Stinging nettles root extract, like astaxanthin and saw palmetto, works on testosterone metabolism, but by a different mechanism. This allows those men concerned about healthy testosterone levels a way to boost the effectiveness of the saw palmetto/astaxanthin combo.
What is Stinging Nettles Root Extract?
Anyone who has had the unfortunate encounter with a stinging nettles plant in the wild would wonder how an extract of this noxious weed could be beneficial to testosterone levels. But rest assured, none of the stinging properties are present in the herbal extract.
How Does Nettles Root Extract Affect Testosterone Levels?
In my post about combining saw palmetto and astaxanthin to positively affect testosterone, an analogy was used to describe how this was achieved in the body. In this post, a leaky bucket of precious testosterone was used for the analogy.
The bucket had round holes in the bottom that the saw palmetto extract plugged and square holes at the top that astaxanthin plugged. Now imagine there is a sponge that is thrown into the bucket that soaks up some of the testosterone. Nettles root extract prevents this loss of testosterone by preventing the sponge from absorbing the testosterone.
More specifically, nettles root extract prevents testosterone from binding to the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which is the sponge in this analogy.
How Do I Choose a Nettles Root Extract?
Since the compounds that affect testosterone are concentrated in the roots; a root extract should be chosen over a leaf or stem extract.
Furthermore, these active ingredients of the root are more soluble in methanol than water so a methanolic standardized extract should be your choice.
Most standardized nettle root extracts on the market are standardized for a compound called scopoletin. While this compound has beneficial health properties, it is not the compound that is thought to be responsible for its positive action on testosterone.
Rather, it is a compound called 3,4-divaniylltetrahydrofuran. However, since both scopoletin and 3,4-divaniylltetrahydrofuran have similar solubilities in methanol, they would be expected to be extracted together in a methanolic extract.
Ideally, one would want an nettle root extract standardized for 3,4-divaniylltetrahydrofuran. An Internet search for such an extract only led to operations of questionable repute in China offering such an extract.
So, for now, it’s probably best to go with a 10:1 metanolic extract standardized for at least 30 ppm scopoletin from a reputable company like Swanson Health or Life Extension. This should clearly be stated on the products label. If it isn’t, put it back on the shelf, or if online, don’t put into your shopping cart.
And remember, in order to maximize testosterone levels, it’s also a good idea to take it with saw palmetto and astaxanthin.