Supplements Lifestyle

Do Testosterone Supplements Actually Work?

Men with testosterone booster pills

When it comes to increasing muscle size and boosting confidence, many men turn to lifting weights. Hitting the gym is great, but what they might not realize is that it’s the effect of testosterone that they’re after.

Unfortunately, average testosterone levels have been gradually falling in the twenty-first century. Most of these are lifestyle-related.

In general, we’re eating fewer natural foods and plants, we sit more, we’re more stressed and exhausted, and we spend less time outdoors.

All of these harm testosterone levels.

Is there a way for a man to safely and naturally boost his testosterone level back to “normal”?

There is. For the purpose of this article, let’s create a fictional man — just an average Joe who is unknowingly the culprit of dwindling testosterone levels.

Meet Bob. He’s 38 years old, works 9 hours a day at a desk, has three young children and a beautiful wife.

Bob just started running. He’s never been overweight, but he’s noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to fit into his work pants.

But two months after Bob first laced up his running shoes, nothing much has changed.

It’s gotten even more difficult for Bob to button up his pants. And his wife is complaining because, well, she’s frankly unsatisfied because Bob is “always tired.”

One day, Bob’s wife demands, “Go see your doctor!”

Bob’s doctor runs a bunch of tests, and two weeks later, he calls Bob in to talk about testosterone.

What is Testosterone?

What is Testosterone
Testosterone is a vital hormone in our body

Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone in both men and women.

Men tend to have much higher levels of testosterone than women. Bob’s testosterone levels are higher than his wife’s, even though his sex drive is lagging behind hers.

The “male” hormone testosterone is produced in the testes of men and the ovaries of women.

Testosterone is associated with the development of male physical characteristics, such as:

  • body and facial hair,
  • muscle mass and strength.

Beyond outward appearances, testosterone also affects:

  • sex drive,
  • aggression,
  • bone mass,
  • reproduction,
  • energy levels and mental health,
  • quality of sleep,
  • fat storage in the body, and
  • red blood cell production.

For a more detailed look at what testosterone is and how it affects boys, men, and women, read our in-depth guide about testosterone.

Low Testosterone in Men

A normal testosterone range can be anywhere from 300 to 1000 ng/dL. Doctor’s vary in their opinion, but in general, testosterone levels below 200 are considered to be low and worthy of testosterone replacement therapy.

Bob’s testosterone level sits at 260, which is on the low side of average.

We know that men’s bodies will naturally begin to produce less testosterone at some point in their twenties. However, most men will not notice this drop for many years.

Only approximately 2% of men will suffer from low testosterone symptoms.

At 38 years old, Bob is beginning to experience some of the side effects of low testosterone.

A loss of normal levels of testosterone can cause:

  • Mood swings or disturbances,
  • Sleep problems,
  • Low energy,
  • Thinning bones which can lead to osteoporosis,
  • Loss of body hair,
  • Thin, “papery” skin,
  • Increase in body fat,
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength,
  • Loss of sex drive, etc.

Bob’s doctor isn’t willing to treat him with Testosterone Replacement Therapy…yet.

So when Bob gets home, he spends some time on Google to see if there’s anything he can do on his own. Before long, ads for testosterone boosters pop up.

What are Testosterone Booster Supplements?

Testosterone Booster Supplements

Testosterone booster supplements include natural herbs, spices, vitamins, and minerals.

These so-called “boosters” are believed to boost a man’s testosterone levels naturally, all without any harmful effects.

Testosterone booster supplements are not the same as anabolic steroids.

Hormone boosters occur naturally in nature and unprocessed food. They can create positive testosterone reactions in our bodies.

Testosterone boosters will not be the first line of treatment for men who have been diagnosed with low levels of testosterone.

Instead, those men will get treated with testosterone replacement therapy, which can be given via injections, skin gel, pills, or patches.

Bob is intrigued. He wonders if a testosterone booster supplement would work for him.

Do You Need a Testosterone Booster Supplement?

Before Bob considers taking a testosterone booster supplement, he should first address the other parts of his lifestyle.

A healthy, active lifestyle includes a sufficient amount of protein and overall calories in addition to a good weight lifting routine designed to build muscle.

Bob should drop the running – for now – and change his focus to lifting weights. A few sessions with a personal trainer can help him get started.

Weightlifting Boosts Testosterone
Weightlifting Boosts Testosterone

Next, Bob should sit down and discuss with his wife. Perhaps they can work towards adding more protein, fruits, and vegetables into their weekly menus.

Perhaps they can get to bed an hour earlier each night. We know that a lack of sleep can contribute to low testosterone.

Perhaps merely talking to his wife will help him deal with any stress he might be feeling. We know that a stressful lifestyle contributed to low levels of testosterone.

After two months of the new plan, Bob is beginning to feel more like his old self. He’s lost two inches around his waist, and things are much better between him and his wife in the bedroom.

But now Bob’s become more aware of how he looks without his shirt on. Summertime is around the corner, and he wants to show off his new and improved body.

However, he’s self-conscious because he feels that his chest and arms are flabbier than he’d like them to be, even with weight lifting.

Bob heads back to the computer to take a closer look at testosterone boosters.

What do Testosterone Boosters do to your body?

Testosterone boosters are usually pills or tablets that contain naturally occurring ingredients which have been shown to raise testosterone levels.

They supplement the body’s production of testosterone by either:

  • supporting the body in making additional testosterone or hormones related to the creation of testosterone;
  • or they work by suppressing the body’s ability to convert testosterone into estrogen.

Read: Best Testosterone Booster Supplements for 2019

Are Testosterone Boosters Safe?

Most research indicates that the average man with average testosterone levels won’t see a measurable benefit by taking testosterone boosters.

We may think that high levels of testosterone would be ideal, especially when it comes to building muscle. However, scientists have found that the healthiest men have a testosterone range in the mid-range of normal testosterone levels. [1]

Men who are most likely to notice a difference when taking a testosterone booster are men who struggle with infertility or those who have below-normal testosterone levels.

As with all supplements, check with your doctor before adding any of the testosterone boosting ingredients to your diet.

All 8 of the top testosterone boosting ingredients listed here are considered safe. However, we know that even naturally occurring ingredients can create adverse side effects if taken in the wrong dosage or for an extended period.

We expressly caution anyone who takes DHEA as a testosterone booster. Side effects of having too much of this supplement can resemble “roid rage.”

Benefits & Side Effects of Testosterone Boosters

Bob would do best to take testosterone boosting supplements only under the care of a doctor.

Taking testosterone supplements long term has the potential to interfere with the body’s production of testosterone.

Your body may start producing less and less testosterone if testosterone boosters are taken beyond what is recommended.

Testosterone boosters can have a permanent, negative effect on sperm quantity.

Men who would likely benefit the most from testosterone boosters are men who struggle with low libido, infertility, and Doctor-diagnosed low levels of testosterone.

The Best Natural Testosterone Booster Ingredients

Ideally, each of our diets would offer a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. These foods would support our health and hormones, including testosterone.

To find out which foods can help to naturally boost testosterone levels, read more here: best testosterone boosting foods and ingredients

All of the natural testosterone booster ingredients listed in this article have been studied.

Experiments have been performed on each ingredient, and they’ve all shown to have a positive effect on raising men’s testosterone levels.

We recommend speaking with your doctor before ingesting any of the supplements listed below.

He or she is the best person to monitor your testosterone levels and keep you within a healthy range because there is such a thing as too much testosterone.

D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)

D-Asparatic Acid sources
DAA sources

DAA is an amino acid, that is, a molecular protein building block. DAA works by breaking down cholesterol for the production of testosterone.

It can also help increase Human Growth Hormone, which is excellent for burning fat.

This testosterone booster appears to only work for men who have measurably low levels of testosterone.

It won’t work well for men who otherwise have a healthy testosterone level and only looking for an increase in strength.

If you guessed that meat and dairy and egg protein sources contain DAA, you would be correct.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek Testosterone Boosting Ingredient
Fenugreek Testosterone Boosting Ingredient

Fenugreek comes from a plant grown mainly in India.

Studies show that men who took fenugreek noticed a measurable increase in their strength levels. This herb is especially helpful if you’ve hit a strength plateau. It also helps with fat loss, energy levels, and libido. [2]

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because our bodies manufacture it on their own when exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and healthy levels of testosterone. It’s also proven to increase sperm quality. Studies have shown that testosterone levels increase the more time a man spends outside in the sun. [3]

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

Our bodies naturally produce this hormone. DHEA is involved in the production of testosterone. Some people take DHEA because they believe it helps to slow down the effects of aging.

DHEA is one of the most popular testosterone supplements because it is incredibly useful in boosting testosterone.

Caution should be taken with supplemental DHEA because it is possible to take too much. Also, note that it is banned from most competitive sports.

Zinc & Magnesium

Zinc and magnesium are two essential minerals in the human body.

There appears to be a direct correlation between men with low levels of testosterone and zinc and magnesium deficiencies.

When a zinc/mineral supplement is added to a man’s diet, testosterone levels tend to increase gradually.

Both minerals are essential in helping the body deal with stress and recover from intense workouts. They’re also beneficial in getting a good night’s sleep.

These two minerals are often combined and labeled as ZMA on a testosterone booster supplement label.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris comes from a small leafy plant. It can alleviate muscle damage, and it boosts anaerobic performance.

Anaerobic means without oxygen, so think of an exercise that requires short bursts of high-intensity work and strength.

Studies have shown that the primary side effect of Tribulus Terrestris is increased sex drive and sperm quality.

Taking this herb is unlikely to benefit men with healthy testosterone levels.

Ginger

Ginger is a common household spice taken from ginger root. Ginger can reduce inflammation and help the body recover from stress.

Research has shown that ginger has an effect on the precursor hormones to testosterone. [4]

The effects of taking ginger are improved health and better blood flow within man’s testicles.

Ashwagandha

This ancient herb from India has been used for years. Studies have shown that ashwagandha has a positive effect on low fertility in men by increasing testosterone levels.

One big benefit of ashwagandha is that it helps the body to deal with stress. [5]

Other studies show that men who’ve taken this supplement have noticed an increase in strength and exercise performance.

Other Factors to Consider

Bob has been looking at a couple of the top brands of testosterone booster supplements.

He knows which ingredients are a priority to him, so he wisely checks out the labels of each product. Here’s what he should keep in mind:

Rule #1 – avoid proprietary blends.

Proprietary blends offer no transparency. You can’t be sure which ingredients are included and in what amounts. Proprietary blends are more likely to cause unwanted side effects.

Rule #2 – stick with a trusted company.

Do your research and read both the good and the not so good reviews about the company and their particular testosterone booster product.

Things to look for:

  • Does the company offer a money-back guarantee?
  • Is it easy to contact the company with any questions you may have?
  • Does anything appear to be hidden? Steer clear of shady companies and shady products.

FAQs

When is the best time to take testosterone boosters?

If taking multiple pills, testosterone boosters are best taken at regular intervals throughout the day. If taking only one pill, take it right before bed.

How long does it take for testosterone boosters to work?

This varies depending on the supplement, the person, and their reason for taking a testosterone booster. Some men will notice a difference within the first two weeks.

On average, most men will notice improvements within 4 to 6 weeks. When it comes to building muscle mass, it can take up to 3 months before you see results.

What are natural testosterone boosters?

Natural testosterone boosters supplements can contain one or more minerals, vitamins, or naturally occurring herbs that work to help the body produce more testosterone.

Men might take testosterone boosters to increase their sex drive, improve their fertility, perk up their energy levels, and decrease their body fat. Losing fat also helps to create the appearance of more muscle.

Does testosterone booster help sexually?

Testosterone Boosters Help Improve Libido
Testosterone Boosters May Help Improve Libido

If you suffer from low libido or suffer from erectile dysfunction, taking testosterone booster supplements often help.

The best course of action is to address other lifestyle factors such as stress levels, sleep, nutrition, and exercise, along with taking a testosterone booster supplement.

Speak with your doctor to see which booster he or she recommends.

Do you need to cycle testosterone boosters?

Yes, we recommend cycling testosterone boosters. Take them for eight weeks and then cycle off for four weeks.

Do testosterone boosters make you lose weight?

Testosterone booster supplements can help you burn off unwanted body fat.

However, we recommend relying on weight lifting and eating a balanced diet full of lean protein and plenty of vegetables for optimum weight loss results.

A testosterone booster added to this combination can make weight loss easier.

Does testosterone help muscle growth?

Testosterone does have a role in muscle growth.

Men naturally have less fat and more muscle mass than women because of testosterone. However, testosterone on its own will not cause muscle growth.

Ultimately, muscles grow when they are challenged – with heavyweights – and then allowed to recover – with rest and proper nutrition.

What are the dangers of low testosterone?

Low testosterone levels can result in:

  • Mood swings or mood disturbances,
  • Sleep problems,
  • Low energy,
  • Thinning bones which can lead to osteoporosis,
  • Loss of body hair,
  • Thin, “papery” skin,
  • Increase in body fat,
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength,
  • Loss of sex drive, etc.

Related: Signs, Symptoms, Causes & Treatments of Low Testosterone

Does lifting boost testosterone?

Weightlifting enhances testosterone
Weightlifting enhances testosterone

Yes, a well-balanced weight lifting program is a great way to boost your testosterone levels naturally!

However, it is possible to over-exercise, which stresses the body. Stress reduces testosterone.

We recommend keeping workouts under 1 hour in length and exercising no more than four times a week.

Focus on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and chin-ups. Lift heavy and rest between sets and between exercises.

Our Final Word on Testosterone Boosters

Testosterone boosters do work, but one specific supplement will not work the same for everyone.

Every man’s body is unique. What works for Bob may not work for you.

Work with your doctor. If your doctor has tested you and found that your testosterone levels are on the low side, ask your doctor to help you find the best supplement for your needs.

If you’re looking at testosterone boosters strictly from an aesthetic or athletic performance perspective, it is even more essential to seek advice from a medical professional.

For those men who start with average testosterone levels, they should be concerned with the side effects of having too much testosterone. The results of that are often negative and permanent.

As for Bob, he talked with his Doctor about testosterone boosters. He also spoke to his wife. He finally decided to take a men’s multivitamin, which includes zinc and magnesium, get back in touch with a trainer, and spend more time outdoors in the sun.

In 6 months, he’ll reassess his body and his goals again and go from there.

What works for Bob might not work for you. And what works for you might not work for Bob.

 

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