If you’re concerned about low T levels, natural supplements might offer a helpful boost. But the research is lacking, so keep in touch with your doctor and don’t expect huge results.
Testosterone is involved in a bunch of bodily functions in people of all genders and sexes. As men age, testosterone (T) levels lower, which can increase your chances of fatigue, low libido, infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
That said, it’s natural to want to learn more about testosterone supplements. The real question is… do they work?
Let’s check out a few popular over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that might be able to bring you back to the T-level sweet spot.
While many supplements talk about being testosterone-boosting maestros, the science doesn’t quite sing the same song. A review of 37 studies found that only about 30 percent of participants using the top five most popular T-boosters on Amazon saw an uptick in T levels. This review also noted that 3 percent of the studies saw a decrease in testosterone, 46 percent reported no effect, and 22 percent were “indeterminate.” So, yeah, not super convincing results.
But what exactly is on the label of these popular testosterone boosters? They all contain natural supplements that might be the key mechanism for (maybe) boosting your testosterone, so let’s check those out.
Cheap, natural, and abundant, vitamin D might be the OG T booster. Healthy levels of vitamin D not only help promote bone health and healthy sexual function, but there’s also some evidence that vitamin D might boost T levels.
But scientists aren’t quite sure if that’s our human solar panels at work or if vitamin D supplements can pull that off on their own. Either way, high levels of vitamin D seem to be associated with high levels of testosterone, and both of them are vital to your overall health.
We all know that Ginger Spice could rock the mic, but did you know that ginger spice can boost testosterone? It seems that it can, well, at least in rats. One study points out that ginger helps boost your T levels by working its antioxidant thing and by normalizing your blood sugar levels.
Taking ginger can also counteract some toxic substances that lower your T levels, including metals like lead, chemical compounds like aluminum chloride, or various medications. But, alas, this study was conducted on rats, so a human trial might help verify these findings.
If you’re lacking in zinc, you might be lacking in testosterone. One study points out that zinc is essential for male reproductive health, while another study showed that taking zinc helped to raise testosterone levels and improve sexual function in postmenopausal women.
Zinc is a hormone balancer, helping to keep our levels of testosterone and other hormones at a healthy level. But we can’t store zinc in our bodies naturally, so we get what we can from supplements and food.
It turns out that you have to be deficient in zinc to really see any potential benefits from zinc supplements in your T levels. The evidence isn’t really there to suggest that those of us without a deficiency will see too much of a T-level boost. But watch out – too much zinc can harm sperm quality, so be cautious with your dosage.
Like zinc, magnesium helps to keep your hormones in balance, including your testosterone. One study shows that magnesium can help give you an uptick in testosterone if you’re deficient. Bonus: Magnesium helps boost your muscle health and physical performance.
One herb you might not have in your spice rack is fenugreek. Similar to clover, fenugreek tastes a bit like maple syrup and is mainly produced in India. There is no rigorous science to back up the claims that fenugreek has therapeutic properties, but there are a few studies pointing out that fenugreek extract, under the brand names Testofen and Furosap, might counteract some of the effects of low testosterone.
Ashwagandha is an herb that, much like ginseng, has adaptogenic properties that are thought to help your body in various ways. A 2011 study found that after a period of treatment with ashwagandha, testosterone increased by 22 percent in men experiencing infertility and 13 percent in men who were not infertile.
Another study showed that ashwagandha helped to increase not only testosterone but also performance, strength, and fat loss. Could ashwagandha be the secret to a perfect beach-off?! More studies are needed before researchers can definitively recommend adding ashwagandha to your morning smoothies.
While the jury’s still out on whether over-the-counter supplements can truly increase your testosterone, some evidence suggests that vitamin D, ginger, zinc, magnesium, fenugreek, and ashwagandha can boost your T levels.
PSA: Talk to your doctor before buying testosterone supplements. Some supplements carry some potential side effects, and not all of them have been approved by the FDA. And remember, supplements aren’t a one-size-fits-all magical potion. A regular exercise regimen and stress reduction practice might be just as effective at giving you a testosterone power-up.