Best Natural Testosterone Supplements: Big list of Surprising Ingredients that work – And some that DON’T!
While testing and trying different supplements and programs, we’ve tried scores of different natural testosterone supplements. So in this post, we try to list the different effects these ingredients have, and the science (or lack of it) behind them.
Ingredients that Work Well for Testosterone
One of the 24 minerals humans need for survival- most people need more zinc throughout the day than they would expect. Most people don’t take nearly enough zinc in their daily diet – you need at least 10mg per day, which means that you should be taking more meat and seafood, or supplements.
Zinc is almost a must-have: it’s a vital all round mineral for human survival. Its very important to have good levels of zinc if you are trying to maintain or increase testosterone. It seems to work well for both athletes as well as less fit individuals: significant testosterone increases found in elite wrestlers vs placebo (study)
Study performed on less fit/sedentary men, subject to “fatiguing” bicycle workouts: able to increase free testosterone levels (study)
This study (click) – patients suffering from chronic renal failure (linked to low zinc)- are mega dosed with 250mg /zinc per day: which significantly increased T levels. This shows a big link between low zinc levels, and low testosterone – and how this is quickly and clearly remedied.
Though if you are already high in zinc – excess supplementation will tend to increase other hormones like DHT (also linked to strength and masculinity) : (study) shows that low testosteorne users see big increases in testosterone – and already high testosterone men see increases in DHT instead: which is also really good.
Another of the 24 essential vitamins for survival – this one regulates Thousands of bodily functions, and increases testosterone levels in both men and women. A deficiency in this is probably a reason why there is an epidemic of low testosterone in most developed cities round the world (especially in the US and northern Europe)
It’s also known for its ability to increase lifespan, it improves cardiovascular health, and it even maintains bone health when taken along with calcium and vitamin K2. This study shows that taking 3000 IUs per day boosts testosterone by 25% on average! And this study, and this, and many more.
This study (click here) clearly demonstrates the positive relationship between vitamin D and testosterone. They had 1362 male subjects, and the results show that increasing vitamin D consumption increases total and free testosterone levels.
However though vitamin D more than likely does increase testosterone levels, it won’t help if you are already in the optimal range of vitamin D (which is definitely not where most men are – they’re probably under-dosed).
We usually recommend 2000-3000 IUs per day, and increasing the dosage for this is likely safe (up to 10,000 IUs).
The main ingredient in many test booster formulas, we think the results and evidence for this are good – despite a lot of debate, and some strange attempts to discredit its effectiveness (this study . It’s not a must have, but we think it’s a good addition…
It plays an important role in the release of hormones (testosterone especially), because it triggers the release of Luteinizing hormone, which in turn prompts the testes to produce and release free testosterone.
This study (click here) was performed by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,from the Hospital ‘S. Luca’, Vallodella Lucania, Italy – and shows impressive results for DAA supplementation – more than 30% increase in testosterone -related lutenizing hormone, in just 12 days. This study was conducted by 5 academics with no commercial interests.
There can be a lot of debate about DAA though, as there have been attempts to discredit it: This study (click here) was done by a Darren Willoughby , who had a personal and commercial agenda and bias to discredit DAA results:
At the time DAA was seen as a bodybuilder’s supplement- Willoughby’s personal thesis was to promote “free-weights training”- his own personal thesis. And rather than using a quality DAA product – he used DAA in another commercial product (likely a stack with something else) called “Muscle Warfare’!
Here are factors for inaccuracy (from Willoughby’s own report):
There are other studies, but in general, we find that DAA is more effective than not; here’s a study where sample size is of 9 men (admittedly small), but with significant increases in stregth for bench press and squat.
So we don’t see DAA as a “must-have” but its definitely useful. And yes; from personal experience , you can use this as a libido booster and boner pill : )
Some bodybuilders recommend 6000mg per day, but have elaborate cycling and workout programs. We recommend a more modest 2000-3000mg/ day for convenience.
Most people associate this with heart and bone health, but magnesium actually helps almost all of hundreds of your body’s enzyme functions,which includes improving sleep quality, and testosterone levels.
A study shows that over 70% of adults in the US do not consume enough of this mineral, which is a shame: deficiency in this (as well as zinc) significantly lowers testosterone levels. The popular bodybuilding stack of “ZMA” may not be a magic pill- but most people definitely need more magnesium…
In this human study, approximately one gram of magnesium increased free testosterone levels by a good 24% when combined with intense exercise.
In this study which was tested on 400 older men; scientists found that higher serum magnesium levels very likely produce higher testosterone levels.
Mucuna Pruriens (Velvet bean)
A widely cultivated plant and known in Asia as a traditional medicine – this magic bean has been the subject of several academic studies, and is a good testosterone and libido booster, as well as a brain supplement!
The levodopa in Mucuna quickly creates a dopamine boost: which boosts drive, focus, concentration, and even more…
Benefits of Mucuna supplementation:
You actually need to standardize the extract of Mucuna for L-dopa or levodopa (which is the active dopamine creating ingredient. Generally concentrations of 10-20 % , and amounts of 100-500 mg would be considered good. Beginners should initially avoid the higher amounts as this stuff can be strong and stimulatory.
Under-rated mineral with proven testosterone boosting benefits! It may actually have the most impressive scientific results for natural Testosterone production.
Many scientists believe that we’re consuming far less boron than our ancestors did, and this is because modern “power farming” quickly depletes soil where food is grown, leaving less boron – and also less of other naturally occurring micro-nutrients – remaining in ANY food we eat.
The researchers in this study gave eight men 10 mg’s of boron supplement, every morning for 7 days straight. After the week had passed, the scientists discovered that:
Another study here shows that 2 months of daily boron (on 13 men) at a dosage of 6 mg per day increases free testosterone by an average of 29.5% – a result similar to the study mentioned above.
Great stuff. A good dosage of boron is between 3-25 mg per day.
Less Evidence but Potentially good
Extremely under-rated, K2 is amazing for our cardiovascular health and bone density, especially when taken in a stack/combination with vitamin D: and is likely to boost testosterone in mammals (though more studies are needed)
Literally translated from Ayurvedic name-terms, this will make you become “a man that smells like a horse” : )
The symbolic meaning is that of strength and stamina though, and we believe it helps for almost everything involving stamina, energy and testosterone. Under-rated, but with some solid science research backing this…
Study: 300 mgs of high quality KSM Ashwagandha reduces cortisol by 27% (reducing cortisol/stress usually increases testosterone)
Study: the herb increases testosterone and sperm quality, fertile and infertile men – concluding that this herb is an effective treatment for infertility.
Tongkat Ali /Longjack
Literal translation: “Ali’s Walking Stick” – this is another Asian plant with a cute name, that refers to both anti-aging, and your phallus or manhood : ) A potential testosterone booster – this is better for handling stress or fatigue. And yes its a libido booster; its not big in effects, but a good all rounder for most things.
Actual testosterone effects are more minor, but this is still good in general. Usually you need to standardize the extracts in a 1:100 ranging to 1:200 concentration (higher the better), and use 200mg + of this herb.
Seeds of this plant work as a good libido booster (study) and anti-diabetic cure, we also find good results for testosterone boosting. Fenugreek tends to lower insulin levels, which in turn tends to boost testosterone.
Fenugreek is likely to increase Testosterone (study) levels – a study done on 45 resistance trained experienced athletes, with 500 mg of fenugreek and placebo. A significant increase in free testosterone, but a possible decrease in DHT; may reduce strength though not conclusive.
Another experiment (study): University of May Hardin-Baylor, Texas; a fenugreek-mixed supplement creates significant increases in strength and body composition in trained male athletes.
So we find this good in general, but better as “backup” or not in huge doses. Some boosters tend to heap this on with 500-1000 mg of the seed, which we tend to avoid.
Luteolin is actually an anti-oxidant found in certain plants- in celery, in the leaves and bark of the Terminalia Cherbula tree (celery is easier to find heh) … it inhibits estrogen production, helps health functions, and is a good supporting ingredient
Gross looking fungus that lives on insect larvae! Less well researched for T boosting benefits, but evidence is promising. Seems to help performance and recovery for athletes as well.
This herb is very interesting: it’s actually very well known but as a fatburner- and sold usually to over weight women, originally promoted on the Dr Oz show…
However it seems to stimulate most amounts and activity of hormones all over the body; which includes boosting testosterone by an impressive 33% in this study on 30 obese guys. Though other tests have mainly been done on isolated cells, and more human trial are needed.
Another essential vitamin for general health – and found in protein foods like fish and fowl. Important for testosterone production and overall energy levels: deficiency results in increased estrogen levels and lowered testosterone levels
Panax Ginseng /a.k.a Asian, Red Korean or True Ginseng
Great for all round vitality and virility. Evidence is less frequent for testosterone (strangely) – though some still exists. Works well for libido, brain health, energy, and pretty much everything else.
Warning: the Siberian and “American” ginseng varieties are actually different species, and not as good as true Panax ginseng.
Nettle Urtica- aka Nettle root or stinging nettle
Quite a lot of evidence shows that this thorny herb (and its less painful extracts!) reduces levels of hormones (Sex hormone binding globulin, SHBG) that block the production of free testosterone.
Also helps for a number of health benefits, from anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory reactions, to urinary health and more.
Though human trials on direct testosterone boosting are less common or reliable, we see this as a good under-rated backup agent.
Horny Goat weed
A flowering herb that grows in Asia. Controversy exists – some people hate this because of the silly name , we suspect ; ) A good libido and erectile enhancement – and it seems to have a potentially good testosterone, though little research has been done for that.
This one is interesting; DHEA (dehydroepitestosterone) is the most abundant steroid hormone in the human body. The body converts this into more potent sex hormones, like testosterone and estrogen.
Depending on your location, there is a chance that DHEA supplements may not be legally obtained. Taking DHEA supplements is basically the same thing as using synthetic steroid hormones –even though DHEA is significantly weaker than many synthetic steroids, and is considered to be almost risk-free.
DHEA supplementation can increase testosterone levels quite well for middle-aged and older men (best results seem to have been in men aged 50+ ), and in menopausal women. However, these effects are somehow highly unreliable in younger guys.
Not Likely to Boost Testosterone, But good for Health
South American root that is a “super-food”; looks like an unglamorous turnip, but is packed with nutrients. Also a strong aphrodisiac and libido booster
But NOT a testosterone booster, and strangely hyped up for testosterone. Great to use though (but in a combination) and also has mood enhancing and stress –fighting benefits.
This herb is well known as a supposed treatment for prostate problems, testosterone and hair loss – but tends to have unpredictable effects. It is a strong DHT blocker – some testosterone converts to DHT for strength, libido, drive and other masculine effect. So though this can work to treat certain issues like hair loss or even boost testosterone, it may create negative side effects (eg. low libido) – and we often find this ingredient in “proprietary formulas” which don’t tell how much is used exactly. We recommend this be used either very carefully, or not at all.
Common in workout supplements: decent for improving circulation for better stamina and recovery. But no evidence for actual testosterone enhancement . We actually prefer Citrulline which does the same for recovery- but better. Still, arginine and citrulline are good to have- but usually need pretty big doses to work well.
A herb that usually grows in dry cold climates, this is over-rated for testosterone. Which is a shame because a study shows that its possible to extract potent natural steroids from a certain part of this plant, creating a good boost for testosterone – but it’s a specialized process…
And from what we currently know, either no test boosters do this, or few good ones do (often dosages are concealed in proprietary undisclosed formulas). Still, tribulus is good for various health and adaptogenic or stamina and immunity effects.
Vitamin B 12
Better as support – likely to give a slight boost only if you are deficient in testosterone. Good to have in combination with other B vitamins. B6 tends to be more important.
This is a South African herb that has shown some amazing results for trials in rats (347% increase in testosterone!), and testimonials from many bodybuilding forums on the internet agree that this produces libido enhancing benefits (which is a likely side effect of boosted testosterone).
And with no estrogenic side effects. Still, research is extremely limited so we cannot recommend this highly, for now.
DIM and IC3
DIM (3,3′-diindonylmethane) is a natural byproduct of indole-3-carbinol (IC3)… and IC3 itself is found in “crusiferous” vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale.
However, evidence suggests that IC3 supplementation, or simply eating crusiferous vegetables, is more beneficial for ones estrogen balance (reducing estrogen) – rather than if you supplement with DIM. Also, there is a small chance (though unproven) that DIM may actually reduce certain masculine androgenic hormones. So altogether its best to just eat those vegetables : )
Useless or Hazardous
Velvet Deer Antler:
We call this the “wasted death of bambi”: this is made by crushing deer antler into powder, which is then consumed orally or made into tinctures. And it usually has a high price tag …
Does absolutely nothing for humans except destroys your cash balance: no effect on testosterone, libido, athletic performance, health – zilch.
Licorice root is widely used in flavoring agents, breath fresheners, and candy. As a herbal supplement its also used for handling stress and fatigue- but multiple tests show that it reduces testosterone in a big way…
7 healthy men had their T levels sliced in half after 4 days of regular consumption! So even if you’re trying to fight stress and fatigue, you really should seek better alternatives.
Damiana Leaf is a supplement from the dried leaves of the Turnera Diffusa plant, which has traditionally been brewed as a tea – as a physical tonic and aphrodisiac in Mexico. But most evidence for anything has been inconclusive, though it may act as a mild adaptogen – boosting stamina and immunity.
So now you have an idea of the best and worst that nature and science have to offer. You might want to take a look at the best test boosters on the market (click here)– most of which combine the best ingredients above in a stack. This saves a huge amount of time and convenience, and often costs as well- if you get a good booster with quality controls.