Table of Contents
Best 5 Testosterone Boosters
#1 – D-Aspartic-Acid (DAA)
An amino acid shown to boost T-levels by 42% in only 12 days.
- How it works: This sex hormone supercharger signals for T raw material delivery, sparks T synthesis, and boosts T-helper hormones.
- Testosterone benefits: Shown in human research to boost T by 42% in 12 days… and it’s just getting started.1
- Look for: The D-AA-CC form is stronger & easier to absorb than plain DAA. Since DAA boosts all sex hormones, take it with female hormone-blockers.
#2 – Zinc
THE manly mineral, key for peak T production.
- How it works: Zinc is concentrated in testes, where it triggers T synthesis, serves as a T building block & neutralizes girly prolactin hormone.
- Testosterone benefits: Low zinc → low-T → hypogonadism: Shrunken balls & man-boobs.2 Taking zinc reverses hypogonadism & restores T synthesis.
- Look for: Zinc Citrate is best because it is absorbable & affordable. Zinc Picolinate is a little better than Citrate, but way more expensive.
#3 – Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean)
Shown to boost T by 39% in men with low sperm count.
- How it works: Has levodopa (L-DOPA) to block female prolactin & boost T-helpers Follicle-Stimulating Hormone & Luteinizing Hormone.
- Testosterone benefits: Shown to boost T by 39% in men with low sperm count and 17% in men with low sperm activity. Also helps men’s virility.3
- Look for: Always get Mucuna standardized to at least 10% levodopa. Be aware that too much, in raw form, can be risky.
#4 – Vitamin D
Produces an “across-the-board” testosterone boost, but many men don’t get enough.
- How it works: Vitamin D is concentrated in testes and T pathways. It seems to fight T-killer hormones. One thing we do know: Low D = Low T.
- Testosterone benefits: One study found that taking Vitamin D for one year appeared to boost total testosterone, bioactive testosterone & free testosterone.4
- Look for: Always take Vitamin D as D3 (cholecalciferol), the natural form the body makes from sunlight. It is 3X easier to absorb than crappy D2.
#5 – Boron
Major mineral and testosterone-boosting multi-tasker.
- Body actions: Boron optimizes T-helpers magnesium and vitamin D while fighting “T-killers” estradiol and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).
- Testosterone benefits: Research shows taking 10 mg Boron significantly raised blood testosterone levels in only one week.5
- Look for: Boron presented as an amino acid chelate is the best form: It is more bioavailable, and may boost T at smaller dosages.
Other Testosterone Boosters that Work
This mineral was shown to boost free testosterone and total testosterone in both sedentary and athletic males, with the athletes enjoying a bigger boost.6
Magnesium is believed to work by blocking SHGB hormone from “binding” and neutralizing T, so more free testosterone is left circulating in the bloodstream.
Note: Older men who face declining testosterone levels may have a harder time absorbing and using magnesium, and will benefit from using a premium form like magnesium citrate.
Ayurvedic adaptogen (helps body adapt to stress) that helps with many areas of health, especially men’s health. Good for improving strength, sex drive, and sperm quality–all of which could be connected to higher T levels.
A standardized form of the herb called KSM-66® was found in one study to boost testosterone by 17%.7
Vitamin K2 (MK-7)
Vitamin K builds up in testes, where it helps make testosterone. When Vitamin K is low, testosterone declines. Human evidence for K boosting T is weak, but strong animal research shows supplements can restore Vitamin K to the testes, reverse T decline, and raise T levels in the bloodstream.8
Note: Only the advanced-absorption form of Vitamin K, K2 (menaquinone-7, or MK-7) has been shown to help with testosterone–plain Vitamin K doesn’t seem to work.
A root herb also known as Malaysian Ginseng, Tongkat Ali has a strong reputation as a sex-enhancer… and some decent human research as a T-booster.
While not a direct booster, Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia, if you want to get technical) seems to block T-killers while boosting T-precursors and T-helpers.
These bio-activities combine to help raise free T, with one small human study showing that Tongkat Ali boosted testosterone by 37%.9
Fenugreek is great for muscle recovery and is a potent sex-enhancer… but as a T-booster, it’s way overrated. There, we said it.
Fenugreek does seem to work on testosterone by blocking T-killer hormones and enzymes.10 But one problem is most of the decent fenugreek studies were all conducted by fenugreek manufacturers… which may hurt credibility.
The bigger problem: Even if it does bump T, Fenugreek also blocks enzymes that make DHT, a hormone that’s even more “masculine” than testosterone. As a result, Fenugreek may lead to a net loss in male sex hormones.
As a sex enhancer, Fenugreek is freaking awesome. Use it for that, and any mild testosterone boost will be a bonus.
An antioxidant found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Luteolin is new to the T-booster scene, but generating excitement because it has been shown to block enzymes that convert testosterone into estrogen.11
Luteolin’s bio-activities appear to indirectly boost testosterone, and also have the potential to sustain a manly testosterone-to-estrogen ratio.
Testosterone Boosters that might work
B6 is widely believed to influence T production… but science doesn’t know how. When B6 levels are low, T seems to be low, too. One animal study found that in rats deprived of B6, T synthesis slowed while T clearance sped up.12
Note: The active form of B6 called P-5-P is more powerful and likely much better at supporting testosterone.
Don’t read this while eating lunch: Cordyceps sinensis (CS) is a sac-fungus that lives and thrives as a parasite on moth larvae and butterfly larvae. Pretty gross… but it might just work for testosterone.
Awe-inspiring men’s sex drive & performance, virility and vitality. Ginseng’s manly benefits might be linked to testosterone: One somewhat elusive human study found Panax ginseng seemed to increase free test and the androgen DHT in men.15
Ginseng makes sense in T-booster formulas: It may give T a little bump, but will far more reliably and noticeably boost libido and strengthen erections.
“Stinging Nettle” blocks a T-killing hormone (SHGB) and T-killing enzyme (aromatase),16 which in theory would help to sustain healthy T levels.
The problem is, nettle’s T-boosting potential isn’t realized in human research. Nettle is great for prostate health, a common concern among men 30+, which may explain its use in T-stacks.
Sourced from cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli), Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a popular health compound believed to inhibit aromatase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. However, there’s one issue: DIM research is overwhelmingly in support of its use for women‘s estrogen health — whereas some animal research has suggested DIM might actually decrease T.17
Even so, the compound remains a popular option among testosterone booster & PCT manufacturers, with plenty of support from the bodybuilding community. Note that some manufacturers swap DIM for I3C (Indole-3-Carbinol), a DIM metabolite, yet this seems to be an inferior, impotent version of DIM.
Don’t boost T, but good for men’s health
This South American root vegetable is a popular male aphrodisiac, with an incredibly hardy nature that has led to associations with male strength, vitality and virility…
But research shows it doesn’t do much for testosterone.
But just keep in mind, even if Maca makes you feel manly, it’s not really boosting your testosterone.
Great for Nitric Oxide synthesis, relaxing blood vessels for robust circulation. Some animal evidence says it plays a role in T-synthesis,20 but human research shows L-Arginine has no real effect on testosterone.
Even though it’s not the best for testosterone, L-Arginine is still used in test stacks because it helps men’s athletic prowess and sex performance.
This herb seems to indirectly help test precursors while supporting male sex hormones. It might boost T in men who have Low-T status;21 but in other human studies, tribulus fails as a T-booster.
Tribulus is far more reliable as a sex enhancer, and its use in T-boosters may create the illusion that those formulas are “working.”
It’s not that we have anything against B12. It’s just annoying that some T-Booster supplement formulators insist on using it even though it has nothing to do with testosterone. B12 plays a key role in energy metabolism,22 and may bring a little boost in vitality if you’re an older man.
But B12 does nothing for T. Nothing. We don’t see why any test stack would ever include this B-Vitamin.
Horny Goat Weed
It’s exactly what it sounds like… an aphrodisiac herb. Some early animal research suggests it may mimic testosterone on some level, and may bring modest T increases.23
But no human research supports Horny Goat Weed as a T-Booster. It’s reliable as a libido-booster, which is probably why some supplement formulators will include it in T-Booster products.
T-Boosters to Avoid
Deer Antler Velvet
This soft, fuzzy covering of deer antlers have become a controversial supplement, especially for bodybuilders and athletes.
Rather than boosting T, animal studies say Deer Antler Velvet supplies testosterone (and other androgens) in tiny quantities. But human research shows this has no effect on testosterone levels.24
Deer Antler Velvet supplies IGF-1, an anabolic hormone that can accelerate muscle recovery and work as an athletic performance enhancer. IGF-1 is a banned substance. It’s on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List, and is banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
In 2013, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of seeking out Deer Antler Velvet spray, allegedly to accelerate return from injury. Just avoid it, especially if you’re a pro or amateur athlete.
The body uses Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to synthesize T; DHEA also seems to neutralize the T-killer hormone SHBG. Human research shows DHEA might slightly raise T-levels.25 However, these mild T effects are seen mostly in women and elderly populations. DHEA is just not worth it for testosterone.
This traditional African herb has long been used by the Zulu tribe as a tonic for male sex drive. Some early animal research suggests Bulbine has androgenic, anabolic, and T-boosting properties.26 The problem is, it may cause liver damage and has been deemed unsafe by some researchers. A must-avoid T-Booster.
Evidence is conflicted with licorice, with more than one study finding that it actually decreased testosterone levels.27
Believe it or not, licorice, with Glycyrrhetic acid as its active ingredient, is actually a pretty harsh herb, with side effects and potential risks. It’s just not worth it for testosterone, especially since the evidence is weak anyway.
Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac to boost libido in both men and women. Damiana seems to boost sex hormones in general; it may bind and neutralize T-killing prolactin hormone.28
Evidence is much stronger for Damiana’s role in estrogen and progesterone, and it is widely used for women’s health and menopausal… which just doesn’t seem right for men. Avoid it.
Oyster extract is an old-school T-Booster ingredient that doesn’t really make sense. Oysters are a rich natural source of zinc, which is a bona-fide T-Booster… but that’s about all they bring to the table.
Enjoy your oysters, use them for their aphrodisiac properties if you like–but for real testosterone benefits, skip the shellfish and just buy a Zinc supplement instead. Supplements are a cheaper, more effective zinc source.
- Topo E, et al. The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 27;7:120. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-120. ↩
- Hunt CD, et al. Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men. AM J Clin Nutr 1992:56:148-57. ↩
- Shukla KK, Mahdi AA. Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. Fertil Steril. 2009 Dec;92(6):1934-40. ↩
- Pilz, S. Frisch. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men. Horm Metab Res 2011; 43(3): 223-225. ↩
- Naghii MR, et al. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011 Jan;25(1):54-8 ↩
- Cinar, Y. Polat, A. K. Baltaci, and R. Mogulkoc, “Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion,”Biological Trace Element Research, vol. 140, no. 1, pp. 18–23, 2011. ↩
- Ambiye, VR. et al. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2013 (2013): 571420. PMC. Web. 17 July 2015. ↩
- Ito A, Shirakawa H. Menaquinone-4 enhances testosterone production in rats and testis-derived tumor cells. Lipids Health Dis. 2011; 10: 158. ↩
- Talbott SW, et al. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 28. ↩
- Wilborn C, et al. Effects of a purported aromatase and 5α-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism (Impact Factor: 1.98). 12/2010; 20(6):457-65. ↩
- Lu DF, et al. Inhibitory effect of luteolin on estrogen biosynthesis in human ovarian granulosa cells by suppression of aromatase (CYP19). J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 29;60(34):8411-8. doi: 10.1021/jf3022817. Epub 2012 Aug 20. ↩
- Symes EK, Bender DA, Bowden JF, Coulson WF. Increased target tissue uptake of, and sensitivity to, testosterone in the vitamin B6 deficient rat. J Steroid Biochem. 1984 May;20(5):1089-93. ↩
- Huang BM, et al. Effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in normal mouse Leydig cells. Life Sci. 2001 Oct 19;69(22):2593-602. ↩
- Rossi P, et al. Improving Training Condition Assessment in Endurance Cyclists: Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Ophiocordyceps sinensis Dietary Supplementation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:979613 ↩
- Salvati G, et al. Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer saponins on male fertility. Panminerva Med. 1996 Dec;38(4):249-54. ↩
- Balunas M, Su B. Natural Products as Aromatase Inhibitors. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2008 Aug; 8(6): 646–682. ↩
- Le HT, et al. Plant-derived 3,3′-Diindolylmethane is a strong androgen antagonist in human prostate cancer cells. J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 6;278(23):21136-45. Epub 2003 Mar 27. ↩
- Gonzales GF, et al. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. Volume 34, Issue 6, pages 367–372, December 2002 ↩
- Oshima M, Gu Y, et al. Effects of Lepidium meyenii Walp and Jatropha macrantha on blood levels of estradiol-17 beta, progesterone, testosterone and the rate of embryo implantation in mice. J Vet Med Sci. 2003 Oct;65(10):1145-6. ↩
- Sharma AC, et al. Effect of NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester on testicular blood flow and serum steroid hormones during sepsis. Shock. 1998 Jun;9(6):416-21. ↩
- Roaiah MF, et al. Pilot Study on the Effect of Botanical Medicine (Tribulus terrestris) on Serum Testosterone Level and Erectile Function in Aging Males With Partial Androgen Deficiency (PADAM). J Sex Marital Ther. 2015 Apr 7:1-5 ↩
- https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ ↩
- Zhang ZB, Yang QT. The testosterone mimetic properties of icariin. Asian J Androl. 2006 Sep; 8(5):601-5 ↩
- Conaglen HM. Effect of deer velvet on sexual function in men and their partners: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Sex Behav. 2003 Jun;32(3):271-8. ↩
- Baulieu EE, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate, and aging: Contribution of the DHEAge Study to a sociobiomedical issue. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Apr 11; 97(8): 4279–4284. ↩
- Yakubu MT, Afolayan AJ. Anabolic and androgenic activities of Bulbine natalensis stem in male Wistar rats. Pharm Biol. 2010 May;48(5):568-76. ↩
- Zamansoltani F, et al. Antiandrogenic activities of Glycyrrhiza glabra in male rats. Int J Androl. 2009 Aug;32(4):417-22 ↩
- Zava DT. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Mar;217(3):369-78. ↩