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by Gary F. Zeolla
Avena Sativa is also know as oat straw. It is harvested from oat plants while they are still green (and look like tall grass). So this supplement is not the same as oats, as in Quaker Oatmeal. That type of oats is harvested much later, when the oat plants go to seed. It's basically the same as the difference between barely grass (used in green "health" drinks) and barely used to make bread, soup, and beer.
Avena Sativa is purported to raise testosterone levels. But it is said to do so through an indirect means. Basically, the body converts various hormone precursors into testosterone. But the same precursors can also be used to create estrogen. So if a man is taking a supplement like Tribulus designed to increase production of such precursors, then he could also end up with excessive amounts of estrogen being produced. This can lead to what is called "estogenization." This can lead to the development of secondary female characteristics, like the development of female-like breasts.
But Avena Sativa is purported to prevent the conversion of the precursors into estrogen and thus the undesirable side effect of estrogenization. And it would also leave more of the precursors free to be converted into testosterone. It is for this purported anti-estrogenization effect that Avena Sativa is often included in products containing a variety of ingredients purported to raise testosterone levels. Some also claim that Avena Sativa acts similar to Tribulus in increasing the body's levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). The LH then induces the body to produce more testosterone.
The first supplement I tried with Avena Sativa was Biotest's Tribex. I tried Tribex for about a month in November of 2003. And it did provide some of the benefits to be expected from elevating testosterone levels, namely, an increase in sex drive and improved sleep. It also seemed to help my powerlifting training. But it didn't seem to help with my fibromyalgia fatigue, which was the main reason I was trying it. But still, there was a noticeable benefit.
However, there are two drawbacks to Tribex. First, it is very expensive. And second, Tribex capsules are a bright blue. They look nice, but to make them this color requires the use of three different artificial colorings. And I would prefer to avoid such artificial chemicals whenever possible.
So for these two reasons I eventually stopped taking the Tribex and began experimenting with other testosterone elevating products. But then I had a blood test done in March of 2005 that showed I in fact had low testosterone levels for someone my age. So I had been on the right track in experimenting with Tribex and other such products. But I had stopped all such supplements at the time I had the blood test done. My doctor wanted me to try testosterone replacement therapy, but I decided to give the natural route one more try instead.
Since I knew the Tribex had a noticeable effect, I was going to try it again. But for the reasons stated above I decided not to use Tribex but to put together a "Tribex equivalent" by using separate Tribulus and and Avena Sativa supplements. However, it was hard to find a product that only contained Avena Sativa. Usually, it can only be found in the type of products mentioned above, where it is just one of a variety of ingredients. But I tend to shy away from products that contain a whole list of different ingredients due to my problem with allergies. With a lot of different ingredients, I could easily end up being allergic to one or more of them. And if am allergic to the product, there is no way of knowing which of the various ingredients is causing the problem. So I prefer to purchase only products with one or just a couple of ingredients.
But the one place I found it was at GNC. I purchased the one remaining bottle of Avena Sativa at my local GNC on a "close-out" sale. However, I ran into problems with it. It took it for one week, and had problems sleeping all week. I wasn't sure if it was the Avena Sativa or the Tribulus I has started taking at the same time (a mistake in retrospect). So I stopped both of them. However, come June of 2004, I decided to try the combination again.
Since each had a positive effect separately, I was hoping taking them together would provide an even greater effect. Problem was though, to continue to take the Avena Sativa meant I needed to found another source since GNC no longer carried it. After much searching, I found a company that made Avena Sativa only products: Action Labs. They make two versions: one in tablet form and one in liquid form. The tablets contain 750 mg each, while one eyedropper (1 ml) of the liquid provides 1000 mg.
I decided to go with the liquid for two reasons. First, I tend not to absorb tablets very well. Second, one a per milligram basis, the liquid is cheaper. So I started taking the recommended one eyedropper per day. However, I split it into four serving, taking just a few drops each time. I believe it is best to split up supplements as much as possible for greater absorption. Also, I figured this would give me more even testosterone enchantment.
I also started taking Tribulus and Liddell's Male Sexual Energy. And after a short while, I did notice an increase in the frequency of nighttime erections and a slight increase in my sex drive. However, I began having problems sleeping. I would wake up repeatedly through the night. This is the problem I always experience when I consume something I am allergic to. So I had to stop taking the Tribulus and Avena Sativa.
Note also, Biotest changed the formula of its Tribex. It no longer contains Avena Sativa (see Bodybuilding.com). But another product with the original Tribex type of formulation is is 4Ever Fit's Trib 750, available at Bodybuilding.com.
Meanwhile, I began researching other natural methods for raising testosterone levels. And I found that diet and exercise can have a dramatic effect. So I altered my eating plan and workout program so as to optimize hormones. And by doing so, I tripled my testosterone levels, from being clinically low to being in the middle of the normal range.
With this new program, I almost always experience nocturnal erections. My sex drive is much better than it was, and my powerlifting training has been going very well. I present in detail the eating and exercise plan I have been following in my book God-given Foods Eating Plan. So I will stick with this more natural program rather than wasting any more money on supplements.
Action Labs Avena Sativa is available
Tribex and other testosterone enhancing supplements are available from Bodybuilding.com and iHerb.
For iHerb, when checking out, use referral code HOP815 to receive $5.00 off your first order.
Avena Sativa - Supplement Descriptions. Copyright © 2005, 2008 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this site June 23, 2005.
It was last updated May 3, 2008.
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