Confused about all those Testosterone boosters claiming to make you the man again More muscles, better erections, raging libido.
Over my years of sports and fitness training, I’ve searched a lot on all these testosterone boosting supplements and mechanisms to increase it naturally.
Truth is a huge percentage of testosterone products, especially the herbals and natural ones you see being sold are either gimmicks or not as effective as they claim them to be. This is because of many reasons. But, here are the top 2 reasons why most of them don’t work:-
1. Lack of quality and diversity of ingredients. For a product to be able to increase your Testosterone effectively, it has to include ingredients that are really backed by some solid science and clinical studies.
And the ingredients should be working via “various mechanisms” to enhance the Testosterone in the body.
If you take just one main ingredient, you should “cycle” the product with another one which works differently, as your body gets used to a particular ingredient and “Resists change” because of the homeostasis system of the body.
That’s why diversity of ingredients becomes crucial if you want to beat the homeostasis.
Some companies include fillers in their ingredients or are primarily based on a single ingredient, that’s why the product either does not work right away or it keeps on becoming less effective with subsequent use.
2. People are different and there can be several “endocrine” or other factors why a man’s Testosterone is low. One has to understand the HPTA axis of the body to understand this. The “hypothalamus” releases GnRH hormone , which signals the “pituitary gland” to release the LH (luteinizing hormone) , which in turn travels all the way to the “testicles” to signal the “Leydig cells” of testicles to produce more Testosterone.
If you have a tendency to convert Testosterone into estrogen, (which is a female hormone, so to speak), your production of GnRH as well as LH will be decreased, as the estrogen basically gives the same feedback as Testosterone to those glands.
And if you have too much of either of these hormones, the “hypothalamus” and “pituitary gland” will back off and testosterone levels will fall, as the body keeps a balance and check of the level of hormones. So, more estrogen in the body is bad for men.
So, overall our hormonal system is a complex phenomenon, and the only way to ensure that a product should work for you is to take a T booster that has a huge diversity of ingredients, that targets these mechanisms from various angles.
T boosting ingredients you should look for
Tongkat Ali is a good T booster, but there are other testosterone enhancing ingredients that are more powerful and should be present in your supplement.
Tribulus has been put to use for hundreds of years by ancient healers as an all-natural performance enhancer and testosterone booster. Naturally increasing your testosterone levels, Tribulus raises your red blood cell count, leading to better oxygen transport and blood circulation.
Well, one significant thing to notice with Tribulus Terrestris is the fact that just like Tongkat Ali, the studies demonstrated that testosterone didn’t substantially rise in younger, healthy guys. However, there have been anecdotal reports of testosterone boosting with young men too.
The truth is there can be various forms of “hypogonadism” and Tribulus Terrestris might work excellent in some cases. That might describe the numerous anecdotal reports of it helping with low testosterone or erectile dysfunction.
Also, Tribulus has some outstanding properties, including raising libido, that make it an incredibly potent bedroom booster even in instances where it just marginally helps testosterone. You can expect to enhance both libido and nitric oxide.
One research on 30 youthful men found that free and total testosterone increased by 12% and 7% using fenugreek extract.
Now that isn’t a huge increase, but in addition it appears to proportionately hinder the conversion of Testosterone to DHT and estrogen. Which means, it supposedly increase testosterone by more than one mechanism and has a synergistic effect when used with other T boosting herbs.
Another clinical study of a standardized extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) on 60 healthy men demonstrated increase in libido. Specifically, there was a substantial upsurge in sexual arousal and climax.
Read more about the studies on Fenugreek.
Editor’s note: TestRx is a good supplement that has all these 3 ingredients – Tongkat Ali, Tribulus Terrestris and Fenugreek.
Mucuna Pruriens (Natural L-dopa)
Its powerful dopaminergic activity enhances HGH and its strong anti-stress activity decreases cortisol. Research has shown that cortisol can actually destroy testosterone molecules before they can even leave the testes.
Besides, dopamine and Testosterone seem to work together in the human body to exhibit the health benefits.
According to the PrimeMale’s website – “Scientists at the University of Lucknow gave 150 men 5 grams daily of Mucuna for 3 months. The result: improvement in both the quality and quantity of the men’s semen. In another study, a different group of men also took 5g of Mucuna pruriens extract and increased testosterone levels on average by 27.3%.”
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb that grows primarily in India and is mostly utilized as a stress reliever because of the astonishing effects on stress hormone levels and its calming effect.
Despite the fact that Ashwagandha isn’t structurally similar to other herbs in the “Ginseng” group, it is still also attributed as the “Indian Ginseng” as it’s similar effects in your body.
However, Ashwagandha is most unique because it is a powerful testosterone booster and can enhance Testosterone via various mechanisms or pathways.
More studies that you may find fascinating:
a) An Indian study conducted in the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, found out that infertile men who are given 5 grams of Ashwagandha for 3 months raise their testosterone levels by 40% on average in comparison to placebo.
The guys who had normal sperm process noticed an increase of 15%.
b) In another human study, the physicians at Mahalaxmi Clinic in Mumbai, India, found out similar effects. They gave their evaluation group of 25 guys an infusion of Ashwagandha called KSM 66 which includes 5 grams of withanolides (the effective compounds in Ashwagandha). They had a placebo group.
Here’s the way that Ashwagandha works:
1. Ashwagandha directly seems to increase LH (luteinizing hormone). Testosterone synthesis is stimulated in gonads via LH.
2. Adaptogenic properties of the herb reduce cortisol which maintains testosterone molecules intact raising free and total Testosterone.
3. The herb boosts HDL cholesterol, that’s the direct precursor of testosterone.
Those would be the mechanisms so far demonstrated by science but there might be more to that, considering the fact Ashwagandha is not low in zinc and multiple other testosterone boosting minerals. In fact, it is considered a rare and precious herb in India.
Zinc has also been proven to increase Testosterone a little, that’s why supplements like ZMA are so popular. Zinc deficient men may get some benefit in testosterone levels, if nothing else from improved sleep.
Korean Red Ginseng
This is a well known herb used for its sexual benefits since centuries and also for the immune system, boosting energy, and increased longevity.
In studies, testosterone levels were raised in laboratory animals and in addition Korean or Asian Ginseng has been applied to take care of male impotence.
It may help dramatically in particular conditions, particularly men which are struggling in the androgen/fertility regions. Several studies have noticed that cAMP levels are boosted by Ginseng. One followup study found that DHT, LH and testosterone levels increase in men.
Some Ginseng manufacturing companies are caught with lead in the their merchandises. So, always ensure you only buy the best T products containing Ginseng.
One double blind placebo study from Korea found that guys who took ginseng for 8 weeks experienced significant developments in erection quality, functionality, and sexual gratification vs. a control group not consuming the herb.
Evaluations released in the Brazilian Journal of Urology concluded that examined infusions of tribulus alatus demonstrated a substantial rise in the amount of free serum testosterone in comparison to that of accompanying control group and that tribulus alatus infusion seems to possess aphrodisiac action as a result of its androgen raising property.
Commonly used to treat osteoporosis in men, Vitamin D3 contributes to bone health, including maintaining bone density and also to maintaining optimal Testosterone levels.
In clinical evaluations athletes who received vitamin D had comparatively modest but statistically significant increases in testosterone when compared with placebo. For example, total testosterone levels increased by 3 nmol/litre to 13.4 nmol/litre after 12 months. The same trend occurred with free testosterone.
Why Vitamin D works?
There are many bits of evidence to imply that vitamin D could have played a part in the increased testosterone levels. This is important since the main reason for the study was to evaluate weight loss and not Testosterone evaluations.
Besides in some experiments on mice, those who do not have receptors for vitamin D, it was found that they suffer from less-than-normal quantities of testosterone.
The testicles have receptors for vitamin D, indicating this vitamin has some part to play there. Another human study found a connection between vitamin D levels in the blood and testosterone levels.
Stephen from 4hourlife.com has a cool cheat sheet to increase testosterone using vitamin D, Cod liver oil and Brazil nuts.
Here are the top 5:
Other tips you should consider before buying a Testosterone booster
1. Try to look for supplements containing DAA (D-Aspartic acid)
While the other herbs and compounds we discussed have been known to mankind for several years now, DAA or D-Aspartic acid is a fairly new entrant to the list of substances that can increase Testosterone. I came to know about it from some bodybuilders who were all raving about it.
It’s unique because it has a very unique mechanism to enhance Testosterone.
Supposedly, DAA does so by activating/strengthening those cells inside the pituitary gland that release the LH hormone (luteinizing hormone). It has the potential to modify the nucleic structure of those cells.
However, it has to be used in high doses to be effective and this might have some neurotoxic effects.
The two supplements I like that have this ingredient are PrimeMale and DAA by Prime nutrition. However, the latter product has just one ingredient – DAA as its main ingredient and as we discussed earlier, we need a multi-ingredient supplement that increases Testosterone via various mechanisms.
2. Depression and low levels of dopamine are connected to low T and smaller testicles size.
The best thing I ever took to increase my dopamine levels was Rasagiline, and interestingly it also increased my Testosterone levels. There is ample evidence that Testosterone and dopamine actually work together in the body for various functions.
I don’t know if any scientific study that has shown any cause-effect relationship, but in my opinion no cause-effect establishment is absolutely sound or undisputed, no matter how scientifically proven it might seem.
So, I have some unusual tips regarding this. Since Rasagiline is a prescription drug and you can’t get it unless you get it prescribed for yourself, you should try L-dopa, an otc available supplement to increase dopamine or Mucuna Pruriens (natural L-dopa).
I have searched a lot on those supplements that contain this , and I really liked PrimeMale which has Mucuna Pruriens and the DAA both.
Prosolution Plus is also good as that has all these ingredients in one product – Tribulus Terrestris, Mucuna Pruriens, Ashwagandha and another very potent sexual boosting herb called Shilajit. I highly recommend Prosolution Plus too.
3. You might need something extra if you want T booster for bodybuilding.
If you are looking for a testosterone supplement to get better results with your bodybuilding endeavours, I have this tip – Take a supplement that effectively triggers both the HGH and Testosterone together.
One supplement that does this and I really like is HyperGH 14x.
This product has DHEA too, which is a natural precursor to Testosterone and it converts to T in the body.
Using effects of growth hormone and testosterone together, you should definitely see more noticeable muscle building results.
4. Control cortisol. Take Glutamine
High cortisol levels and high stress might be detrimental to testosterone. One supplement that controls cortisol and also increases Testosterone is L- Glutamine. Read more about it. It’s also good for testicular health.
5. HIIT and compound exercises for T
HIIT or High intensity interval training, is one of the most effective way to enhance Testosterone naturally, even without supplements. Same goes for compound exercises.
When you do strenuous workouts or overload your muscles, your body has two ways to respond.
Either by increasing blood circulation to the muscles and thereby the nutrients’ supply to them. Or by responding with your endocrine system and releasing more “manly” hormones that help you do the manly task of weight-lifting.
All exercises usually trigger both of these mechanisms, somewhat. However, HIIT and compound exercises are the best to get that endocrine response from the body and naturally increase testosterone.
Testosterone hardens muscle, estrogen makes them soft. And interestingly, compound sets make your muscles hard.
6. Understand the role of anti estrogens ie. SERM or AI inhibitors. Herbs that simulate the AI inhibition mechanism, anti estrogen
AI inhibitors increase testosterone by blocking “estrogen” (by preventing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen). SERMSs like Nolvadex work by preventing the estrogen to give a feedback to the pituitary on how much level of estrogen is present in the body.
(The pituitary believes estrogen hormone is less, so it has to produce more testosterone by increasing LH, so that testosterone would convert to estrogen.)
The herb Tongkat Ali, the primary ingredient in Andro 400 does this same anti-estrogenic effect. Besides Tongkat Ali, other herbs like Tribulus also do this. There are some anti estrogenic foods too.
However, the most strong anti-estrogenic effects are produced by prescription drugs like Nolvadex, Arimidex, Aromasin, Exemestane and you can only be prescribed by an endocrinologist or an anti aging doctor, if you decide to undergo testosterone therapy.
7. Take care of your testicles
Testicles are where testosterone is produced. So, it’s important to understand “testicular health” and what may cause your balls to shrink.
Top 5 recommended testosterone products
- Chemistry & Biodiversity, Sep 2008, 5(9):1753-1761, “Rat Growth-Hormone Release Stimulators from Fenugreek Seeds”
- Fundam Clin Pharmacol, 2002 Dec, 16(6):479-83, “Effect of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on orientation activities in middle-aged male rats”
- Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010 January; 65(1): 93-98, “The Effect of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack on Spermatogenesis in Estrogen-Treated Rats”