What Is Icariin?
Icariin extract, the only standardized and active ingredient found in horny goat weed, provides various special benefits for both men and women. Horny goat weed, as you may already know, has been used for a very long time as a popular aphrodisiac, but did you know that it can also increase testosterone levels in men and benefit bone health?
Icariin as a Pre-Workout Supplement
As a pre-workout supplement, there has been little to no research showing that icariin acts as a stimulant. In fact it is generally believed that icariin is non-stimulatory. However, this does not disprove the fact that icariin can give you an edge in the weight room due to its stamina and testosterone boosting properties.
For instance, icariin increases the expression of nitric oxide synthase which can increase blood flow due to an increase in nitric oxide levels. While taking icariin supplements before a workout is not a bad idea, don’t expect to feel the same buzz you would get after taking a stimulant.
Other Icariin Benefits
Even if icariin isn’t your standard pre-workout supplement, it does offer a host of other benefits as a daily supplement. The great thing about icariin extract is its power to boost a number of physical attributes. Studies have shown that icariin supplements have the ability to increase testosterone, sex drive, and stamina. However, they have also showed results in improving cardiovascular, brain, and bone health as well. This may very well be what influences individuals to use icariin as a daily supplement.
The effects of icariin are not purely physical either, it also has a fair share of mental benefits as well. Some studies have found that icariin could possibly possess neurogenerative effects.
While current studies need further research on icariin’s testosterone boosting abilities in humans, animal studies have promising results. These studies show undoubtedly that icariin has the ability to increase testosterone, and in a unique way. It actually mimics testosterone, increasing the overall level of circulating testosterone in the subject in addition to improving the condition of reproductive organs. Additional human testing is needed to determine how effective icariin extract is for enhancing testosterone for certain; however, there are few cases where animal studies (most often performed on rats) don’t correlate and scale with effects seen in humans.
Icariin can provide some great benefits to those who supplement it properly. With that in mind, I recommend implementing icariin slowly in to your supplement routine.
While the benefits of icariin depend on how high of a dosage you take of the supplement, this model can be applied to virtually all supplements. That said; there is always a point where taking in too much of anything can become detrimental to your initial goals. The recommended dose for icariin is 60 mg daily adjusting up or down depending on your individual response. According to one study done on females only, 60mg daily is the minimum dosage for the stimulation of osteoclastic activity (bigger and stronger bones!).
Eventually you should work up to 60mg daily where you can then evaluate your dosage based on your specific goals and results. Studies show that even moderate levels will help increase and maintain bone density, while high levels will increase testosterone. As with many supplements these results can vary, so it’s best to start slow and work out what’s right for you. Let us know how it goes in the comments below!
- Rat study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751992
- Women study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17419678
- General: http://examine.com/supplements/Horny+Goat+Weed/#main_clinical_results
- Erectile Dysfunction Treatment: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163612/