Vitamin D and D3 (Cholecalciferol) – Read This or Be Forever in the Dark!

Vitamin D is essential to our survival, that’s why it’s called a Vitamin – the “vita” part is taken from Latin, and means ‘life’.

Most people know that – it’s no secret – but what many people don’t know about are the health benefits of Vitamin D supplementation, rather than the simple avoidance of disease.

Sure, you won’t get rickets if you grow up with the minimum daily amount, but there is far more to the “sunshine vitamin” than staying alive and avoiding bowed legs.

Vitamin D

What’s even less understood by people about Vitamin D is the quantity you need on a daily basis to really get the benefits from it. It shouldn’t be taken lightly either, because it can make difference between happiness and depression, strength and perpetual fatigue, sexual health and limp libido…and yes, the difference between a long life and premature death.

Vitamin D – The Benefits

Clinical trials and other scientific studies have fairly well nailed down Vitamin D’s health effects:

  • Strengthens Bones and reduces fracture risk
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Boosts Testosterone
  • Reduces Fat Mass
  • Improves Cognitive Function. Mood, Emotional Stability and Brain Health
  • Encourages Life Longevity and improves general functionality of the elderly
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Decreases risk of Asthma Attacks
  • Reduces incidences of Type-1 Diabetes
  • Improves Insulin Sensitivity (anti-diabetic inc. Type II)
  • Reduces risk of CardioVascular Disease
  • Reduces risk of Colorectal and Pancreatic Cancer
  • Reduces risk of Multiple Sclerosis (and reduces symptoms if already suffering)

Got all that?

Good…let’s move on.

Vitamin D – A Global Insufficiency

The majority of people are not deficient in Vitamin D, but they do have an insufficient amount in their system.

The fine line between those two terms: deficient and insufficient is that a deficiency will cause dramatic health problems, whereas as insufficiency will cause more subtle health problems that are nonetheless negative on both a physical and mental (cognitive and emotional) front.

37th Parallel

Reason 1 – Lack of Sunlight

Girl in the sunshineVitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin or sunlight vitamin because it is synthesized in our bodies when the Sun’s radiation hits our skin.

There are several reasons why you might not get enough sunlight to synthesize an adequate amount of Vitamin D but one very large factor is your geographical location.

People who live above the 37th parallel (line of latitude) do not see enough sunshine throughout the year to make sufficient Vitamin D. Summer, perhaps, but even then, much of that is spent indoors working.

By the way, there is a lot of the globe above the 37th – just check it out. Most of North America for one thing.

And we mentioned another reason above; a LOT of people work in offices, warehouses, shops, workshops etc. without getting much real sunlight.

Reason 2 – Diet

Glass of MilkIt’s hard to get enough Vitamin D from your diet, and most of us don’t eat the right things anyway.
Oily fish is one of the best sources, but even then you’d have to eat like a seal to get what you need in Vitamin D.

In the case of Vitamin D, your diet should almost be viewed as a bonus to the primary collection method – the Sun. Read above: Reason 1 to see the problem there.

Vitamin D “fortified” foods give somewhat of a false sense of security as well. They generally contain a token amount (100 IU) which isn’t much to write home about, especially if the price tag is bumped up because of it.

Reason 3 – Old Health Data and Ridiculous Governments

Woman Doctor

Ignore government health advice. We have science.

Would you believe us if we told you that government health agencies are stupid? Yes, yes, you probably would.

Well, it’s true. The Recommended Daily Allowance in most developed countries is still pathetically low. Oh, you might not die if you get as much as they advise, but you sure as hell aren’t going to be at your peak.

It’s almost as if they want a weak and sickly population. And then they complain about the burden on the hospitals and care givers. It’s infuriating.

Canada, for example, is a country well and truly above the 37th Parallel. Hell, it’s above a country that is mostly above it!!

…and they recommend that adults over 50 take a daily supplement of 400 IU Vitamin D. And as if that doesn’t suck enough, they say men and women between 19 and 50 should aim for 600 IU a day from their diet AND supplements.

To cap it off, they advise the safe upper limit is 4000 IU per day!

Idiots!

A New World Order – At Least 2000 IU a Day!

DoctorWhat hope do we have, seriously, if governments are useless, nature is mean, and living anywhere but near the equator isn’t sunny enough?

We have science, that’s what.

Thankfully, there are ongoing studies in the field of nutrition and supplements, and the researchers don’t just stick with information from the mid ‘90s when they are considering the necessities of human health.

What we should be looking at is a minimum daily intake of 2000 IU (an International Unit – 1000 IU = 25 micrograms).

Most governments think 4000 IU is the ceiling, above which you should not go, but there are plenty of people taking more than this quantity per day, and only getting positive effects from it.

There are cases of much higher doses but from our perspective we would probably say that between 2000 and 4000 IU in the form of supplementation is good enough for rock and roll.

Types of Supplements and D3

There’s a few types of supplement, from capsules to softgels, liquid and tablets, but if you remember the general rule that Vitamin D is soluble in fat – and therefore should be taken with food (inc. a source of fat) – then you can’t really go wrong.

Vitamin D3 – aka Cholecalciferol is more bioavailable than its D2 cousin, so if you have the choice, which you will, take the D3.

Final Thoughts

ApprovedMagnesium is a mineral that is often undervalued and under-dosed. You can read about magnesium here.

If you are taking a multi-vitamin, it might be an idea to replace it with more specific supplements, like a separate Vit D3 and a Magnesium. Multi-Vitamins tend to include the bare minimum, which is why you’ll probably find the 400 – 800 IU Vitamin D dose on the label.

The other option you have is to take a supplement which is geared towards physical performance, such as Prime Male (read the review here).

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are getting enough of this essential Vitamin.

Grenade AT4 Testosterone Booster – Review and Recommendations

Grenade Testosterone Booster UKAT4 is a dietary sports supplement manufactured by Grenade in the UK, although they sell their products in the UK, Europe and America.

They have the rather unique packaging of a plastic grenade which holds the capsules, instead of a regular bottle (or even a fist like the fat burner Instant Knockout).

Testosterone boosters are one of the most wide ranging categories of supplements in terms of quality. Much like diet pills and fat burners, they are mostly terrible, with a few good ones, and even fewer great ones.

We tested Grenade AT4 to find out where on the spectrum it lay. Of course, we had a fair idea what it would do from the ingredients and the feedback from both athletes and non-athletes alike.

Continue reading for the rest of the review. You can also follow the link below to bounce straight to the review of our favourite testosterone booster of all time.

CLICK Here to read about our Favourite Testosterone Booster

What Are the Possible Benefits of AT4?

Prime Male and IKO Body MusclesTestosterone boosters are of course mainly for increasing your testosterone levels, but that in itself means relatively little unless you have a grasp of the positive impacts of doing that.

Grenade AT4 is geared more towards the sportsman / athlete / gym-rat and so concentrates on muscle gain and strength.

  1. Help build and retain Muscle mass from training
  2. Increase Strength gains post workout
  3. Speed up Recovery between workouts

There’s a whole load more benefits to boosting testosterone though, like: cognitive function, mood, vitality, sexual health, heart health and more.

Optimal hormone balance can even help you lose fat and keep muscle.

Key Ingredients and Formula Potential

The ingredients in AT4 are presented below as the daily total. There are two servings a day so if you want the per-serving amounts then just halve the ingredient quantities.

  • Vitamin D3 – 25mcg (1000 IU)
  • D-Aspartic Acid – 3000mg
  • Fenurextm Fenugreek – 720mg
  • Passiflora Caerulea -147.5mg
  • Boron – 9.5mg

Vitamin D3 is essential to our survival but there is an amount which avoids death, an amount which prevents a deficiency (about 400 IU) and an amount which is sufficient for an average adult male to get all of the benefits of it, like healthy bones, testosterone and even happiness. That amount is between 1000 and 2000 IU. You can obtain some from the sun synthesis and some from diet so this 1000 IU is a pretty good start.

D-Aspartic Acid has a claim to fame where in one study it increased the free testosterone levels of some athletes by nearly 50%. It acted fast too, only 2 to 3 weeks. It needs to be cycled for best results which is why Grenade advise you on how to take it 5 days on, 2 days off and 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.

Fenugreek is a libido enhancer, but a lot of bodybuilders and weightlifters still swear by its effect. It has mixed results in clinical trials and seems to just be something companies still use because of its reputation and not necessarily because of the facts.

Passiflora Caerulea is fairly unknown compared to the others and there isn’t much research out there to judge it on. What there is doesn’t look too promising for testosterone.

Boron looks very positive in terms of testosterone increase, and it’s effective i doses of about 5 – 10mg. A rarity in the supplement world.

Formula Potential – overall that’s a good recipe and will have a testosterone boosting effect if you are either suffering from low levels naturally (due to age for example) or have depleted levels from intense workouts.

It is not the most comprehensive formula and doesn’t have some of the most basic test-boosters in the business, like Zinc. However, what it does have is present in effective dosages and not just there for show.

Side Effects and Health Considerations

doctorDo follow the guidelines on the bottle as set out by Grenade. There is a cycle schedule which you should adhere to as it will help rather than hinder your results.

There should be no side effects for the average guy, but be sure to check with your doctor if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition.

If you are taking medication then ask them if it is suitable to be taken alongside.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children should not be using this supplement.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Grenade AT4 SupplementWe liked Grenade. It gets the dosages right on the D-AA, the Boron and the Vitamin D3. These are some effective ingredients.

We would however say that there could be more to the formula but it’s probably down to profit margins at that point for them.

We have tested some the best and some of the worst products available and so we can say with reasonable certainty that you would not be disappointed with Grenade AT4.

But…if you want our recommendation for the BEST product at the moment, then we would have to stick with our current top spot, which PRIME MALE gets.

We have got a full review of Prime Male which you can find by following the link below…

CLICK HERE to read the review

Alpha Test – MuscleTech Pro Series – Testosterone Supplement Review

Alpha Test Testosterone Alpha Test is a capsule supplement in MuscleTech’s Pro Series.

The Pro Series by MuscleTech looks very similar to the Performance Series, which includes a product we have studied and reviewed before: Clear Muscle.

Similar to that product, Alpha Test comes with MuscleTech’s claims of scientific proof, collected from a double blind placebo controlled study involving resistance trained men.

You can get a picture of MuscleTech’s clinical trial process and their weaknesses in the Clear Muscle review. Suffice it to say, these studies tend to come out in favour of the product giving users some significant gains.

In Alpha Test’s case, those gains would be a claimed “increased free testosterone in 7 days”.

In reality, the scientific studies are usually funded and designed by the company. One might be forgiven for being a skeptic!

Nonetheless, we are here to try supplements and report on them accordingly. So let’s begin with what Alpha Test is supposed to do.

CLICK to find the TOP Testosterone Boosters

Benefits as Advertised

For the most part, these probably won’t come as a surprise but here are the main intended effects of Alpha Test:

  • Elevate Free Testosterone
  • Increase Serum Testosterone Levels
  • Support ATP
  • Decrease Estradiol (an estrogen)

Most of those are fairly standard claims for testosterone boosters, with the possible exception of ATP support.

Adenosine Triphosphate levels would indeed be improved with optimal testosterone levels but it isn’t something that would stand out. It is possible one of the effects of Fenugreek – glycogen uptake to the muscles – is the underlying reason.

Key Ingredients and Formula Potential

The following ingredients are contained within 2 capsules. There are 60 caps per bottle of Alpha Test, meaning the below inclusion rates are half of a total daily dose (split into to servings of 2 capsules):

  • 300mg [600mg daily total] – Fenugreek extract
  • 250mg [500mg daily total] – Tribulus extract
  • 100mg [200mg daily total] – Shilajit extract
  • 100mg [200mg daily total] – Boron Citrate
  • 50mg   [100mg daily total] – Broccoli powder

Note: The total daily dose should be split into two separate doses of 2 capsules. No more than 4 capsules should be taken in a 24 hour period.

Zinc Micronutrient GraphicZinc is an essential micronutrient. The dosage included can normalize testosterone levels that are low. It is lost through sweating which means replenishment after sports is important.

Fenugreek and Tribulus are found in countless testosterone boosters, despite not having direct testosterone boosting effects.

Tribulus is more of a libido enhancer and is effective at the dosages included here.

Fenugreek might have some 5-alpha-reductase suppressing effects which would theoretically prevent some testosterone from converting to DHT but the science is in its early days yet. Nonetheless, the dose here appears to be solid in the context of current research.

Shilajit has certainly had some positive effect on testosterone levels for infertile men. It increases the release of Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which also improves sperm quality and production.

Boron is effective at small doses. The dose here is 200mg (daily) of boron citrate which would equate to 10mg of boron itself. Again, the science is young but looking good so far.

Broccoli powder contains Diindolylmethane – aka. DIM – which at about 100mg per day can prevent some aromatase activity. Aromatase is the enzyme which converts testosterone to estradiol (estrogen). Furthermore, DIM can regulate levels of estrogen in other ways, helping to make sure there is neither too much or too little.

Side Effects and Health Considerations

doctorShilajit may increase HDL cholesterol somewhat and so is not recommended for people with cholesterol balance issues.

Alpha Test should also not be taken by people with any other pre-existing medical conditions, people taking prescribed medication or pregnant/breastfeeding women.

We had no problems with Alpha Test, and we are in good health with no known conditions to speak of.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Ingredients Question

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The daily dosages in Alpha Test are pretty much spot on relative to the current knowledge gained from clinical trials. If they are not all the most powerful doses then they are at least the minimum that has shown effect.

Tribulus and Fenugreek are worthy inclusions but they are somewhat outdated ingredients compared to others. Nonetheless, they have a place in male health supplements and are included at relevant dosages.

The other ingredients are indeed relevant and included at scientifically proven dosages.

If we were to describe Alpha Test in one word it would be: Solid.

Nothing to get super excited about but something that will at least normalize testosterone levels for men who’s natural production is dropping, or for those engaged in intense resistance training.

Aside from that, it isn’t available in the UK, Europe or most places other than the US and Canada.

We have tested many testosterone boosters and feel we have a handle on what makes the difference between a good one and a great one.

Follow the link below to see the great ones…

CLICK HERE to view a summary of the GREATEST Testosterone Boosters