Supplement City Part 4: DIM, Tribulus Terrestris, and BCAA’s
Author and over-50 fitness freak John Shumate shares his supplementation scheme by listing all of his daily supplements, then providing a detailed description of each one in his multi-part series for masters men Supplement City.
Part 4: DIM, Tribulus Terrestris, and BCAA’s
Testosterone. The Big “T”. The keeper of all-things male.
The first two supplements in today’s copy of Supplement City, DIM and Tribulus Terrestris, are all about male hormone enhancement, ERRRR, I mean maintenance.
Although important to any man, men over 50 in particular need to understand and manage this area of their health, as testosterone levels naturally begin to slide post-50.
Although Testosterone in men plays a lot of roles, it is responsible in particular for a couple of very important effects: muscle mass and sexual drive.
Most men see both of these decline after 50.
So what to do?
Many men think immediately of jumping to testosterone replacement therapy. While this may be a good option for some (as always, talk with your doctor), other more natural options exist.
First, the importance of a good diet and plenty of exercise can’t be underestimated. In fact, studies show that, in men over 50, doing heavy compound weight-lifting movements has a positive effect on free testosterone levels.
Another option is over-the-counter supplements DIM and Tribulus Terrestris, both of which I take even though my testosterone levels are smack in the “middle” range for a man my age.
What are DIM and Tribulus Terrestris?
DIM is an acronym for Diinodylmethane, it’s a supplement that was originally developed for women to control estrogen levels. DIM is a natural substance found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.
In men over 50, DIM helps to eliminate active estrogen from the male body by promoting its conversion into the “good” metabolites. These metabolites then free up testosterone by bumping it off the testosterone-binding proteins. The end result is a healthier balance of testosterone to estrogen and more free testosterone circulating in the body. In scientific studies, high levels of testosterone and low levels of estrogen have been linked to lean body mass, an efficient fat-burning metabolism, and low abdominal obesity. Other benefits from testosterone are improved mood, more interest in sex, and better physical conditioning.
Tribulus Terrestris is a perennial plant that grows in the summer in colder climates. Tribulus has chemicals that in clinical studies have shown a testosterone and sexual activity increase in animals, but human studies are few and inconclusive. However, a significant amount of anecdotal support, including me, have seen an improvement in sex drive from this supplement. I also take TT because it’s also been associated with improved urinary tract health, and as someone born with one deficient kidney, this benefit is important to me.
It’s also important to note the no measurable downside to taking DIM or Tribulus Terrestris has been observed. Again, however, please consult with your doctor before taking any supplement.
Protein is made up of 20 amino acids. Branch Chain Amino Acids are simply specific amino acids already broken out from the protein chain.
Amino acids make up 75% of the human body. They are essential to nearly every bodily function. Every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build. I take amino acid supplements containing all 20 amino acids and here’s why:
First, a quick look down the nutrition charts will reveal that foods that are high in protein tend to, also, be high in fat.
Second, as men age, our level of digestive enzymes tends to decrease, thus impairing our ability to efficiently utilize proteins. At best, our digestive systems are extremely inefficient.
Third, for the masters athlete, meals that present an incomplete amino acid profile (i.e., a shortage of the essential amino acids) to our system will be of marginal use to the muscle building process.
Therefore, a well-balanced amino acid supplement can prove to be extremely cost effective for individuals desiring to maximize their protein intake at a minimal caloric cost.