What are Testosterone Boosters?
Testosterone boosters, are supplements designed to boost natural testosterone levels, or else, improve the bioavailability of testosterone already produced by the body. Unlike prohormones or SARMS, which lead to suppressed natural testosterone production, testosterone boosters will therefore boost natural testosterone levels.
Why Take Testosterone Boosters?
Testosterone levels in the upper regions of 'normal' are associated with increased strength and lean muscle mass. Unfortunately, most people will not be blessed with levels in the upper regions of normal, those that do tending to be athletic types who were already muscular before they think ever hit a gym or else those who naturally gain muscle quickly and recover rapidly. For everyone else, an effective testosterone booster would offer a natural way to get your levels up and therefore drive muscle growth more quickly.
Do Testosterone Boosters Work?
While the effects of testosterone boosters cannot be compared to taking prohormones or SARMS, there is a huge body of evidence showing a range of ingredients are able to boost a person's natural testosterone levels with different ingredients working through different means. Indeed, one should think beyond just boosting total testosterone levels, with some ingredients working to increase the level of bioavailable testosterone, others increasing libido, some showing the ability to increase fertility while yet others are able to lower estrogen levels (which in turn leads to a corresponding increase in testosterone).
With so many ingredients out there what are some of the key ones you should look out for?
What Are The Best Test Booster Ingredients?
1. Brassaiopsis Glomerulata
Brassaiopsis Glomerulata was introduced as a new ingredient in the new Driven Sports testosterone booster, Triazole. During a comparison study, Brassaiopsis Glomerulata was shown to be as powerful as a leading prescription drug with regards to aromatase inhibition. Blood work on this compound has shown significant increases in testosterone, with concomitant reductions in estrogen, making it a very attractive compound to athletes.
Best selling product containing Brassaiopis Glomerulata: Triazole
2. Tribulus Terrestris
This is the plant that kick-started the recent wave of natural testosterone boosters. It first came to prominence in the late 90’s and was based on research conducted in Eastern Europe showing it elevated Luteinizing hormone and testosterone by 72% and 40% respectively.
Unfortunately, the same study showed estradiol levels rising by 81%, and while the increase in testosterone and LH kept these values within normal bounds, the rise in estradiol placed it well beyond normal measurements seen in healthy males. This raises the possibility that the body is up-regulating aromatization to help counter the increased testosterone and LH produced by Tribulus ingestion. This suggests taking the Tribulus with an anti-estrogen such as 6-Bromo may be a good idea.
However, a number of other studies have been unable to replicate the results of the original Tribulus study. There have been criticisms made of many Tribulus products containing insufficient amounts of the potent Tribulus Terrestris extract, as opposed to the raw plant material, as well as most studies being funded by the manufacturer.
Today, Tribulus remains a central ingredient of many testosterone boosting supplements, and many bodybuilders swear to its effectiveness, often citing increased libido while taking Tribulus containing products. It has been suggested this could be related to effects on dopamine rather than testosterone, with increased dopamine being noted to increase libido.
Indeed, animal studies have shown loss of muscular co-ordination in sheep consistent with neurological disease such as Parkinson’s. Although it should not be a concern for bodybuilders using Tribulus for a short period of time, prolonged use is not advised. Dosages used in clinical studies where a positive effect has been shown have ranged between 750mg-1500mg daily. As already stated, it is recommended to take this in combination with an anti-estrogen, and the user should ensure it is with Tribulus Terrestris extract and not just the plant material.
Tribulus Terrestris plant only contains trace amounts of protodioscin (the active steroidal sapogenin responsible for stimulating LH in men), so consuming the whole plant is useless. Tribulus must be standardized for at least 10% protodioscin in order to be effective. Many supplement companies will sell a Tribulus product containing 2% Protodioscin or less so try to ensure when buying Tribulus you only buy a product with a high amount of protodioscin.
Best selling products containing Tribulus: Predator Nutrition Bulgarian Tribulus
Zinc is a trace mineral which like Boron has been advocated for many years as important for boosting testosterone production. There is some research to support this contention. Zinc is an essential factor in the production of testosterone by men, and a deficiency in Zinc has been linked to low testosterone levels. Further research has shown zinc to be beneficial to athletes in preventing the decline in testosterone triggered by exhaustive exercise.
Supplementing with Zinc is therefore something athletes should consider especially if they are unaware of their own zinc status, which is likely. As athletes will deplete their body of minerals and vitamins at a faster rate than the sedentary population, supplemental Zinc can certainly have its place.
However, it should be noted that once optimal Zinc status has been attained, there is no evidence to show that increasing Zinc levels beyond the point at which the deficiency is corrected will do anything to increase testosterone production further. That is, taking Zinc can well allow you to go from low to normal testosterone, but not from normal to high levels. Intakes of 15-30mg should be sufficient to cover athletes’ needs.
Divanil is a lignan found in stinging nettle root with a number of impressive user reports and research to support its utility as a testosterone booster. Divanil can bind to sex hormone binding globulin factor (SHGB) which in turn will lead to an increase in free testosterone - the bioavailable form of testosterone.
Anecdotal feedback from bodybuilders taking either Divanil or Divanil containing products such as Activate Xtreme, suggests it can raise libido, increase aggression and strength, as well as increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat. Dosages vary but most people tend to take this product as part of a formula such as the aforementioned Activate Xtreme.
Best selling products containing Divanil: Activate Xtreme
Icariin is a flavonol derived from epimedium extract, more commonly known as Horny Goat Weed. Icariin has been shown in a number of studies to act as a PDE5 inhibitor, in a similar fashion to impotency drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. This accounts for its presence in many formulas designed to boost sexual drive and performance.
It also has been shown to act as a testosterone mimetic and to boost libido via this route. Given the popularity of supplements featuring it, and the quantity of research behind it, Icariin has become a staple of many bodybuilders supplement programs either as part of a formula or by itself.
Best selling products containing Icariin: Need to build muscle: HCGenerate ES
Forskolin has been postulated to enhance testosterone in the body through its ability to enhance 3,5 cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels. By enhancing cAMP levels, higher luteinizing hormone (LH) levels can lead to higher testosterone levels in users of Forskolin.
The theory is backed up by studies showing the use of Forskolin led to higher testosterone levels, increased lean body mass and lowered body fat in subjects using Forskolin. Forskolin is found in a number of bodybuilding supplements from fat burners to natural muscle builders so those interested in taking this have no lack of option in trying it.
7. Eorycoma Longifolia
Longjack or Tongkat Ali as it is also known, has been studied extensively and long been prescribed as an aphrodisiac in the Far East where it came to prominence. Studies have demonstrated its efficacy in acting as an aphrodisiac several times. There is no peer-reviewed research on this herb on humans to date but anecdotal feedback and its widespread use in the Far East for centuries suggests it does seem to aid in improving sexual vigour and performance, although there is not much, if anything, noted about its effects on athletic performance.
Best selling products containing Eorycoma Longifolia: Activate Xtreme
8. Arachidonic Acid
Arachidonic acid has been around in various forms on the supplement market for a while now and studied extensively for its mooted testosterone enhancing qualities. Numerous animal studies have shown that Arachidonic acid will elevate testosterone, leading to its inclusion in a number of supplements, such as Universal Animal Test.
There is also research showing positive effects of Arachidonic acid on anaerobic capacity in resistance training males. On the downside, Arachidonic acid has also been shown to have a pro-inflammatory effect so users ought to bear this in mind when considering its use. Currently, the US company, Molecular Nutrition, own the patent on this fatty acid but they have licensed its use to a number of supplement companies who have chosen to add Arachidonic acid to their products so there are many options available for those interested in trying this product out.
9. Maca Extract
Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a plant widely used as a herbal tonic in South America, which was said to be fed to Inca warriors before battle to make them ferocious and made them very virile, to such an extent that women had to be protected from them!
Doubtless that story is overblown, and given the fact that these tribes also frequently indulged in the use of cocoa leaf (used to make cocaine), perhaps other factors were more important in this story. Trials conducted in the modern day have shown that Maca can increase libido as well as improve seminal volume in men.
Widely eaten to this day in modern day Peru, Maca has not been shown to increase testosterone levels in any research to date. Indeed, one small trial showed that while it increased libido in most men, it actually decreased testosterone levels in more men than it increased testosterone.
Instead, it is often regarded as a superfood, containing a high level of a number of nutrients which makes it useful as a general food staple. Although Maca cannot hurt, and it is cheap enough, its ability to do more than increase libido is in doubt, hence it is mainly found nowadays in products that promote themselves as sexual enhancers rather than testosterone boosters.
Best selling product with Maca: MAN Sports Delta XT
10. Fadogia Stem Extract
Fadogia is a very new product to the testosterone boosting scene, and there are not that many reports from users on this compound although it has attracted a significant degree of interest. It has proven difficult to source for some time but products containing Fadogia are starting to appear on the bodybuilding supplement market now.
There is some research supporting its ability to increase testosterone levels. However, this research was with Fadogia stem extract NOT Fadogia plant extract, or the Fadogia plant material itself. This is very important, since in the same way Tribulus plant material will do nothing for users, Fadogia stem extract is what is needed to enhance testosterone activity. Users should look for a Fadgoia stem extract with at least 10% active steroidal sapogenins.
Best selling product with Fadogia: Competitive Edge Labs M-Test
Fenugreek is cultivated worldwide and frequently found as an ingredient in curries. It has a long history of being used as a natural testosterone booster, with traditional applications to enhance libido and masculinity.
In addition to many positive reviews, several studies have supported the use of fenugreek to support healthy testosterone levels and improve symptoms related to low testosterone such as low libido. These results aren’t just in elderly, inactive men either. For example, an 8-week study in 49 athletic men found that taking supplements with 500 mg of fenugreek daily slightly increased testosterone levels and significantly improved strength and body fat compared to a placebo group (Poole et al., 2010).
Further studies have noted benefits from mood and energy to libido and sperm count. More research is needed to confirm this, but as a naturally sourced and non-invasive supplement, it’s certainly a great option.
Best selling product with Fenugreek: Universal Animal M-Stak
12. D-Aspartic Acid
D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) is an amino acid that can be used as a testosterone booster by infertile men, or to temporarily increase testosterone in athletes. D-Aspartic Acid has been shown in a twelve day clinical study to elevate testosterone by 42%, increasing luteinizing hormone at the same time.
As such, we expect it will become a standard in many testosterone boosters in the coming years. For now, Predator Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid is the one to go with if you are looking for a product containing D-Aspartic Acid.
Best selling product with DAA: Predator Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid
Commonly known as 6-bromodione in the supplement industry, this is found as either 6-alpha-bromodione, or 6-beta-bromodione. 6 alpha-Bromodione is a suicidal inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme. This can control both estrogen and prolactin levels.
6-Bromo is usually taken to enable the body to increase its levels of testosterone, while at the same time controlling the levels of estrogen. This can be useful following a cycle of a hormonal supplement like a prohormone or a potent SARMs stack, but is sometimes also taken by those who are experiencing symptoms of high estrogen as a standalone.
Essentially, 6 Bromo helps the body reclaim its ability to produce testosterone when a cycle or other factors may have hindered this. 6-Bromo can also have somewhat of an anabolic effect and aid fat loss and body composition by optimising hormone levels.
Best selling product with 6-Bromo: Fusion Supplements 6-Bromo
14. Anacyclus Pyrethrum
Anacyclus pyrethrum, also known as Akarkara, is a herb that enhances vitality and also acts as a brain tonic. One of its most significant benefits is that it has been shown to increase testosterone and luteinizing hormone. There is a good number of studies supporting the benefits of Anacylus as a testosterone boosting herb with some noticeable anabolic effects. The increased weight of sexual organs further supports the evidence that Anacyclus is indeed a herb that possesses androgenic properties and is a worthy substance for every testosterone boosting supplement.
Best selling product with Anacyclus pyrethrum: Fusion supplements Progenadrex
15. Flavozole (7-hydroxy-4-imidazolyl-flavan)
Flavozole is a first-to-market ingredient found in Hydrapharm's Alchemy supplement. Flavozole is a Flavan derivative which acts to prevent the conversion of testosterone into oestradiol. In fact, it is the most potent AI you can find here at Predator Nutrition.
Studies have demonstrated tremendous inhibitory potency (IC50 = 41nm) at human placental aromatase (Pouget et al., 2002), which is a staggering 127x (!) more potent than aminogluthemide (brand name Cytadren) and is also significantly more potent than that old standby, formestane. In effect, we've rendered every other AI obsolete.
Best selling Flavozole product: Hydrapharm Alchemy
16. Dehydroabiatic Acid
Another key ingredient in Alchemy by Hydrapharm, Dehydroabietic Acid is a potent natural AI isolated from the resin of commiphora myrrha. It is less potent than flavozole alone, but they work synergistically in the overall formula to lower estrogen while promoting higher t levels.
Dehdydrobiatic Acid has several benefits beyond this. It reduces inflammation in adipose (fat) tissue and macrophages (Kang et al., 2009) (Kang et al., 2008) which may assist weight loss and help manage the joint pain associated with low oestrogen. It also reduces cortisol (Kang et al., 2008) which can improve body composition while boosting testosterone.
Best selling Dehydroabiatic Acid product: Hydrapharm Alchemy
Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurveda. Ashwagandha is popular to take as an adaptogen for stress management however other purported benefits include being able to naturally boost testosterone. Ashwagandha has been studied extensively on male subjects, with reported benefits including increase sperm quality and increased testosterone in infertile men and men partaking in strength training.
These herbal supplements are a great place to start if you are looking for an introduction to natural testosterone boosting supplements without altering hormone levels like an AI would. Several have gained popularity over the years, including fenugreek extract and ginseng extract, but ashwagandha is one of our favorites for the multiple benefits it has including positive mood changes.
Best selling Ashwagandha product: Predator Nutrition Ashwagandha
Androsta-3 5-diene-7 17-dione, also known as Arimistane, is an aromatase inhibitor. Arimistane is is a metabolite of 7-Keto DHEA and a suicidal inhibitor of estrogen. Blocking estrogen will cause testosterone to increase and can also reduce water storage around stubborn areas.
Arimistane is one of few over the counter AIs, and it can be used in a number of ways. Arimistane is for male use only. It can be used as a standalone, on-cycle or as part of a PCT. One of the popular reasons to take Arimistane, in addition to the boost in testosterone supporting increases in performance and skeletal muscle, is to prevent or control gyno by lowering estrogen. It can also help with stubborn fat loss around trouble areas like 'love handles'.
A 2007 study by Rhole et al. studied the effects of Arimistane on hormone levels. Compared to baseline, free testosterone underwent overall increases of 90% for 300 mg 6-OXO and 84% for 600 mg, respectively (p < 0.05). An 8 week protocol of 300mg or 600mg did not completely inhibit estrogen but resulted in significant increases in free testosterone.
Best selling Arimistane supplement: Fusion Supplements Arimistane Plus
ATD (androstatrienedione) is a powerful inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme which prevents testosterone from being converted into estrogen in the body, resulting in an increase in testosterone. As a suicidal inhibitor, it permanently binds to the aromatase enzyme which means its action continues even after ceasing use. While many natural testosterone boosting ingredients can be used by anyone, we'd recommend AIs only to male athletes.
Best selling ATD product: Fusion Supplements ATD
20. Vitamin D3
Vitamin D, specifically in the D3 form, has so many benefits that it is worth anyone, male or female, making a daily staple. Often nicknamed 'the sunshine vitamin', many of us are unknowingly deficient in Vitamin D due to our lifestyles and where in the world we live, especially during winter months. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, but the best way to ensure you are getting enough is through supplementation. Thankfully, it tends to be very affordable!
In addition to helping bone health, immunity and wellbeing, vitamin D might increase testosterone levels. One 2010 study by Pilz et al found that men taking 3,332 IU of vitamin D increased total testosterone, including bioactive and free testosterone.
Best selling Vitamin D3 product: Predator Nutrition Vitamin D3
What are the Best Testosterone Boosters in 2020?
With so many diverse ingredients touted to boost testosterone, and so many ways to combine them, it's no surprise that there are numerous testosterone boosters on the market in 2020! We will concentrate on examining some of the best current crop of supplements to boost testosterone levels and avoid low t.
From exclusive brand Hydrapharm, Alchemy is our bestselling aromatase inhibitor and testosterone boosting supplements. Alchemy was formulated to inhibit aromatase as strongly as possible, so that estrogen levels decline dramatically and rapidly while supporting a reduction in cortisol and a rise in testosterone. For males who are prone to side effects of high estrogen, there is no better choice than Alchemy. It could even be stacked with a natural test booster such as Driven Sports Activate Xtreme to compliment the effects further.
2. Nolvadren XT
Nolvadren XT by Man Sports, available in both powder and capsule variations, is the ultimate natural hormone optimizing supplement. Nolvadren XT has a 3-in-1 action so that it boosts testosterone naturally and controls both estrogen and cortisol levels, therefore increasing muscle size and decreasing body fat with no estrogen related side effects.
Testolyze is a comprehensive testosterone boosting supplement from Species Nutrition. With a list of fully dosed ingredients from minerals such as zinc and vitamin b6 to natural testosterone boosters such as maca, saw palmetto and tribulus terrrestris, Testolyze can be taken year round to lower estrogen levels and raise your testosterone levels through the roof.
Progenadrex is our top choice if you want to experience the benefits of both increased testosterone and a natural muscle builder. The testosterone boosting properties come largely from Anacyclus pyrethrum Ethanol Extract (5:1) which works to increase the synthesis of testosterone. Other ingredients including laxogenin and creatine HCL increase protein synthesis whilst decreasing protein breakdown and promote gains in strength and power. If you are looking for an all-in-one, great value recomping supplement that doesn't require any PCT, this is it!
Worst Testosterone Booster Brands
Now that we've told you about the best... let's discuss the rest. There are endless ways to formulate a testosterone booster, and the list of ingredients we've covered is by no means exhaustive. There are however plently of ingredients that have never been proven in recent literature to support male health at all, or great ingredients that are often added at pitiful doses to save the brand money.
Products we'd avoid include ones like TestoFuel which is, at best, an underdosed vitamin and mineral supplement. Save your money and buy a simple ZMA with a clinically dosed amount of zinc and magnesium (we'd want about 3x that in a serving of this supplement). Prime Male and Testogen are another two we'd stay clear on. These focus on bold claims and powerful marketing... that they fail to back up with what's included in each capsule!
Before giving your hard earned money to one of these gimicky brands, take a few minute to research the proper dose of each key ingredient, check unbiased reviews and make sure it is being sold by a reputable supplement retailer.