There are so many different supplements on the market that claim to help you build muscle that it’s almost a joke. It makes it nearly impossible to know where to start and to know what you actually need to see the results you want.
D-Aspartic Acid is just one more new supplement to add to the pile then. But some of the claims surrounding it are pretty impressive, so it might have caught your attention. Let’s see if this belongs in the ‘win column’.
D-Aspartic Acid, also known as ‘DAA’, is an amino acid supplement that acts like a neurotransmitter. This makes it very similar to other amino acids that we get in our diet and from supplements, like l-tyrosine and l-carnitine. Specifically, DAA is an alternative form of the amino acid ‘l-aspartate’.
What makes DAA interesting though, is that one of its jobs is to aid in the communication between the pituitary gland and leydig cells. It appears to do this by raising the production of luteinizing hormone or LH, which will travel to the testicles and raise testosterone by converting it from cholesterol.
As anyone with even a passing interest in building muscle should know by now, testosterone is our most anabolic hormone and can thereby encourage muscle building and fat loss. And guys can also expect to see an increase in libido, confidence, mood and masculine traits.
This effect was shown in a few studies and of course it was then only a short matter of time until supplement companies were bottling it and selling it!
So now comes the big question: does it work? Are the studies that this product is based on reliable enough for us to spend money on it? What are the user reports saying about it? And is it safe?
There have actually been a number of different studies that look at DAA and they have had mixed results (1).
One study found that sedentary men given 266 grams of DAA gained 15% increases in testosterone over several days and 42% by day 12 (2). Another study had similar results and found that 2.66 grams of DAA could raise testosterone levels by 30-60% in humans (3). Rat studies have also been promising (4) and are what actually kicked all of this off.
But subsequent studies have failed to replicate these results (5) when looking at effects on bodybuilders.
And what we also need to consider, is that a 30% increase in testosterone might sound amazing but it’s actually not going to be much use when it comes to building a lot of muscle. It will support muscle growth yes but it certainly won’t bring about steroid-like effects which work by hiking testosterone levels up several hundred percent minimum!
Reading comments and stories online, it seems that DAA certainly has some effect on testosterone – and many athletes who use illegal steroids actually use it as part of a ‘PCT’ (post cycle therapy) in order to restore their testosterone back to normal levels.
But there are no amazing stories of people building large amounts of muscle after taking DAA. And even if there were, it’s also worth noting that the effects wear off after a short amount of time.
None of this is to say that you definitely shouldn’t take DAA. If you have low testosterone, then a 30% increase might not transform your anabolism but it will certainly make you feel better. Men can expect this to be enough to give them an increase in sex drive, energy and strength – and really testosterone is the best all-round performance enhancer there is available for men. For those kinds of aims, perhaps 30% is enough?
It’s unlikely that DAA is dangerous, seeing as it is naturally occurring in the body. And it’s also not too expensive. So if you feel like your testosterone levels are very low and you need a lift (remember that the majority of the population has low T), there is probably no harm in experimenting with this one.
But if you have normal or high levels of testosterone, then you shouldn’t expect this supplement to be ‘life changing’ by any stretch. And so you probably won’t want to spend much cash on it…