reason the study did not appear on my "interesting stuff for the SuppVersity radar", before ;-), bisphenol A, 17β-estradiol and "harmless" corn oil on the testis and endocrine system of juvenile rats.
Figure 1: Phytoestrogen content (µg/g dry weight; mind the logarithmic scale!) of soy bean extract an standard rat chow measured by LCMS (data adapted from Norazit. 2012)
To this ends, the scientists divided thirty 21-day old juvenile male Sprague-dawley rats (=the standard lab rat) into five groups, receiving either a standard diet (which contained an insignificant amount of soy, cf. figure 1) + 100mg/kg Tween 80 (a standard food emulsifier with derived from polyethoxylated sorbitan and oleic acid; this group served as control for the soy and the bisphenol group) or standard diet +100mg/kg of corn oil (Mazola; this group served as a control for the estradiol group because the 17b-e did not dissolve in the Tween 80), soy extract, bisphenol A (Aldrich Chemical Co.) and 17b-estradiol (the most active form of estrogen, which binds to both the alpha- and beta-receptor) for three weeks.
Note: It is (at least in my view) a lucky coincidence that contrary to the soy extract and the bisphenol, the estradiol did not solve in the Tween 80, so that the scientists had to come up with Mazola corn oil as a "positive control". I mean, if you take a look at the effects this supposedly neutral "solvent" had on the endocrine milieu of the peripubertal rats, it is no wonder that with the average testosterone levels of the male inhabitants of the #1 corn producer of the world, the Unites States of America, is on a constant decline.
At the end of the study period the rats were sacrificed, the testis were excised and their testosterone and estrogen levels were assessed using standardized enzyme immunoessay (EIA) kits from Caymen Chemical.
Figure 2: Section of seminiferous tubules from control Tween 80 group, BPA group and soy bean extract group; (1) maturing spermatids, (2) lumen filled with cellular debris, (3) vacuaolation, (4) interruption of spermatogenesis (data adapted from Norazit. 2012)
Even a layman can see that both the bisphenol A, as well as the soy bean extract treatments induced profound changes in the cell-morphology of the testes (cf. figure 2). Vacualation (3), i.e. formation of vacuoles in cellular tissue, was present in both, only the bisphenol A group showed the characteristic lumen filled with cellular debris (2). Visible signs of spermatogenesis (1) were visible in neither of the groups, a clear interruption of the latter (4), was yet observed only in the soy and the estrogen group (latter not shown in figure 2). Moreover, the estrogen treated animals were the only ones where the testis showed clear signs of apoptosis (cell death).

The "harmless" corn oil shifts the testosterone to estrogen ratio from ~1/1 to 1/2pg/ng

Reckless, as I am I decided to discard Norazit et al.'s distinction into the BPA and soy groups with the Tween 80 group as a control and the estradiol group with their corn oil control and just plotted the total body and total and relative testis weight gain, estrogen and testosterone levels relative to the Tween 80 group. In other words, I treated the corn oil group as if it was just another treatment group. This is obviously somewhat fishy, but if no scientist appears to be willing to investigate the potential negative effects of corn oil on the endocrine system of adolescent rodents (let alone humans), this is the only way for us to get respective data ;-)
Figure 3: Body weight gain, total and relative right testis weight, estradiol and testosterone levels in peri-pubertal rats after 21 days on diets containing 100mg/kg bisphenol A, soy bean extract, corn oil or 17b-estradiol (in soy bean oil); data expressed relative to Tweenn 80 (polysorbate + oleic acid) control (data calculated based on Norazit. 2012)
And if you take a look at the data in figure 3 (the vertical axis of which is by the way discontinuous!) it becomes clear that you better feed your boys a food solvent such as Polysorbate 80 (=Tween 80) than the "healthy" corn oil the US government is trying to con you into. After all, the administration of 100mg/kg corn oil (human equivalent ~16mg/kg) during puberty decreased the testis weight of the rats by -23% it reduced the amount of estradiol by -35% and the amount of testosterone by -66% and thusly shifted the testosterone / estrogen ratio in the peri-pubertal rodents from 1.11pg/ng to 0.57pg/ng!

BPA and soy compete for the title of "most potent endocrine disruptor"

Following the bro-scientific "the more the better" type of reasoning, bisphenol A and soy bean extract are two potential candidates for the "testosterone booster of the year"-award. After all both, the organic solvent bisphenol A, as well as the "natural toxin" (sorry, I just had to write that ;-) soy, exert potent (8x) and ueber-potent (100x) effects on the testosterone to estrogen ratio, which is 8.2pg/ng for BPA and 100.1pg/ng for soy!
Note: Neither I, nor the scientists have any clue as to why the results of this study are diametrically opposed to those of previous studies in which extracts from soy products reduced, not increased, testosterone levels in male rodents and monkeys(!), across-the-board (eg. Sharpe. 2002; Cline. 2004) - and that although Sharpe et al. observed an increase in the testosterone producing Leydig cells in their soy-formula fed monkeys. Whether the rats in the study at hand were in a state where similar effects temporarily increase testosterone output until the Leydig cells literally "burn out", or whether other effects were responsible for the temporary increase in testosterone, would have to be elucidated in future studies, the results of which you will obviously read here at the SuppVersity, first ;-)
So, even if we assume that the data is correct and there were no cross-reactions between components in the soy bean extract and the testosterone anti-body test, I would strongly caution against the use of either of this compounds to boost your testosterone levels - I mean what's the use of a wickedly skewed testosterone to estrogen ratio (which in and out of itself will probably mess up your health and can potentially hinder your gains, cf. "Are You Serming Away Your Gains?"), when, at the same time, your testicles turn into dysfunctional balloons?


sami said...

Dr after your reply about Dark chocolate i went searching for more info about Dark chocolate and came across some posts that state that Dark chocolate other than "100% Raw cacao/100% dark" has little to no Phenols/antioxidants due to the heating process it goes through.

Is there any truth to this ? and should i worry about phytic acid in dark chocolate ?


Prof. Dr. Andro said...

ok, let me clarify the terms here.

I thought you were talking about Cacao as the NesQuick stuff kids drink, when I said that it is mainly sugar *rofl*

cacao as in directly from cacao beans is something very different and depending on the way it is processed really the #1 for phenols and antioxidants. It is however not correct that high quality dark chocolate was devoid of the latter ... I will just give you the results of "the next best paper" i.e.

[average phenolic content in µmol/g]
Milk chocolate = 52.2
Dark chocolate = 126
Cacoa (not the sweet powder!) = 224

and here is a citation from the conclusion

"Thus, chocolates contain both a high quantity and quality of phenol antioxidants. When expressed as catechin equivalents on a fresh weight basis, the average chocolate contains 28.7 mg/g, assuming a 35% content of fat and moisture. Forty grams of chocolate is the reference amount commonly consumed per eating occasion. This serving of milk chocolate, the most popular type of chocolate, provides 394 mg of polyphenol antioxidants and a serving of dark chocolate 951 mg. For comparison, the average black tea contains 943 mg/240 mL serving and a red wine 431 mg/240 mL (Vinson, 1998). The average hot cocoa mix made according to the instructions provides 45 mg of polyphenols in a 240 mL serving. Using 5 g of the average cocoa powder (35% fat and moisture), a homemade serving of hot cocoa has 211 mg of polyphenols as catechin."

Lerner said...

As I recall, the most damaging processing is the Dutch (aka alkali) processing. Why then do they do that? Because then the end result tastes better, less bitter. Probably most people prefer milk chocolate, and the milk proteins bind to the healthful molecules making them not so helpful.

Heat is said to damage many kinds of healthful molecules, yet I remember your post on how olive oil wasn't damaged by heat so much after all.

Meanwhile, not all phenols are alike -- e.g. the cacao of the Kuna lowers blood pressure, but green tea does not.

It's interesting about the black tea being so high in compounds, so the fermenting isn't so harmful there; and maybe green tea isn't superior in every respect as had been thought for a long time... while coffee is making a comeback healthwise.

The moral seems to be to consume a variety of things and avoid any nutritional extremism - this being the way to hedge your bets.

Phytate? I also remember one of your posts on some particular whole grain or some legume which said it wasn't so bad after all. Maybe a followup study will say the opposite.

All of this should be viewed healthwise in view of the big meta studies from 2-3 years ago which said that those who ate lots of fruits and vegetables didn't actually fare better (CVD and cancer) than those who didn't.

Prof. Dr. Andro said...

I have just had a related discussion on the advantages of virgin vs. regular coconut oil on the m&m boards, if you want click here to check out my post.

wrt to phytic acid, the fact that it is totally villified in the paleo crowd alone is enough for me to believe that it cannot be so bad, after all... let alone: We are eating tons of this stuff in some of the undisputably healthiest foodstuff there is.

and even in isolation there are a handful of studies like > showing potential benefits:

"These findings demonstrate that both rice bran and phytic acid could reduce the risk of high fat diet-induced hyperglycemia via regulation of hepatic glucose-regulating enzyme activities."

also, it has recently been shown that we have a transporter for ferritin, i.e. bound iron from legumes. So I am not 100% certain that even the myth phytate + iron = ironloss will eventually turn out to be 100% true

sami said...

Dr, you also recommend chocolate milk post workout. I found this interesting comparison and would like to hear your opinion on whole fat vs low fat chocolate milk.

"Coincidentally, Surge and chocolate milk have identical proportions of saturated fat. Lowfat chocolate milk has more fat than Surge, which would cause some folks to call a foul for postworkout purposes. However, a trial by Elliot et al found that postexercise ingestion of whole milk was superior for increasing net protein balance than fat-free milk [21]. The most striking aspect about this trial was that the calorie-matched dose of fat free milk contained 14.5g protein, versus 8.0 g in the whole milk. Apparently, postworkout fat intake (particularly milk fat) is nothing to fear, and may even be beneficial from the standpoint of synthesizing muscle protein. Bottom line: it’s a tie, since there is very little evidence favoring one fat profile/amount versus the other. On one hand, you can be saving fat calories by going with Surge. On the other hand, postworkout milk fat might potentially enhance protein synthesis. Things come out even."

2.Roy BD. Milk: the new sports drink? a review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Oct 2;5:15.
3.McDonald L. (Review of) Milk the new sports drink? a review., 2008.

Is it true that Whole Fat chololate milk supperior to Low fat chocolate milk ?

Prof. Dr. Andro said...

usually I am a huge advocate of whole foods and thusly full-fat milk, but after a workout the fat will just slow down the absorption of the protein; also, the general scientific consensus is "low fat chocolate milk" < and for once I do agree here

on another note, the source you are citing here is probably the best disguised 100% advertisement program on the net. If you keep reading this stuff, do it for entertainment purposes, especially wrt to everything they write on supplements.

Purposelessness said...

I dont know about chocolate milk, but this shows that whole milk is better than fat free milk:

Prof. Dr. Andro said...

@purposeless: You over-read a very important part of the results:

not only "Mean uptake of phenylalanine was 80 and 85% greater for WM and IM, respectively, than for FM, but not statistically different." < which means that they were identical, but also

"Threonine uptake relative to ingested was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for WM (21 +/- 6%) than FM (11 +/- 5%), but not IM (12 +/- 3%)"

so phenylanaline was greater for isocaloric fat-free milk (non significantly) and threonine was grater for whole milk (again non significantly)... if you add the sugar from the chocolate milk to the equation which helps with glycogen replenishment (cf., I stick to my previous recommendation to chose fat-free or low fat chocolate milk over whole milk (but only immediately post workout)

reduced testosterone said...

The post has great information about the testosterone natural boosters and this is true that natural substances are the perfect sources of hormones.

Anonymous said...

I'll try to be polite though I know some will be offended, I apologize but it's purely a scientific question.

It would be very interesting to study the relationship between the male gay population and their childhood diet as well as their mother's while pregnant. May the estrogen's from soy intake have played a role into their effeminacy?

May soy-based baby formula play a role into damaging their testicles and testosterone build up later on as teenagers to the point of modifying their physiological behaviors so much that their attraction for women is dramatically impaired?

fatfree said...

Hm, I see marketing potential:
"Always wanted a daughter, but only got a son? Here is soy\BPA\ecdysteron\phytoestrogen blend baby formula for you! And no more sore nipples!"

Prof. Dr. Andro said...

*rofl* damn... fatfree that's your fault, now I've put out a politically highly incorrect "laughter"

but to be honest, I guess it is pretty pointless to speculate about that, because

a) there have always been homosexuals in all cultures (even those who did not know what soy is) - the greek for example were about as gay as it gets (and one of their favorite reasons to be "gay" /pun intended/ is about to take place in London in a couple of weeks)

b) there is more than enough scientific evidence that shows that the "average" gay man has about as much testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, etc. as the average heterosexual man

so, if anything it is a result of "pre-programming" in the womb (soy could factor here, but is probably not the only reason, see a) and if being gay implies being "gay" (=happy), I don't know why we should start questioning it in a "what went wrong here" kind of way.

Anonymous said...

Test rats balls eventually burned out in a 21 experiment that showed it can increase testosterone by +87% and the testis by 30% at that does. So, I'm thinking cut the 21 days in haft will it give a +43.5% boost and the balls size by 15% without burning out.

Anonymous said...

By the way the blog is "+87% Increase in Testosterone Within 21 Days from a 100% Natural Supplement? Study Shows: Soy Bean Extract Can Do Just That While Wreaking Havoc on Your Testes. Plus: Corn Oil Reduces Testosterone to Estrogen Ratio by -50%!"

Adel aka Dr. Andro said...

*rol* I cannot say this ain't possible, but the use is ZERO in 2 weeks nothing is going to happen in terms of muscle growth or whatever you are aiming for