Ultimate Guide to Testosterone Supplements (Part 3: 7 Proven Methods)
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Ultimate Guide to Testosterone Supplements
Part 3: 7 Proven Methods
Optimal testosterone levels require optimal levels of key nutrients. In Part 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Testosterone we discussed how to structure your diet and lifestyle to improve your testosterone levels and this is where our Ultimate Guide to Testosterone Supplements continues… because sometimes you need a little leg-up.
Testosterone supplements are exactly that: an opportunity to add to your diet and lifestyle and ensure that you’re hitting optimal levels and giving your body the best chance for success.
We’re going to take you through everything you need to know about supplements for testosterone: which ingredients work, how to maximize your benefits and what separates high-quality supplements from the junk!
Testosterone Supplements: What Works
Everyone knows that the testosterone supplement market is hit and miss and, unless you’re careful, you’ll be sold something that doesn’t work. The culture for a lot of low-quality supplement companies is to rely on exaggerated claims and ridiculous marketing.
However, it’s not fair for this bad reputation to overshadow the legitimately-good products. Supplements have a great role in your diet: they add stuff that you can’t get without eating huge amounts of one thing and they protect you from deficiency in hard-to-find nutrients.
The point of this article isn’t to bash supplements: it’s to give you an idea of what makes a good, effective testosterone booster and how you can spot them. We’re going to talk about what works…
1. Vitamin D
We’ve recently put out a lot of stuff mentioning vitamin D and there’s a good reason: it works! (Especially as a testosterone supplement!) Vitamin D is the most common vitamin deficiency, but it plays a huge role in the way that your body works and it regulates your hormones (1).
To keep it simple, you’re going to miss out on large % of your testosterone potential if you’re deficient in vitamin D. It’s hard to get from food and, while you can develop it in your body, it only happens when exposed to sunlight. If you live in Northern USA, the UK, Canada or Scandinavia, you’ll remember sunshine as being that bright light in the sky that appears every few months between the snow and rain.
In seriousness, you can’t get enough from sunlight. You might be able to do so in a tropical or equatorial climate but then you’re risking skin cancer and other nasty problems. It’s much easier to just take a natural supplement.
You need at least 2000iu a day for the best results (2), so look for supplements like TestoFuel that provide large 5000iu dosages. Especially of D2 or D3 – they’re the most effective for boosting testosterone.
2. ZMA: 3 Key Ingredients
ZMA is a combination of Zinc, Magnesium and B6.
These 3 ingredients are all important to improve your testosterone production and you don’t have to take them all at once, but you should be supplementing them somehow.
Zinc is important for keeping your sex hormones healthy and testosterone is a key part of that benefit. We’ve mentioned before how deficiency in zinc is a real problem – especially for men. Clinical deficiency in zinc can reduce the development of primary and secondary sex characteristics: everything from genital health to muscle building and body hair (3).
Magnesium is one of the most important compounds in the body for the sheer number of things that it does. It’s a universal coenzyme, which is the fancy way of saying that it is involved in hundreds of processes in the body. It boosts testosterone, especially in response to exercise, and blunts the negative effects of stress (4).
B vitamins are all important for your health and wellbeing, but B6 is the most important for testosterone production. It is crucial for energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Crucially, it reduces the production of estrogen and the conversion of testosterone into other hormones.
The point of ZMA is to increase your intake of those 3 essential nutrients. When you’re shopping around for these ingredients, getting them together is a great start and they’re even more effective when combined with vitamin D, which increases the absorption of these compounds (5).
3. Vitamin K
You probably haven’t heard much about vitamin K – maybe you didn’t even know it existed. This is one of the reasons why many people are deficient in this crucial vitamin. The other reason is likely that it is found in leafy greens – the average diet is really missing out on those!
Vitamin K can boost testosterone, but it only has a positive effect on male testosterone levels. This is because it increases your testosterone levels at the source: it boosts the testes’ ability to produce testosterone (6). Easy to see why it only works for men!
The production of testosterone (or any hormone) occurs from the conversion of cholesterols. This is only possible with Vitamin K, so being deficient is an easy way to ruin all your hard work.
Vitamin K is often included in high-quality testosterone boosters. When you’re looking for the best vitamin K supplementation, find a supplement that includes probiotics or vitamin D – both of which are key to absorption and use of vitamin K (7).
4. Herbal Supplements: Forskolin
There are dozens of herbal options on the market – many of them useless.
Tribulus is the most popular testosterone booster but has no scientific benefits, while Ashwaghanda is overrated and unreliable.
The most reliable and effective, Forskolin, has been underrated and under-used.
Forskolin is still in the early stages of research but has great promise as a testosterone booster and even some early evidence of boosting fat loss. If you’re going to use a herbal supplement, this is the place to start.
Forskolin is also prized for its synergy with other common supplements: when combined with caffeine, ephedrine or capsaicin, it’ll have even greater effects (8, §10.1). Supplements combining these ingredients are rare, but we’re expecting Forskolin to make a big appearance in the near future as the science catches up!
5. D-Aspartic Acid
This might be a controversial addition to this list, because studies regarding DAA have been hit and miss. Some of them have shown increases in testosterone, whilst others have shown that these increases are primarily short-term (9).
DAA can directly boost testosterone by increasing production in the testes, but it also boosts the levels of important testosterone signals. It also increases the secretion of other anabolic hormones: GHRH and GnRH which indirectly boost testosterone and growth. After all, you’re not just interested in testosterone – anything that improves results is worth having!
DAA is likely to have much better effects if you’re early in your training career. The processes that break down DAA in the body are stronger in elite athletes, while beginners experience much more positive effects for longer.
When you’re shopping for DAA in supplements, its best to combine it with compounds that also improve testosterone production at the source. Any of the compounds listed above are a great start, but combination with ginseng (that has excellent anti-oxidative action in the testes) is a great 1-2 combo (10).
6. Boosting Testosterone Indirectly
These compounds aren’t going to directly affect your ‘nads or increase your testosterone levels directly. However, they’re effective in mediating and maximising the natural lifestyle factors that improve testosterone.
For example, they might improve your sleep quality, which boosts testosterone production and recovery. They’re a great example of additional substances that promote supraphysiological recovery and boost testosterone as a result.
The beauty of this approach is that it carries a huge variety of secondary benefits like better mental health and power output! Indirect might sound less effective, but in many ways, these are perfect examples of what supplements should do!
We discussed how important sleep is during the previous article on lifestyle factors in producing testosterone. Once you’re getting enough sleep, you can maximize your testosterone production by simply improving sleep quality (11).
Glycine is one of the most interesting examples of this: it improves the restfulness of sleep, reduces fatigue sensations and has mild benefits on mental performance and health.
Similar, more pronounced effects are seen from cholinergic compounds – ones that boost the production of key brain chemicals. Supplements like Choline and alpha-GPC improve the health of your nervous system, with positive effects on sleep quality and even boost growth-hormone (12)!
Sleep is worth serious attention for boosting testosterone, so you should be focusing on doing more and better!
Stress-Busters: Relax to Grow
You need to chill out!
Spending your whole life chasing money, prestige or bigger muscles is going to burn you out.
Stress is a huge part of modern life, but it also suppresses testosterone and reduces your ability to recover properly.
If you’re looking to boost your testosterone levels, learning to relax properly and taking the right supplements to aid recovery is going to be a huge advantage. Green tea is the best example of this kind of supplement and it’s got a history to prove it.
Green tea – and Matcha in particular – contains GABA. This compound has been slightly over-hyped but is great for your health. It is tough to get it into the brain, but it improves your relaxation response and even boosts muscle recovery (13, 14). That’s one of the reasons, as well as the fat burning properties, as to why it’s included in Instant Knockout fat burner.
Especially combined with lifestyle factors like yoga, meditation and introspection, green tea and GABA can combat stress and keep your testosterone levels up (15).
7. Experimental and Uncertain Supplements
There are a bunch of ingredients on the market that we’d call ‘promising’ – they’re compounds that seem to have huge theoretical justification but haven’t been given enough research to say anything for certain. The ones we’re going to discuss fit two basic principles:
- They don’t have any evidence that suggests they’re ineffective or unsafe
- They haven’t been proven to be effective, but have promising early research
This means that you’re probably going to be okay if you supplement and may even improve your results. They’re not certain, but if you’re already getting a good diet and effective supplements, it’s probably worth taking a chance!
Yes, the same one that’s in tea and ginger beer. Supplementing powdered ginger as part of a supplement is a promising way to boost testosterone – plus it has a huge variety of health benefits.
At the very least, it’s going to add some nutrients to your supplement and it might even increase testosterone in the long-term. This is definitely a chance worth taking – supplements that provide ginger are a lot more palatable than eating it raw!
The king of “no harm in trying” compounds, these include a few compounds we’ve already mentioned. You should try a few of the following and see how they make you feel and if you notice any positive results:
A popular herb in traditional Indian herbal medicine (Ayurveda), Ashwaghanda has very little research currently but what does exist suggests some mild boosts in testosterone level and more benefits in general wellbeing.
It won’t put hairs on your chest, but it’s a cheap, easy supplement ingredient that might be useful.
Garlic is a healthy herb to start with, but it’s got some promising results on mechanisms that affect testosterone. Animal studies show really good results (16) but it’s hard to relate these to humans without more evidence.
Garlic is a great addition to your diet anyway; it tastes great and it might boost your T levels. You might need to invest in some chewing gum but eating meals with garlic in is a good insurance to improve your balance of stress hormones to growth hormones!
There’s a lot of conflicting evidence on fenugreek. Some studies say that it can improve testosterone while others disagree. It’s definitely an effective libido-booster, but the important part is that you’re not going to have negative effects and it might work.
Bulbine is one you need to be careful with: it has some profound effects on testosterone levels in animals, but it can also cause damage to the liver. If you’re considering this supplement then be sure to take the right dosage, get regular check-ups and do your research first!
- Long Jack
Long Jack can reduce stress and have a protective effect on the Leydig cells – the ones that produce testosterone. This means that it can improve testicular health and combat cortisol-dominance. Effects on testosterone are pretty hit and miss, but these are great benefits to have anyway!
More of an aphrodisiac than a testosterone booster, Tribulus has some modulating effects on the hormones. Research doesn’t support it as a testosterone booster but it’s widely available in other supplements, increases libido, and doesn’t have any real side-effects.
The research on these is pretty sketchy and often has conflicting results, but if you’re looking to push your limits and have the money to spend – or find supplements that include them with other effective compounds – they’re definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Ultimate Guide to Testosterone Supplements Conclusion
Testosterone is a common goal for many men looking to boost their size and strength, as well as dropping body fat. These are the best choices for ingredients on the market and some of the best supplements combine them for great results.
Testosterone supplements are very hit and miss, so be sure to focus on these major ingredients and avoid anything that makes miracle claims. You can significantly improve your testosterone levels with these compounds – it might not make you a world champion bodybuilder overnight, but it’s going to mean better mental and physical results!
Put your diet first and include these supplements to give yourself the edge you’re looking for.
Where to find the best testosterone supplements?
We’ve taken the hard work and time thoroughly reviewing, testing and inspecting all of the main testosterone booster supplements on the market to save you the time and effort…
Take a look at our top recommended testosterone boosters list to find the very best products available, with the most effective ingredients and dosages that DO NOT use proprietary blends and are safe and completely natural.
I’m in a hurry, which is the best testosterone supplement for me?
The very best we’ve tried and tested has to be TestoFuel.
This all natural testosterone supplement contains many of the proven ingredients listed at the top of this article in the perfect doses to really crank up your body’s natural ability to produce more testosterone.
You can read our full TestoFuel review here.
Buy TestoFuel from: www.testofuel.com
Professional sport/fitness writer at ApexContent.org, weightlifter and S&C enthusiast. Liam has over 5 years experience in coaching positions, learning under the best mentors and sport coaches in Britain. At the same time developed a love for relentlessly researching and writing scientifically backed content in health, fitness and sport performance.
Liam wears many hats, but they’re unified by a love for competition, performance, and engaging writing. You can throw abuse (and questions) his way in the comments and he’ll be happy to help you!