Natural steroids are herbal extracts or supplements that can help you gain muscle and increase your strength and performance without the legal and health risks of steroid drugs.
Many of them are testosterone boosters.
On paper, “real” steroids look great—they help you pack on muscle and boost your vitality. But then there’s the health effects and the legality issues.
Natural steroids offer many of the same advantages, but without these downsides. They’re not quite as effective, of course, but that’s part of the trade-off.
A natural steroid can target your body’s natural muscle-boosting processes to enhance or amplify them, helping you gain the benefit of your workouts more effectively.
The right natural steroid can lead to bigger muscles, heavier lifts, and greater virility and vigor. Not all natural steroids are equal, though—some are far more likely to lead to muscle gains than others.
Our research team has combed through the scientific literature to determine the best natural steroids you can get.
1. The Max Gains Bulking Stack
If you’re looking to put on serious size, you’re looking for the industry’s best natural steroid alternative.
You’re looking for the Max Gains Building Stack, designed to get you leaner, stronger, and bigger.
This powerful stack is three supplements that work together for undeniable results: Anadroxin for increasing muscle mass and strength, Clenbulen for builds strength and lean muscles and gets rid of body fat, and Venabol for massive gains in muscle size, mass, strength, and endurance.
It’s hands-down the safest, most effective way to build: Natural ingredients. No harmful side effects. No prescriptions needed.
Best of all, it’s been proven to work for both beginners and seasoned pros, and it’s easy to fit into your high-powered workout schedule.
The all-around steroid alternative of 2019.
2. Zhou Boost Elite
Look no further than Zhou Nutrition if you want a reliable herbal supplement for natural steroids.
Boost Elite has got the basics, like zinc, as well as powerful herbs to boost androgen levels, like Tribulus terrestris, horny goat weed, and fenugreek seed extract.
On top of this, it’s got a few ingredients you may not find in other supplements that could augment the hormone-promoting effects of the supplement.
3. High Mark Nutrition Alpha Male
Alpha Male is an excellent combination of minerals and herbal extracts that can boost both growth hormone and testosterone levels.
Thanks to the zinc and magnesium, you won’t have to worry about a drop in androgen levels due to any deficiencies in these critical hormone building blocks.
Alpha Male also includes saw palmetto, longjack, and horny goat weed, three herbal supplements that are thought to increase virility, sex drive, and testosterone levels. This combination makes Alpha Male one of the best natural steroids on the market.
4. Optimum Nutrition ZMA
ZMA is a classic combination supplement of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 that was originally developed to increase muscle and power gains in football players.
Bodybuilders mostly use it now to improve recovery while you’re sleeping–by boosting testosterone and growth hormone levels, you enhance your recovery and improve your sleep quality.
5. Havasu Nutrition DHEA
DHEA, short for Dehydroepiandrosterone, is technically a steroid, but it’s one you can get legally over the counter. It’s a precursor to testosterone, and it’s widely used for muscular gains, improving your sex drive, and increasing workout recovery.
While it’s not as potent as straight-up testosterone, it’s effective enough that it’s banned by most professional sports organizations as a performance-enhancing compound.
If you compete in sports with performance-enhancing compound policies, DHEA is a no-go. Of the DHEA supplements on the market, Havasu Nutrition makes the best.
6. Jacked Factory AndroSurge
While it’s only got a few active ingredients, AndroSurge is still lauded as an effective androgen boosting supplement thanks to diindolylmethane, rhodiola root extract, and eurycoma.
It’s got some basics, too, like zinc and vitamin D, which will help keep testosterone and growth hormone levels high if you have a deficiency.
If you like to take the “shotgun approach” to herbal supplements, Macho-T is what you are looking for. It throws in no less than seven different herbal extracts that have a direct influence on androgen levels, plus black pepper extract for increased bioavailability and a combination of enzymes for better digestion and absorption.
It’s got all of the usual herbs you’d see in a natural steroid alternative, like fenugreek, horny goat weed, and Tribulus terrestris, as well as other herbs that are less commonly used.
For this reason, Macho-T might be a good choice if more traditional natural steroids aren’t doing the trick for you.
8. Zhou Horny Goat Weed
When most people think of steroids, they are thinking of putting on muscle. But for many men, boosting the level of hormones like testosterone and HGH is the means by which they hope to restore their sex drive, libido, virility, and energy.
Horny goat weed is a supplement that’s especially helpful for men with this goal, as it’s thought to similarly boost energy and libido.
Zhou Nutrition makes a great horny goat weed supplement, thanks to its inclusion of other hormone-boosting compounds like Tribulus terrestris and saw palmetto.
9. Prime Labs Prime Test
Well-renowned for its testosterone-boosting abilities among bodybuilders, Prime Test is a good option for anyone looking to boost testosterone levels without relying on a prescription steroid.
It uses wild yam, horny goat weed, nettle extract, and other herbal ingredients to target testosterone levels. It doesn’t have zinc or magnesium, which would be better for overall hormone levels, but it’s still a solid pick.
10. Modern Man V3
Modern Man aims to recreate the effects of testosterone—namely, lean muscle gains and body fat losses. It uses a combination of caffeine and theobromine to achieve the fat burning effects; these two compounds work synergistically to increase fat metabolism to promote body fat loss.
Withania somnifera extract, forskolin, and eurycoma make up the herbal compounds—these may have a mild testosterone boosting effect, but they aren’t the most powerful natural steroid alternatives on the market.
11. Military Grade HGH Boost
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While this natural steroid alternative promises a boost to human growth hormone levels, its ingredients are fairly simple: just some amino acids and bovine colostrum, which is usually used as an anti-inflammatory and an immune system booster.
HGH Boost doesn’t have the key minerals and herbal extracts that are thought to increase anabolic hormones, including human growth hormone, so it’s only likely to help if you already are lacking in some key amino acids in your diet.
Natural steroid alternative benefits and side effects
If you want the benefits of a real steroid without the negative health effects and legal issues, you’ll want to know more about natural steroid alternatives.
True steroids target your body’s muscle building process by directly providing more steroids and hormones that build muscle.
Natural steroid alternatives, on the other hand, do so indirectly: they provide the building blocks that your body uses to synthesize steroids and hormones, or they enhance biological processes that improve the efficacy of the natural steroids your body already makes.
The fact of the matter is that no natural steroid alternative is going to outperform a prescription-grade anabolic agent, but you can still reap many of the same benefits using a natural steroid alternative, on a lesser scale, without worrying about the health effects.
Broadly speaking, people seek two related goals when they try to boost levels of anabolic steroids and hormones in their body. They are either seeking to improve muscle growth and recovery, or enhance virility, libido, and sex drive (or both).
Hormones like human growth hormone and testosterone directly improve your wellness on both of these fronts. The natural steroid alternatives that work the best will be the ones that are most successful at boosting anabolic hormone levels.
Taking mineral supplements with zinc and magnesium can boost testosterone. When you think about natural steroid alternatives, the first thing that springs to mind is usually obscure herbal extracts, but the scientific research indicates that many people should start with the basics.
Deficiencies in zinc and magnesium have been connected to lower levels of testosterone and growth hormone. One study, published in 1996 in the scientific journal Nutrition, found that zinc levels in the blood were positively correlated with testosterone levels (1).
Similar work published in 2014 in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that magnesium levels are strongly related to testosterone levels too (2).
In both cases, the prevalence of mineral deficiencies and decreased testosterone increased with age. This means that older adults should pay particularly close attention to their mineral intake, and consider a supplement such as ZMA to increase zinc and magnesium levels.
DHEA is the strongest steroid alternative you can buy over the counter. DHEA is a precursor to testosterone, and scientific research indicates that it can substantially boost testosterone levels.
One review study published in the journal Urologic Clinics of North America described an experiment in which men taking a 300 mg DHEA supplement experienced a 34% increase in testosterone levels compared to a placebo group (3).
The same study warns that many lower quality DHEA supplements have not taken the requisite steps to ensure that the active ingredient is actually biologically available.
Many supplements that source DHEA from plants, such as wild yam, do not process DHEA in the correct way. As such, these supplements are essentially worthless, since your body can’t make use of the DHEA.
In addition to its testosterone boosting abilities, DHEA may be able to aid erectile dysfunction. The same research above cited emerging experiments that indicate that DHEA in small doses may be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, though higher quality studies are needed.
Tribulus terrestris is great for libido, but not for muscle gains. The herbal extract Tribulus terrestris is a common ingredient in many natural steroids, with manufacturers claiming that users can experience significant gains in muscle mass and muscular strength, as well as improvements in libido.
However, scientific research into the performance benefits of Tribulus terrestris for athletes has been disappointing.
One study at Southern Cross University Lismore in Australia looked at the effects of a Tribulus terrestris supplement on muscle mass and strength in rugby players over the course of a season (4).
The researchers found no effect of the supplement compared to a placebo. A similar study was conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska on weightlifters, and again found no benefits in terms of strength gain from a Tribulus terrestris supplement (4).
However, there is some research that indicates Tribulus terrestris may be useful for increasing libido and combating erectile dysfunction.
Research in animals has demonstrated a consistent effect of Tribulus terrestris on a wide range of measures of sexual function, though research in humans is limited to date (5).
Ginseng supplements are strong performance enhancers. A comprehensive review on the performance-enhancing effects of a wide range of herbal supplements published by Luke Bucci in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited ginseng (specifically ginseng varieties native to Asia) as consistent performance-enhancers in clinical studies (6).
As long as the dosage is high enough and the duration of the study is long enough, Asian ginsengs appear to show consistent improvements in athletic performance, whether it’s muscular strength, speed, or endurance.
For athletes in training, ginseng might be the best legal steroid alternative you can get.
One of the advantages of natural steroid alternatives is that they do not appear to carry the same side effect profile as actual steroids. Still, since these compounds do alter your hormone chemistry, there is a risk of side effects with some natural steroid alternatives.
Excessive use of DHEA, for example, has been connected to an increase in estrogen (a female sex hormone), which can impair performance and lead to conditions like gynecomastia.
With the more powerful legal steroid alternatives, you should stick to the dosage levels established by scientific studies.
Saw palmetto, an herbal extract often found in natural steroid alternatives, has been reported to have a blood-thinning effect, which can lead to serious problems if you take it before surgery (7).
Other supplements, such as Tribulus terrestris, have not had any adverse effects reported across numerous clinical studies.
With any natural steroid alternative, the best bet is to stick to the dosage recommendations established in scientific research (like 1 gram per day of ginseng, or 100-300 mg per day of DHEA), or in the case of multi-ingredient supplements, what is recommended by the manufacturer.
If you aren’t getting the results you want, it’s better to try a different supplement than to increase the dosage. As discussed earlier, side effects are more likely to show up when you exceed the recommended dosage.
Given the variety of natural steroid alternatives available, it’s better to try something else than to push the limits with high doses.
Natural steroid alternatives offer some of the same benefits of true steroids: improvements in muscle strength, athletic performance, libido, and sexual function.
However, they do so without the legal and health consequences that can come along with true steroid drugs.
Something as simple as a supplement that provides zinc and magnesium can boost your anabolic hormone levels, but better improvements can come with herbal extracts like Tribulus terrestris for sexual function and ginseng or DHEA for athletic performance.
Natural steroid alternatives can be an effective part of a program to push the envelope of performance and health for those who seek it.