Which Testosterone Boosters Actually Work?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Are you tired of feeling sluggish, unmotivated, and lacking in energy? If so, you may be experiencing low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a crucial role in male health and vitality, but it can decline as we age or due to other factors such as stress, poor diet, or lack of exercise.
Fortunately, there are ways to boost testosterone naturally, without resorting to harmful and expensive hormone replacement therapies.
In this article, we'll uncover the top testosterone boosters that actually deliver results, backed by research and testimonials from satisfied users.
From nutrition and supplements to exercise and lifestyle changes, you'll discover the secrets to unlocking your full potential and reclaiming your masculinity.
So, whether you're a fitness enthusiast, athlete, or just looking to improve your overall well-being, read on to learn how to optimize your testosterone levels and take your performance to the next level.
Natural Testosterone Boosting Routines
If you're looking to boost your testosterone levels naturally, there are multiple ways to do so. Here are some of the most effective natural testosterone boosting habits:
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical for overall health and wellbeing, and it's also essential for testosterone production. Research has shown that getting less than 5 hours of sleep per night can significantly lower testosterone levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to optimize your testosterone levels.
One thing is for certain, during sleep many of your body's systems shut off while your brain produces hormones including testosterone in greater quantities than usual.
Testosterone levels tend to peak overnight and gradually decline through the daytime hours, so getting ample restful sleep is vital in order to maintain optimal testosterone levels.
Lack of restful sleep may create imbalances between anabolic and catabolic signals within the body, potentially leading to chronic disease progression and hastening aging processes.
A meta-analysis of experimental studies suggests that sleep loss negatively impacts serum testosterone in men.
Humans experience HGH release during high-intensity workouts, but getting adequate restful sleep also has an effect.
According to research published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, HGH is released during sleep and promotes muscle recovery after exercise; without enough restorative rest, your muscles could suffer further damage during recovery time - leaving your body less resilient as a result.
Chronic stress can have a negative impact on testosterone levels. When you're stressed, your body produces cortisol, which can inhibit testosterone production.
One such study found that salivary testosterone increased during exam stress in men. It may be possible that gender differences might explain these disparate results - or alternatively that sexual differences, personality traits and emotional control play an integral part in influencing male and female responses to stress differently.
High levels of stress can result in fatigue and diminished sexual desire, so it's crucial that those experiencing these issues seek assistance immediately.
Alongside regular physical activity and mental wellbeing support, stress-reduction methods include mindfulness meditation practices.
Find ways to reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Furthermore, adequate rest should be prioritized as part of a healthy diet regimen.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can have many detrimental effects on your body, such as low testosterone.
While muscle mass helps you build energy-burning muscle that burns calories to help manage body weight more efficiently.
Researches have recently identified an increasingly alarming link between obesity and hypogonadism.
Testosterone production drops as body fat index rises, leading to what researchers refer to as male obesity secondary hypogonadism (MOSH), which impairs fertility, slows bone mineralization, affects cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, as well as lower libido and weaken muscle strength.
This issue can have severe implications on fertility, fertility treatment and can even weaken muscles over time.
This study recruited 14 Caucasian patients with MOSH and measured their hormone, lipid and glycemic profiles and body composition.
Following an intervention plan that resulted in 10% weight loss via diet intervention, their hormone, lipid and glycemic profiles returned to normal after weight loss occurred.
Researchers concluded that MOSH is an acute health problem which negatively impacts testosterone, bone mineral density and fat metabolism - it's essential that those affected identify themselves early enough and take measures to manage their weight effectively
Testosterone production increases when certain parts of your brain - the hypothalamus and pituitary glands - send signals for more testosterone to be produced in your testes.
But fat cells may wreak havoc by secreting an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone molecules to estrogen molecules.
Moreover, because most aromatases reside in abdominal fat, this could significantly reduce your testosterone levels.
Diet and exercise are key ingredients of success when it comes to losing excess weight and increasing testosterone.
Consume foods low in saturated fat and sugar while trying to add more physical activity into daily life - for instance parking further from work, taking the stairs instead of driving or using a pedometer to track how many steps are being taken daily.
- 1 gram or carbohydrate is 4kcals
- 1 gram of protein is 4kcals
- 1 gram of fat is 9kcals
This is significant as testosterone plays an essential role in male reproductive organ development and muscle and bone strength; more testosterone means greater desire.
One study demonstrated that just an hour of sunlight exposure can increase a man's testosterone by 69%.
Another research paper suggests that taking high doses of Vitamin D may also boost libido and help increase fertility.
Attributed to sunlight's effects on our Vitamin D levels, sunlight provides many health advantages for humans.
When exposed to direct sunlight, our skin responds by producing Vitamin D as a precursor hormone; later converted to other active hormones like testosterone.
Therefore, making sure you receive ample natural sunlight can be an excellent way to maximize hormone levels and make the most out of workouts.
Studies have demonstrated that testosterone and vitamin D levels tend to peak during summer months and decline over winter due to people being less exposed to UVB rays in winter weather.
But there are ways to address the testosterone deficit without heading outdoors. One such way is taking a vitamin D supplement - in fact the public health agency in England recommends that all adults supplement with vitamin D during the winter months.
Top Testosterone Boosting Nutrients
In addition to natural testosterone boosters, there are also nutrients that can help to increase testosterone levels. Here are some of the most effective testosterone boosting supplements:
D-Aspartic Acid is an amino acid that's been shown to increase testosterone levels in men. It works by stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone, which in turn stimulates testosterone production.
D-Aspartic Acid has become an indispensable supplement in exercise/sport nutrition stacks due to its ability to increase endogenous testosterone production, leading to muscle mass growth and improving exercise/sport performance.
D-aspartic acid has long been recognized for its ability to activate the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and promote release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone from pituitary gland and luteinizing hormone from testes.
Subsequent increased production of LH and testosterone are then enhanced in testes by D-aspartic acid as shown both rats and humans.
One study with 30 men with reduced sperm motility found that taking D-Aspartic Acid daily improved concentration and motility by twofold; pregnancies also increased, providing evidence of how it can boost male fertility.
However, in a larger and longer-term study investigating the effects of D-Aspartic Acid on testosterone concentrations found no significant changes.
It was believed that due to the higher dosage used (6 grams daily), possible negative feedback mechanisms within HPG axis may have been disrupted or it had overaccumulated within testes thus impeding its release and inhibiting testosterone release.
This can often be seen with supplements containing high dosages of ingredients that stimulate the brain to produce more hormones, like creatine. However, D-Aspartic Acid doesn't pose the same problems.
Fenugreek is a herb that's been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It's been shown to increase testosterone levels in men, as well as improve exercise performance and reduce body fat.
Testosterone, the natural androgen produced in men, is an essential male sexual development and reproduction hormone produced by testicles or gonads and produced naturally by male bodies.
When testosterone production decreases due to age or illness or medication treatment, its levels can negatively impact on men's libido, strength, energy levels and bone density resulting in weight gain, fat accumulation or low bone density.
Low testosterone can occur naturally through natural aging process but also due to disease stress illness treatment or medication treatment.
Recently, Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds (fenugreek) has earned itself a reputation as an effective way of supporting healthy adults' testosterone levels.
Numerous clinical trials demonstrate that taking fenugreek supplements can significantly raise total serum testosterone, yet their exact mechanism of action remains unknown.
Studies indicate it could do this by blocking aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase activity - two enzymes responsible for breaking down testosterone. Other research has revealed it may decrease testosterone due to higher consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol from diet.
Zinc is a key trace mineral essential for body functions. It contributes to thyroid functioning, helps with sperm formation, improves immunity and wound healing as well as increasing testosterone levels.
Zinc can be found in red meat, poultry, dairy products, nuts legumes and whole grain products; though taking too much zinc supplements could result in nausea vomiting and lower copper and iron levels in your system.
Zinc's relationship to testosterone levels is well established. Zinc aids the conversion of testosterone to its biologically active form (5a-dihydrotestosterone or DHT), and inhibits aromatase enzyme which converts some testosterone to estrogen. This allows zinc to help keep healthy testosterone levels steady over time as one ages.
Men with low levels of zinc often exhibit symptoms of hypogonadism, including diminished libido and impotence. Zinc is essential to male fertility as well as being essential in producing sperm for production and male reproductive success.
Researchers conducted one experiment wherein they restricted diets of males with chronic renal failure and gave them a daily dosage of 250 mg zinc supplement, leading them to experience improved testosterone levels and an increase in free testosterone (the part not bound by proteins like SHBG), which led to increased libido.
Vitamin A (retinal, retinal and retinoic acid) is one of the 24 essential vitamins and minerals needed for human survival.
As an endocrine hormone it regulates phosphate and calcium metabolism as well as parathormone system function; autocrine, paracrine and juxtacrine signalling effects also play an important role.
Vitamin A may increase testosterone levels for males through its effect on Leydig cells - primary producers of androgen in testicles.
As a dietary supplement it comes in the form of either retinol or its provitamin carotenoids; our bodies convert this form to retinol when needed.
On average adults require about 770 mcg daily while pregnancy and breastfeeding increase this requirement significantly.
One study demonstrated that vitamin A deficiency reduced testosterone production.
Vitamin A is essential in synthesizing cholesterol molecules that are converted to testosterone by Leydig cells in testicles; without vitamin A transferrin (an enzyme that transports cholesterol molecules to Leydig cells) cannot function as intended and its primary precursor cannot be produced.
Vitamin K is best known as the key component to blood clotting, an essential lifesaving mechanism.
But studies have also revealed its potential role in supporting healthy testosterone production within the body - specifically through increasing production of an important blood protein called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin or SHBG, an effect which has been studied since the mid 1990s and now understood very clearly.
Studies pertaining to vitamin K typically focus on SHBG because of its key role in human biology.
Recently however, scientists have also been investigating how Vitamin K influences other hormones as well - specifically testosterone levels - with research suggesting supplementing with the appropriate form can help increase testosterone in men, especially older males with lower testosterone levels.
Vitamin K increases a protein that binds with testosterone in the blood and keeps it circulating longer, as well as stimulating other proteins involved with producing steroid hormones such as StAR and CYP11A enzyme.
Researchers administered mice a synthetic variant of Vitamin K called S-allyl cysteine (SAC).
After administering lipopolysaccharide to initiate inflammation in their testis, SAC treatment significantly increased serum and Leydig cell testosterone without impacting pituitary luteinizing hormone levels.
Furthermore, mouse testis-derived I-10 cells found that SAC treatment significantly upregulated expression of genes associated with steroidogenesis including one called cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB).
Iron and testosterone form an intricate relationship; insufficient iron levels can lead to anemia, which reduces oxygen supply to organs and tissues and causes symptoms like weakness, tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches and depression.
Testosterone helps increase red blood cell count which may help treat anemia.
Boron is an essential trace mineral found in various food sources and nutritional supplements alike, yet is rarely considered essential.
Studies indicate it plays an integral part in bone formation and maintenance, calcium metabolism, brain functioning, insulin and energy substrate utilization as well as hormone regulation - including testosterone function.
Studies conducted by Naghii et al in 2010 demonstrated that subjects given 10mg of boron daily experienced an increase in free testosterone levels and decreases in SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin).
This allowed more of the testicular hormone to reach its proper location within their bodies - partially explaining why older male patients experience lower testosterone levels than their counterparts.
Boron can increase testosterone by acting as an effective natural blocker of SHBG and other hormones that interfere with testosterone production, and by decreasing inflammation (which has been linked to heart disease, insulin resistance, lung cancer and depression).
Urtica Dioica (Stinging Nettle)
Stinging nettle is a widespread herb found worldwide. Though notorious for producing an excruciating rash upon contact with skin, this plant is packed with nutritious substances that may benefit those suffering from PCOS or hormone-related health conditions
Nettle root extract has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation, soothe allergies, boost testosterone levels and enhance blood circulation - as well as helping men with prostate issues caused by excessive testosterone or the conversion of testosterone to estrogen metabolites by aromatase enzyme.
Studies demonstrate that stinging nettle root contains chemicals which can block aromatase activity and reduce the body's overproduction of estrogen, thus helping bring levels back down to normal and alleviate PMS symptoms as well as help protect men against an early andropause (andropause) after age 45 when natural testosterone production declines.
Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean) is a climbing plant long used as both a Parkinson's treatment and sexual tonic, especially to increase testicle size and enhance libido. Studies demonstrating its increased testosterone content have gained new attention recently.
Dopamine (a neurotransmitter that affects mood, motivation, focus, and attention) is likely responsible for this plant's ability to raise testosterone. But other hormones, like prolactin and luteinizing hormone which may suppress testosterone may also play a part.
L-DOPA, an organic compound found in Mucuna Pruriens that converts to dopamine when taken orally, has been shown to increase male libido and improve semen quality significantly. One human study demonstrated how taking five grams daily of Levodopa improved infertile men's libido by 38%.
Studies indicate that seeds of Mucuna Pruriens not only promote increased libido but can also reduce stress and anxiety levels as well as cortisol levels, which can have an adverse impact on testosterone production.
As most people know, testosterone is essential for building muscle mass, increasing strength, and maintaining an ideal body composition. Without proper levels of testosterone, muscle mass loss and related health complications may result in.
While a number of herbs and supplements claim to increase testosterone, many do not meet their promises - Mucuna Pruriens appears to naturally boost levels via the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis (HPG).
Ashwagandha has quickly become a go-to ingredient in testosterone boosting supplements for men. Additionally, its popularity can be found in herbal formulas designed to lower stress hormones, anxiety levels, and insomnia.
Ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurveda as a natural remedy. Today's supplement companies market this natural remedy as a muscle mass builder, physical energy booster, hair growth promoter and natural balancer of the endocrine system.
In addition, there are no major known side effects linked with its consumption!
Testosterone is an essential male hormone, impacting both libido and physical performance. Maintaining optimal levels can have profound ramifications on overall health and can be affected by diet, exercise intensity, stress levels and sleep quality.
Ashwagandha may help increase testosterone, although further study is still necessary.
One study indicated that taking ashwagandha helped men with low levels of testosterone increase them by 17% while another found it increased DHEA production (a precursor to testosterone) production among overweight males.
Ashwagandha may work to increase libido by stimulating pituitary gland production of luteinizing hormone, an important hormone responsible for testosterone production.
Ashwagandha may also help protect testes from oxidative damage which could further bolster production of testosterone.
Testosterone Boosting Foods
In addition to supplements, there are also several foods that can help to increase testosterone levels naturally. Here are some of the best testosterone boosting foods:
Oysters are a rich source of zinc, which is essential for testosterone production. They're also high in protein, which is important for muscle growth and repair.
Red meat is a rich source of protein, as well as zinc and vitamin D, which are essential for testosterone production.
Eggs are a great source of protein, as well as cholesterol, which is a precursor to testosterone production.
Lifestyle Changes to Increase Testosterone
In addition to supplements and foods, there are also several lifestyle changes that can help to increase testosterone levels naturally. Here are some of the most effective lifestyle changes:
Engage in Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is essential for overall health and wellbeing, and it's also important for testosterone production. Resistance training, such as weight lifting, has been shown to be particularly effective at increasing testosterone levels.
Exercise provides numerous health advantages: it lowers your risk for various illnesses and diseases, prevents obesity and extends lifespan.
Exercise may even boost testosterone levels - this sex hormone plays an essential role in mood, libido, bone health, muscle strength and more!
In fact, three weekly workouts of 20 minutes or so each can bring them back up to normal ranges if your testosterone levels have fallen into subnormal territory.
But the amount your testosterone rises after working out depends on a number of factors: age, fitness level and type of exercise you choose to do.
Resistance training with high intensity tends to boost testosterone more than long jogs do; in particular exercises targeting larger muscle groups rather than small ones (i.e. bicep curls are unlikely to help; bench presses, squats and deadlifts may provide greater results).
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can have a negative impact on testosterone levels. Reducing alcohol consumption can help to increase testosterone levels naturally.
Alcohol consumption can further diminish testosterone levels making you susceptible to low sex drive and erectile dysfunction issues.
Heavy drinking has an immediate effect on your body's ability to produce testosterone, with effects lasting 72 hours after drinking a heavy dose. According to one study, healthy participants saw their T levels drop within 30 minutes after ingesting such alcohol; chronic alcoholics show similar results.
Your body quickly drops testosterone due to how your system metabolizes alcohol. Breaking down alcohol robs vital nutrients necessary for producing testosterone - such as NAD+ (an essential coenzyme for creating the male hormone). Furthermore, alcohol causes oxidative stress which damages cells and limits hormone production.
No matter if it's beer, wine, or hard liquor - any form of alcoholic consumption reduces testosterone. While moderate consumption is acceptable, drinking more than three alcoholic drinks daily should be limited or stopped to restore normal levels.
Smoking has evolved into an easy way to take in nicotine from various sources (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping or chewing tobacco) while simultaneously stimulating release of the stress response hormone epinephrine as well as inhibiting testosterone production and decreasing natural levels of this sex hormone.
Smokers have long been shown to experience lower sperm counts, live births, and fertility rates than non-smokers.
Furthermore, smoking can cause many other health issues including reduced appetite, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreased oxygen flow to organs within their bodies, as well as more frequent illnesses like colds and flu.
Contrary to popular belief, however, a study published in the International Journal of Andrology revealed that in men who smoke their total and free testosterone levels are actually higher than non-smokers.
This increase could be related to increases in SHBG (Serum Testosterone Basal Gonadotropin), a hormone and chemical that regulates bioavailable free testosterone in bloodstream.
No matter the cause, smoking is invariably bad for both testosterone and overall health and should be avoided at all costs.
An intriguing psychological study from The University of Texas at Austin suggests that high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can inhibit testosterone's effect on competition and dominance, according to new psychology research published in Hormones and Behavior.
This groundbreaking work represents the first evidence showing how testosterone and cortisol work in unison to regulate domination behavior.
Stress hormone glucocorticoids released by the adrenal cortex to respond to stress have a powerful anti-testosterone effect that works by suppressing testosterone formation both in the hypothalamus and Leydig cells found in testicles.
The reason is simple; both testosterone and cortisol are steroid hormones; however, only one at a time can be produced from pregnenolone; therefore any energy used to make both is directed toward producing cortisol instead of testosterone production.
Chronically elevated cortisol reduces testosterone synthesis by down-regulating Atp5a1 expression in Leydig cells and thus decreasing production of precursors such as acetate and cholesterol for testosterone production.
Furthermore, this protein directly interacts with StAR and CYP11A1 in mitochondria to regulate cholesterol metabolism; its interaction is impaired under chronic stress conditions.
Chronically elevated cortisol can contribute to higher blood pressure and insulin resistance, both conditions which increase heart disease risk.
One way to minimize these risks is through managing stress; exercises, healthy foods and getting enough restful sleep all help manage anxiety levels and can even improve mood - which in turn contributes to healthy sexuality if low sex drive occurs due to chronic stress.
Testosterone Boosting Exercises
The Farmer's Walk is one of the best exercises to increase testosterone, promote muscle growth, and enhance overall strength. This compound exercise engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously - perfect for strengthening, fat burning, and hormone production.
Warming up with this exercise can also serve as an excellent warmup before starting more rigorous compound workouts.
This exercise targets arm, back, glutes as well as posture mobility improvements with added power boost - it gives an incredible workout!
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an interval training workout program comprised of short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of low activity.
HIIT exercises are great at increasing heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen flow as well as burning fat efficiently.
HIIT can help maximize the efficiency of your weight training sessions by targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously in shorter time intervals.
This approach allows you to lift heavier weights while maintaining a safe heart rate level, thus helping prevent overtraining.
Compound exercises are more effective at increasing muscle mass than isolation ones because they engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously and force your body to exert itself more in order to perform correctly. Therefore, aim to incorporate more compound exercises in your training than isolation ones.
In addition to regular exercise, there are also specific exercises that can help to boost testosterone levels. Here are some of the most effective testosterone boosting exercises:
Squats are a compound exercise that work multiple muscle groups at once, including the legs, glutes, and core. They've been shown to be particularly effective at increasing testosterone levels.
Deadlifts are another compound exercise that work multiple muscle groups at once, including the legs, back, and core. They've been shown to be effective at increasing testosterone levels.
The bench press is a classic exercise that's great for building upper body strength. It's also been shown to be effective at increasing testosterone levels.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is a form of exercise that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of rest. It's been shown to be an effective way to increase testosterone levels.
Farmers walks are an effective way to develop total body strength, power and work capacity as well as posture, balance and stability. Farmers walks have also been linked to injury resilience as they train spine and core muscles to brace against injuries more effectively.
Best Practices for Taking Testosterone Boosters
If you're considering taking testosterone boosters, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Consult with a Nutrition Professional
Before taking any testosterone boosters, it's important to consult with a nutrition professional. They can help you determine whether testosterone boosters are right for you, and recommend specific products.
Follow Dosage Instructions
Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the product label. Taking too much can have negative side effects.
Monitor Your Symptoms
Keep track of any changes in your symptoms, both positive and negative. If you experience any negative side effects, stop taking the product and consult with a professional in diet and nutrition.
Military Muscle is a Testosterone Booster that Works
Military Muscle is distinguished from other supplements because its creators include both serving soldiers and competitive athletes who created it to fill any nutritional gaps caused by rigorous training regimes.
Based in London's Mid Town neighborhood, close to hospitals and universities for research and development purposes. Here also lies its team behind Military Muscle's production; thus making sure its not just some supplement being produced out of someone's garage!
This factor is of extreme significance as it shows the care and consideration put into the formula for this testosterone booster.
Not only does it include clinically proven ingredients to boost testosterone, but the dose reflects positive outcomes from research trials as well.
Furthermore, no proprietary blends are present and each component is clearly marked - something you don't often see with supplements! This shows just how carefully developed this product was.
Notable points about this supplement include its vegan-friendliness and being made in the UK where strict food laws apply, making this an especially relevant product as it contains no substances banned by either the military or DOD.
All ingredients have been extensively tested, while there is a full money back guarantee with every purchase of Military Muscle.
Conclusion: Choosing the Right Testosterone Booster for You
There are many ways to increase testosterone levels naturally, from supplements and foods to lifestyle changes and exercise.
When choosing a testosterone booster, it's important to do your research and consult with a nutritionist.
Look for products that are backed by research and have positive reviews from satisfied users.
With the right approach, you can unlock the process to optimal testosterone levels and take your performance to the next level.