The unsexy truth is that increasing T naturally simply comes down to making some long-term changes in your diet and lifestyle. As you’ll see, what I did to increase T largely boils down to eating better, exercising smarter, and getting more sleep. That’s pretty much it. But as with most things in life, the devil is in the details, so I’ll share with you exactly what I did and provide research that explains why the things I did helped boost my testosterone.
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Vitamin D supplementation may potentially boost testosterone levels, but further research is needed to determine if it really has an effect on the testosterone levels of young people and athletes. The truth is likely similar to zinc and magnesium — being in a deficient state causes your testosterone levels to drop below baseline, and supplementing it just takes you right back to baseline (but not any higher).

Bottom line: testosterone boosters aren’t right for a lot of people. We dive deep into ingredient research below, but typically, testosterone boosters contain at least one (and often three or more) different ingredients that each impact your circulatory system — both the heart and blood. If you’re taking any kind of blood-thinner medication, or you have a history of heart disease, these supplements can get really dangerous, really quickly. The simple fact of the matter is that hormones are tricky things to mess with, and a doctor should be your first port of call to help you safely achieve your goals — whether they’re related to fitness, weight, or libido.
Every ingredient can be harmful when taken in significant quantities (we go more into that below), so we pored over each booster’s ingredient list to make sure that they weren’t serving up an overdose. In particular, we took a close look at magnesium and zinc, which have enough scientific background behind them to offer hard upper limits on how much you can safely consume.
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DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) extract - this is a chemical that used in your body which a ‘hormone precursor’. This means it’s the chemical used by the body to create hormones like oestrogen or testosterone. When taken as supplement it is believed to boost testosterone levels, but DHEA has not been shown to increase testosterone in men. DHEA comes in two form:

We kept it simple, and followed the premise of testosterone boosters: testosterone affects muscle gain, weight loss, and libido, so by increasing the amount of testosterone in the body, we can improve on each of those goals. This meant that we looked for ingredients proven to increase testosterone levels, not ingredients that might increase libido or help build muscle mass independently of testosterone (like having a healthy diet and feeling good about yourself). In addition, we dove deep into the specific ingredient lists of our finalists and cross-checked them against WebMD and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) database to make sure that they did not contain ingredients known to be harmful.
Inaccurate or misinterpreted test results can either falsely diagnose or miss a case of testosterone deficiency. Your testosterone level should be measured between 7 am and 10 am, when it's at its peak. Confirm a low reading with a second test on a different day. It may require multiple measurements and careful interpretation to establish bioavailable testosterone, or the amount of the hormone that is able to have effects on the body. Consider getting a second opinion from an endocrinologist.

If in a 46 XY individual testosterone is either not produced in adequate concentrations as in gonadal dysgenesis (MacLaughlin and Donahue 2004), or in the absence of the enzyme 17 alpha-hydroxylase so that testosterone is not produced (Ergun-Longmire et al 2006), or testosterone androgen receptors are absent as in the androgen insensitivity syndrome (Hughes and Deeb 2006), phenotypic females will result.
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The hypogonadal-obesity-adipocytokine cycle hypothesis. Adipose tissue contains the enzyme aromatase which metabolises testosterone to oestrogen. This results in reduced testosterone levels, which increase the action of lipoprotein lipase and increase fat mass, thus increasing aromatisation of testosterone and completing the cycle. Visceral fat also promotes lower testosterone levels by reducing pituitary LH pulse amplitude via leptin and/or other factors. In vitro studies have shown that leptin also inhibits testosterone production directly at the testes. Visceral adiposity could also provide the link between testosterone and insulin resistance (Jones 2007).
Dobs and colleagues found that men with an increased body mass index had both reduced testosterone and reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Treatment with testosterone increased the levels of HDL (Dobs et al 2001). Rising levels of HDL are not a consistent finding with TRT. More often, however, one finds reduced total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels with TRT (Zgliczynski et al 1996; Whitsel et al 2001).
For men with low blood testosterone levels, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy usually outweigh potential risks. However, for most other men it's a shared decision with your doctor. It offers men who feel lousy a chance to feel better, but that quick fix could distract attention from unknown long-term hazards. "I can't tell you for certain that this raises your personal risk of heart problems and prostate cancer, or that it doesn't," Dr. Pallais says.
Decreased testosterone production in men with rheumatoid arthritis is a common finding (Stafford et al 2000), and it is now generally recognized that androgens have the capacity to suppress both the hormonal and cellular immune response and so act as one of the body’s natural anti-inflammatory agents (Cutolo et al 2002). This known anti-inflammatory action of testosterone has led to studying the effect of testosterone therapy in men with rheumatoid disease. Although not all studies have reported positive effects of testosterone treatment (Hall et al 1996), some studies do demonstrate an improvement in both clinical and chemical markers of the immune response (Cutolo et al 1991; Cutolo 2000). This observation would go along with more recent evidence that testosterone or its metabolites protects immunity by preserving the number of regulatory T cells and the activation of CD8+ T cells (Page et al 2006).
That said, keep in mind that using leucine as a free form amino acid can be highly counterproductive as when free form amino acids are artificially administrated, they rapidly enter your circulation while disrupting insulin function, and impairing your body's glycemic control. Food-based leucine is really the ideal form that can benefit your muscles without side effects.
When you're under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone,6 presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the "fight or flight" response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).

Thus, alcohol metabolism destroys the essential coenzyme required for T synthesis. Alcohol also contributes to the release of special endorphins which inhibit hormone production. In addition, drinking too much alcohol leads to the elevation of estrogen levels in men because of the conversion of testosterone in estrogen. It means that T levels come down with a run.
Every vitamin, mineral, and ingredient that affects the human body can be taken in enough quantities that they are harmful, or toxic, even the ones that — at lower levels — are beneficial or necessary. Unfortunately, testosterone boosters contain a lot of ingredients that are not well understood. This means in addition to not being able to confirm whether certain ingredients increase testosterone, the scientific and medical communities also don’t know at what levels many ingredients become toxic. On the up side, you might need to eat several pounds of a particular leafy plant before it becomes harmful. On the down side, it could be significantly less that pushes you over your body’s limit. We simply don’t know how little or how much the human body can tolerate. We recommend keeping your doctor in the loop when you add any supplement with unproven ingredients into your diet — they’ll be able to help you find and track any undesired side-effects that these ingredients might cause.
Consume organic dairy products, like high-quality cheeses and whey protein, to boost your branch chain amino acids (BCAA). According to research, BCAAs were found to raise testosterone levels, particularly when taken with strength training.12 While there are supplements that provide BCAAs, I believe that leucine, found in dairy products, carries the highest concentrations of this beneficial amino acid.

I bought most of the ingredients for my Testosterone Salad at Whole Foods. For those curious, I added up all the ingredients and divided by six (I typically ate six of these salads in a week). The cost per salad was roughly $5. That’s about the price many folks pay every day for a crappy fast food meal. If you’re on a budget, I’m sure you could get the ingredients at Walmart and bring the cost per salad down even more.

The ingredients in testosterone supplements may be different. Some testosterone supplements contain zinc and magnesium. They increase testosterone levels in men who exercise. Some other testosterone supplements have hormones like DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and pregnenolone. They help with making new testosterone and may help improve the ability to have an erection. But it doesn't seem to be helpful if the problem with erections is caused by diabetes or nerve disorders. Some testosterone booster supplements contain natural ingredients like herbs and botanicals. They may increase testosterone by increasing a hormone produced by the brain, which signals the testicles to produce more testosterone. In addition, others work by releasing bound testosterone, so it is in a form the body can use. Studies do not provide strong evidence that women benefit from taking these supplements. You need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting a testosterone booster supplement. Discuss your medical history and current prescribed medications, over the counter medications, and any supplements that you are taking. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if a testosterone booster supplement is right for you. Once you know if a testosterone booster supplement is right for you, Walgreens has a variety of testosterone booster supplements to choose from and they come in different forms like tablets, capsules or gels.

Cognitive abilities differ between males and females and these differences are present from childhood. In broad terms, girls have stronger verbal skills than boys who tend to have stronger skills related to spatial ability (Linn and Petersen 1985). It is thought that the actions of sex hormones have a role in these differences. Reviewing different cognitive strengths of male versus female humans is not within the scope of this article but the idea that cognition could be altered by testosterone deserves attention.


The mechanism of age related decreases in serum testosterone levels has also been the subject of investigation. Metabolic clearance declines with age but this effect is less pronounced than a reduction in testosterone production, so the overall effect is to reduce serum testosterone levels. Gonadotrophin levels rise during aging (Feldman et al 2002) and testicular secretory responses to recombinant human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) are reduced (Mulligan et al 1999, 2001). This implies that the reduced production may be caused by primary testicular failure but in fact these changes are not adequate to fully explain the fall in testosterone levels. There are changes in the lutenising hormone (LH) production which consist of decreased LH pulse frequency and amplitude, (Veldhuis et al 1992; Pincus et al 1997) although pituitary production of LH in response to pharmacological stimulation with exogenous GnRH analogues is preserved (Mulligan et al 1999). It therefore seems likely that there are changes in endogenous production of GnRH which underlie the changes in LH secretion and have a role in the age related decline in testosterone. Thus the decreases in testosterone levels with aging seem to reflect changes at all levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. With advancing age there is also a reduction in androgen receptor concentration in some target tissues and this may contribute to the clinical syndrome of LOH (Ono et al 1988; Gallon et al 1989).
The testosterone booster pills are effective from 4 to 8 hours. To maintain testosterone levels high during the whole day, you need a multiple daily dosing regimen. 2-times daily dosing still not always can improve hormone production to the greatest extent. 3-4-times daily dosing is the best solution to make your body normalize testosterone synthesis and prevent it from decreasing before you take another pill. Don’t forget that the regularity of daily supplement intake is crucial if you really aspire to give a boost to hormone production.
During the month before my experiment, I was definitely sleep deprived. Some nights I was only getting 4 to 5 hours. Testosterone killer! During my experiment I tried to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep at night as consistently as possible. I had to go to bed earlier, but I was only cutting into time that I would have been using to mindlessly surf the net anyway.
Looking for ingredients that work in the realm of supplements can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Testosterone boosters, like all dietary supplements, are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration prior to marketing. This lack of oversight dates back to the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which stipulated that purveyors of supplements weren’t required to prove the safety of their products or the veracity of what’s on the labels to the FDA before listing them for sale. Often, there isn’t a lot of scientific backing behind an ingredient, or research has been done solely on animals, not humans.
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The University of Connecticut recently published findings stating that those who supplemented with whey protein produced less cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who did not supplement. Cortisol lowers production of sex hormones and is also responsible for belly fat formation. Ricotta is an excellent source of natural whey protein and amino acids, both of which are essential to muscle growth and avoiding the spare tire.
Dr. Anthony's Notes: Creatine is damn effective. Period. It's research proven to benefit testosterone, energy levels, muscle preservation, and your brain function. Although creatine can be found naturally in a good high-protein diet, taking 5g daily is a great idea for most guys – especially those over 35. Remember to take your creatine AWAY from caffeine – the two substances inhibit each other's absorption. Verdict: this is one of the natural testosterone supplements that work. Best Food Sources: wild game (including venison, elk, buffalo, and bison), grass-fed beef, organic chicken, organic turkey, and wild-caught fish. How To Take Creatine Monohydrate: 5g daily away from caffeine.
We do note that Beast Sports’ supplemental magnesium level is fairly low — 26 mg per serving, up to 52 mg per day. If your diet is not particularly rich in magnesium (found in leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains), Beast Sports may not give you enough to meet the daily recommended dose. However, if you’re taking other multi-vitamins or supplements with magnesium, you’re less likely to cross that 350mg daily upper limit.
Why the difference? The discrepancy in findings between these studies is likely due to the initial training status and base testosterone levels of the subjects. While more research is warranted on this ingredient, D-AA is one of several ingredients suggested to be effective in boosting test levels, especially for older men whose natural testosterone levels have declined due to the natural course of aging.
Few examples: In this 2014 study, a bunch of researchers tested multiple different diets with added Lactobacillus Reuteri on male rodents. In every single case, the addition of L.Reuterii to the feed increased testosterone levels, increased luteinizing hormone levels, increased testicular size & weight, prevented age-related testicular shrinkage, improved semen parameters, and even increased markers of social domination.
Elevated testosterone levels have been demonstrated to increase the growth of body muscles and contribute to better activation of the nervous system, resulting in more power and strength, a better mood, enhanced libido, and many other benefits.[3] Previous researches done on the anabolic role of testosterone and its impact on muscular strength in training-induced adaptations has provided rather conflicting findings, and a positive correlation between testosterone-mediated responses and both functional performance and body composition was found.[4,5] There are a number of naturally occurring substances that can boost testosterone levels in the body. Foods containing such substances are known as testosterone-foods; and they tend to be rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc, which plays a key role in testosterone production.[2,6-8]
Kostic TS, Stojkov NJ, Bjelic MM, Mihajlovic AI, Janjic MM, Andric SA: Pharmacological doses of testosterone upregulated androgen receptor and 3-Beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/delta-5-delta-4 isomerase and impaired leydig cells steroidogenesis in adult rats. Toxicol Sci. 2011 Jun;121(2):397-407. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfr063. Epub 2011 Apr 6. [PubMed:21427060]
In a placebo-controlled study, 27 Division II football players received either a placebo or a ZMA supplement for a total of seven weeks during their scheduled spring practice. At the end of the seven weeks, the players taking the ZMA supplement had a 30 percent increase in testosterone, while the placebo group had a 10 percent decrease. The ZMA group also saw an 11.6 percent increase in strength, compared to only 4.6 percent in the placebo group.[7]
More can be learned from a large, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of finasteride treatment in 18,800 men aged 55 or more. Finasteride is a 5α-reductase inhibitor which acts to prevent the metabolism of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the most active androgen in the prostate. The trial showed a greater overall incidence of prostate cancer in the control group, but men treated with finasteride were more likely to have high grade tumors (Thompson et al 2003), suggesting that reduced androgen exposure of the prostate may delay the presentation of prostate cancer and/or promote advanced disease in some other way.
It is a natural hormone present in the body known as Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). It reduces the estrogen levels while boosting testosterone levels. It has been in use since so long to raise testosterone levels. Among all supplements, it is one of the famous and many researchers are working on it to tell how it stimulates testosterone production. It is banned for athletes and professional players.
The largest amounts of testosterone (>95%) are produced by the testes in men,[2] while the adrenal glands account for most of the remainder. Testosterone is also synthesized in far smaller total quantities in women by the adrenal glands, thecal cells of the ovaries, and, during pregnancy, by the placenta.[126] In the testes, testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells.[127] The male generative glands also contain Sertoli cells, which require testosterone for spermatogenesis. Like most hormones, testosterone is supplied to target tissues in the blood where much of it is transported bound to a specific plasma protein, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
Ashwagandha is shown to be effective at reducing cortisol which in turn helps with testosterone production. There are also numerous studies showing the effects on improving testosterone in infertile men (ref 80).  If you are using the Aggressive Strength product you don't need to supplement with ashwagandha as it's included in the test booster formula. Likewise if you're using Tian Chi (my daily herb drink).
Hoffman, J., Ratamess, N., Kang, J., Magine, G., Faigenbaum, A. & Stout, J. (2006, August). Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes [Abstract]. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16(4), 430–46. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17136944
The researchers found that the dose of testosterone required to produce different effects in the body varied widely. The influence of testosterone and estradiol also differed. As the testosterone gel dose was reduced, the scientists showed, reductions in lean mass, muscle size, and leg-press strength resulted from decreases in testosterone itself. In contrast, increases in body fat were due to the related declines in estradiol. Both testosterone and estradiol levels were associated with libido and erectile function.
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