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Testosterone is an essential hormone for both men and women, but its role is more significant in men, who have higher levels.
It contributes to male sexual health and development, fertility, muscle growth, fat loss, and other aspects of health (
Testosterone levels fall in men as they age. There’s also concern about an overall drop in testosterone levels in the United States. Lifestyle habits and health factors appear to play a role (
Various supplements claim to boost testosterone levels, and some people opt to use them in hopes of increasing their levels of this hormone. However, there’s limited research to support their use for this purpose.
The supplements aim either to increase testosterone or related hormones directly, or prevent the body from converting testosterone into estrogen.
Here are 8 of the best testosterone boosting supplements.
D-Aspartic acid is a natural amino acid that can boost low testosterone levels.
Research suggests that it works mainly by increasing levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, the latter of which stimulates Leydig cells in the testes to produce more testosterone (
One study found that taking D-aspartic acid for 12 days may boost the production of luteinizing hormone and testosterone. It may also enhance their transportation around the body (
It may likewise benefit sperm quality and production.
One 90-day study gave D-aspartic acid to men with impaired sperm production. Sperm count doubled, rising from 8.2 million sperm per mL to 16.5 million sperm per mL (4).
In a 2013 study, athletic men with healthy testosterone levels followed a 28-day weight lifting routine. Half of them took 3 grams of D-aspartic acid per day.
All participants reported an increase in strength and muscle mass, but no one in the D-aspartic acid group experienced increased testosterone (
A 2017 study also found that D-aspartic acid raised neither testosterone levels nor resistance training outcomes (
Furthermore, research published in 2020 found that taking 3 grams of D-aspartic acid did not affect testosterone levels in humans, while taking 6 grams appeared to reduce its levels (7).
Overall, research into whether D-aspartic acid can help people with low testosterone or impaired sexual function appears inconclusive.
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D-Aspartic acid may work by stimulating some key testosterone-producing hormones.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body produces upon exposure to sunlight. People with limited exposure to sunlight may have low levels of vitamin D.
In its active form, vitamin D functions as a steroid hormone in the body. Experts say it’s essential for male sexual function (
Increasing vitamin D stores may boost testosterone and improve other related health measures, such as sperm quality (
In another yearlong study, researchers split 65 men into 2 groups, one of which took 3,300 IU of vitamin D daily. The supplement group’s vitamin D levels doubled, and their testosterone levels increased by around 20%, from 10.7 nmol/L to 13.4 nmol/L (
To get more vitamin D, increase your sun exposure. You can also take around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily and eat more vitamin-D-rich foods.
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Vitamin D is an important vitamin that may boost testosterone levels, especially if your vitamin D levels are deficient.
Tribulus terrestris is an herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, and some scientists have been investigating its effects on testosterone levels and sexual health.
Research has found that it can increase testosterone levels in animals, but it does not appear to have the same effect in humans (10).
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Tribulus may help enhance sexual function and libido, but it does not appear to increase testosterone levels.
Fenugreek is another popular herb-based option.
A 2011 study examined how fenugreek affected sexual function and quality of life.
The researchers gave 60 healthy men ages 25–52 either 600 mg of fenugreek or a placebo pill every day for 6 weeks (
The participants reported improvements in strength after taking the fenugreek supplements.
Moreover, authors of a 2020 review concluded that fenugreek extract can enhance testosterone levels (
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Taking 500 mg of fenugreek per day may help boost testosterone and sexual function in men with normal and low testosterone levels.
Ginger is a common household spice that has played a role in alternative medicine for centuries.
In fact, several rodent studies have found that ginger positively affects testosterone levels and sexual function. In one 30-day study, researchers found ginger increased testosterone and luteinizing hormone in rats with diabetes (
In one of the few human studies, 75 men with infertility took a daily ginger supplement. After 3 months, they experienced a 17% increase in testosterone levels, and their levels of luteinizing hormone had nearly doubled (18).
When measuring sperm health, the researchers found several improvements, including a 16% increase in sperm count (18).
More research on how ginger might benefit testosterone is needed. Still, eating ginger is safe, and it may provide numerous other health benefits.
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Ginger may increase testosterone levels and sperm count in men with infertility. Studies investigating its effects in healthy humans are needed.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that’s primarily produced by your adrenal glands.
It helps manage testosterone and estrogen levels. Many people supplement with DHEA, which is an anabolic steroid, to boost testosterone.
While the effects of DHEA on testosterone levels and athletic performance aren’t clear, the use of DHEA is banned in professional sports (25).
As with some of the other supplements, it may benefit those with low DHEA or testosterone levels.
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Although DHEA is one of the most popular testosterone boosters on the market, research on its effects is mixed.
Zinc is an essential mineral that contributes to over 100 chemical processes within your body.
Research has found links between zinc and men’s sexual health, including testosterone levels. The authors of a 2018 review noted that low zinc levels can negatively affect men’s sexual health and fertility (
One study has suggested that men with low testosterone levels and infertility can benefit from taking 220 mg of zinc sulfate twice a day for 1–4 months (27).
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Taking zinc may be effective among people with low zinc or testosterone levels, or those who are currently in stressful training.
One study tested its benefits on sperm quality in men with infertility.
After taking 5 grams per day for 3 months, the participants experienced a 10–22% increase in testosterone levels. In addition, the partners of 14% of the participants became pregnant (
Another study suggested ashwagandha increases exercise performance, strength, and fat loss while boosting testosterone levels (
Currently, it seems likely that ashwagandha could help increase testosterone levels in stressed individuals, possibly by reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
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Research shows ashwagandha may help increase testosterone levels, as well as improve sexual function and body composition.
Testosterone is crucial for many aspects of sexual health and body composition.
A wide range of testosterone-boosting supplements are available, but only a few have significant research to support their use.
Most of these supplements will likely only have noticeable benefits in individuals with fertility issues or low testosterone levels.
Some also appear to benefit competitive athletes or dieters, who often experience significant decreases in testosterone due to restrictive or stressful regimens (
Many supplements may also work for healthy and active individuals, such as weight lifters, but there’s not yet enough evidence to confirm this. In addition, the long-term safety of using most of these supplements has not been established.