Not all test booster are made alike. In order to optimize your fitness and health-related goals let’s break down ingredients of the most effective testosterone boosting supplements – and why they might be best for you.
Have you been training for weeks and struggling to see results?
Sometimes lack of progress is not due to your diet, or training, but something more intrinsic to all men. Testosterone, as we know, is the hormone responsible for muscle development, bone tissue, overall growth and of course, sexual desire.
Testosterone is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of any health and fitness plan.
Most people assume that a testosterone supplement is a steroid and will lead to harmful effects, yet the truth is that many of the most effective and best testosterone boosters can be found in plant-based, natural forms that provide little to no side effects.
If you have goals of hitting new personal bests in the gym, faster recovery, or maybe just get the spark back into your sex life then testosterone supplements may be for you.
Understanding how testosterone supplements work and which one to take for your specific goal is the most important aspect of your health and fitness.
In this Guide we will cover:[toc]
What is Testosterone
On a fundamental level testosterone is an anabolic steroid. Our body naturally creates a certain amount of free testosterone at certain parts of the day, but mostly while we sleep.
As a young man, testosterone was the hormone that started putting hair on your chest and provided you with your sex drive. As we age, testosterone starts to regulate and you adapt to the level in your body.
There are healthy levels that every man should try to maintain. The variation is quite large, but as a general overview, the level of testosterone in healthy men falls over 280(ng/dl). Falling below this level could lead to fatigue, muscle loss, loss of sexual drive and more.
Simply put, testosterone is what makes a man – a man (at least physically). Increasing or controlling the level of testosterone in your body can lead to a greater amount of energy during the day (and while training), greater sexual drive, and an increase in lean muscle mass.
Why Supplement for Testosterone
The truth is that many men can benefit from testosterone supplements. From a deeper sleep to faster recovery, the benefits of increased testosterone are massive. Yet they do come with some potential downfalls (we’ll talk about that later).
Above achieving a deeper sleep, the most important reason to supplement testosterone is that therapy works. A 2016 review looked to see if testosterone therapy really worked for men of all ages.
Many studies were observed through a broad range of individuals (young and old) but on a consistent basis the men who supplemented with testosterone saw an increase in sexual drive, lean body mass, sexual desire and more.
Is Testosterone Supplementation Safe
Yes. supplementing with testosterone is safe and easy to use. Before you start taking a testosterone supplement you will need to find the best type for your specific goal and body type in order to optimize your testosterone levels.
Best Testosterone Boosting Supplements
Not all testosterone boosters are made alike. Some have the immediate function of allowing for greater muscle mass, while others merely help to block estrogen agents.
In order to optimize your fitness and health-related goals let’s break down the most effective ingredients of high-quality testosterone boosters – and why they might be best for you.
All high-end testosterone boosting supplements will contain some or all of these ingredients in one form or another:
Perhaps the most effective testosterone boosting supplement for overall sports performance and sexual drive.
D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) is actually an amino acid regularly found in everyday foods we consume but in low levels. Amino acid rich foods such as meats, nuts, beans, and poultry contain great doses of DAA. This amino acid is found to occur naturally in testes (as it is converted there), in the pituitary glands and in the hypothalamus.
The main difference when looking at D-Aspartic acid compared to other testosterone boosters is the clinical evidence to support its benefits. A recent study demonstrated that in healthy men, testosterone levels could be increased by up to 40% in just 12 days.
Interestingly enough, when participants stopped ingesting DAA, some of the testosterone levels fell to 10%. This finding is quite consistent among many studies and is the main downfall of d-aspartic acid supplementation.
It is a short-term supplement that can be used to boost strength and libido in men when needed but should not be used in long-term trials.
DAA is perfect for those who are moving into a heavy training week and wish to boost performance and recovery through testosterone supplementation.
One of the most underrated testosterone supplements on the market today. ZMA stands for zinc monomethionine/aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. These three vitamins and minerals have been shown to help balance normal testosterone levels and promote deeper sleep. It should be noted that many ZMA supplements also contain other ingredients to help with absorption and recovery, although these are the main ingredients.
We know that sleep has a very positive effect on overall performance and recovery. Without adequate levels of sleep, we struggle to perform and we lack testosterone production. A ZMA complex will enable you to have deeper sleep all while replenishing your Zinc and Magnesium levels.
A recent study found that men who lacked sleep had a testosterone depletion of up to 15% in just one week.
ZMA is not necessarily a testosterone booster, rather the effects of supplementing with Zinc and Magnesium have been shown to promote healthy testosterone levels in men.
Zinc is a compound that we sweat out during exercise and is used during protein synthesis (post-exercise). If you train hard every day without replenishing the Zinc levels in the body you may become deficient in zinc. Deficiencies in Zinc can lead to lack of sleep, lack of protein synthesis and an overall decrease in sexual desire.
Magnesium has been shown, not only to enable healthy testosterone levels but also to blunt the effects of cortisol. The effect that magnesium supplementation has on cortisol means you have less of a stress response to exercise and a greater ability to recover effectively.
ZMA supplementation has been shown to promote sleep, testosterone production and advancements in lean muscle tissue.
The most common testosterone boosting supplement on the market today. Tribulus is the main ingredient in many of the most effective and popular supplements today for a reason.
Tribulus comes from a plant, native to parts of Asia and has been shown to increase libido and testosterone in healthy men.
While the main effects are not yet understood fully, Tribulus is known to enhance androgen receptor density in the brain (no findings for muscle tissue development) which may enhance the libido enhancing properties of androgens and thereby your testosterone levels.
Although Tribulus has found many functions towards benefiting libido and sexual function in men there are very few clinical studies that show positive results for increases in athletic performance.
Tribulus is the perfect supplement for those looking for a boost in the bedroom but should look into other testosterone boosters such as ZMA and D-Aspartic acid for performance in the gym.
Mucuna is a supplement derived from a plant source and has been used to support libido and sexual function for generations. First discovered in tropical areas in the Caribbean, this plant has documented effects as an aphrodisiac, stress reducer, cognitive enhancer and more.
As a testosterone booster, the effects of mucuna are relatively low. Although this supplement does work to reduce stress and has been shown to promote sexual drive its effects on testosterone levels in healthy men have not been shown.
Mucuna is a great supplement for those wishing to reduce stress (mentally and physically) and utilize its short-term benefits in the bedroom.
The most overlooked supplement when it comes to total effects on testosterone and estrogen balance. The benefits of fenugreek come with its ability to regulate and lower Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a precursor to estrogen.
Many testosterone boosting supplements also enable the increase in estrogen levels, which can be counterproductive to your ultimate goals.
Fenugreek has not only been shown to moderately increase testosterone in the body but also limit the increase of DHT.
Fenugreeks ability to limit DHT production means you can supplement fenugreek and not worry about weight gain (as with many test boosters). With this in mind, fenugreek is one of the weaker supplements when it comes to overall testosterone amplification. This is why you will find both fenugreek and Tribulus or d-aspartic acid in the same “Test booster”.
Fenugreek works to lower and monitor estrogen levels through DHT balance, while another more powerful testosterone booster such as D-aspartic acid goes to work.
Not to be confused with Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Pseudoginseng – Panax Ginseng (Korean Red Ginseng) has very promising benefits for stress reduction, mood improvement or men with some form of erectile dysfunction.
The way Ginseng works is not exactly clear, but it is believed Ginseng works similar to amino acids which vasodilate (open up veins). This vasodilation can lead to greater blood flow and an increase in nutrient-rich blood to all working areas of the body.
Supplementing Panax Ginseng can be difficult as many studies which show positive benefits utilize more than 2g/daily. Standardized pill formats found today will be administered in 55-75 mg concentrated doses – the effects of this is not yet known.
If you are looking for a safe to use supplement that has been shown to increase mood, decrease stress and has positive associations with limiting erectile dysfunction give Panax Ginseng a try.
Taken as an herbal supplement Stinging nettle root is generally added to a testosterone boosting supplement because of its attributes toward inhibiting SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin), and thus makes testosterone more bioavailable in the body.
Nettle root is not a supplement that can be taken along with the hopes of elevating testosterone levels or boosting performance, rather it should be considered when creating a blend of testosterone boosting ingredients specific to your goal.
What are the Benefits of Increased Testosterone
Many people view testosterone supplements s a one way street to more muscle. Truth be told, increased muscle is one of the benefits but does not provide the best picture for testosterone boosting supplements.
Benefits of Increased Testosterone
Healthy Blood and Heart
Yup, that’s right, testosterone supplements have been shown to promote healthy blood and heart. Among many reasons, the most important being testosterone can help red blood cell production through the bone marrow.
The ability to transport more nutrients through the body has long-standing benefits when it comes to overall blood and heart health.
The most obvious benefit to increased testosterone. Having a diet high in testosterone agents have been shown to decrease fat and increase lean muscle mass. Testosterone supplements signal systems in the body that are anabolic in nature – they’re the stuff that makes men, men (on a physical level).
Increased Cognitive Ability
We don’t have enough conclusive evidence to show that higher testosterone necessarily means a “smarter person”, yet it has been shown that higher testosterone in old age leads to fewer outcomes of Alzheimer’s.
It should be noted that these studies were conducted using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), rather than herbal testosterone boosting agents.
This is perhaps one of the most common rationales for testosterone supplementation. The benefits of increased testosterone on enhanced sexual performance is clearly shown over and over again.
Testosterone is a man’s main sexual hormone, without adequate levels many men will struggle to feel sexually engaged. Of course, testosterone supplements are not a quick fix or a magic pill, but they may help to balance and regulate normal levels which can lead to living a healthy and optimal lifestyle.
Side Effects/Downfalls Of Testosterone Supplements
Every supplement has potential downfalls, and testosterone is no short of its potential side effects. Many men report an increase in irritability while supplementing testosterone, and sometimes a lack of sleep.
Here are the potential downfalls of testosterone supplements.
The science we have now to determine which testosterone supplement works best just are not conclusive enough to justify any decision. Some have been shown to work, while others do not. The largest downfall is that it will take time to “test” which supplement works best for you and your specific requirements.
Unlike other supplements such as Creatine – that goes to work immediately, supplementing a testosterone booster will take a couple weeks to see any changes. The only testosterone booster that has been shown to work quickly is D-Aspartic Acid.
The largest reason why many people may want to avoid testosterone boosting supplements. The immediate effects on mood include increased irritability, sadness, increased emotion and more.
If mood is one of your worries the best Test booster you can take is the ZMA complex.
Most people will not experience any disturbances to their skin, yet some users report an increase in acne and dry skin (nothing you can’t solve with a great shower gel).
Testosterone in Review
Testosterone supplements are a great way to elevate testosterone levels, increase sleep, elevate performance and increase libido. Test supplements are not just for men and can be used for women who wish to limit DHT and increase muscle mass.
Depending on your goal you will want to find a supplement that promotes deeper sleep and limits DHT production. None of the herbal supplements above are a replacement for Testosterone production, although they have been shown to help promote regular levels.
If your goals are to increase muscle mass, improve sexual desire and promote a greater well being the most well-rounded supplement (and most cost-effective) is a ZMA complex. If you are looking for a short-term boost in performance, perhaps in preparation for a weightlifting competition, D-Aspartic acid is the best supplement.
Above all of these supplements, it is most important to listen to your body. These supplements are completely new to your internal systems. Take the recommended dosage and increase as needed.
CSEP – CPT, Expert in Exercise Physiology
Gabriello is a writer and strength expert best known for his science-based and practical approach to Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Strength. After serving in a directors position for The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Gabriello moved towards writing to help more people understand the importance of living a healthy life. Gabriello’s writings have been published in several languages on some of the largest health and fitness websites helping people learn, grow and understand the complex components of optimizing human performance in a simplistic way.
Gabriello also takes on specialized, high-performance athletes who are in need of strength, mobility and conditioning programming to optimize their fitness through his Earned Fitness program.