Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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The Viagra effect of testosterone booster Bulbine natalensis

Bulbine natalensis is a hype in the sports supplement world. It's easy to see why – the effects of extracts of Bulbine natalensis recorded in animal studies are pretty impressive.

The photo shows Bulbine natalensis. Its Zulu name is ibhucu; Afrikaners call it rooiwortel. Herbalists sometimes prescribe the root of the plant for men with impotence problems.

In 2009 researchers at the University of Ford Hare in South Africa published the results of an animal study in which they had given male rats water-based extracts of Bulbine natalensis for a week. The researchers pumped the extract directly into the stomach of the lab animals. The results of their research are strewn all over the internet. And it's not surprising.

A control group were given 50 mg per kg bodyweight of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. This substance had no effect on testosterone and LH levels. The Bulbine natalensis extract on the other hand did have an effect at doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg bodyweight.

The figure above shows that the extracts led to an increase in the number of times that the experimental male rats mounted the females. The effect Bulbine natalensis is bigger than the effect of sildenafil.

Of course, it's worth noting that the experimental animals were only 4 months old and didn't actually need Viagra. If a testosterone boosting extract induces male rats to mount females more often, it doesn't necessarily mean that it works better than sildenafil. All it means is that the extract heightens sexual interest.

Whatever. The effects of the extract on the testosterone level are spectacular though. According to another study by the same researchers, published in 2010, the extract activates enzymes in the testes. [Pharm Biol. 2010 May;48(5):568-76.]

So it's not surprising that manufacturers like iForce Nutrition are marketing bodybuilding supplements that contain Bulbine natalensis. iForce launched Tropinol in the autumn of 2010. It looks as though iForce is hoping that Tropinol will fill the gap left by the disappearance of Reversitol, which contained the designer steroid ATD.

iForce ran into disagreement with the FDA in 2010 over Reversitol, because the FDA ruled that supplements should not contain steroid hormones. Mid 2010 iForce withdrew the product from the market [ September 16, 2010] and news agencies reported in January 2011 that iForce had been ordered to pay a fine of 125,000 dollars. [ Jan 21, 2011]

IForce posted results of blood tests from human Tropinol users on bodybuilding message boards. [ 07-12-2010] According to these tests, Tropinol raises testosterone levels by 323 and 275 percent.

The composition of Tropinol is shown below, but it's not clear exactly how much Bulbine natalensis it contains.

Int J Androl. 2009 Dec;32(6):629-36.

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