Before you go on and start looking for the best testosterone booster (or as it is coloquially called “test booster”), it’s important to understand what do you expect from the supplement you want to spend your money on. Do you want to grow your muscles and it seems to you that you are not able to do it? Or do you want to improve your sex drive and your symptoms look like a case of low T? Or maybe you want to address specifically weak erections?
These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions, not always or not exclusively caused by low testosterone. Low testosterone in turn can also be a result of a few different biological processes in the body, e.g. a micronutrient defficiency or testosterone aromatization.
Many users are not aware of the complexity of these processes, but expect a simple solution by a single supplement stack. If you check amazon reviews of supplements, you can often read user comments like “didn’t work for me”. Well maybe it did work, but not for the symptoms the very user wanted to alleviate.
Supplement manufacturers answer this uncertainty by creating supplement stacks containing ingredients addressing multiple conditions. E.g. does ginseng raise testosterone levels? Ginseng, which is a root traditionally used to cure erectile dysfunction, seems not to influence testosterone or LH levels. However it is effective against ED by impacting testicular antioxidant levels. So the chance is you’ll find ginseng in some testosterone boosters, helping the users suffering from erectile disfunction who just wanted “a good testosterone booster”. Smarty pants reviewers would probably bash the supplement stack with ginseng, because “ginseng doesn’t elevate testosterone”, so the supplement stack in question “is scam”. Well it isn’t, it just does its job.
What to look for in a test booster?
In the following sections I present some testosterone boosting supplement stacks. Following there is a list of vitamins, micronutrients and supplements for which there is a body of research supporting the claim that they DO raise testosterone. Do you need to include all of them in your supplement stack? No, but you might have to try out a few of them to find the one which works best for you. When buying supplements, if possible use the 100% satisfaction guarantee policy, where you can return the bottle and have the purchase price reimbursed if the supplement stack doesn’t cut it for you.
Supplement stacks are a convenient and cost efficient way of taking multiple micronutrients or supplements in one pill. Testosterone boosting stacks combine usually some of the supplements listed in the next paragraph. Most testosterone boosters include also a few ingredients that do not raise testosterone, but have a beneficial effect on conditions like erectile dysfunction.
Some popular testosterone boosting supplement stacks on the market are:
- Testofuel – contains d-aspartic acid, vitamins D3, B6, and K2, oyster extract, ginseng, fenugreek, magnesium and zinc,
- Prime Male – contains d-aspartic acid, boron, magnesium, zinc, mucuna pruriens, nettle root, ginseng, vitamins B6, D3, and K2,
Micronutrients and compounds
- D-Aspartic Acid
D-Aspartic acid is a clinically tested testosterone booster, effective if the testosterone concentration is below normal. Be careful about the dosage, too much of d-aspartic acid can have adverse effect. Read more about it on the main page of this site.
Creatine is a potent and well researched supplement used commonly by bodybuilders. Research has shown that it also elevates testosterone and DHT levels thus contributing to an improved performance.
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E
An easy way to make sure that the body’s demand for the vitamins is covered is to take a good multivitamine.
Calcium cannot be missing on the list of the test boosters. Being an important macro mineral (a dietary mineral required in large quantities) calcium can be derived from dairy, leafy vegetables or taken as a supplement. Clinical research found that calcium acts as a natural test booster (link). However another recent study (link) found that calcium taken as a supplement also rises the risk of heart attack, when it gets into the bloodstream once a day in a big dash. You need your dose of calcium, but better stick to dairy which seems to be the safe bet.
Magnesium is another micronutrient interacting with testosterone. Testosterone circulating in blood plasma is either bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) or to albumin or is available in free form. The biologically active testosterone is the albumin-bound plus the free fraction. The more testosterone is bound to SHBG, the less is biologically available. The magnesium concentration changes slightly the affinity of testosterone to SHBG (link).
What is interesting, exercising and magnesium supplementation show synergistic effects. In this study the separate and combined effects of magnesium supplementation and exercise have been researched. The results of the study showed that both exercise and magnesium supplementation on their own increase free plasma testosterone and total testosterone levels. The highest increases however were observed in athletes who exercised and took magnesium supplement as well.
There is also a negative correlation between the magnesium concentrations and the metabolic syndrome in older men. This study has shown a strong association between serum magnesium levels and anabolic hormones testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in older man. Low levels of these two hormones are a reliable predictor of metabolic syndrome, diabetes and ultimately mortality in this group.
- ZMA (zinc magnesium and vitamin B6)
ZMA stands for zinc monomethionine aspartate and magnesium aspartate. Zinc and magnesium combined with the vitamin B6 has been outlined as a testosterone rising supplement by Victor Conte. An initial study conducted in 1998 (link) confirmed the effectiveness of ZMA.
Moreover there is a body of research for each of the ZMA ingredients related to testosterone.
- Stinging Nettle Root Extract
Roots of stinging nettle contain polyphenols called lignans. Lignans bind with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) competing with testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (link). Total serum testosterone remains the same, but the bioavailable testosterone levels grow. In this study lignans derived from the nettle root were demonstrated to reduce binding activity of human SHBG.
- Mucuna Pruriens
Forskolin is a compound isolated from the roots of Coleus forskohlii (Plectranthus barbatus). It is (among its many health related benefits) a cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) stimulator. What does cAMP have to do with testosterone? The majority of testosterone in men is
produced in Leydig cells in testicles. Its production is triggered by luteinizing hormone (LH), with cAMP acting as an intracellular
messenger directly exerting LH effects on Leydig cells.
Lab research has demonstrated effectiveness of forskolin.
In this study obese and overweight men have taken twice a day 250mg of 10% forskolin extract. After 12 weeks their body fat
percentage and fat mass dropped significantly. In contrast the serum free and total testosterone levels have increased.
- KSM-66 Ashwagandha
New research results are published every year, so the above list is far from being complete and will be updated respectively.