Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays an important role in muscle development, bone mass, fat distribution, sex drive, sperm production, and mood.
Testosterone production starts to decline around age 30, but studies suggest average T levels in American men have been declining more rapidly for the past three decades. While more studies are ongoing, researchers have linked low T levels with lifestyle factors including obesity, cigarette smoking, and loss of spouse.
The symptoms of low testosterone include weight gain, decreased muscle mass, low libido, depression, hair loss, irritability, and fatigue.
The T boosters listed below are natural supplements that work to reverse these symptoms by directly interacting with testosterone (or related hormones) or by preventing testosterone from being converted into estrogen.
Vitamin D, which we get primarily from exposure to sunlight, functions as a steroid hormone in the human body. Studies suggest vitamin D is closely linked to testosterone, as men with a vitamin D deficiency tend to have low testosterone.
Vitamin D supplements are particularly important for individuals who spend most of their time indoors.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps regulate testosterone and estrogen levels. Perhaps the most well-researched T booster, DHEA has been shown to boost T levels by up to 20%. DHEA is banned in professional sports.
A trending herbal supplement, ashwagandha is primarily used to improve mood, ease anxiety, and reduce inflammation. Studies on infertile men suggest ashwagandha can significantly improve sperm quality and T levels.
Ashwagandha is also believed to improve T levels in stressed individuals by reducing cortisol.
D-Aspartic acid is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is believed to ramp up T production by interacting directly with the hormones that produce testosterone. Studies suggest D-Aspartic acid can also increase sperm count and aid muscle development.
A common ingredient in male enhancement products, tribulus terrestris AKA “horny goat weed” has long been used to correct sexual problems including erectile dysfunction, low libido, and infertility.
Studies suggest tribulus can improve T levels by up to 16% after just three months in individuals who suffer from ED. Tribulus has also been shown to ease joint pain, improve blood flow, and reduce fatigue.
This Mediterranean herb is a popular T booster for its ability to reduce aromatase, the enzyme that transforms testosterone into estrogen.
Studies suggest fenugreek can encourage fat loss and boost strength when paired with weight training. Other benefits include boosted libido and sexual performance, greater energy levels, and improved well-being.
This common household spice has long been used in alternative medicine to treat ailments including inflammation, nausea, muscle pain, and high blood sugar. Ginger is even believed to decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer.
In terms of testosterone, ginger has been shown to increase luteinizing (the hormone that triggers the production of testosterone) and improve sperm count.
Like vitamin D, zinc levels seem to be linked to testosterone levels. Studies suggest that zinc supplements can improve testosterone levels in zinc deficient men and in men with low T levels.
As always, make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements to ensure proper dosage and prevent dangerous interactions with existing medications.
Under normal circumstances, men under age 30 with normal T levels should not take T boosters.