D-aspartic acid (DAA) is promoted as a testosterone (T) enhancing supplement by mechanisms involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Here, we investigated the short-term effects of DAA on serum biomarkers of the HPG-axis in male climbers. Using a single-blinded, placebo-controlled design, 16 climbers were randomly assigned to either a DAA (3 g/day) or placebo (3 g/day) supplement for 2 weeks. The reverse treatment commenced after a 2-week washout, with all conditions administered in a balanced manner. The subjects maintained their normal weekly training across this study. Serum samples taken before and after each treatment were analyzed for T, luteinizing hormone, sex hormone binding globulin, and cortisol (C), and free T was calculated (cFT). The DAA supplement did not significantly affect serum T, cFT, and luteinizing hormone levels. Only a main effect of time on sex hormone binding globulin (6.8% increase) and C (13.6% decrease) emerged (p < .03). Significant negative associations were identified between pretest values and changes (%) in T, cFT, luteinizing hormone, and C levels with DAA and/or placebo, but these relationships did not differ between treatments (p > .46). Additional measures of physical function and serum hematology also failed to respond to DAA. In summary, a daily dose of DAA during a short training period did not influence T and selected indicators of the HPG-axis in male climbers. Other parameters linked to athletic performance and health status were also unaffected. Our findings support evidence showing that DAA (including DAA-blended supplements) at either recommended or higher dosages does not afford any ergogenic benefits for athletic males.
Keywords: adaptation; amino acids; androgen; trainability.