Buyer’s Guide to Test Boosters
Supplement Industry Scams to Be Aware Of
Even guys that have used supplements for years are unaware of aspects of the industry.
We’ve put together a short buyer’s guide to help you navigate the choppy waters.
Where is it made?
A question that a worrying number of buyers fail to ask. The manufacturers that are doing it right will not be shy about telling you so – look out for mentions of cGMP facilities.
cGMP is an abbreviation for ‘current good manufacturing practice’. It applies to pharmaceutical and food manufacturing plants in the US, UK and EU. The facility will have to have proven that it can deliver supplements which;
- Are consistently high quality, and use the best raw ingredients
- Ensure safety and accuracy by using the modern manufacturing methodology
- Be appropriate for their intended use
- Guarantee the ingredients and specification on the packaging
The facilities are inspected to make sure they comply.
Without this you are risking your health and money. At best products may be inconsistent, with dosages varying between capsule or batches. At worst they could be contaminated, or contain off-label ingredients. The mainstream media is full of tragic incidents where this has been the case – Look for cGMP!
On this site we don’t hide our dislike of proprietary blends.
Many companies (sadly) use these, often the US based ones manufacturing solely in the US. The ‘proprietary blend’ is an FDA conceived loophole to prevent the manufacturers actually telling you what is in the product. The are allowed to give the ingredient list … but don’t have to give the dosages.
So you therefore have no idea what you are taking.
They take a number of the ingredients and wrap them up in some fancy sounding quasi-futuristic package – “Hydro-release Muscle Response Matrix”™, “Estro-control Free Test Synergy System”™.
They are a nonsense. The manufacturer only has to include the total weight, so they can include the expensive ingredients in tiny trace dosages and use the cheap filler ingredients to make up the rest.
There is nothing fancy, scientific or advanced about them – it is pure marketing. Avoid.
This is a classic supplement industry scam. We quite often get confused readers writing to us (accidentally thinking because we’ve written a review of the product that we are in charge of selling it).
Here is a typical message we got as a comment on one of the products;
“I want you people to STOP sending me your product (& please quit tapping my bank account). I have asked you people before – and now, I’m dead serious! quit tapping my bank account!”
Of course, we can’t do anything for them. They have been scammed.
Here’s another. It was left on our Facebook page but a reader who had been caught out. This is the type of small print they want you to miss;
“You have no obligation to buy anything in the future as long as you call to cancel the autoship program within 18 days after you place your order. If you do not cancel before then, you will be enrolled in our autoship program and, as part of the program, we will automatically send you a fresh one-month supply beginning in 18 days and every 30 days thereafter for just $69.99 plus $4.99 shipping and processing and any applicable tax per supply, charged each month to the card you provide today.”
The Free Trial will ask for your bank details for ‘verification purposes’. In the extensive (and cleverly worded) small print you will find that you are actually signing a contract for a subscription of these pills.
You will find it extremely hard to cancel it. Think you can just call your credit card company and issue a chargeback? Think again, that clever small print gets them out of that too. You will end up paying very dearly for your Free Trial.
Note that if you want to know more we’ve gone into this in detail in the article Silence of the Scams
cGMP – Why is it important?
As this is just a short buyer’s guide we’ve not gone into the full details here, we have a more in-depth article on cGMP on it’s way.
In summary though, cGMP stands for Current Good Manufacturing Practice, it refers to the standards in place at various agencies throughout the world on the manufacture of food and pharmaceutical products.
So in the USA this falls under the remit of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) but in other countries it would be in the jurisdiction of the following agencies;
- Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – The UK
- Health Canada – Canada
- Therapeutic Goods Administration – Australia
- Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Produits de Santé – France
In short – It is something you should always look for in relation to a supplement.
It is your reassurance that the products have been made in a properly regulated and controlled, professional facility. That the ingredients have been properly sourced, handled and stored. That the manufacturing process and facilities, are clean, organized and fit for purpose. That the batch of product you are swallowing has been properly tested.
This is so important. Don’t think some of the products you see online have not been homemade, mixed together in somebody’s garage and then stored in their spare bedroom while they sell them on eBay, Amazon etc.
It’s not difficult to do, the ingredients are officially classed as food stuffs so you don’t require any kind of license to purchase them in any of the above named countries. Bottles can be bought cheaply, packaging printed and applied.
Beware, whenever there is money to be made, crooks will be attracted. Stay safe out there people.
Test Boosting Questions Answered
1. Do these need to be cycled?
It depends, but in the main – No. There’s a good reason why many test boosting manufacturers claim their product needs to be cycled. And it’s not for health reasons, it’s driven by the marketing department.
They like to infer that, by saying their product needs to be cycled, you will assume it is as powerful and effective as steroids or prohormones.
Of course it isn’t. Natural testosterone boosters work by;
- Stimulating your body to produce more of it’s own testosterone.
- Limiting the production and effects of estrogen
- Enabling more test to be available as ‘free’ testosterone
Sure, there are often many other beneficial effects from these ingredients. And many products add other ingredients depending on their targeted aims (ie fat burning or nootropic ingredients).
But let’s get one thing very VERY clear here. They will not be as powerful or as effective as injecting synthetic testosterone directly into your body.
Thankfully though, natural test boosters are much cheaper, much safer and do not have the same terrible side effects.
However, there are some supplements that should be cycled. Bad ones. If the manufacturer has created a poor formula which contains ingredients in dosages large enough to cause side effects then we wouldn’t recommend taking that long term.
We wouldn’t recommend taking it at all of course.
For example, we did a review recently which contained a very high level of vitamin B6. In this instance you would do well to cycle the booster because prolonged continuous exposure to the levels in the formula could lead to neurological impairment (Dalton and Dalton (1987)).
2. Can I stack test boosters with creatine and protein?
Yes. In a word.
Creatine in particular is a very common stack addition for lifters buying test boosting supplements. It’s perfectly safe using the two in combination if you are wanting to build mass.
If you are looking to boost test and cut fat you might want to augment your test booster with fish oil tablets.
In a nutshell : the only thing you should avoid stacking with a test booster is another test booster or ZMA. There is likely to be an overlap on the ingredients, which may mean that you are taking more than your tolerance and therefore side effects may ensue.
But this will not be the case for creatine or protein, it is safe to stack them with a safe test booster
3. I suffer from XXX – is it safe to take a test boosting supplement?
Another popular one we get a lot. Reader is researching a supplement and asks us if it’s safe to take it when they are suffering from some obscure medical condition.
Guys – this doesn’t just apply to our website, this applies anywhere on the internet. Consult your doctor. Doesn’t matter how experienced or knowledgeable that guy you are chatting to on that body building forum sounds. He is a guy on a forum. He might be 14. He might be a dog.
OK, admittedly … you can’t say for certain he isn’t a doctor. He may well have spent 7 years in med school (hmmmm). What he definitely doesn’t have is access to your medical records. He cannot know the full extent of your medical history. Your doctor does. Ask them.