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Man's testosterone level sky-high from ActivaTe Xtreme

Man's testosterone level sky-high from ActivaTe Xtreme
Endocrinologists in Exeter, England, found an abnormally high testosterone level in a 19-year-old male. The man was not happy with his libido, so he had bought ActivaTe Xtreme, the plant-based testosterone supplement from Driven Sports. And although you won't find mention of any obscure steroid compounds on the label of ActivaTe Xtreme, it probably caused the man's testosterone level to rocket.

For the record: Driven Sports recently changed the composition of ActivaTe Xtreme. The supplement we discuss in this article is the 'old' ActivaTe Xtreme. The composition of the product is shown below. It's worth repeating though that pro-hormones and designer steroids are conspicuous by their absence. For a start, the ActivaTe version we're talking about contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, known for short as divanil [structural formula shown below].

Divanil is a compound found in the roots of stinging nettles [Urtica dioica]. Divanil is capable of attaching itself to the SHBG molecule in the bloodstream, as a result of which it can no longer bind and neutralise testosterone. In this way divanil boosts the concentration of free testosterone.

Man's testosterone level sky-high from ActivaTe Xtreme


A second component of ActivaTe Xtreme is an extract of Horny Goat Weed [Epimedium sagittatum]. This contains the compound icariin [structural formula shown below], which boosts testosterone production. It probably does this by stimulating the activity of the second messenger cGMP in the testes. A third ingredient in ActivaTe also raises testosterone levels: an extract of Basella alba. If you are a regular follower of this website you have probably already guessed what other abnormality the doctors found in the man's blood...

ActivaTe Xtreme also contains indole-3-carbinol, aka I3C. This is a compound found in cabbages. I3C stimulates enzymes that convert estradiol into inactive metabolites. Less estradiol means that the pituitary produces more LH. And LH is the hormone that stimulates the testes to produce testosterone.

And last but not least, ActivaTe Xtreme contains good ol' zinc, and extracts of Pinus sylvestris extract and Rhodiola rosea. Zinc supplementation boosts testosterone production at least it does if you're not scared of high doses.

But back to the British doctors. Because the man complained of having a low libido, the doctors examined his blood, expecting to find low levels of testosterone and LH. In fact, the opposite turned out to be the case. The man had extremely high levels of both LH and testosterone. The researchers wanted to exclude the possibility of the man having used hCG, so they measured the level of this hormone too. And found nothing.

Man's testosterone level sky-high from ActivaTe Xtreme

The man also had abnormally high amounts of estradiol in his blood. That was because testosterone had converted, the doctors suspected. The man was told to keep off the supplement for a month, after which time the doctors examined him again. His blood levels had normalised.

Man's testosterone level sky-high from ActivaTe Xtreme

So, according to the doctors, it was the supplement that had caused the man's testosterone level to go through the roof. But why, despite the high testosterone level, the man complained of having a low sex drive is not clear from the article. The doctors don't even mention the issue. They do indicate that they are impressed with the formula of ActivaTe Xtreme.

The stuff was made in the same way as an anti-oestrogen like tamoxifen. It apparently never occurred to the doctors to ask the man if he hadn't been using nolvadex or something similar on the sly, and they didn't look for it in his blood either.

"The development of ActivaTe Xtreme is a very clever piece of biochemical trickery", the Brits write. "This case highlights a novel biochemical pattern that we should be aware of; a raised testosterone that is not associated with a suppressed LH and warrants further investigation."

The latest version of ActivaTe Xtreme no longer contains Basella alba. This extract not only boosts testosterone production, but also that of estradiol. The new version does contain extracts of Brassaiopsis glomerulata, however, and these have an anti-oestrogenic effect.

Clin Chim Acta. 2011 Oct 9;412(21-22):1999-2001.

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