D-aspartic acid is a non-essential amino acid that plays a role in hormone regulation and function. Some people take it to boost testosterone. But do supplements really help you gain strength and build muscle, not to mention boost sex drive?
We may get wiser as we age (hopefully). But with aging also comes plummeting sex drive. And flabbier skin tone.
It’s no wonder that in the effort to stay strong, lean and randy, Americans are estimated to have spent $5 billion on hormone prescriptions.
Think $5 billion is a shockingly-high figure? That doesn’t even include testosterone-boosting supplements. Factor these supplements in and the figure likely skyrockets by several billion more.
From a basic physiological standpoint, there’s definitely a need for testosterone boosters. That’s because after age 30, levels of testosterone dip by about one percent per year.
Testosterone is the sex hormone chiefly responsible for maintaining and regulating strength, lean muscle tissue, sex drive, bone mass and hair growth.
One supplement that has garnered attention for its possible testosterone-boosting benefits is d-aspartic acid (DAA).
But is it really one of the best supplements for men over 40? Can DAA benefit women as well?
Many people associate testosterone with males. Without doubt, males do have higher testosterone levels than women. However, women need to have sufficient testosterone levels to stave off weight gain.
Moreover, sufficient testosterone levels also help prevent lethargy and depression, not to mention diminished interest in sex.
What is d-aspartic acid?
D-aspartic acid supplements are mostly taken in the hopes of boosting testosterone. Aspartic acid, aka aspartate has two forms, L- and D-aspartate.
DAA acid is an amino acid. Amino acids are primarily found in two forms. First, from protein-rich foods. Second, within the protein of your own body. And your own body can product 10 of the 20 amino acids on its own.
These amino acids that your own body produces are non-essential amino acids. They are considered non-essential because it is not essential that you acquire them from food.
Aspartic acid is one of the 10 non-essential amino acids. This begs the question, why is it then necessary to take a DAA supplement?
Well, the short answer is, it’s not. As you’ll read below, there simply is insufficient research that supports using it to boost testosterone.
If you’ve heard that boosting testosterone is one of the major d-aspartic acid benefits, think again.
Perhaps the theory of why DAA supplementation is necessary is this….
Even though it’s available from food, our bodies require more DAA than we can get from food. Considering how much testosterone we lose (at least 30% from age 30 to 60), it sounds like a plausible explanation.
However, the limited research draws uninspiring conclusions that it can boost testosterone.
But there are other benefits.
In fact, according to this study, the benefits include regulation of hormone synthesis and release (and not just testosterone).
In the brains of rats, DAA enhances gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It also releases oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter. It regulates social interaction and sexual reproduction.
In addition, d-aspartic acid plays a role in the release of vasopressin. And a hormone, vasopressin helps the kidneys retain water and increase blood pressure when necessary.
Moreover, DAA also plays a role in the secretion of the following three hormones: prolactin luteinizing hormone, and growth hormone.
Again, hormones regulate several of your body’s functions. This includes sleep, blood pressure and heart rate and energy, among several others.
Perhaps a d-aspartic supplement may help facilitate some of these important functions. However, there seems to be a dearth of research to support supplementation with d-aspartic acid. Especially, for boosting testosterone.
D-Aspartic Acid: is there proof it works?
According to HealthyButSmart.com d-aspiritic acid did significantly raise testosterone in one study. However, the study is very small. It consists of only 23 men. And these men are sedentary with already below average testosterone levels.
How to use d-aspartic acid
But if you want to give DAA a try, here’s how to use it.
According to this study, you need to take 1 μmol/g per day to get maximum aspartic acid benefits. For this study, the greatest benefit was increasing luteinizing hormone, testosterone and progesterone.
D-aspartic supplement doses are generally three grams one or two times a day, according to HealthyButSmart.com. However, it’s not yet clear what dose is best to increase serum (blood) levels of testosterone.
Natural sources of d-aspartic acid
Considering the lack of evidence supporting the use of d-aspartic acid, perhaps it’s best just to get it from food.
Again, DAA is a non-essential amino acid. However, as mentioned above, maybe it’s a good idea to get more of it from food since testosterone levels plummet as you get older.
Chicken and red meat are good sources of aspartic acid. Beef contains almost 5 grams of it per serving. Most other meats contain at least 3 grams.
You can also get aspartic acid from eating eggs. Dairy also contains aspartic acid. However, dairy may promote inflammation.
Certain grains like rice have aspartic acid. But grains do not contain nearly as much aspartic acid as meat. However, if you eat healthy sources of meat and grains in moderation, you’re likely getting enough aspartic acid.
D-aspartic acid reviews
When it comes to deciding what supplements to take to boost testosterone, what better group to ask than bodybuilders. A forum on bodybuilding.com includes a scathing review of DAA:
“This stuff DOES NOT RAISE TESTOSTERONE. It’s a fraud. my testosterone levels were low 1 year ago 2 weeks after getting off this stuff, and they were even lower now 4 weeks on this stuff… they are now clinically low. This stuff is a fraud, I have the blood work to prove it.”
The response to this review: “[Aspartic acid] was debunked as a Testosterone booster a while ago. You’re not telling this forum anything unknown.”