Bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, or any other resistance-based sport revolving around building muscle and lifting heavy-ass weights is tough. It’s tough physically, and you’d better believe it’s tough mentally. Whatever your goals may be, if you don’t respect the iron and give your diets and workouts everything you’ve got, you’re going to come up short, it’s that simple.
As men, you’ll also know that old Father Time is against you as well, especially as far as your testosterone levels are concerned. Testosterone helps dictate how big and strong some dudes are. We’re going to look at testosterone and why it’s so important for weight training a little later on in this guide. For now, however, we’d like to talk to you about supplements for increasing testosterone and giving you a competitive edge over your opposition.
There are many natural, and legal, testosterone-boosting supplements currently on the market, yet there’s one that’s been turning a lot of heads lately. The supplement in question is D-Aspartic Acid, or DAA for short, and it’s this very supplement that we’re going to be looking at today. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about this awesome supplement including: benefits, dosages, potential side effects, and much more besides. So, without any more time-wasting, let’s jump right in.
What exactly is D-Aspartic Acid?
When we think of bodybuilding supplements, there’s some usual suspects that instantly spring to mind. Whey protein, creatine, pre-workouts, glutamine, BCAAs, and various other amino acids for example. Chances are if you were to talk to the local gym rat down at your gym the next time you’re training, and you were to ask him what his supplement stack consists of, he’s tell you pretty-much all of the aforementioned supplements we just looked at before. Lately, though, you may find that he would also mention DAA.
D-Aspartic Acid is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the health and fitness community, and not before time. But what the heck is it and is it just another fad created by supplement companies to get you to part with your money? Well, actually no, it is not. DAA has undergone extensive research over the years and has been used in many clinical studies which have highlighted many health benefits that the supplement has to offer. Yes, that’s all well and good, but what the hell is it?! Okay, we’ll put you out of your misery.
D-Aspartic Acid is an amino acid that plays a key role in the production of testosterone within the human body. It is an enantiomer of L-Aspartic Acid. L-Aspartic Acid is one of 26 unique amino acids which make up protein. D-Aspartic Acid is technically not an essential amino acid because it can be naturally found within the human body, as well as in some of the foods and drinks we consume. Now, the amounts of DAA in our bodies are far less than those of the L-Aspartic Acid also found in the body and certain foods and drinks. Don’t let its scarceness fool you however, because it has been found to play a key role in the neuroendocrine system, especially when it comes to the production and regulation of certain hormones, including anabolic androgenic hormones such as testosterone. D-Aspartic Acid supplements are often marketed as being natural testosterone boosters for this very reason.
Amino Acids and Our Health
In the body amino acids serve a variety of physiological functions. These tiny molecules are beneficial in so many different ways that listing each one would take us all day. Bodybuilders and athletes in particular, can benefit from amino acid supplementation because of the fact that amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules.
As protein serves as the foundation and building blocks of muscle tissue, technically amino acids are actually the building blocks of muscle tissue. There are 26 different amino acids that make up protein tissue. 9 of these are essential amino acid, whereas the rest are non-essential.
Essential amino acids are ones which the body needs to perform its various physiological tasks and functions, but it cannot produce them naturally. Instead, we must get them from whole foods, drinks, and supplements. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that we can naturally synthesize and produce by ourselves. Some amino acids are known as ‘conditionally-essential’ amino acids. These are ones which we can naturally produce, but in some instances, we would benefit from consuming them in food, drink, or supplement form to get the most from them.
Virtually all amino acids can be found in two different and unique forms. As you’ll remember if you cast your mind back a few moments ago, Aspartic acid can either occur as D-Aspartic Acid or L-Aspartic Acid. Both of these forms have an identical chemical formula, yet the differences occur in their molecular structures as they are mirror images of one another. L-Aspartic Acid for example, is produced naturally in the body, and can also be found in various foods and drinks that we consume. It is used to help create protein molecules that get you big and strong.
The amino acid we are looking at today, doesn’t do that. DAA is utilized in a different way. DAA is used by the body to facilitate the production and secretion of hormones. DAA helps to stimulate the production of neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain which in turn facilitate the production of testosterone in the testes. Now you can see why bodybuilders find this supplement so appealing and you can see why it is marketed as a natural testosterone booster. As well as helping to increase the production of testosterone within the body, DAA also helps stimulate the production of other androgenic anabolic hormones such as IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) and HGH (Human Growth Hormone).
Testosterone and Muscle Growth
In our search for never-ending gains in the gym, we’ve probably all tried a number of weird and wonderful supplements over the years. Many of which were probably designed, at least in part, to help facilitate the production of testosterone. But why is testosterone so important in the first place, and what the heck is it?
Testosterone is a male sexual health hormone that is essential for reproductive development and sexual development. In fact, in terms of importance, for men it is considered by many heath officials and experts to be the most important hormone of all.
But why are bodybuilders so obsessed with testosterone? Their objective is to build muscle, not improve their sexual health, so what gives? Well, because of its androgenic (sexual health) nature and anabolic (muscle building) properties, testosterone is one of the most essential hormones when it comes to building muscle. We all know that, in professional bodybuilding, steroid use is one of the world’s worst kept secrets.
It’s obvious that enormous 300 plus pound bodybuilders that are ripped to shreds are on steroids, but again, what does this have to do with testosterone? Well, all anabolic androgenic steroids are derivatives of testosterone and are basically synthetic versions of testosterone. They are designed to provide the same effects as testosterone, just far more dramatically.
In fact, various forms of testosterone are injected by bodybuilders directly as part of a steroid stack. Testosterone Enanthate, Test Propionate, and Test Cypionate are three key examples. The problem with these steroids, other than the fact that they’re illegal, is the fact that they’re extremely dangerous. This is why legal steroids and natural supplements designed to boost testosterone production are considered to be so much more effective.
Testosterone itself belongs to a class of unique male hormones which are known as androgens. Certain anabolic androgenic steroids also belong to this same class. You will find testosterone in both men and women, although it is far more concentrated in men than it is in women. In men, the majority of testosterone is produced in the testes, with a small percentage also being produced via the adrenal glands.
The brain, however, plays a key role in the production of this muscle-building hormone. You see, it is the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus that regulate production of testosterone. These glands basically tell your testes and adrenal glands how much testosterone to produce.
In men, testosterone is responsible for the development of sexual organs, of facial hair, of body hair, and of muscle size and strength. The more testosterone you produce, the more muscle you will likely be able to build and carry around on your frame. The problem is that men only enjoy a short peak in terms of testosterone production, before production rates begin to slow down. Once we go through puberty our testosterone levels spike and shoot through the roof. It’s why small, baby-faced, skinny teens turn into large, muscular, deep-voiced, raging sex addicts in a matter of months after they go through puberty.
Once we hit 30, on average at least, testosterone production slows down, and we produce less and less each year. This is why our sex drives can sometimes drop as we grow older, it’s why we have less energy, and it’s why we find it harder to build muscle as we grow older. Some men can even suffer from a testosterone deficiency.
Why is a Testosterone Deficiency Such Bad News?
So, we’ve established that men generally want to keep their testosterone levels as high as possible, but what is it about testosterone deficiencies that makes them so detrimental. If a man suffers from abnormally low testosterone levels, a doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT for short. Here, they will basically receive testosterone injections. Some steroid users have to receive TRT for the rest of their lives because, through their steroid use, they sometimes manage to shut down their natural testosterone production.
In case you were wondering what a low testosterone level is, according to health experts 299 or fewer, nanograms per decilitre of testosterone is considered low. Normal ranges can be anything from 300 – 1000 nanograms per decilitre. Anything over 1000 nanograms is considered high. Just bear in mind that some steroid users will increase their testosterone levels to several thousand nanograms per decilitre, so that shows just how powerful these drugs can be. Testosterone levels can be measured via what is known as a serum testosterone test, which is a simple blood test.
But what are the symptoms and risks associated with a testosterone deficiency? Here are some key examples:
– Poor libido: Guys, let’s face it, when it comes to our libidos, generally the vast majority of you reading this certainly wouldn’t mind if your sex drive increased. In fact, most of you would jump at the chance if offered to help you boost your libido. The downside to a testosterone deficiency is the fact that it reduces your libido. A poor sex drive can affect your self-confidence, it can affect your love life, and it can even put a strain on your relationship as well.
– Erection problems: Not only does a testosterone deficiency reduce your libido and sex drive, it may also give you troubles with achieving and maintaining an erection. Testosterone doesn’t directly create an erection, but it can increase your sex drive and as you know, when you’re turned on, you’ll find it much easier to achieve and maintain an erection. Testosterone helps stimulate receptors in the brain which help produce Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator that dilates the blood vessels and increases circulation. We achieve an erection when oxygenated blood rushes to the spongy erectile tissue in the genitals. The more blood that reaches this tissue, the stronger and more pronounced your erection will become. Low testosterone means less Nitric Oxide which can result in poor circulation, particularly where erections are concerned.
– Fatigue: Men suffering with a testosterone deficiency also often suffer from fatigue and lethargy. This is a very big problem for dudes trying to build muscle and get in shape because as you probably know, the less energy you have, the less productive your workouts become. No matter how much sleep they get, how much coffee they drink, or how many carbs and good fats they consume, men with low testosterone levels regularly suffer with feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
– Reduced muscle mass: By now we’ve established that testosterone plays a vital role in the growth and repair. It should therefore, come as no surprise to learn that a lack of testosterone in the body will result in a distinct reduction in muscle mass. Not only that, but building muscle will become much harder, no matter how hard you train.
What are the Main Benefits of D-Aspartic Acid?
There are many benefits associated with D-Aspartic Acid, which is why it’s currently one of the more popular supplements on the market today. But what does it actually do for the body when consumed? Let’s take a look, shall we? Here’s a look at several key benefits of D-Aspartic Acid supplementation:
Helps increase testosterone production
You’ve noticed how, so far, we’ve gone on and on about the importance of testosterone in the body, especially as far as muscle growth and sexual health is concerned. Well, the main reason for this is because DAA is marketed as a testosterone booster. DAA helps to promote an increase in testosterone in the body by communicating with the brain – specifically the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, and telling it to produce more testosterone. The more we produce, the healthier we become.
Increased muscle mass
A direct result of the increase in testosterone production thanks to DAA is the fact that it helps to increase a person’s muscle mass. Now, you won’t build muscle alone by simply taking the supplement and sitting on your butt for the rest of the day. You will need to get off your butt, head into the gym, and start working out regularly. If you combine this supplement with a healthy lifestyle and regular resistance-based workouts however, you will find that your lean muscle growth will increase fairly rapidly.
Cognitive health benefits
There is strong evidence to suggest that DAA may also possess nootropical properties. In simple terms, this means that it could help to improve brain health and function. Numerous studies conducted on this amino acid with regards to how it affects the brain have found that it can help to increase short-term memory, reaction times, mental sharpness, and thought processes in general. This is because it stimulates the production of an enzyme known as DAO, which helps to adjust D-amino acids responsible for cognitive health and function. For training purposes, this is beneficial as it will help you to get into the ‘zone’ whilst training, and to build a strong mind-muscle connection as well.
Another useful benefit associated with DAA is the fact that it has been found to help improve fertility in men. One study conducted on 60 men suffering with fertility issues, found that when they supplemented with D-Aspartic Acid for three consecutive months, they all found that the amount of healthy sperm that they produced had increased. As well as that, the rate in which the sperm cells moved (sperm motility) has also noticeably increased. For men looking to start a family, D-Aspartic Acid is an extremely beneficial supplement to utilize.
How much DAA Should You Be Using?
Okay, so now that we’ve established how awesome DAA is, we now need to talk to you about dosing the supplement. In order to get the most from the supplement, and in order to ensure that you keep yourself safe and avoid any nasty complications, it’s vital that you consume the right amount of DAA. Failing to do so, as mentioned, could be very dangerous.
Now, in terms of dosages, this will depend on how large you are, how active you are, and what your testosterone levels were like to begin with. The vast majority of studies carried out into the effectiveness of DAA when it comes to testosterone production, have found that 2.6 – 3 grams per day is optimal in individuals that are fairly inactive. For men that are physically active, I.E bodybuilders that train several days per week, high dosages are generally required. Here, 5 – 6 grams per day is thought to be optimal. It is worth noting that results will not become noticeable overnight. In fact, it can take up to three months before testosterone, IGF-1, and HGH levels slowly start to creep up and increase.
FAQs About D-Aspartic Acid
Before we wrap things up and leave you to head to your nearest online supplement store to pick up a tub of DAA for yourself, we’re going to leave you with a few common FAQs, and answers, to help you make up your own mind about whether this supplement is right for you.
Is DAA safe?
Like all supplements, it is absolutely vital that you only consume DAA in the recommended daily dosages as instructed by the manufacturers. Failing to do so could potentially put you at risk. Providing you consume it as instructed however, DAA has been found to be completely safe. In humans, there are no known short, or long-term, side effects or health risks associated with using this product. Basically, as long as you don’t exceed the recommended daily dosage, you will not be at risk.
Is DAA an anabolic steroid?
No. Although the supplement helps to increase the production of androgenic anabolic hormones such as testosterone, it is NOT an anabolic androgenic steroid. It is simply an amino acid which occurs naturally within your body.
Will DAA have the same effects as steroids?
Again, no. Androgenic anabolic steroids are incredibly powerful, illegal, and dangerous compounds that have extraordinary effects on the body. Using DAA will not cause you to build 30 pounds of muscle in a matter of weeks. The supplement will promote increases in lean muscle mass, just not to the extent of AAS.
Can it be stacked with other supplements?
Yes. Many bodybuilders will stack D-Aspartic Acid with other popular bodybuilding supplements such as: Creatine, whey protein, BCAAs, and L-Glutamine. Again, never exceed the recommended daily intake of any of these supplements!