“If you’re a man over 35 you could be losing the benefits of free testosterone, which could make you less of a man than you used to be.” Or at least that’s what’s said in the TV commercial for Nugenix, a product that—according to its TV commercial — is “a powerful all natural man-boosting breakthrough, with a unique combination of ingredients that have been clinically proven to invigorate a man’s body to increase his libido.” Those are some pretty powerful words! I first heard about Nugenix while watching the manly channel, ESPN. Fancy words aside, let’s review Nugenix and see if its right for you.
Who makes Nugenix?
On the Nugenix website (Nugenix.com) is the question “Who Produces Nugenix?” The website gives this answer:
“Nugenix is created in US laboratories under strict FDA GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines. Our offices are in Charlotte NC as well as Boston MA. Our laboratories are in both Florida and Utah.”
Did you notice they didn’t answer the question?
What is the name of the company that makes Nugenix?
At the bottom of Nugenix.com on the “Contact us” page, I see this address:
MS# 730 341 W. 6100 South Murray, UT 84107
I’m not sure what the “MS” in the address stands for. I called Nugenix customer support (it’s a call center
in California) and they could not tell me either.
If you Google 341 W. 6100 South Murray, UT 84107, you will see references that this is also the address given for the arthritis supplement called Instaflex.
The link I provided shows that the address appears to be some sort of a warehouse facility. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t look like a laboratory to me. I think this is where they ship the product from.
When I called Nugenix customer support they told me Nugenix is actually produced in North Carolina.
Within the Terms of Service page of the Nugenix website, I discovered that the company that owns Nugenix is Direct Digital LLC (DirectDigitalLLC.com). Direct Digital is also the company that makes the arthritis supplement, Instaflex.
Direct Digital has offices in Boston and North Carolina. Here are their addresses:
North Carolina address:
Click the links to see what each address looks like.
Interestingly, I didn’t see a Better Business Bureau record for Direct Digital but I did find a BBB record for Nugenix. The BBB gives very little information on Nugenix except that the business was started in 2009. There is no BBB rating for Nugenix and as of 1/14/13 and there are no complaints either. That’s good.
The Nugenix test your manhood test
The Nugenix TV commercial I saw gave men a little test to see how manly they were. The “three simple questions” they asked were:
1. “Are you losing your passion and sex drive?”
2. “Do you want to improve your performance?”
3. “How about feeling more energetic?”
Afterward, they say “Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you should call now to receive a complimentary bottle of Nugenix.”
Let me briefly address each of these questions to put things in perspective:
Question 1. A lot of things can cause a man to lose his sex drive. Yes, aging can play a role, but so ,too, can other things like diabetes and stress.
Question 2. What “performance” are they talking about? Are they referring to sexual performance (I think they are given the nature of question #1) or exercise performance? They don’t specifically tell us.
Question 3. A lot of things—such as carrying too much weight or even depression— can lead to a loss of energy.
In short, all 3 of these questions are vague. In my opinion, I believe they are stated vague on purpose. Asking vague questions, casts the biggest net and is more likely to get the biggest response from people.
Asking specific questions—on the other hand—reduces the number of people who might respond to them.
Tip. Asking vague questions is a common marketing method used to get a lot of people to respond.
Who is Andrea Owens?
On Nugenix.com you may see a prerecorded video of an attractive woman who calls herself “Andrea Owens.” She says ” Hi my name is Andrea Owens and I’ve got some interesting information for you…” If you watched her video, you know she goes on and on about those three simple questions I just discussed.”
But my question is, who is she? She says her name like we’re supposed to know who she is.
So, I became curious. If you hover your mouse over her picture you’ll see the letters “LF” appear. By clicking the little “LF” next to her video, you are taken to a website called LiveFaceOnTheWeb.com —a marketing website that puts videos of attractive people on websites. These people are called “virtual greeters“ and are used to increase website activity and sales.
You can even pick the model you want to appear on your website. If you look at the female models, you can find Andrea. She says her real name is Andrea Helfrich. If you Google her name, you see references to Miss Philadelphia 2010. I’m not sure if this is the same person as “Andrea Owens” but they both look and sound similar to me.
Marketing stuff aside, let’s now review at the science and ingredients of Nugenix and see if we can figure out what’s going on.
According to Nugenix.com, these are the ingredients in the product:
- Testofen (fenugreek)
- L-Citrulline Malate
- Tribulus terrestris
- Zinc: 5 mg (6.68% of Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6: 2 mg (100% of Daily Value)
- Vitamin B12: 50 micrograms (850% Daily Value)
Testofen is said to be the “main ingredient” in Nugenix. Testofen is a trademarked name for the herb fenugreek. This form of fenugreek is said to concentrate what some think are the active ingredients in the herb. These active ingredients are called Fenusides. Testofen is said to contain 50% Fenusides (pronounced phen-u-sides).
On the label of Nugenix, I see that Testofen is combined with L-Citruline malate and Tribulus terrestris to form what they call the “Nugenix Testosterone Complex.”
On the product website they say that a serving size of Nugenix is 3 capsules. Each 3 capsules contains 2013 mg of the proprietary testosterone complex. The product website also indicates that 600 mg of this complex is composed of Testofen.
How much of the Nugenix testosterone complex is composed of Tribulus or Citruline malate? They don’t tell us. I called Nugenix customer support and they could not tell me either.
I searched the Nugenix website but did not see any published peer reviewed research on Nugenix itself. I also searched the National Library of Medicine for “Nugenix” and saw no research either.
Therefore, I conclude that Nugenix —itself— seems to have no published-peer reviewed evidence that this supplement raises testosterone, improves sex drive or improves energy levels. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t work.
So, let’s now look at the research on the ingredients in Nugenix. Here is a breakdown of the relevant research:
Testofen. This is a trademarked version of the herb fenugreek. Testofen is made by a company called Gencor Pacific. I’ve reviewed Testofen before. It is the principle ingredient in products I’ve already looked at such as:
- Ageless Male (300 mg Testofen)
- Mdrive (unknown amount of Testofen)
- Syntheriod (300 mg Testofen)
Looking at these other supplements, we see that Nugenix (600 mg of Testofen) has twice the amount of Testofen that Ageless Male or Syntheroid has. But does that mean that it works or works better?
As far as I can tell, most of the hype about Testofen seems to stem from a study published in 2011 in a Journal called Phytotherapy Research. In that study, men taking 600 mg of Testofen a day for 6 weeks reported that they felt more sexual urges, strength etc.
As I see it, the BIG PROBLEM with this study is that the men reported —in questionnaires —how they felt. Also, testosterone levels did not change. So in this study, Testofen didn’t raise testosterone levels!
As an aside, in my own little “experiment”, I tried 600 mg of fenugreek for 6 weeks. I didn’t measure my testosterone levels but I didn’t feel significantly different, like the guys in this study said they felt. Could it be because I used Fenugreek instead of the trademarked, Testofen? Maybe?
There are Testofen supplements that are sold. The online reviews that I saw at both Amazon and SwansonVitamins.com however were not completely encouraging. Still the Testofen supplement I saw pretty inexpensive.
As I summarized in my review of Mdrive, the research supporting Tesofen appears to be:
1. A human study where men basically said they felt better after taking Testofen for six weeks. This study didn’t find that Testofen raised testosterone levels.
2. A rat study.
3. An unpublished study from 2006 noting that Testofen works. I discount unpublished studies because they have not been verified or reproduced by other competent researchers. If this study was completed in 2006, why hasn’t it been published yet?
L-Citrulline malate. This is an amino acid that we make naturally in our bodies. Other products just call this stuff “L-Citrulline.” Citrulline sometimes shows up in male sex supplements because it helps us make a gas called nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide (NO) causes an expansion of blood vessels. This is technically called vasodilatation.
The idea here is that raising nitric oxide levels might expand blood vessels “down stairs” leading to erections. This idea is not new.
One problem with trying to elevate nitric oxide levels is that the gas dissipates pretty fast. In other words, it doesn’t work for very long. For more on L Citrulline see my reviews of:
Tribulus terrestris. There are a LOT of websites saying that tribulus is a testosterone booster, but to all of them I ask “Where’s the proof?” When I look at the tribulus research, I see mostly rat studies. In my opinion, the tribulus studies that did incorporate people are pretty unimpressive.
I already reviewed the research on tribulus on this site as well as in my book about supplements so I’ll let you look at the evidence and decide for yourself. I’ll just say that based on the research I’ve seen, I am utterly unimpressed with tribulus as a testosterone booster or sex supplement.
Zinc. There is some evidence from the early 1990s noting that being deficient in zinc might cause a reduction in testosterone levels. That’s nice but my question is, are you deficient in zinc?
Foods that contain zinc include meat, shellfish, fortified breakfast cereals as well as various seeds and nuts. Do you eat these foods?
The RDA for zinc for adult men is 11 mg per day, which is not much. Therefore, I’m not convinced that healthy people who are not taking medications, are lacking in zinc —especially if they take a multivitamin that has zinc.
Vitamin B6. This vitamin is found in a LOT of foods. I don’t think most people are lacking in vitamin B6. Nugenix gives men 100% of their daily value of B6 but I have a feeling most men are already getting this from the foods they eat and the other supplements they take.
Vitamin B12. Older adults and vegetarians may be deficient in vitamin B12 as might people who take certain medications (some diabetes medications for example).
It’s important to remember that even though vitamin B12 is “water soluble,” we can store several years worth of this vitamin in our bodies! It takes a long time to run out of vitamin B12.
People generally believe that B12 gives them more energy (like caffeine). This is why there’s so much B12 in energy drinks like 5 Hour Energy and 6 Hour Power . In reality, B12 really doesn’t give you energy—like caffeine—if you’re healthy.
Tip. A quick blood test by your doctor will tell you if you are deficient in B6, B12 or zinc.
How to contact Nugenix?
To contact Nugenix the website says to call this number: 1-855-714-3234. This is actually a call center in California and not the company itself. The person I spoke with was very helpful and patient with my questions. While I was asked to try the free sample of Nugenix for $4.99, I didn’t feel pressured to do it.
I liked that.
The Nugenix autoship program
If you buy Nugenix through the Nugenix website you should read the Terms and Conditions that are listed at the bottom of the page. Here is a summary of some of the things you should know:
To get a free 14 day trial sample of Nugenix you must pay $4.99 for shipping and handling. They say it usually takes 4 days for people to get the product. So, the “end date” of your trial period will be 18 days AFTER you order your free sample. This is important.
This means that 18 days after you order the free sample, your credit card will be charged $74.98 plus tax and you will be entered into the Nugenix auto-ship program in which they will send you a 30 day supply of Nugenix every 30 days until you cancel.
To cancel the auto ship program, people must call 1-855-714-3234 at least 1 day before the next batch of Nugenix is shipped.
How to return Nugenix
It’s stated on the product website that all Nugenix auto shipments come with a 30 day money back guarantee. This is even true if the bottle is empty. Here are the basics on how to return Nugenix:
First call 1-855-714-3234 and request a Return Merchandise Authorization number (RMA number).
This RMA number must be clearly printed on the outside of the package. The package should be postmarked within 30 days of the purchase to be eligible for a refund.
Send the product to be returned to:
MS# 730 341 W. 6100 South Murray, UT 84107.
Nugenix will not accept any returned product that does not have an RMA number.
Make sure you get a “proof of shipment” from the post office (just in case). They do mention this tip on the Nugenix Terms and Conditions Page. They say it may take up to a month to see the refund credited to your credit card.
If you are not in the auto ship program and want to return Nugenix, the product needs to be in its original package and not opened. As before, people must call Nugenix, get an RMA number and return the product to the company before a refund can be issued.
Nugenix side effects
I’m not aware of any side effects from Nugenix. For all I know Nugenix may have no significant side effects. My gut instinct is that in “healthy people” Nugenix is likely safe. That said, looking at the main ingredients in the product, here are some potential issues that some people may want to consider:
There is some lab rat research that tribulus might reduce blood sugar levels. I’m not aware of any human research showing this. Likewise, lab rats that were castrated (ouch!) and given tribulus at a dose of 5 mg / kg per day showed an increase in the size of the prostate.
If we extrapolate this amount to people -which is not perfect- for a 180 pound man (82 kg) this equals 409 mg. That’s not much. Supplements could contain this much tribulus. What does this rat study mean for humans? I don’t know. Humans are not rats. Currently, I’m not aware of any human research linking tribulus to prostate problems.
In theory, by elevating nitric oxide levels, Citrulline might cause blood pressure to go lower. The study I liked to here involved post menopausal women. What about men? Again, I don’t know if the same thing might happen in men. I mention it in the hopes that men with high blood pressure or heart disease talk to their doctor.
Fenugrek (Testofen) might reduce blood sugar levels. This may be an issue for diabetics who take blood-sugar-lowering medications. Fenugreek also seems to have a blood thinning ability and may interact with blood thinner drugs. While for “healthy” people I don’t think this would be a problem, I do think men who take diabetes and /or blood thinner medications should talk to their doctor before trying Nugenix, just to play it safe.
Does Nugenix work?
I didn’t try Nugenix so I have no personal experience of how it makes men feel after they take it. I prefer to look only at the research. The big question is does Nugenix raise testosterone levels? Well, if I only look at the research on Nugenix, I don’t really see anything new here. As I pointed out previously, the main ingredients in Nugenix can be found in other supplements marketed to men over 40. Yes, Nugenix does have more Testofen (fenugreek) than other similar products. I like this, because there is a little encouraging evidence stemming from the use of this amount of Testofen. But, why can’t men just buy a bottle of fenugreek (or Testofen) and try that for a few weeks to see if it works, before buying the more expensive Nugenix?
No matter what you do, remember that the Nugenix website gives no published peer reviewed proof that Nugenix —itself—actually raises testosterone levels. So, if you are going to try Nugenix (or Testofen) I suggest you get your testosterone levels measured by your doctor before you start the supplement. Then, test the levels again in a month. You will know in a month if it worked or not. Measuring testosterone levels is the only true way to know if Nugenix is working.
What do you think?