I may be the only person, but when I hear the term “testosterone booster”, I immediately see an image of either a guy sticking himself in the rear with a needle or a roid-raged muscled-up monster with veins bulging out of his forehead that’s about ready to slap his wife silly. The last few decades, the testosterone hormone has generally been associated with steroid use and has generally received quite a bad reputation due to the unfairness it has caused in athletic sports, as well as the negative health effects that many experience that have abused anabolic steroids. However, in the last five to ten years, more people now associate testosterone in a more positive manner than the previous negative connotation because (thanks to marketing) we now know that a huge amount of men suffer from problems caused by low testosterone levels. It is now known that testosterone is single-handedly one of the most important hormones in men and that it affects such a huge amount of factors in our overall health and well being. More evidence is also suggesting that a large percentage of men are becoming deficient in testosterone-not just experiencing declining levels of testosterone (which is part of the common aging process), but experiencing faster than normal declines in their testosterone levels. This has sparked a lot of interest in tons of scientific and health communities which has created a huge market for and a race to find the best testosterone booster to safely raise testosterone levels to a natural or healthy level.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the basics of testosterone, factors that affect testosterone levels, some of the most important ingredients that have proven to increase testosterone in men, as well as some of our favorite picks for the best testosterone booster (stacked & branded supplement versions). My hope is that this information will steer you in the right direction as you start shopping for a solution and that it may save you money, time, and the frustration that is often occured after some blindly pick testosterone pills that are nothing but snake oil.
Testosterone and its Effects
Testosterone is a hormone that is secreted from the testicles (and also adrenal glands in small amounts). It is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics, sexual drive, sperm production, muscle mass, bone mass, red blood cell production, and can even affect mental health in men. Testosterone is also produced in the ovaries by women, and then released into the bloodstream. However, testosterone is produced in much smaller amounts in women than men (men generally have about 8 times as much testosterone as women.)
It is estimated that testosterone levels drop at approximately 1% per year after a male reaches the age of 30. Testosterone levels may decrease more drastically in men that are over the age of 60 years old. In the past, it was thought that testosterone levels decrease largely because of the reproductive axis (the need for sperm production becomes less needed in the older male). There are also many other factors that are thought to be responsible for the decline of testosterone in men such as obesity, decline in liver and kidney function, the use of certain medications, and the use of many unknown anti-androgen objects (that we are finding out by the day may cause us harm). However, there is also a large percentage of older men that have perfect levels of testosterone as well which suggests that there are other unknown factors responsible for the decline of testosterone in aging men. In recent years, many doctors and scientists have begun to think that testosterone decline with aging isn’t much of a natural phenomenon as was once though Testosterone continues to be a widely studied hormone in the subject of anti-aging as well.
Testosterone and Balance
As I mentioned earlier, the negative association with the testosterone hormone comes mainly from men abusing testosterone and other anabolic steroids to increase their athletic performance or overall muscle mass. A large percentage of these abusers inject themselves with anywhere from 10 to 100 times the amount of testosterone than the body needs. So it’s no wonder why these individuals often experience negative health effects or a total and permanent loss of testosterone production.
Some of the most common negative health effects associated with testosterone abuse include an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, enlargement of the heart’s ventricle, high blood pressure, liver damage, male pattern baldness, testicular atrophy, infertility, and impotence. In fact, many studies show that it is evident that testosterone and steroid abuse lead to a high frequency of early deaths in abusers.
However, a deficiency in testosterone can be equally as damaging to some. Negative health effects that are often associated with low testosterone levels include an increased risk of infertility and erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive, osteoarthritis, difficulty keeping muscle mass, rapid weight gain/obesity, constant fatigue, loss of motivation, depression, and even cognitive decline.
To make things more difficult, testosterone works in a similar manner to neurotransmitters in that a certain amount is available by the body for use. However, once our body determines that we’ve had enough, the chemical is temporarily disabled until it is needed again. Our bodies disable testosterone by emitting a glycoprotein called Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that binds to the free testosterone molecule causing it to be unable to bind to anything useful. Men also convert excess testosterone into the female sex hormone, estrogen. This is why many bodybuilders that abuse steroids take estrogen blockers after cycling steroids, because if they did not, all of their muscle gains would be lost when estrogen takes over their bodies. Also, when foreign substances are introduced into the body that increase testosterone, the testicles slow their production since there is not a need to produce the hormone. This is why testicles are known to shrink or atrophy with steroid use. After discontinuation of the foreign substance, it takes the body a significant amount of time to re-adapt and to start producing these hormones again. If steroids are used for too long or in too high of dose, it’s possible that the testicles may stop producing testosterone all together.
So, it’s obvious that no matter what goals you’re trying to achieve by boosting your testosterone levels, it isn’t very wise to pick up a needle full of testosterone and stick it in your buttocks. Like most things, moderation is key to the optimal success – especially when dealing with human hormones. Some factors like stress, diet, and certain infections have been known to decrease testosterone in men temporarily. And so, it may not be wise to rush to the doctor asking for a prescription drug either because many doctors are unable to accurately determine just how much your body is producing testosterone while supplementing with it. For most men that are prescribed testosterone gels, injections, or testosterone replacement therapy, they’re on it for the rest of their lives. For this reason, I recommend trying a testosterone booster if you’re experiencing mild health issues that you believe to be caused by low testosterone levels. Testosterone boosters are safe alternatives to drugs, are affordable, and generally only increase your testosterone levels marginally, compared to prescription drugs or steroids. Most men that use testosterone boosters notice nothing but benefits because they naturally assist the body to create the needed amount of testosterone vs throwing your entire Endocrine system out of whack. Most of the best testosterone increasing supplements also have a wide variety of other benefits to the body (that are unrelated to male libido or athletic performance) as well.
What is the Best Testosterone Booster?
With all of the marketing that we’re exposed to on a daily basis, the testosterone supplement industry has boomed. There are thousands of products available today with all types of different ingredients – many that are extremely useful, and many that have no chance of ever becoming close to the best testosterone booster because they lack the scientific basis to provide any benefits whatsoever. There are also many supplements out there that have been thought to work, due to scientific evidence that showed promising effects, but are no longer considered effective at boosting testosterone because of flawed studies or new conflicting scientific evidence.
There are two types of testosterone supplements that we’ll be discussing. First, are the best testosterone booster individual ingredients that are currently the most promising in delivering increased amounts of testosterone safely and then I’ll list and discuss a few of my top-picks for the best branded testosterone booster. These branded testosterone supplements are generally stacks of multiple ingredients that have shown to aid in testosterone production. These products are generally available in health supplement stores and health/bodybuilding websites throughout the internet. Depending on the amount of time you have to achieve your desired results, and your budget, you may want to try the individual ingredients or a branded supplement with multiple ingredients. Trying individual ingredients, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what works for you and what doesn’t. These individual ingredients are generally much cheaper than branded supplements and you can easily control the dosage. However, if you’ve got the money for them, stacked testosterone boosters may be the better option for you if you’re looking for quick results that contain a variety of well-studied ingredients. Do plenty of research on the ingredients and make sure that they contain an effective amount of the ingredients that you’re looking for. Many brands have been known to sneak only a little bit of the effective ingredients in to make it cost effective, but to show the ingredient listed in their product.
Best Testosterone Boosting Ingredients
An amino acid regulator of testosterone synthesis has showed to be a very safe and effective testosterone booster. Testosterone increases of 30-60% were seen in men taking the supplement for short periods, but there is some evidence that suggests that D-Aspartic acid may need to be cycled (or taken for short periods of time, while taking time off of supplementation to continue receiving beneficial effects). D-AA has also shown to increase the amount of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in men and reduces sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) which, in turn, increases the amount of free testosterone that is available to the body for use. Studies have also showed that the supplement is able to increase fertility in men. One study showed an increase from 0% to 26.6% of men conceiving during use of supplementation.
This molecule is found in Cruciferous vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and broccoli. It acts as a potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, is currently used to combat certain hormone-induced cancers, and has also shown to be effective at metabolizing the negative effects of some estrogen metabolites, in addition to other benefits. As I briefly mentioned in the last section, excessive testosterone usually leads to conversion of estrogen in men’s bodies. So, in general, as a man’s testosterone level is increased, estrogen will be increased as well. Not all estrogen is bad, though. 2-hydroxyl & 2-methoxy estrogen metabolites actually help burn fat and fight off some types of cancer, while 16-hydroxyl estrogen metabolites have shown to decrease energy levels, increase mood swings, decrease libido, etc. DIM works to increase levels of the “good” estrogen metabolites, while metabolizing the “bad”. It seems to offer nothing but positive effects in those wishing to build muscle, increase energy levels, reduce fat, or increase sex drive.
The element, Boron, has been linked to everything from strong bone production, to muscle production, to coordination, and cognitive function. Less than .0001% of the Earth’s crust is Boron. However, it remains to be vital to healthy human life. Many dietitians and nutritionists suspect that “power farming” (that is, the practice of repeatedly using the same agricultural locations/soil to grow massive crops) may be causing us to be purchasing fruits and vegetables that are extremely low in vitamins and minerals. Boron seems to be an important mineral that is lost in the cycling of repeated crop growth. Many speculate that this could have a significant impact on men’s testosterone levels. Boron is thought to decrease the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin which leads to an increase of free testosterone levels. One study showed that boron increased the amount of free testosterone in men by 28%. Boron is also suspected to reduce the overall amount of estrodial in the body as well.
Magnesium & Zinc
I’ve lumped these two test boosters together because their effects on testosterone are very similar. Similar to boron, a deficiency in these minerals can directly affect testosterone levels in a negative manner. Some studies suggest that over 70% of adults in the United States are deficient in magnesium. Zinc deficiencies are more common in the elderly, with over 40% being deficient. Diet and power-farming are thought to be a large contributor to these deficiencies. Magnesium can actually evaporate from the body through sweat, which may cause many hardcore gym rats to lose more magnesium than they’re aware of.
Several studies show that magnesium may increase the bio-availability of testosterone. Magnesium seems to have a stronger affinity to testosterone than sex hormone binding globulin, (or rather, testosterone prefers to bind to magnesium than the neutralizing SHBG) which increases the effectiveness of your body’s current testosterone. The increase of free testosterone and increased bioavailability make magnesium extremely effective in boosting testosterone in men. However, men that are already consuming sufficient amounts of magnesium may not receive many added benefits if supplementing magnesium.
Those who are deficient in zinc have shown to have altered androgen receptors which may eliminate the effects of good testosterone that’s available in the body. Some studies have shown zinc to increase the amount of leuteinizing hormone in men. LH is a hormone that plays a crucial role in testosterone production. Zinc has also shown to act as a fairly potent aromatase inhibitor which helps block testosterone from converting into estrogen. But one again, those that have healthy zinc levels may not receive a ton of benefits from supplementing with zinc.
This essential vitamin, while technically being a hormone, is responsible for over 1,000 functions in the human body and is essential to life. In addition to aiding in development and maintenance of strong bone structure, it acts as a steroid hormone and lowers sex hormone-binding globulin as well. Studies show that men who were deficient in vitamin D, that supplemented the vitamin, has free testosterone increases above 25%. A significant amount of our vitamin D comes from a chemical interaction between cholesterol in our skin and sunlight (UVB rays). Those that do not receive hardly any sun exposure are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D.
Best Brand Testosterone Boosters
GENIUS TEST (Genius Brands)
This product is Amazon’s best testosterone booster for a reason. It’s loaded with high-quality Ashwaghanda (an adaptogen herb that has shown to relieve stress and increase T-levels), Shilajit Extract (loaded with important minerals), DIM, and Biotin.
This product also has Tongkat Ali (Longjack) & Fenugreek, two supplements that we have not yet discussed, but both are definitely worthy of mentioning. Tongkat Ali is a plant extract that has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac. Tongkat Ali is believed to work by allowing the hypothalamus and pituitary glands (which play crucial roles in testosterone production) to allow higher testosterone concentrations before signaling cells that counter the free testosterone. Fenugreek is also a plant extract that has proven to be effective in enhancing men’s libido and supporting healthy testosterone levels. There are several studies that conflict evidence that Fenugreek actually increases testosterone levels, but there are many independent studies that suggest that is more than slightly effective. There are also many positive studies that show that Fenugreek increases sperm count and libido.
The only downfall to this testosterone boosting supplement is the high price tag that comes with it. However, you’re not going to find high-quality and effective ingredients for nothing.
EVERLASTING T (Nutripharm)
While some testosterone boosters are better for muscle and strength gain, some are better for an energy boost and vitality, and some are best for sex drive/contraception, this is a great supplement that is likely to support all of men’s needs that are relating to low T. Everlasting T has most of the individual ingredients that we discussed above such as D-Aspartic Acid, magnesium, zinc, and Longjack. It also has many other ingredients that have shown to increase testosterone and that support the male sexual system like Cissus Quadrangulus, Maca Root, Horny Goat Weed, Mucuna Pruiens, Resverotrol. This product also contains BioPerine, or black pepper extract, which is well known for helping the body absorb nutrients and herbal extracts.
This product also contains Tribulus Terrestris, which we have not yet discussed. I have not listed Tribulus as one of the top testosterone boosting supplements, because I have not seen much scientific evidence that supports the claims that it increases testosterone. There are several old studies that did suggest this, but they were seriously flawed or have been contradicted by more recent studies. However, Tribulus still remains to be the #1 top selling testosterone increasing ingredient in supplements. I also know several bodybuilders who swear by Tribulus. One thing’s for sure, though, and that is that it is proven safe and definitely can’t hurt to throw into the mix.
Nutripharm is a pretty big supplement company that is known to have high-quality ingredients. The wide variety of ingredients in this supplement that are known to support high levels of testosterone in men and the mid-priced price tag, this product easily makes it a top-pick for us.
EVER VITALITY (Universal Body Labs)
Ever Vitality is one of our top picks for those without a large budget and for those that don’t want to risk spending too much on a product that may not benefit them. Ever Vitality contains many of the basic testosterone boosters such as Zinc, Tribulus, Fenugreek, Tongkat Ali, Maca powder, and Horny Goat Weed. It also contains a low dose of Panex Ginseng and caffeine, both which are well known for increasing energy levels and boosting mood. While Ever Vitality’s ingredients aren’t in high doses, they have enough of each ingredient to produce at least mild effects/benefits in those with low testosterone if they’re respondents to the supplements effects.
Best Testosterone Booster That is Not a Supplement
Once you’ve found the best testosterone booster for you, you’ll have quite the edge over most men by being able to capture an additional 20% + jump in testosterone just by eating a capsule or two. However, your work isn’t completely over then. Nobody ever said that boosting T-levels was going to be as simple as that. I’ll bet you’ve already heard this before, but quite possibly the best ways to boost testosterone levels are sleep, a good diet, and exercise.
Testosterone levels follow our circadium rythym for the most part. As we fall into a deep sleep, testosterone starts working it’s magic to get our testes whipping up a batch of high-quality sperm (never know when it could come in handy) and our T-levels peak around the time we wake up (after REM sleep). Throughout the day, testosterone levels dwindle away and then the cycle is repeated. There are studies that show that men who were able to get 8 hours of sleep vs. 4 hours of sleep, had almost twice the amount of testosterone in their bloodstream. The more you sleep, the more testosterone your body pumps out. If you’ve made a habit out of sleep problems, that could possibly be the greatest factor impacting your testosterone and energy levels.
If you’re trying to increase your testosterone levels, it’s important to eat plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, and good fats. However, it’s also equally important to exercise regularly or else the change in your diet is likely to just clump into additional fat and make your testosterone levels worse.
When it comes to hitting the gym, endurance and resistance training have been known to increase testosterone levels, but not near as much as some challenging strength training and power exercises. Shooting for high intensity and low reps, while tricking your body’s typical patters is great for increasing testosterone. Eat right, exercise hard, take a testosterone booster, and you’re bound to get the results that you’re looking for!
It also wouldn’t hurt to ask the doctor to test your hormone levels while you’re in for your routine visit. Most people claim that they can actually feel and notice the effects of testosterone raising supplements, but it is possible that even with the raised levels of testosterone, you may still be below normal levels and not at an optimum level.