Testosterone is the king of male hormones and is necessary for the development and maintenance of bone mass, muscle mass, fat distribution, strength, libido, and mood. With age, however, testosterone levels start to decline. As a result, maintaining adequate amounts of testosterone becomes crucial for men who want to develop muscle mass, reduce fat, and increase strength.
12 Supplements to Boost Testosterone
- Bulbine Natalensis
- D-aspartic acid
- Horny Goat Weed
- Panax Ginseng
- Pedalium Murex
- Royal Jelly
- Wild Garlic
- Vitamin D
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced by the body in both males and females. However, testosterone levels decline with age, so it’s essential to maintain adequate levels of testosterone to maintain health, support sexual function, reduce the risk of disease, and maintain body composition.
According to the Clinical Interventions in Aging journal, 20% of men in their 60s have low testosterone, and men see a decline in testosterone levels by 1% a year on average after age forty. Although low testosterone is more problematic for men, women should also monitor their testosterone levels, as testosterone plays an essential role in female health and sexual well-being.
The good news is that it’s possible to boost testosterone levels without using steroids or illegal “under-the-counter” drugs. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent chronic disease and boost hormone production for men and women alike.
Studies show that certain kinds of exercise, like high-intensity workouts with resistance training, can stimulate the production of human growth hormone as well as the production of testosterone. A similar study by researchers at the University of Córdoba found that men who exercise regularly had higher testosterone levels than men who did no exercise at all.
Further studies examining obese individuals show that exercise boosts testosterone levels, and the type of exercise deemed most beneficial was resistance training in both short and long-term studies.
If you don’t want to dive straight into testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and you want to boost your testosterone levels the natural way, there are certain supplements you can use that claim to boost testosterone. The first of these supplements is boron.
As a natural dietary mineral, you can find boron in various foods, such as apples, potatoes, beans, nuts, and even coffee. Research suggests that boron assists in bone growth and wound healing. Boron also plays a critical role in sex hormone synthesis. Research shows that supplementation with boron increases sex hormone levels in both men and women.
A study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology found that 6 mg of boron taken over 1-week was enough to elicit a significant increase in free testosterone levels and a marked decrease in inflammatory markers.
Researchers also saw a slight increase in cortisol, dihydrotestosterone, and vitamin D levels at the end of the study. Another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition examined the effects of boron supplementation on bodybuilders to determine if boron had an impact on lean body mass, plasma testosterone levels, and strength.
The bodybuilders in the study took either 2.5 mg of boron or a placebo for 7-weeks. After the trial finished, researchers measured the bodybuilders’ testosterone, strength, and lean body mass. The results showed a significant increase in total testosterone levels, lean body mass, one-rep max squat, and one-rep max bench press in both the placebo and boron groups.
The results of the study suggest that it was the bodybuilding in the form of resistance training, not the boron supplements that stimulated an increase in testosterone levels. Overall, studies investigating the effectiveness of boron on testosterone levels are limited and more research is needed to confirm boron’s validity.
2. Bulbine Natalensis
Bulbine Natalensis is an herb from Southern Africa that is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. While bulbine natalensis has been used for centuries, it’s just started to pop its head up in Western medicine.
Although few studies have examined the impact of bulbine natalensis on sexual health, there’s some evidence to suggest that bulbine natalensis is a natural testosterone booster that improves sexual function.
In one study published in the International Journal of Andrology, male rats took an extract of bulbine natalensis at a dose of 25 mg and 50 mg per kilogram of bodyweight for 7-days. After administering bulbine natalensis, the researchers then examined the rats’ sexual behavior.
The results of the study showed a marked increase in several characteristics of sexual behavior, including mount frequency, intromission frequency, ejaculation frequency, and serum testosterone levels. This study suggests that bulbine natalensis can elicit a significant effect on sexual behavior and help manage conditions involving decreased libido, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.
However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the study used rats, not humans—this is a big difference. While early studies show promise when using bulbine natalensis to boost testosterone, not enough human studies have investigated the link between bulbine natalensis and testosterone levels.
3. D-aspartic Acid
D-aspartic acid is an amino acid that is said to boost testosterone levels by increasing the synthesis of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. Luteinizing hormone is essential to testosterone synthesis because it stimulates cells in the testes to produce more testosterone.
Research on both human and animal models shows that taking D-aspartic acid for just 12-days can increase luteinizing hormone levels, which, in turn, increases testosterone production.
It’s important to note that taking D-aspartic acid is not a long-term solution for boosting testosterone. Studies show that D-aspartic acid only elevates testosterone levels for approximately one week before testosterone levels return to normal.
DHEA is a steroid hormone that’s produced by the adrenal glands. DHEA is said to increase testosterone levels, boost immunity, improve psychological well-being, and improve bone density.
However, at present, there is limited research examining the effect of DHEA on testosterone development. Even more surprising is the fact that one study showed that DHEA increases testosterone levels for women, but not for men.
Fenugreek is an herb that may help to boost testosterone levels. A study reported in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition took 49 resistance-trained men and gave them either 500 mg of fenugreek or a placebo.
Results showed that participants who took fenugreek exhibited slight improvements in testosterone levels compared to participants who took a placebo supplement.
Another 12-week study gave 120 healthy men 600 mg of fenugreek extract every day. The results of the study showed an increase in total serum testosterone and free testosterone levels in the men who took fenugreek.
There are just a handful of studies confirming the positive effects of fenugreek. Although fenugreek does appear to improve libido, more studies are needed to examine fenugreek’s effect on testosterone.
6. Horny Goat Weed
Horny Goat Weed is a flavonoid that is said to boost libido and sexual health. In a rodent study published in 2006, results showed that horny goat weed helped increase circulating testosterone levels, suggesting that horny goat weed may prove beneficial for individuals with low testosterone.
Like many of the supplements mentioned in this list, studies are limited and more research is needed to verify the effectiveness of horny goat weed in the absence of robust human trials.
7. Panax Ginseng
Panax, meaning “all-healing” in Greek, is an herb that’s been around for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including recovery from illness, Alzheimer’s disease, memory, physical well-being, and testosterone.
One clinical study published by the University of Rome found that Panax ginseng extract elicited significant improvements in free testosterone levels. While ginseng’s efficacy for increasing testosterone is mixed, with some studies finding positive results and some studies finding no significant results, ginseng does appear to act as an antioxidant to protect the testes, which shows possible benefits for reproductive health and sexual function.
8. Pedalium Murex
Pedalium Murex is an aphrodisiac used in traditional Indian medicine to help treat male sexual dysfunction and impotence. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the effects of pedalium murex extract on testosterone levels in male rats.
During the study, three groups of rats took either 50 mg, 100 mg, or 150 mg of pedalium murex per kilogram of bodyweight for 28-days. The results of the study showed that pedalium murex increased serum testosterone levels even after treatment ended.
However, as with bulbine natalensis, horny goat weed, and Panax ginseng, not enough human studies have been completed to measure the effectiveness of pedalium murex on testosterone levels in humans.
9. Royal Jelly
Royal Jelly is a secretion produced by honey bees that is also available as a dietary supplement. Royal jelly is said to promote longevity, improve cardiovascular function, and enhance testosterone production.
A study published in the journal Nutrition sought to investigate the effect of Royal Jelly on testosterone levels in sedentary men. In the study, twenty adult men were given either 1,000 mg of royal jelly per day for 15-days or a placebo that looked like royal jelly.
At the end of the study, the researchers noticed a significant increase in testosterone levels in the group that took royal jelly, indicating that royal jelly may be useful for increasing testosterone levels. However, as with other studies, more research is needed to examine the effect of royal jelly on testosterone.
10. Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic also known as tulbaghia violacea, is an African herb that is traditionally used for its anti-infectious properties. Still, in recent studies, wild garlic has shown promise when it comes to boosting testosterone.
A study by the University of the Western Cape sought to investigate the effects of wild garlic on the male reproductive system. The results of the Western Cape study found that testicular cells treated with wild garlic significantly increased testosterone production. In contrast, cells without wild garlic treatment showed no change in testosterone levels.
While these results are promising, they don’t infer any long-term benefit for improving testosterone levels in men supplementing with wild garlic.
11. Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body, and vitamin D also works as an aromatase inhibitor, which blocks the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. An analysis of the relationship between vitamin D and testosterone found that increasing vitamin D concentrations increased total testosterone levels.
Research published in the journal Endocrinology discovered that healthy men who took a daily dose of 3,332 IU’s of vitamin D for one year increased their testosterone levels by 25.2 percent.
Zinc like vitamin D is an aromatase inhibitor that blocks estrogen receptor sites to ensure that testosterone isn’t converted into estrogen. Studies show that low zinc levels correlate with low testosterone levels. Furthermore, research shows that athletes with low levels of zinc also exhibit low testosterone.
A study reported in Biological Trace Element Research found that cyclists who took zinc supplements for 4-weeks had increased growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor levels after exhaustive exercise.
Zinc has a significant effect on the immune system. Zinc also plays a vital role in supporting growth hormone and testosterone production in the body.
Testosterone Boosting Foods
When it comes to foods that boost testosterone, it’s best to focus on foods that contain all the nutrients your body needs to optimize for testosterone production. These nutrients include zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods with high doses of testosterone boosting nutrients include:
- Organ meats
- Eggs (with the yolks)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Fatty fish
In addition, vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, watercress, and bok choy release a phytochemical that helps keep hormone levels in check, preventing estrogen levels from getting too high.
Effectiveness of Testosterone Boosters
While testosterone levels decline with age, there are certain things you can do to improve your body’s natural testosterone production (before you consider testosterone replacement therapy as an option).
Participating in regular aerobic and strength training exercises, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and taking the right supplements to support hormone production are all great ways to recover from low testosterone.
However, keep in mind that testosterone, like all hormones, can be tricky, and sometimes downright frustrating to get back on track if something goes wrong. While certain supplements have enough evidence to support their effectiveness, other testosterone boosting supplements offer limited benefits, if any, at all.
In terms of supplements, instead of taking a cluster of testosterone boosters that may or may not work, it’s better to supplement with individual supplements like zinc and vitamin D to increase your testosterone levels and boost hormone production.