As the main sex hormone that men have in their bodies, testosterone is produced in the testicles.
Testosterone is plays a vital role as it helps to bring on the changes that take place during puberty, such as:
- Growth of external reproductive organs
- Growth of facial hair, pubic hair, and body hair
- Deepening of the voice
- Building of muscles and strong bones
- Physical growth in height
Beyond this, testosterone is also an important part of a man’s ability to make sperm and to have children, and it is also critical for supporting a man’s sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and production of red blood cells.
A man’s testosterone levels are typically highest by age 20 to 30 and then begin to decrease around age 30 to 35.
How Does Testosterone Work?
A man’s brain and pituitary gland, which is a small gland at the base of the brain, work together to control the production of testosterone in the testicles. Once it has been produced, testosterone moves through a man’s blood in order to carry out its various roles.
Testosterone levels change from hour to hour, and they tend to be at their highest in the morning and then lowest at night.
When testosterone levels are not balanced in your body, it can lead to some health issues, and there are many reasons why testosterone levels may become too low or may stay too low.
Early signs and symptoms of low testosterone in men include:
- A drop in your sex drive
- Inability to hold erections
- Low sperm count
- Enlarged or tender breasts
If left untreated, low testosterone can eventually result in decreased muscle and bone strength, decreased energy, and low fertility.
That said, there are some natural supplements that may work to help improve testosterone levels or production, and while these supplements should not be substituted for professional medical treatment, they may help give you a boost.
1. D-Aspartic Acid
D-aspartic acid is an amino acid that is present in your neuroendocrine tissues of invertebrates and vertebrates, and this amino acid is believed to have an effect on men’s testosterone levels.
In one study of 23 men who were given D-aspartic acid for 12 days, results showed that sodium D-aspartate did lead to an enhancement of the release of both testosterone and the luteinizing hormone (LH).
The study also concluded that D-aspartic acid may work to help improve the transport of both testosterone and LH throughout the body, which may be beneficial for those with low testosterone.
Another study also found that D-aspartate supplementation works to significantly increase the concentration and motility of spermatozoa, so it was concluded that D-aspartic acid may have positive effects for those dealing with infertility or low sperm count.
That said, other studies have shown conflicting results, so more research is needed to confirm whether or not D-aspartic acid really can help improve testosterone levels.
2. Tribulus Terrestris
Tribulus terrestris, also referred to simply as tribulus, is a perennial herb native to the subtropical regions of eastern and western Asia, southern Europe, and Africa.
Traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practices as a remedy for heart health, balance, and eye health, tribulus has long been recognized for its potential abilities to improve health conditions.
In more recent years, tribulus has been marketed as a dietary supplement that may help support sexual function or body building, and it is believed to help promote testosterone production. Tribulus terrestris’s testosterone abilities are thought to stem from steroidal saponins that are prevalent in the plant.
One study specifically examined the effects of tribulus in men using cyclophosphamide therapy, as this anticancer and immunosuppressant drug can lead to reduced fertility. Results of this study showed that the testosterone levels in male rats treated with cyclophosphamide had been significantly reduced, specifically by over 43%, and tribulus terrestris therapy was effective at restoring testosterone.
Because this study was done on animals rather than humans, there is still a lot that is unknown about how effective tribulus terrestris really is when it comes to boosting testosterone in humans.
However, some evidence suggests that tribulus may help improve erectile function and overall sexual function, but more research needs to be done to explore the exact effects on testosterone levels.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that plays a key role in your body’s immune function and absorption of calcium, and it is naturally produced by your body when ultraviolet rays hit your skin.
One study showed that high levels of vitamin D in the body are significantly linked to higher total levels of testosterone, and vitamin D therapy led to increased total testosterone and improved erectile function.
Other research has also shown that low levels of vitamin D tend to be associated with low levels of testosterone in men who are otherwise healthy, which further strengthens this correlation. There are, however, some studies which have presented conflicting results that did not show a connection between vitamin D and testosterone levels, so more research is needed to confirm whether or not vitamin D may boost testosterone levels in men.
Vitamin D can be found in food sources like dairy products and some fortified foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, but vitamin D deficiency may be more common than you realize, especially for those who live in a cloudy climate or who do not consume enough food sources with vitamin D.
Thus, vitamin D supplements may be beneficial, and you should consult your doctor to find out whether or not supplements of this vitamin may fit your needs.
Ginger has long been recognized for its multitude of potential health benefits, and the oily resin from the rhizomes of ginger root contains a variety of bioactive compounds. Ginger has been used in different medicinal practices for thousands of years, especially for supporting immune health.
Aside from these health benefits, ginger is also believed to be beneficial when it comes to supporting healthy testosterone levels in men. and many studies since 1991 have found a link between ginger and testosterone.
Studies in which subjects received ginger supplementation showed that ginger supplements seemed to enhance testosterone production, and this is believed to be because of the way that ginger increases your body’s production of LH, or luteinizing hormone.
Another study found that treating men with ginger raised their sperm count by 16.2%, sperm motility by 47.3%, and sperm volume by 36.1%. The study also found that ginger supported healthy levels of serum LH and testosterone, and thus may be beneficial for men who are struggling with low testosterone or low sperm count.
That said, more research still needs to be done to confirm the effects of ginger on testosterone and sexual function.
Fenugreek is a clover-like herb that is native to the Mediterranean region, southern Europe, and western Asia, and the seeds from this herb have long been used both in cooking and as medicine.
One study of 60 men who were healthy overall showed that giving men 600mg of fenugreek each day led to an overall positive effect on the physiological aspects of libido or sex drive, and it also had a positive effect on satisfaction with muscle strength, energy, and overall wellbeing.
In this study, no significant impact on testosterone was found, but it is still believed that fenugreek may help promote and regulate health levels of testosterone in men.
Another study showed that fenugreek extract had a significant effect on total serum testosterone, and clinical trial results suggest that fenugreek extract supplements may be an effective way to support healthy levels of total serum testosterone in men.
Thus, it is probable that fenugreek supplementation may be able to help you boost your testosterone levels.
DHEA is the abbreviation for dehydroepiandrosterone, which is a hormone that is naturally produced by your body in the adrenal gland. DHEA is important because it works to help your body produce other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.
Natural levels of DHEA are thought to peak in early adulthood and then slowly decrease as you age.
DHEA is believed to help promote healthy levels of testosterone, and may also have benefits when it comes to cognitive function, body composition, mood health, bone health, and overall well-being.
One study involved giving DHEA supplements to men after they completed high intensity interval training, because intense exercise is believed to lead to a decrease in testosterone following the physical activity. The study examined both young men as well as middle-aged men, and found that total testosterone dropped significantly for both age groups following the exercise.
Results of the study proved that DHEA supplements worked to help support healthy testosterone levels in middle-aged men, and even helped to maintain these levels during and after high intensity interval training.
However, another study found that DHEA ingestion did not enhance testosterone concentrations or adaptations in men who were resistance trained, so there is some conflicting evidence. Thus, more research may need to be done in order to confirm exactly how DHEA does or does not promote testosterone production.
Ashwagandha is an herb that has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine practices, specifically for its benefits relating to stress relief and improving your health in general.
Ashwagandha may also have health benefits pertaining to relaxation and soothing irritation.
It is also thought to have properties that may work to support healthy testosterone levels, and active constituents in this herb include steroidal lactones, alkaloids, saponins, and withanolides.
One study specifically looked at a type of ashwagandha known as withania somnifera, and the study found that ashwagandha may have a significant impact on semen quality and fertility for men, specifically because of ashwagandha’s abilities to support your body’s natural response to stress.
When cortisol levels sharply increase due to stress, this can be followed by a significant reduction in testosterone due to oxidative stress on spermatozoa. Psychological stress may also lead to a decrease in testosterone because of a reduction in the pulse frequency of LH, and reduced testosterone in turn can lead to decreased libido and decreased fertility.
Results of the study found that ashwagandha may work to restore balance in the body after a period of stress, and thus may help contribute to healthy fertility and testosterone.
Another study explored the effects of ashwagandha on muscle health, and this study found that the group of subjects who received ashwagandha supplementation experienced a boost in arm and chest muscle size, while the control group ended up with much smaller muscles.
The group that received supplementation also experienced a boost when it came to muscle recovery, while the control group experienced more muscle damage resulting from workouts. The study also found that ashwagandha worked to reduce body fat levels.
That said, taking supplements containing ashwagandha may support healthy testosterone levels, and if not, they at least may help reduce your stress and support a healthy mood.
Zinc is one of the most, more specifically the second most, abundant trace minerals found in the human body, and because it cannot be stored in your body it is important to make sure that you are getting enough of this mineral each day either from your diet alone or from dietary supplements.
One study found that zinc contains many unique properties when used by men, and may have benefits when it comes to germination, quality of sperm, and even fertilization. This 2018 review also pointed to the fact that zinc plays a key role in men’s sexual health, and not having adequate amounts of zinc in your body can take a toll on your testosterone levels and sexua function.
Another study looked at the way that zinc concentrations in the body are linked to serum testosterone concentrations, and the study looked at both young men and elderly men. The results of the study showed that serum testosterone concentrations were significantly impacted by cellular zinc concentrations in the body, and lower levels of zinc were correlated with a significant decrease in serum testosterone concentrations after 20 weeks of zinc restriction.
Conversely, zinc supplementation, specifically for men who were marginally zinc deficient, for six months led to an increase in serum testosterone concentrations, leading to the conclusion that zinc supplementation may help promote healthy levels of testosterone in men.
Zinc dietary supplements may work to help provide you with immune and antioxidant support, a healthy inflammatory response, and a healthy stress response. Trace amounts of zinc can also be found in foods such as seafood, beef, lamb, eggs, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt, but anyone who does not regularly consume enough of these foods may benefit from taking zinc supplements.
Magnesium is one of many essential nutrients for optimal health and well-being. Many people do not get enough magnesium from their diet alone. Magnesium can be found in the following foods:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fortified foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals
Magnesium fulfills many crucial roles in your body, including muscle and nerve function as well as regulation of your energy levels.
Magnesium and other key minerals may also play an important role in your physical performance and healthy aging, and there is evidence to suggest that magnesium may be a major contributor to anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone.
Testosterone is the most important male steroid, and magnesium may help support healthy levels of testosterone in your body. One study found that a group of men who received magnesium supplementation, as opposed to the control group who received the placebo, had healthy levels of testosterone.
Other studies, however, showed that magnesium supplementation led to no substantial changes in overall serum testosterone levels, but that the placebo group did experience significant reductions in their overall testosterone levels.
Thus, even if magnesium supplementation does not work to increase testosterone, it may work to help promote healthy testosterone levels and production to help prevent these levels from decreasing.
Another study honed in on the effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels in two groups of men: one athletic group and one sedentary group, both at rest and after exhaustion. The results of this study showed that supplementation of magnesium worked to increase free and total testosterone levels in both the sedentary group and the group of athletes, and the increases in testosterone were higher for the men who exercise as opposed to the sedentary men.
There is a good deal of evidence that suggests that magnesium supplementation may help increase your testosterone levels, or at least may work to keep your testosterone levels regulated and healthy, so taking magnesium supplements may be beneficial for these reasons.
The Dr. Sinatra Magnesium Broad Spectrum Complex supplement contains 4 forms of magnesium that work most effectively so that you can reap the benefits.
The Bottom Line
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone responsible for key aspects of men’s health, including the changes that occur during puberty as well as muscle and bone health, muscle strength and recovery, sex drive, bone mass, and production of red blood cells.
The testosterone levels in your body are thought to peak around age 20 to age 30, and then slowly begin to decrease between ages 30 and 35.
Decreased levels of testosterone can contribute to poor fertility and low sperm count, and it can also take a toll on muscle strength which is why natural methods of boosting testosterone may be desirable.
There are a multitude of natural supplements that may help boost your testosterone levels by promoting testosterone production or working to help transport testosterone throughout the body more efficiently.
With any vitamins or supplements, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting out a new vitamin regimen, especially if it is a product you have never tried before. Certain vitamins and supplements can become toxic if they are taken in excess due to a buildup in your body, which is why it is key to follow the proper usage instructions and avoid taking supplements unnecessarily.
Your doctor can offer professional advice to you regarding this, and because they are familiar with your medical history, they can also provide you with any other necessary information pertaining to your individual situation.