We all know, or at least we should, how important a healthy intake of daily vitamins is, but one of the reason testosterone boosting supplements and multivitamin tablets aren’t one and the same thing is because in reality there is very little crossover between the two. Each vitamin has a vital function, yes, but very few of them ultimately have any impact on our testosterone levels.
Certainly there are natural hormone boosters which make a great selling point of including the vitamin alphabet, but more often than not, if you see an ingredients list with enough capital letters to exhaust both the Village People and your average cheerleading squad, that’s filler, they’re merely there compensating for a lack of genuinely effective ingredients. In the context of stimulating our testosterone most vitamins may as well be labelled, vitamin Y? That said, there are a few honorary exceptions; namely vitamin D, vitamin B6 and to a lesser extent vitamin B12.
Here we’re going to be focusing on vitamin B6, because we’ve already covered vitamin D elsewhere and although B12 is helpful it’s very much the Garfunkel to B6’s Simon. No disrespect to either water soluble vitamin or man it’s simply that, in terms of helping our testosterone, B6’s solo work is a little stronger.
Why is B6 Important?
In common with other B vitamins, B6 – known technically as Pyridoxine – is a nutrient which the body cannot store for any length of time; it is taken in, utilised and then needs constantly replenished if we are to continue to see the benefits of it.
B6 generally is vital for functions such as forming haemoglobin – the molecule that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body – producing antibodies to fight infection, as well as a connection with insulin regulation, amino acids and transmitting messages between nerve cells. Vitamin B6 is found in fish, poultry, liver, potatoes, and non-citrus fruit and deficiency can cause physical problems such as anaemia, skin complaints and susceptibility to infections.
Mental symptoms of a chronic lack of B6 may also manifest as confusion and depression.
Does it Boost Testosterone
Vitamin B6 works both directly and indirectly to boost testosterone. It promotes the production of androgens, which causes testosterone levels to rise, but in sufficient quantities it also works on the C2 pathway in the brain to regulate the creation of hormones which are detrimental to testosterone levels, such as oestrogen.
Testosterone and oestrogen’s statuses as the male and female hormone respectively can be a little misleading; in fact, we have levels of both present in our system at all times, regardless of gender, it’s merely the balance that varies in men and women, slanted in the way their titles would suggest. These proportions can easily get out of whack however and too high an oestrogen level in guys can mean struggling testosterone, which is where B6 is crucial.
Research has shown B6 also helps to keep levels of prolactin low, another hormone sometimes implicated in unimpressive testosterone levels, and the number one culprit responsible for the dreaded man boob.
A study conducted by Symes, Bender, et al. to determine whether vitamin B6 specifically would help boost testosterone found that rats who were given a B6 free diet for a month ended up with significantly lower levels of testosterone in their blood plasma, concluding that reduced vitamin B6 either leads to reduced synthesis of testosterone or quicker a rate of metabolic clearance, than when B6 is in healthy supply.
Likewise Biskind & Biskind’s early research into the effects of B vitamins on the deactivation of oestrogen in liver found that “The flow of oestrogen through this organ can thus be controlled at will, by withholding the vitamin B complex or by restoring it to the diet.” A follow up trial into the influence of B vitamins on the balance between testosterone and oestrogen ultimately reported “Unlike the oestrogens, inactivation of this androgen (testosterone) in the liver is not significantly diminished in vitamin B complex deficiency.”
Work conducted into vitamin B6’s impact on levels of prolactin and thyrotropin in patients with hyperthyroidism (a condition which can lead to low testosterone) found that the output of both were noticeably suppressed by the addition of B6.
There aren’t many ways you can misinterpret the words ‘testosterone boosting supplement’ so when you pick one up it’s fair to assume that’s your main focus and you expect ingredients which share that focus. For all their importance in other areas, a direct effect on hormone levels is not something most vitamins can offer, but vitamin B6 is definitely among the few with genuine crossover credentials.
Its influence on the effective turnover of red blood cells, the stimulation of androgens and marshalling of more unhelpful results for testosterone, like oestrogen and prolactin, make it well worth looking for in the components list of any booster. B6 is still a vitamin however, meaning it’s got plenty of jobs to do in the body besides worry about testosterone levels, therefore the sizable benefits it does bring are best harnessed alongside some similarly impressive, but a little more dedicated, natural testosterone boosting ingredients.
Combining vitamin B6 with ingredients like panax genseng and fenugreek for example, minerals such as boron, along with similarly standout vitamins like D3, is the top way to ensure everything in your supplement has its eyes thoroughly trained on that higher testosterone prize.