D-aspartic acid (DAA) is an amino acid found organically in the human body and in certain foods. DAA is known to have a role in the neuroendocrine system, especially in the production of male sex hormones and growth factors such as testosterone, growth hormone (GH), and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
Because of the potential increase in male performance hormones, DAA has a growing interest in the supplement industry. DAA has only been shown to increase certain male hormones within the usual biological range, so don’t expect the beyond normal results you would see from steroids, but there is still growth and success to be gained from DAA.
Studies and Benefits
Animal studies show that DAA stimulates the hypothalamus to ultimately increase the production of testosterone, GH, and IGF-1. DAA has also been studied to stimulate thyroid hormones T3 and T4 which would increase metabolic rate. However, human studies on DAA are far and few between. Factors to consider include amount and frequency of DAA used, age, endocrine health, training program, and diet.
Increasing testosterone, GH, and IGF-1 have been studied to help speed up recovery time, improve muscle growth, increasing training capacity, enhancing libido, and helping to improve overall active lifestyle. Stimulating the thyroid hormones can help improve metabolic rate that can help your body to use your calories more effectively.
Potential Side Effects
Since DAA is a natural and organic amino acid that is found in your body, it’s less potentially harsh than steroids or prohormones. However, since it does change the ratios of hormones in your body, there are a few side effects. Increased dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can lead to hair loss or acne. Increased estrogen from higher testosterone being aromatized may cause bloating, prostate issues, and inhibited libido.
If you start seeing effects from excessive estrogen, you may need to either stop DAA completely or add an aromatase inhibitor that will prohibit your increased testosterone from being converted into estrogen.
Who Should Use DAA
DAA is best for those who are male over 21 years old with low to normal testosterone levels who are looking to naturally increase male hormone production. It may also be useful for those who have low libido or want to improve their recovery after training.
DAA is not recommended for female due to unknown effects and lack of studies. It is not recommended for anyone under 21 or those with higher levels of testosterone, DHT, or estrogen. Since DAA is linked to elevated thyroid hormones, it is not recommended for those with hyperthyroidism.
If you are under 21 and struggling with low testosterone, talk to your primary care doctor to rule out endocrine issues before jumping into testosterone and DAA supplementation.
How to Take DAA
DAA is best used as a cycling supplement:
- 2-3 weeks on DAA
- 1-2 weeks off DAA
It should be taken every day on your “on cycle” with liquid. It can be taken with or without food.
Your dosage can range from 3g-20g a day, but most individuals are comfortable with 5g-10g. Start with an assessment dose at the low end at 3g per day. If you’re taking over 5g a day, split it into two doses morning and evening.