Test Booster Reviews – Not Born Equal
Here at HowToLiveHealthy we spend a lot of time reviewing test boosters. The supplement industry is a minefield for the unwary, and the products themselves vary wildly in their quality and provenance.
We decided to put together this ‘review of test booster reviews’, to draw your attention to what to look for in a review and what to look out for.
And if you spot any instances of us not following our own advice whilst reading the reviews on this site then by all means leave a comment and pull us up about it.
Has the Reviewer Done Their Research?
Even if the individual doing the review on the test booster has been around for years, they still need to keep up to date with the latest research.
Many manufacturers are lazy. They concentrate on new products and not on updating existing ones. Not only does this require effort, it also results in cost – updating the formula means changes to labels, bottles, packaging, and marketing materials.
It’s doubly important that reviewers do keep abreast of advancements in research so that they can draw attention to ingredients which may have been debunked, and are no longer considered effective.
The reviewers should be able to cite the research that has allowed them to draw their conclusions. We try and include links to the PubMed articles, where possible throughout the review and also at the end in a list. If reviewers are unable to cite the sources that justifies their criticism or praise then you should doubt the credibility of their material.
Have they Analysed the Dosages Properly?
It’s very easy to find reviews where the reviewer has gone through the ingredients list and put together a canned summary of the ingredients. We do it ourselves to an extent (you can’t write the same summary for an ingredient for every review, it’s just not efficient).
What is important though, is that the reviewer has made it clear that they have assessed the dosages of the ingredients, and whether they are at effective levels.
Doing this takes a lot of time, so many reviewers will cut corners. This cheapens their review, the key to these test boosting supplements is understanding the formula – and the list of ingredients only partially illuminates us there. To fully understand the value of the supplement we need to know the dosages.
Why? Well, because a lot of manufacturers know the consumer won’t bother. They can include a huge list of impressive sounding ingredients … then keep the price low by including only tiny trace amounts of them. Another nefarious tactic we see is to use an obscure unit (ie 30iUs) which won’t mean anything to 99.9% of readers.
This is why we get so frustrated by the smoke and mirrors of the ‘Proprietary Blend’ – an FDA facilitated get-out to obscure proper analysis.
Any of these types of headlines look familiar? You may even see them in the Advertisement section at the top of your Google results. Click bait to try and get readers to divert from wht they were actually trying to find provide traffic for some other site.
Chances are there won’t be much real information on Supplement X at all, just an excuse to promote some supplement with a free trial … all you have to do is put your credit card numbers in and pay $5 for the shipping. And not read the small print …
Old and Stale
Are these reviews ever revised and updated? This is another thing you find a lot, a supplement gets a review and then it just gets forgotten about.
Years pass. The manufacturer drops the price, changes the formula, changes the terms, adds a money back guarantee, users post hundreds of new testimonials. And yet our hardy review remains defiantly unchanged. It represents the supplement as it was not as it is now.
In the defence of these reviewers, it is very difficult and time consuming to keep reviews up to date. Especially when your site grows very large and there are a lot of products in the reviews section.
You do need to at least try though – for both the manufacturers and your readers. There’s no point in going through a lengthy review extolling the virtues of some test booster only to discover that it went out of production 2 years ago.
And once again – if you find some out of date old review on this site then by all means pull us up about it. Leave a comment on the page and we’ll get onto it (assuming of course we’ve not missed it in amongst the 10 million spam comments we get).
This is another one you see a lot. Test booster reviews with a whole page load of comments and replies … which all bear an uncanny resemblance to each other.
Every user repeats the same grammatical and spelling errors, or displays the same signature sentence constructions. You are looking at an entirely manufactured ‘discussion’ in order to boost the page’s content for search engine optimisation. This is no user comment, it’s the reviewer asking himself questions and then answering them.
Be suspicious if this is the case. Yes, of course it’s fine to optimize your content when you are running a website. You want your hard work to be found and read after all, don’t you? But a coordinated campaign on a specific page should get you wondering which keyword they are targetting and why they want to rank for that. Caveat emptor!
Analysis of Testimonials / Reviews on Other Sites
This is another aspect that often gets scant attention. User reviews. This is really a test of how good a detective the review is. Are the user reviews online real?
There is no hard and fast rule here and you can’t get it 100%. However a bit of effort goes a long way,
For example, there are products we’ve reviewed where the testimonials on-site just don’t seem right. A bit of digging reveals the company is only 6 months old, and reverse image searches reveal the testimonial photos are years old and have been ripped from other sites around the web.
Another example is Amazon reviews. Numerous 5 star reviews with virtually no supporting text. “Great Product” … “Highly recommended” … “Love this product”. When you look at the users posting these comments you find that this is their one and only review. So we are to believe they were so blown away by this supplement that they went out and set up an account at Amazon JUST so they could tell the world “very good product”.
Of course they are not real, companies pay micro workers in countries like Indonesia and The Philippines to create these reviews and boost their average scores.
Another one – reviews on sites like bodybuilding.com. We really like BodyBuilding.com but their site is absolutely massive – way too big for anybody to expect them to be moderating reviews. So you’ll see a whole load of 10* reviews in a row for test boosters …. all by a bunch of women wearing bikinis. Hmmmmm, Ok there is evidence for testosterone supplementation in women (we’ve written about it) but you will not find a big gang of bikini clad beach babes all chugging down test boosters. Again, fake testimony.
We’ve Tried It!
This is a popular angle adopted by supplement reviewers. The ‘Trust us, we actually try everything’ approach. We’ll not name names. “Personal results you can trust!!”
Of course they don’t try all these supplements. How could they? Let’s do the math. There are 100 test boosters reviewed on their site. Realistically, manaufacturers say you should be taking a test boosting supplement for a minimum of a month before you decide whether it’s working or not (that’s one of the reasons they don’t do samples).
So 100 months, we’re to expect this guy has been taking one different test boosting supplement every month solidly for the last 8 years and 4 months. And he is able to say which one had better effects than the rest?
So in all that time his diet and workout regime haven’t changed at all. It’s a fair scientific comparison, everything is otherwise identical and he hasn’t got 8 years older either. And on top of all this he’s been trying different fat burners, nootropics, pre-workouts, proteins and other far flung supplements.
Rubbish, of course he has not. ‘He’ isn’t even a he, ‘he’ is a team of writers. Like us. We don’t pretend to have tried everything we’ve reviewed, and nor should we have to. Some of these supplements are dodgy at best, we are not going to give them our credit card details or ingest their unknown dosages of untested ingredients from unknown whereabouts.
All we are doing is taking the legwork away from you, the reader. We do the research into these supplements and the companies behind them so you don’t have to. We are not going to start popping them on your behalf though, you can do that yourself.
We can wrap this up for now by saying that test booster reviews have almost as many pitfalls as the test boosters themselves.
If you’ve made it this far, you are in a position to be more discerning about what you read when you are looking into a test booster.