3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran – A Potent Testosterone Booster

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This ingredient is extracted from Urtica Diodica, or more commonly referred too as stinging nettle. Now before we begin, if you do decide to purchase a product with this ingredient be sure to get it standardized for this ingredient not just simply ‘Stinging Nettle extract’ or ‘Urtica Diodica extract’. With these you aren’t sure how concentrated their extract is for that ingredient.

How does 3,4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran work?

3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran primarily works by attaching to the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). What SHBG does is bind to your sex hormones; mostly testosterone and estradiol. So the basic function of SHBG is to regulate the amount of biologically active hormones in your body. The reasons for this are unclear, however I’m guessing it is because your body loves equilibrium. Anyways, now that we know what SHBG is we can understand how 3,4-Divanillytetrahydrofuran works. It attaches to SHBG thus rendering it inactive so it is then unable to bind to your sex hormones. This in theory will allow your free testosterone and estradiol to rise, and we know higher testosterone promotes muscle growth.

And now for the research.

There are only a few scholarly journals on this ingredient because sadly none are free, however they do note 3,4-Divanillyltetrahydrofuran binding affinity for SHBG. In one journal they state “All lignans except (-)-pinoresinol developed a binding affinity to SHBG in the in vitro assay. The affinity of (-)-3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran was outstandingly high” (1). Another journal says the same, “Lignans bind to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). The lignan with the greatest binding affinity is (+/-)-3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran” (2). Although we are not able to see the actual research done, this information from the abstract does state that 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran attaches to SHBG. This shows that the claims are true, however to what extent is not known. Many people have ran sponsored/unsponsored logs of products with this ingredient and also had blood tests done showing free testosterone before and after, so if you would like to see some anecdotal feedback you could find those online.

Can it help bodybuilders in any other ways?

The stinging nettle also performs other functions that could be helpful to bodybuilders. One journal found that stinging nettle did have glucose lowering abilities, or that it is antihyperglycemic (3). Additionally, another journal stated that the glucose lowering abilities came from it causing increased insulin secretion in the Langerhance Isletes (these are the cells that produce hormones in the pancreas) (4). This research seems to indicate that stinging nettle could be used manipulate insulin as well. However, they did not say what type of extract or part of the plant they used, so I would avoid purchasing stinging nettle for the purpose of manipulating insulin.


1. Schottner, M., G. Gansser, and D. Spiteller. “Lignans from the roots of Urtica dioica and their metabolites bind to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).” Planta Med. 63 (1997): 529-32. PubMed. .

2. Schöttner, M., D. Gansser, and G. Spiteller. “Interaction of lignans with human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).” Z Naturforsch C. 52 (1997): 834-43. PubMed. .

3. Bnouham, Mohamed, Mohammed Aziz, Abdelkhaleq Legssyer, et al. “Antihyperglycemic activity of the aqueous extract of Urtica dioica.” Fitoterapia 74 (2003): 677-81. Science Direct. .

4.Farzami, B., D. Ahmadvand,Sh Khaghani, et al. “Induction of insulin secretion by a component of Urtica dioica leave extract in perifused Islets of Langerhans and its in vivo effects in normal and streptozotocin diabetic rats.” J Ethnopharmacol 89 (2003): 47-53. PubMed..

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