5 Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally

Jan 25 , 2019


5 Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally

5 Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally

Although often joked about, male menopause, or andropause, is no laughing matter. Unlike menopause, andropause doesn’t describe a specific point in time. Instead, it is characterized by the gradual decline in testosterone levels in males over the age of 30. Low testosterone levels can cause a range of symptoms and are associated with an increased risk for several health conditions.

What causes a decrease in testosterone and how many men are affected?

Testosterone production begins to decline in men over the age of 30, at a rate of 0.4%–2% annually; 35% of men aged 70 and older, and 50% of men over the age of 80 have lower testosterone levels than their younger counterparts.[1],[2],[3]

In one study of almost 1,500 men aged 30–79, researchers found that almost a quarter (24%) had total testosterone levels below 300 ng/dl, while 11% had levels below 5 ng/dl.[4] Levels lower than 220–345 pmol/l (6–10 ng/dl) are typically considered abnormal.[5]

Low testosterone is more common in men who are overweight or obese, as well as in men who get little physical exercise. The science is still evolving in this area, but there is strong evidence linking obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and androgen deficiency (including low testosterone), as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.[6] What’s more, research has found that leaner men have a greater increase in testosterone after exercise than men who are obese.[7] The major factors affecting testosterone levels are:

  • Older age
  • Raised levels of luteinizing hormone (suggesting impaired testicular function)
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Smoking

Decreased testosterone production is not the only cause of low testosterone levels in men. As men age, the levels of another hormone – sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) – typically increase. As its name suggests, SHBG binds to testosterone in the blood, meaning it is no longer available for the body to use. Low testosterone production, plus an increase in SHBG, creates a double whammy for older men, leading to symptoms of low testosterone.

Symptoms of low testosterone

Low testosterone has been associated with a range of symptoms. In the study mentioned earlier, men with low levels of testosterone reported the following symptoms:

  • Low libido (12% of men)
  • Erectile dysfunction (16%)
  • Osteoporosis/bone fracture (1%)
  • Two or more nonspecific symptoms (20%), including:
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Depressed mood
    • Lethargy
    • Diminished physical performance

Other symptoms of low testosterone in men over the age of 30 include altered muscle mass and fat distribution, changes in hair growth, and effects on emotional and cognitive well-being.[8] As you’ll notice, many of the low testosterone symptoms outlined above can be the result of other health issues, aging in general, or particular lifestyle factors such as stress or lack of sleep. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your health care practitioner for a proper diagnosis.

5 ways to boost testosterone naturally

If low testosterone levels are the cause of your symptoms, you may be prescribed testosterone as pills, patches, or injections. Here are five other ways to support natural testosterone production and SHBG levels:

  1. Ensure a good intake of the essential nutrients your body needs to make testosterone, such as zinc, vitamin D3, and chromium.
  2. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight – make sure to get regular exercise, especially resistance training.
  3. Take ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb shown to support testosterone levels in men.
  4. Take bioperine, a compound found in black pepper that enhances the availability of nutrients needed for testosterone production, including zinc and chromium.[9],[10]
  5. Take cordyceps, a species of fungi that has not only demonstrated antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects, but which also seems to support testosterone levels and athletic performance in men engaged in endurance sports.[11],[12]

Essential nutrients for testosterone production

Zinc is an essential nutrient for protein metabolism, healing, and sexual function, and plays a key role in the regulation of testosterone levels. In older men with marginal zinc deficiency, daily zinc supplementation for six months is associated with an increase in serum testosterone.[13] Zinc also inhibits an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase activity, which converts testosterone to its less desirable metabolite dihydrotestosterone – which is linked to male pattern baldness and prostate enlargement.[14] Other nutrients are also important for testosterone production. In one study, vitamin D3 was found to increase testosterone levels by 30% in overweight men,[15] while low levels of zinc and chromium have been associated with low testosterone in people with type 2 diabetes.[16]

Ashwagandha and testosterone

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote balance in the body, and improve the body’s ability to self-regulate key systems; including neurological, immune, reproductive, endocrinal, and energy-production. The active components of this herb include alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), and saponins.[17] Ashwagandha has demonstrated antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and adaptogenic effects (helping your body to handle stress better), and has been associated with an increase in testosterone levels in men.[18],[19],[20]

In an eight-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, ashwagandha was associated with improvements in testosterone levels in response to exercise. The researchers recruited 57 men aged 18–50 years old with little experience in resistance training, and randomly assigned them to receive either a placebo or 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily. At the end of eight weeks of resistance training, the ashwagandha group had significantly greater increases in testosterone levels and muscle size and strength, compared to the placebo group. The men taking ashwagandha also had significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage and body fat percentage, compared to the placebo group. [14]

Natural support for testosterone production

Ultimate Testosterone Boost is a synergistic formula that promotes healthy testosterone production in men. This formula features a full-spectrum KSM-66 Ashwagandha™ extract alongside zinc, vitamin D3, and vitamins B6 (the “stress vitamin”), and B12. KSM-66 Ashwagandha has the highest concentration of full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract available and is one of the best-researched ashwagandha extracts on the market. It has demonstrated benefits for stress and enhancement of energy, endurance, and sexual function in men.

Ultimate Testosterone Boost also features choline and chromium, BioPerine® black pepper extract, organic cordyceps, and 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) for additional support for hormone health, digestion, nutrient bioavailability, and immune function.[21],[22],[23]If you’re concerned about low testosterone, eat sensibly, exercise regularly (especially resistance training), quit smoking (if you haven’t already) – and check out Ultimate Testosterone Boost.

References [1] Wu FC, Tajar A, Pye SR, et al. Hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis disruptions in older men are differentially linked to age and modifiable risk factors: the European Male Aging Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;93(7):2737-45.
[2] Harman SM, Metter EJ, Tobin JD, et al. Longitudinal effects of aging on serum total and free testosterone levels in healthy men. Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Feb;86(2):724-31.
[3] Kaufman JM, Vermeulen A. The decline of androgen levels in elderly men and its clinical and therapeutic implications. Endocr Rev. 2005 Oct;26(6):833-76.
[4] Araujo AB, Esche GR, Kupelian V, et al. Prevalence of symptomatic androgen deficiency in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;92(11):4241-7.
[5] McBride JA, Carson, CC, Coward RM. Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. Ther Adv Urol. 2016;8(1):47-60.
[6] Traish AM, Guay A, Feeley R, Saad F. The dark side of testosterone deficiency: I. Metabolic syndrome and erectile dysfunction. J Androl. 2009 Jan-Feb;30(1):10-22.
[7] Sheikholeslami-Vatani D, Ahmadi S, Salavati R. Comparison of the effects of resistance exercise orders on number of repetitions, serum igf-1, testosterone and cortisol levels in normal-weight and obese men. Asian J Sports Med. 2016 Mar 1;7(1):e30503.
[8] van den Beld AW, de Jong FH, Grobbee DE, et al. Measures of bioavailable serum testosterone and estradiol and their relationships with muscle strength, bone density, and body composition in elderly men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000Sep;85(9):3276-82.
[9] Meghwal M, Goswami TK. Piper nigrum and piperine: an update. Phytother Res. 2013 Aug;27(8):1121-30.
[10] Srinivasan K. Black pepper and its pungent principle-piperine: a review of diverse physiological effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(8):735-48.
[11] Rossi P, Buonocore D, Altobelli E, et al. Improving training condition assessment in endurance cyclists: effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Ophiocordyceps sinensis dietary supplementation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014:979613.
[12] Yue K, Ye M, Zhou Z, et al. The genus Cordyceps: a chemical and pharmacological review. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2013 Apr;65(4):474-93.
[13] Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, et al. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.
[14] Leake A, Chisholm GD, Habib FK. The effect of zinc on the 5-alpha-reduction of testosterone by the hyperplastic human prostate gland. J Steroid Biochem. 1984;20(2):651-5.
[15] Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5.
[16] Ubajaka CF, Meludu SC, Dioka CE, et al. Evaluation of male sex hormones and trace elements in male type 2 diabetic patients attending Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital diabetic clinics. Niger J Med. 2015 Apr-Jun;24(2):162-8.
[17] Bhattacharya SK, Satyan KS, Ghosal S. Antioxidant activity of glycowithanolides from Withania somnifera. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997;35:236-9.
[18] Narinderpal K, Junaid N, Raman B. A review on pharmacological profile of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha). Research and Reviews: Journal of Botanical Sciences. 2013;2(4):6-14.
[19] Upton R, ed. Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera): analytical, quality control, and therapeutic monograph. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. 2000:1-25.
[20] Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, et al. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 25;12:43.
[21] National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B6 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/ [Accessed 12th August 2018].
[22] National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ [Accessed 12th August 2018].
[23] Gee JR, Saltzstein DR, Messing E, et al. Phase Ib placebo-controlled, tissue biomarker trial of diindolylmethane (BR-DIMNG) in patients with prostate cancer who are undergoing prostatectomy. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2016 Jul;25(4):312-
Originally posted at: http://www.pno.ca/?p=1598&option=com_wordpress&Itemid=201 and used with permission.


  • 25 Jan 2019 Cliff

    Great article. Generally, foods high in zinc and selenium are the best for testosterone.

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