Interested in increasing your lagging testosterone levels? Need to know what the best testosterone booster on the market is in 2018? We have the most cutting edge, up-to-date info here! Testosterone boosters have gained quite the popularity in recent years as cheap and effective supplements that deliver amazing results.
But is it true?
As it turns out, a lot of the products out there are ineffective. Their sellers spew empty promises with no scientific literature to back their claims and are in it for the quick buck.These are the dishonest people who primarily target young, inexperienced guys that don’t know any better.
They are often drawn in by images of muscular physiques and other benefits such as improved libido, better sleep, more confidence, more energy, and a better mood. What many men don’t understand is the boosting testosterone levels is one of the fastest ways to lose weight for men.
While having higher testosterone levels does lead to such benefits, it doesn’t mean that most of the products out there can help you achieve that.
In this post, we’ll go through various products and see how they hold up to the task of increasing testosterone levels naturally.
Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins needed by the human body for normal function and survival. It is involved in hundreds of bodily functions and helps improve testosterone levels.
Vitamin D is found in eggs and fish, but the most effective way to get enough of it is to expose yourself to the sun regularly.
As far as importance goes, Vitamin D can easily take the cake as it has been shown not only to increase testosterone levels, but also improve bone health and ward off against diseases such as osteoporosis, improve immune system function, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and even help prevent certain cancers.
Now, vitamin D is not a vitamin. Shocker, I know. It’s a steroid hormone. Furthermore, this vitamin, wait – hormone is involved in hundreds of bodily processes such as the growth and development of the body, the secretion of different hormones, and normal sexual function and libido.
Being deficient in vitamin D means that all of these different processes in your body will be impaired to a degree. And that includes the suppression of testosterone production.
As far as research goes, there is a hefty amount of literature to support these claims.
In one study, two groups of healthy men were instructed to consume 3332 UI’s of vitamin D daily for a year or a placebo. What they found was the vitamin D group had roughly 25% higher testosterone levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195
In another study, the researchers set out to examine the relationship between vitamin D and testosterone levels. They found that men with sufficient levels of vitamin D had significantly higher testosterone levels when compared to men with low levels of the vitamin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20050857
In yet another Australian study, the researchers found that older men with lower levels of vitamin D had significantly lower levels of testosterone and an increased risk of fractures. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/9734509
As far as dosage goes, the recommendation given by Examine.com puts it at 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
Magnesium is one of the essential trace minerals that we need to function well and stay healthy. This mineral is involved in over 250 bodily processes, as well as numerous enzymatic functions. If you were to ask most people about Magnesium, they would correlate it with the brain and heart. However, it does much more for us.
Magnesium is an electrolyte that is responsible for fluid balance, transports energy to the cells (ATP), and improves sleep. But it doesn’t end there…
Magnesium has also been shown to increase testosterone levels. It’s worth noting, however, that magnesium, much like zinc, improves testosterone levels in people who are deficient.
It is then important to ask this question: Would supplementing with magnesium improve your testosterone levels?
As it turns out, a whopping 70% of US residents aren’t getting enough of this essential mineral through their diets. And 19% aren’t getting even half of what they need. It is safe to assume that if you follow a standard western diet, you are likely deficient in this mineral.
Furthermore, magnesium evaporates from the body through sweat. If you naturally sweat more, are very physically active or live in a hot place, then you should consider supplementing with magnesium.
In this study, the researchers found that one gram of magnesium in combination with intense exercise was enough to increase testosterone by 24%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20352370
In another study with a larger sample size (400 participants), the researchers found a positive correlation between higher serum magnesium levels and higher testosterone in older men. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675994
Zinc, much like magnesium, is one of the essential minerals needed by the human body and because we cannot synthesize it or store excess amounts for later, we need to get enough of it daily.
Zinc is primarily involved in processes of cellular metabolism, DNA synthesis, and is a crucial player in the reproductive system.
Aside from these benefits, zinc also plays an important role in testosterone. More specifically, this mineral inhibits the aromatase enzyme (which is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, among other things).
Now, much like magnesium, zinc has also been shown to increase testosterone levels in men who were previously deficient in the mineral. If you have adequate levels of zinc, supplementing further likely won’t deliver extra benefits.
However, to do that, you need to consume foods such as oysters, beef, milk, turkey, and cashew. As you can imagine, some of these foods are a bit unconventional, and many people are likely not getting enough zinc from their diet.
Also, because zinc evaporates from the body through sweat, it’s likely a good idea to supplement with it. At the very least, zinc can increase your DHT levels, which is also beneficial.
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia)
Tongkat Ali has been getting a lot of attention in recent years as a potent testosterone booster, but it is yet to prove itself worthy.
Let’s start at the beginning:
Tongkat Ali is a flower plant that mostly grows in Indonesia and Malaysia. The active ingredients that supposedly increase testosterone levels are eurycomanone and steroidal saponins.
Now, this herb has been given attention by many fitness magazines in the past and chances are, you’ve come across it once or twice. However, the research that is out there so far isn’t exactly convincing. Tongkat Ali has been shown to raise testosterone in stressed out men and those with low levels. It’s also been shown to raise testosterone in rodents.
In this study, the researchers had 109 men as subjects and split them into two groups:
One group was given 300 mg of water extract of E. longifolia (Physta), and the other one was the placebo group. After 12 weeks, the Tongkat Ali group had significantly higher scores in the overall Erectile Function domain in IIEF, improved libido (14%), increased sperm motility (44% more), and semen volume (18.2% more).
In another study, the subjects were 76 men with symptoms of low testosterone (hypogonadism). They received a dose of 200 mg extract of Tongkat Ali daily for one month. In the end, the researchers found a significant improvement in testosterone levels (46% more). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21671978
However, in that study, there wasn’t a second group of men with normal testosterone levels for comparison.
Until we’ve got more research on the herb, it appears that Tongkat Ali is a viable option to increase testosterone in men who have low levels, but not if you are within the normal range.
Tribulus Extract (Tribulus Terrestris)
If you take a look at the label of most testosterone boosters out there, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll notice one ingredient: Tribulus Extract (or Terrestris).
It is a well-known “testosterone booster,” and a quick search around most fitness forums will net you dozens of topics related to it. However, even if it’s the popular kid on the block, its efficacy is yet to be proven. So far, the body of research is inconclusive at best.
In this first study, the researchers set out to examine Tribulus Terrestris’ effect on fat-free mass and strength gains in elite-level athletes. They split the participants into two groups: group 1 took a daily capsule (450 mg Tribulus Terrestris), and group 2 took a placebo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17530942
After five weeks, both groups had gained a significant amount of fat-free mass with no statistical difference.
A systematic review set out to determine T. Terrestris’ effect on testosterone levels in men. A total of eleven studies met the criteria and were included. What the researchers concluded was the following:
Evidence to date suggests that TT is ineffective for increasing testosterone levels in humans, thus marketing claims are unsubstantiated. The nitric oxide release effect of TT may offer a plausible explanation for the observed physiological responses to TT supplementation, independent of the testosterone level.
Asian Ginseng Extract
Asian ginseng can be found in Eastern Asia, most commonly in China and Korea. It’s one of the most well-known herbs in the world, and it has been used for health-related purposes for at least 2,000 years.
In the past, Asian ginseng has been used to replenish energy. Today, it’s a well-known health supplement, used to improve physical stamina, cognitive function, immunity, and slow down aging, among other things.
Its effectiveness in providing numerous health benefits is well documented, but does it increase testosterone levels?
A little preface first:
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule that improves blood circulation throughout your body. Because blood flows more freely, you feel physically stronger, mentally sharper, get pumps in the gym more easily, and have stronger erections. NO is also an important player for testosterone production.
This is where it gets interesting:
Numerous studies have shown that ginseng drastically improves erection quality and sexual satisfaction in both men and rodents alike. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659529/
These are important findings because strong erections and high sexual satisfaction are tightly correlated with optimal testosterone levels.
Aside from that, some research has found a correlation between testosterone levels and ginseng consumption in both men and animals.
Maca, much like Tribulus extract, is an aphrodisiac (it makes your wee-wee go up do stuff). And because of that, many men mistakenly assume that since these products increase your libido, they undoubtedly also increase testosterone levels.
However, as we saw for T. extract (and as we’ll see the case of Maca), such a correlation is not a guarantee.
Now, Maca is not new to the game. It has been used for centuries as a libido booster by the Peruvian natives.
However, as a testosterone booster, it doesn’t hold much water:
Study after study confirms that Maca does lead to better erections, stronger sexual desire, and more satisfaction. However, it would appear that Maca provides these bonuses through other pathways and has nothing to do with testosterone levels in men. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19260845
In its essence, Maca is a libido booster, and the “honest” fitness industry has tried to sell it as a solid testosterone booster because of that.
Butea Superba extract (Red Kwao Krua)
Butea Superba is a herb that is native to Thailand, Vietnam, and India. It has been widely used by men in those countries as a libido booster. However, unlike Maca, its efficacy as an aphrodisiac isn’t well-established. Nonetheless, it’s still an interesting herb that is worth exploring.
Although some research has shown Butea Superba to be a potent aphrodisiac in rodents, there aren’t any solid studies on humans to suggest the same. However, its androgenic effects seem… interesting
In a rodent study, the researchers found a tight correlation between the ingestion of Butea Superba and lowering of testosterone levels. However, during that same time, androgenic effects became more pronounced. The rodents had an increase in spleen relative weight, increased serum level of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST).
These findings suggest that the reduction in testosterone levels could be caused by its conversion to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and/or better testosterone utilization by androgen receptors. Both of these can explain the reduction in serum testosterone levels and androgenic effects.
In a study made on humans that lasted for three months, the researchers found that daily ingestion of 1,000 mg Butea Superba had increased the subjects’ testosterone by 11%. It’s worth noting that the subjects had erectile dysfunction, which could hint at lower levels of testosterone at the start of the study.
I’d like to circle back to the rodent study for a moment:
We briefly discussed the possibility that there might have been an increased conversion of testosterone to DHT that could explain the drop in serum testosterone levels. If this is proven to be the case in humans, it could mean that supplementing with Butea Superba might not be advisable for men who are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness. There is a strong correlation between early balding and high DHT levels.
In any case, we need more research on this herb before we can draw any conclusions.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek is a herb that is commonly believed to have been first used in the Near East.
Today, it is widely used as one of the active ingredients in most testosterone boosters. If you look at the label of most boosters that are available on the market, you’ll likely see Fenugreek on the list.
But is it all it’s cracked out to be?
In some of the initial studies, Fenugreek showed very promising results as a testosterone booster. The issue with them is that these studies were mostly sponsored by fenugreek manufacturers.
Later, in some rodent studies (such as this), fenugreek had lead to an increase in anabolic activity (muscle growth) but no increase in testosterone levels.
In a human study supported by INDUS BIOTECH, the subjects were 45 resistance-trained men. They were assigned to two groups: one took 500 mg of fenugreek daily, and the other took a placebo. The study lasted for eight weeks, and the subjects had four training sessions per week in conjunction with the supplementation.
Blood samples were drawn three times: at the start, at week 4 and at week 8. What the researchers found was interesting:
There was a significant correlation between Fenugreek supplementation and a decrease in DHT levels. Furthermore, levels of free testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and insulin were unaffected in both groups.
Lastly, in another study where 52 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 52 took 600mg of Fenugreek daily or a placebo for six weeks didn’t show an increase in testosterone levels. It did, however, have a positive impact on the subjects’ sexual arousal and orgasm.
Until there is more research, we can’t conclusively say whether Fenugreek is useful or useless as a testosterone booster.
Forskolin is derived from the herb Coleus forskohlii, and unlike many of the other products that we’ve reviewed today, this one has been mainly used as a fat-burner rather than a testosterone booster.
The research on it is promising, and it has shown that Forskolin can both aid in fat loss and increase testosterone (which itself further improves fat loss).
Now, Forskolin is not a popular supplement by any means, and you might be scratching your head right now wondering what the hell I’m talking about. However, the literature on it so far is very interesting:
In this very prominent study, the researchers set out to examine Forskolin’s effects on testosterone levels, body composition, metabolic rate, and blood pressure. The subjects were 30 overweight or obese men (BMI =/> 26).
The study lasted for 12 weeks, and the subjects were split into two groups. One group took 250 mg of 10% forskolin extract twice a day, and the other one took a placebo. In the end, their findings were very promising:
• The subjects had significant improvements in body composition due to the loss of a lot of fat mass.
• Positive changes in bone mass were also observed.
• Lean mass was improved for the Forskolin group compared to the placebo group.
• Testosterone levels had increased in both groups with the Forskolin group taking the lead. To a degree, this improvement can be attributed to the fat loss that the subjects experienced.
Now, it’s worth noting that that study was funded by a company that manufactures a weight loss product called forslean, which, as you guessed it, contains Forskolin. The study has been peer-reviewed and published in numerous high-quality journals, indicating that it is, in fact, legit.
Other studies done in-vitro have also shown very promising results pointing at the possibility that Forskolin might be one of the most legit testosterone boosters out there.
Last but not least, we have Boron. This is a mineral, much like zinc and magnesium, the body needs that for survival. Aside from that, it’s also claimed to help raise testosterone levels.
In one study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21129941), eight healthy men were given 10 mg boron daily for a week. Blood was drawn three times: on day 0, day 1 and day 7.
At the end of the week, blood samples from day 0 and seven were compared, and the researchers found that free testosterone had increased by 28%, DHT had increased by 10%, and estradiol had decreased by 39%.
I should point out that this study was short-term (only a week) and the sample size was quite small (just eight men).
Likely explanations for these results could be that the subjects were deficient in boron and that after the initial spike in testosterone and DHT, their levels would gradually decrease over time.
In any case, this is an essential mineral needed by the body for numerous processes.
It turns out that most testosterone boosters out there are filled with ingredients that either have very little scientific backing or have been disproven to be effective.
If your goal is to maintain optimal testosterone levels, make sure that you’re getting enough zinc, magnesium, and boron. Aside from these essential minerals, you can also look into supplementing with Asian Ginseng Extract, Vitamin D, and Forskolin.