Testosterone is the most powerful male hormone. It’s at the core of your body’s ability to build muscle, shed fat, and support a high libido and strong sexual function.
Many men’s testosterone levels decrease with age, which leads to predictable increases in body fat, loss of muscle strength, and sexual dysfunction.
Testosterone boosters are designed to counteract low T by using all-natural compounds that support the synthesis of new testosterone, prevent the degradation of the testosterone you’ve already got, and block the action of hormones like estrogen that counteract the benefits of testosterone.
Want to make the most of the compounds in your testosterone booster? Read on to find out what vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts work best to boost your testosterone levels.
Testosterone booster benefits
1. Testosterone boosters can correct mineral deficiencies associated with low testosterone
Magnesium is a key mineral that helps determine testosterone levels in men.
Two studies have found that that low levels of magnesium are strongly correlated with low testosterone levels and low testosterone production (1, 2).
2. Herbal ingredients like mucuna pruriens can improve sperm quality and boost testosterone levels by up to 38%
Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) contain L-dopa which can suppressing prolactin, leading to elevated testosterone levels (3). Another study showed an increase in sperm quality and a boost testosterone levels of 38% (4).
3. Forskolin extract can boost testosterone levels as well
Forskolin is an herbal extract that’s widely used for melting off body fat, but it could also prove useful as a testosterone booster.
When isolated testicular cells were exposed to forskolin, testosterone levels increase by up to 200% (5), and in humans, overall testosterone levels jump 33% in 12 weeks (6).
4. Ginger elevates testosterone in men with sexual dysfunction
One study on infertile men and showed that ginger supplementation increased testosterone levels by 17% (7)–a big help if you’re having problems with sexual performance or stamina.
5. Vitamin E enhances the effects of testosterone by blocking estrogen
Testosterone’s efficacy is diminished by estrogen, and vitamin E can function as a potent estrogen blocker (8,9). The result? Less inhibition of the testosterone your body naturally produces.
6. Zinc is probably the best mineral-based testosterone booster
The correlation between high testosterone and high zinc levels is apparent in many studies (10,11,12). This means that if you are low in zinc, you could be low in testosterone. This relationship is especially strong in older men–the biggest group at risk for low T.
7. Grape seed extract is a potent estrogen blocker too
This is due to the fact that two compounds in grape seed extract, proanthocyanidin and procyanidin, can both inhibit the aromatase enzyme (13,14). That’s why you’ll find it in several top-ranked testosterone boosters for men: by inhibiting the anti-androgen effects of estrogen, it boosts the effects of testosterone on your body.
Testosterone booster side effects
When evaluating side effects of testosterone boosters, there are fundamentally two potential categories of adverse effects.
The first are the immediate adverse effects of the ingredients.
Some herbal ingredients in testosterone boosters can cause tachycardia and mood changes. Horny goat weed, for example, has been reported to be associated with tachycardia (a rapid, racing heart rate) in rare cases (15).
Yohimbe and ginkgo biloba have been reported to be associated with mood changes, anxiety, and addictive behavior, particularly among people who are predisposed to emotional and mental health disturbances (16).
Testosterone itself can cause aggression and irritability. The second category of adverse effects you might encounter include those attributable to higher testosterone itself.
Scientific research has definitively established that increased testosterone levels lead to increased lean body mass, but it can also cause increases in aggression and irritability, at least in individuals who are predisposed to this type of behavior (17).
These adverse effects are not seen with controlled doses of testosterone over short periods of time, however—generally they occur with very high doses taken for long periods of time.
Adolescents shouldn’t use testosterone boosters. Use of testosterone boosters is discouraged in people under age 18, as reported in an article in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America (18).
While use of testosterone boosting supplements in teenagers is widespread, virtually no research has been conducted into their safety or efficacy in people under 18, so the risk-benefit profile is not well-understood.
Testosterone booster dosage
The precise dose of a testosterone booster for maximum efficacy is obviously going to depend on the specific formulation.
Shoot for at least 100% of RDV for the basic vitamins and minerals: With the most common ingredients, like vitamin D, magnesium, and copper, the effective dose can be roughly compared to the recommended daily intake for that vitamin or mineral.
Zinc: aim for 10-20 mg per day. Our bodies don’t have a natural zinc storage system so we need it on the daily. A good testosterone booster will deliver 10-20 mg of zinc per day, hitting your daily intake requirements.
Multiple supplements in a stack can cause you to overshoot your dosage for herbal compounds. When it comes to herbal compounds, optimal dosage is all over the board. Fortunately, top-rated testosterone boosters closely match the effective doses of ingredients like fenugreek seed, ginseng, and citrulline malate from scientific studies.
For these compounds, following the supplement guidelines is the best policy, but you might need to take less if you have other supplements in your diet, like a male enhancement pill or a weight loss pill, that use the same ingredients.
Make sure you cross-check your supplement stack ingredients to make sure you’re not overdoing it on compounds that do double-duty as a weight loss aid and testosterone booster, like fenugreek seed.
Testosterone booster benefits FAQ
Q: When do men’s testosterone levels start to drop?
A: Testosterone levels skyrocket during puberty, and remain high through your 20s as long as you are physically active, aren’t overweight or obese, and maintain a healthy diet.
In your 30s, though, your testosterone levels will start to drop. This drop-off accelerates substantially as you get older; while few men in their 30s have low testosterone, among those age 45 and older, the prevalence of clinically low testosterone is nearly 40%.
Q: How can you get a free boost in testosterone?
A: You can do a lot of good for your testosterone levels without spending a dime. Working out more often, particularly at a high-intensity, has been shown to boost testosterone levels (19).
Getting more sleep is another no-cost solution for better testosterone levels, and cleaning up your diet to cut out sugars and processed carbohydrates will help as well (20).
In addition to these basics, we have a whole list of 36 ways you can boost testosterone naturally.
Q: How can you boost your testosterone after 40?
A: In older men, factors like nutrition and physical fitness start to play an increasingly important role in keeping testosterone levels high.
Increase zinc and magnesium intake: deficiencies in basic minerals like zinc and magnesium have been connected to low testosterone levels in older men, and loss of skeletal muscle contributes to these problems as well.
Hit the weights: Exercise boosts testosterone, but intense exercise that activates a lot of muscles, like a full-body lift, is best for boosting androgen levels (21).
Get more sleep. Low testosterone is associated with poor-quality sleep (22).
Q: Which states produce the strongest people?
A: The data team at BodyNutrition.org used ranking data from the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) to find out:
Top 10 Strongest States (Ranked Powerlifters Per 1 Million Residents)
Wyoming – 193.86
Louisiana – 168.67
Alaska – 157.30
Massachusetts – 104.03
Minnesota – 101.40
South Dakota – 100.88
Nebraska – 94.85
Maryland – 88.04
New Hampshire – 86.99
So in terms of ranked powerlifters, Wisconsin takes the top spot, and produces some seriously strong people (maybe it’s all the cheese).
Powerlifting is an increasingly popular sport, especially in the US, rather than focusing on building pure muscle mass like bodybuilders, powerlifters focus on pure strength measured across three core lifts: squat, bench press, and the deadlift. We noted the home state of each ranked powerlifter (over 15,000) and looked at which states were producing the strongest men and women per capita.
Needless to say, powerlifters are very familiar with testosterone and what it can do. Which means they are looking to boost it naturally in just about any way they can.
Related: Our best testosterone booster picks
Boosting your testosterone levels can improve strength and muscle definition, help you shed body fat, and improve your sexual function and energy levels.
Research suggests that a testosterone booster that includes mineral compounds like zinc and magnesium, herbal ingredients like ginger, forskolin, and mucuna pruriens, can make a big difference when it comes to your body’s ability to synthesize and maintain consistently high testosterone levels.
As a result, choosing the right testosterone booster could help you get stronger, leaner, and have a higher libido.