Stinging Nettle : Does It Really Boost Testosterone?
Most of us have experienced stinging nettles, we have either walked into or touched them while outside, especially in our youth and as a consequence have experienced the discomfort and rash associated with their ‘sting’.
Aside from the obvious and uncomfortable effects of coming into contact with them, did you know that they are packed with certain bioactive compounds that can promote health and general well being?
Its little wonder that Nettles have been a popular ingredient used in traditional medicines for hundreds of years.
The root extract in particular is commonly found in supplements, with testosterone boosters being the most commonly found.
But what benefits can nettle extract really provide, what does science tell us? This article looks at nettles in greater depth along with their uses ad health benefits.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Stinging Nettle : Does It Really Boost Testosterone?
About Stinging Nettles
Stinging Nettle belongs to the plant family Urticaceae. Its botanical name is Urtica Dioica – which is commonly seen on ingredient labels.
The plant is a strong, tall plant with ‘soft to the touch’ leaves that deliver that unpleasant stinging effect if we come into contact with them. They can grow virtually anywhere, and stand tall in the summer, dying right back during the winter months.
What Makes Nettle Leafs Sting?
The leaves in particular are covered in very fine hairs that are called trichomes. They are needle like in texture and can easily piece the skin when touched, releasing certain chemicals such as histamine and serotonin to enter the bloodstream.
The chemicals combine in the blood and cause a feeling of numbness and discomfort, when stung you will also feel feelings of tingling, inflammation and pain.
This sensation is called Parasthesia.
Whats In Stinging Nettles
Stinging Nettle are made up of 5% protein and 80% water, they also contain fatty acids, and certain amino acids including glutamine, histidine, leucine, beta-alanine and phenylalanine.
They also cost us other bioactive compounds including glycosides, steroid and polysaccharide lignin’s. All have proven health and wellness benefits.
Uses For Stinging Nettle
In herbal medicine, stinging nettles have been used for a wide variety of health problems. It has been used to help treat asthma, diarrhea and stomach issues, and is thought to help improve issues such as:
- Hair Loss
- Swollen Prostate
- Muscle Wastage
- Skin Issues
- Skin Eruptions
The majority of treatments use the root extract, although there are products that use the leaf itself, generally these are found to be weaker and not so effective.
What Does Science Tell Us?
There is actually very little clinical research or evidence to check out. The studies that do exist have concentrated on the claimed prostatic benefits of nettle as opposed to any potential testosterone boosting properties.
The evidence that we do have does tell us that stinging nettle has the potential to:
- Inhibit Aromatization
- Inhibit 5-Alpha reductase
- Bind to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin)
All are beneficial to boosting and maintaining optimum testosterone production.
Stinging nettle has the potential to reduce the effects of aromatisation, this means that it can help reduce the rate at which testosterone is converted into the female hormone Estrogen. One lignin found in nettles is called 9-oxo-10,12-octadecadienoic acid has shown estrogen reducing properties in research papers.
This means that technically, more testosterone is left untouched, and free in the blood stream to provide its key benefits. There are no solid clinical human studies that back this up, but animal research has shown a definite link between reduce estrogen and improved testosterone levels.
The conversion of testosterone into Estrogen is helped by this prostate enzyme, it speeds the conversion process of testosterone into estrogen.
Not only that it also speeds the conversion of testosterone into a metabolite known as DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).
A powerful androgen in its own right, it is linked to benign prostate illness and more commonly thought to cause male pattern baldness in men with a genetic tendency to lose their hair.
Any reduction in both estrogen and DHT are deemed to be beneficial for optimum male health. By reducing the levels of both these hormones leaves more testosterone free in the blood.
SHBG binds to testosterone in the blood, this renders it ineffective. The more SHBG in the blood, the less testosterone is available. It makes sense to reduce SHBG which would leave more testosterone available to feed and nurture the body’s tissues.
There is clinical evidence that nettle extract can reduce the levels of SHBG in the blood although it has to be said that these tests where carried out under laboratory conditions and not on human test subjects.
Stinging Nettle Does Not Directly Boost Testosterone
There is no evidence that stinging nettle can directly boost testosterone production.
It has shown possible effects on reducing aromatisation and the levels of SHBG in the blood.
This does not actually increase the testosterone levels, BUT it does mean that more of our natural testosterone is kept free in the blood to work its magic
It has been shown to reduce the effects of benign enlarged prostate which may offer some men benefits, a double blind study saw 558 men take 120mg of nettle extract daily and the test group taking the extract recorded some great improvements by way of a reduction in prostate size, when compared to those in the placebo control group who saw no changes.
“Stinging Nettle can offer some benefits, especially in the retention of existing testosterone levels, its results are better when used alongside other nutrients”
To Sum Up
As an anti SHBG and Estrogen ingredient, it does have some value, but on its own Stinging Nettle is not effective at boosting testosterone directly.
It can however help and improve the overall mechanism behind testosterone production.
Because of this it can be found in some of the better testosterone boosting supplements – some of which are included in my top 5 Testosterone boosters list – Click Here
MEET THE AUTHOR: My name is Paul Gardner – I am the editor, main researcher and writer for testojunction.com.
I am 59 years old and currently live in the outskirts of London.
Sport and fitness has been a massive part of my life, as a younger man I used to swim competitively. Representing the county at events both home and abroad.
I have also been an avid squash and tennis player too, and have been a keen gym goer all through my life.
I have a CPD accreditation in Sports Nutrition, and have studied and have been writing about nutrition, hormones, natural ingredients and sports supplements for over 12 years and have had articles published in many popular publications.
One area that I have a particular interest in is how hormones play a massive part in our development, fitness, muscularity, strength and of course our sexual development.