8 Testosterone Boosters that Actually Work to Increase T-Levels Naturally

The questions I get asked most often are all related to supplementation. Most of the time these are new readers of AM, who have recently started taking interest in natural hormone optimization, and now they are looking for that best testosterone booster to try.

And when I reply to them, they’re often surprised that the recommendation isn’t some big bodybuilding supplement brand’s flagship T-booster with dozens of different herbs jammed into these tiny capsules…

…Instead, I’m recommending high-quality vitamins and minerals, only few specific herbal extracts, some key amino-acids, and maybe a good probiotic to top it all of.

Here’s why don’t I tell people to go buy one of those branded T-boosters from their local GNC shelf:

  • The people who formulate these supplements often have no idea what they’re adding into their products and what is the actual scientific research behind the compounds.
  • Majority of the companies use 5-15 different ingredients jammed into awfully tiny little capsules. That is absurd, no wonder they need to hide behind propietary blends.
  • Almost all of the big brand test boosters I’ve seen have one or multiple ingredients that are proven NOT to increase androgens (tribulus, chrysin, maca, elk antler, DAA, etc).
  • The marketing surrounding these testosterone boosters is disgusting at best, as they try to create the illusion that their testosterone booster would be comparable to anabolic steroids or TRT.

Fact is that you can get much more bang for your buck, and actually something that is scientifically proven to work, by focusing on few key compounds (mostly micronutrients) and forgetting all of those “testosterone boosters” with their false claims. And always remember, true hormonal health does not come readily out of a supplement bottle, instead, it’s a manifestation of supreme overall men’s health that is a combination of proper nutrition, proper lifestyle factors, proper training methods, and reasonable supplementation with just a handful of proven compounds.

In this article, you’ll learn about the 8 best testosterone booster compounds that are all well-proven by scientific research:

1. Thorne Research: Basic Nutrients Multivitamin

best testosterone booster is a multivitamin supplement like thisI’ve said it many times and I will say it again;

The best testosterone booster there is, is a high-quality multivitamin that consists of all the key micronutrients in the most bio-available forms and at clinically effective dosages.

Before you start trying different herbs or whatever other T-boosters you might think of, you need to make sure that you are actually giving your body all the necessary micronutrient co-factors for it to produce adequate amounts of testosterone. This is best done by eating a wholesome nutritious T-boosting diet and supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin supplement.

Now, for me, there was always some problems with buying multivitamin;

  • Only few of them actually had all the key test boosting micronutrients.
  • Only few of them had these micronutrients in the most bio-available forms.
  • Most of the “good ones” had added compounds that would suppress male hormones.
  • I didn’t want to spend +100$ per month to make sure I get all the key micronutrients.

After more than 3 years of research and trying different supplements, I finally found one that I can confidently say is the best multivitamin/mineral for men’s health and testosterone production; the best androgen boosting supplement there is…

Thorne Research: Basic Nutrients 2/Day Complete Multivitamin/Mineral Formula (affiliate link).

There are just so many benefits to this multivitamin compared to its competitors. Including the fact that it has a good dose of vitamin A that also includes the active palmitate form, all the necessary B-vitamins are in it with optimal dosages and they are fully methylated for absorption, there’s effective dosages of both vitamin K1 and the crucially important K2, all the minerals are amino-acid chelated for superior absorption and bio-availibity, it’s free of iron (which in excess is harmful for androgens and overall health), and the best part, this multi is completely free from allergens, soy, colorings, sweeteners, binders, stearates, etc, and it’s made in the best rated supplement factory in USA that represents the highest quality standards in supplement producing.

Oh, right, and I almost forgot the actual research on why maintaining optimal vitamin and minerals levels in the body is crucial for male hormone production…

…Here’s a short rundown from my previous article about vitamins and minerals:

NOTE: The only downfall of of the 2/Day Multivitamin, is the fact that it does not have that high amounts of calcium, vitamin E, and magnesium. This is the same thing that happens with every other multi-nutrient supplement, as there simply isn’t large enough capsules to fit EVERYTHING into them, even when you take two caps per day. Don’t worry though, I will introduce few solutions to these missing nutrients below.

2. Calcium Carbonate

calcium is a testostetrone supplements for menLike I said above, the 2/Day multivitamin lacks few micronutrients, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there simply isn’t room for stuff like calcium which takes 1-2 grams at optimal dose.

This is why – a diet rich in dairy products – and possibly a quality calcium supplement come handy. As it just happens, calcium is one of the most important minerals for the human body, and it’s essential for testosterone production and optimal cellular function.

The primary reason all men should maintain optimal calcium levels has to do with how our cells work. We need a balance of sodium and calcium to keep the outer layer of the cell stable and protected by what is called an “ion wall” or “ion gradient”. When the intake of intracellular minerals (potassium and magnesium) and extracellular minerals (calcium and sodium) is optimal, every cell of the body works so much better by maintaining a strong ion charge that defines the natural boundary of what stays out of the cell and what goes into it.

Magnesium and potassium are mainly intracellular ions, sodium and calcium are mainly extracellular ions. When cells are excited, stressed, or de-energized, they lose magnesium and potassium, and take up sodium and calcium. The mitochondria can bind a certain amount of calcium during stress, but accumulating calcium can reach a point at which it inactivates the mitochondria, forcing cells to increase their inefficient glycolytic energy production, producing an excess of lactic acid. Abnormal calcification begins in the mitochondria.Raymond Peat, PhD

When it comes to the production of the “big T”, there’s only a handful of studies conducted so far, but they all seem to suggest that calcium has a key role in the production of testosterone, and obviously, in the hormones interactions with the cells and receptors.

So why the carbonate form you ask?

That is simply because calcium carbonate is closest to the natural type we get by eating foods rich in the mineral. In fact, the supplement I recommend is made by crushing oyster shells (affiliate link). You could also make your own by crushing egg shells too, which is also a rich source of natural calcium carbonate. For testosterone booster purposes, aim for 1-2 grams of calcium per day.

3. Magnesium Glycinate

magnesium is a great testosterone raising natural supplementThe second micronutrient that I would add to the side of the 2/Day multi would be magnesium glycinate.

Sure, Thorne’s multivitamin supplement lacks magnesium, but as is just like with calcium, this is purposeful due to the fact that the manufacturers would have to compromise by reducing the other micronutrients by jamming magnesium into the caps (which is also needed at fairly high dosage to reach optimal levels).

The reasons why every man who cares about their male hormone levels and overall health should be upping their magnesium intake are obvious.

Magnesium is one of the main two minerals within our cells (with potassium being the other one), and is a key co-factor for over 300 bodily functions. We need magnesium for maintaining natural fluid balance, providing energy to the cells (via ATP), to activate creatine, for natural sleep, and to increase the amount of bio-active (free) test.

Now, I knew the latter part would be of interest to you. Magnesium is excellent for raising the levels of free-test, aka. the bio-active portion of the testosterone in our blood streams.

How? Here’s some research about that:

For most men, the extra magnesium – preferably from foods or high-quality magnesium glycinate supplement (affiliate link) – is highly recommended. As in a study sample consisting of 5708 subjects, it was seen that up to 70% didn’t meet the RDA of magnesium and 19% were consuming less than half of the recommended amount.

4. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols)

vitamin e supplementThe 2/Day Multivitamin that we looked into has some vitamin E, and it’s from good source too…

…But, for testosterone booster purposes, depending on your body fat levels, and depending on your intake of polyunsaturated fatty-acids, mega-dosing with vitamin E can actually be a really effective method of improving health and balancing several key hormones.

First of all, vitamin E is a potent estrogen blocker, suppressing the aromatase enzyme that converts T to E2 and serving as an antagonist to the estrogen receptors. This is excellent news for most men and their testosterone production.

And as if that wasn’t enough, vitamin E is protective against prostate problems, without negatively affecting 5-a reductase or DHT levels (which is what happens with most prostate supplements such as saw palmetto, lycopene, or fenugreek, resulting in reduced libido due to the fact that DHT is vitally important for sexual performance and masculinity).

And lastly – vitamin E – due to its antioxidative effects, is able to reduce the harm caused by polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) in the diet. As you might know by our previous articles, diets high in PUFA have been extensively studied for their effect in reducing both testosterone and DHT levels, while they also eventually lead to problems with thyroid hormone production

…This all happens because polyunsaturated fatty-acids have long chains of carbon-carbon bonds that are extremely unstable and sensitive to the damage caused by heat and oxygen (both of which the body has a surplus of). This process of PUFA oxidation is called lipid peroxidation and it creates free radicals in the body, which result in oxidative damage to the cells.

The best way to avoid this is obviously by limiting your intake of PUFAs, and switching them to more stable – testosterone friendly – fats (saturated and monounsaturated), but this isn’t always enough, since if you have gained fat pounds on a diet high in PUFAs, the stored fat is then PUFA and is – unfortunately – prone to lipid peroxidation as well. Furthermore, many people have hard time limiting their PUFA intake, especially since the modern day food processing favors the cheapest vegetable oils, which are extremely high in PUFAs.

One of the few things that helps mitigate the hormonal damage caused by PUFA; is vitamin E, as it has been shown to prevent lipid peroxidation and keep the polyunsaturated fatty-acids from forming free-radicals in the body (study, study, study). This is a very important, but drastically overlooked part of health and hormonal optimization.

What I personally use and recommend is mixed tocopherols so that you reach vitamin E intake of 1000-2000IU. The brand that I have found to be the purest and highest-quality on the market is The Ultimate-E from Thorne Research (affiliate link).

NOTE: Remember that since vitamin E is fat-soluble, you should consume the capsules with a small amount of dietary fat for optimal absorption. Additionally, if you want to use the supplements in a fasted state, you can cut the capsules open and rub the contents into skin for topical absorption.

5. Mucuna Pruriens

mucuna pruriens testosterone boostersMucuna pruriens (velvet bean) is a vine herb that produces these beans commonly ground up and used for medicinal purposes in the Indian herbal medicine; Ayurveda.

Western medicine has slowly started using the extracted compounds from this herb too, as they have discovered that one of the key compounds in it is highly effective as a treatment option for Parkinson’s disease.

Coincidentally, this same compound is also the likely culprit in why mucuna pruriens is a potent androgen enhancer. It contains fairly high amounts of this thing called L-Dopa (levodopa), which is a precursor to the brain neurotransmitter/hormone; dopamine. Another application of mucuna pruriens for health benefits is in the herbs high content of antioxidants (which likely contribute to the hormonal effects too).

So, let’s dig into some of the research on this test supplement;

There are some other benefits to mucuna supplementation too, such as the fact that it serves as co-activator protein to the androgen receptors and lowers cortisol levels, but I talk about those more in detail in my bigger Mucuna article.

When purchasing M.Pruriens supplements for testosterone booster purposes, use a dosage of 200-600 mg/day of water-extract with standardized amounts of L-Dopa (affiliate link).

6. Forskolin

Forskolin is a testosterone boosterForskolin is a diterpene extracted from an Indian herb called Coleus Forskohlii.

This supplement became extremely popular after the notoriously inaccurate and scammy Dr. Oz claimed in his TV-show that the herb, as it’s known to increase cyclic adenosine monopohosphate (cAMP) levels – would be a magic pill for shedding fat and getting lean.

Although forskolin does significantly increase cAMP levels, and this can slightly increase lipolysis (the breakdown of bodily fats), let me assure you that the effect on weight loss is miniscule at best, and in no way shape or form would deserve the name “magic fat loss miracle” which is what Dr. Oz proclaims it to be.

Anyhow. Fat loss and Dr. Oz aside. There is actually some really cool research about forskolin’s use as a natural cAMP and androgen receptor activator.

After the crazy TV doctor made his wild claims on national television, the market has been absolutely flooded with forskolin supplements, which is why one should always be cautious about the sellers, and choose one that has 3rd party testing to prove that their product actually contains a standardized amount of the actual forskolin extract…

…I have personally always used forskolin products from Cardiovascular Research LTD (affiliate link).

7. KSM-66 Ashwagandha

ashwagandha is awesome testosterone supplement that works naturally and safelyThe name “ashwagandha” loosely translates to “the smell of horse”.

It was believed in some Indian herbal shaman type of circles that consuming ashwagandha (as they traditionally do by boiling the roots in milk and honey) would give the consumer the power and performance of a – well – horse.

It’s stories like this that make the herb sound like the biggest pile of BS snake oil ever documented, but don’t just run away yet, there is actual scientific research behind the herb, so much so that even though it’s called “the smell of horse” you might still want to give this one a try.

The class of substances that ashwagandha is often categorized into, is called “adaptogens“. These are compounds identified and named by Russian researchers to label substances that have proven adaptogenic effects (ie. balancing of hormones, reduction of stress, helping the body regain homeostasis).

And the reason why I like to call ashwagandha a testosterone booster, can be found in these many studies I lazily copied from my older article;

a) Since ashwagandha is an adaptogen, it should reduce stress, anxiety, and balance stress hormones (mainly cortisol). To my surprise, ashwagandha is actually well-proven to do all of those, while also improving subjective well-being. Take this well-done double-blind placebo study for example, where 300mg’s of KSM-66ashwagandha given to human subjects for 60 days, was able to slash cortisol levels by 27%, while also greatly reducing anxiety and mental-stress in the test subjects. Another study with KSM-66 noted 14% reductions in cortisol, while in one study which used 5g of the root powder, up to 32% reductions in cortisol were noted in subject males who suffered from stress-related infertility. Multiple animal studies have come to same conclusions: ashwagandha supplementation consistently reduces cortisol levels and improves many stress-related symptoms.

b) When it comes to general-health benefits, there are many. For instance, ashwagandha can greatly improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation, reducing the amount of serum triglycerides, increasing the “good” HDL-cholesterol (~17%), and reducing the “bad” LDL-cholesterol (~9%). In one human study, ashwagandha was able to increase serum T-cell count, and killer-cell count, suggesting that it can boost immunity. At 250-500mg/day KSM-66 extract has also been shown to increase hemoglobin levels, which might be one of the reasons why ashwagandha constantly outperforms placebo-pills in studies examining power-output and anaerobic exercise capacity. One of the more recent studies published this year (non-sponsored, double-blind, placebo, peer-reviewed, aka. highly reliable kind) found out that 600mg/day of KSM-66 ashwagandga significantly increased muscle strength and recovery in 57 young male subjects.

c) So ashwagandha is in fact a pretty solid adaptogen, with a wide variety of benefits that have been proven in human studies, what could be better? Maybe the fact that there’s also solid evidence of the herb also increasing testosterone levels (actually that’s not a surprise, considering the fact that ashwagandha improves sleep quality, reduces cortisol, increases HDL-cholesterol, and reduces inflammation, all of which promote healthy androgen production). Two human studies with infertile subjects (study, study) both using 5g/day of the basic root powder for 90 days, noted significant increases in total-T (~40% and ~16% on infertile subjects and 15% in healthy subjects) with significantly improved sperm quality. One study with infertile men as subjects (this time with 675mg/day of KSM-66 for three months) showed a ~17% boost in T, with a ~36% increase in luteinizing hormone (LH), suggesting that ashwagandha stimulates test production at brain level. Prior to 2015 there was no studies on healthy men that would show increases in testosterone, however, the study with 57 young and healthy male subjects as described in the paragraph above (using KSM-66 extract), showed a significant ~15% increase in testosterone levels (average rise from 630 ng/dL to 726 ng/dL, which is a lot from a single herb if you ask me).

Although some beneficial effects have been seen with pure root powder versions of ashwagandha, I prefer the KSM-66 due to the fact that it’s water-extracted to have much higher number of the bioactive withanolides, which are behind the majority of the testosterone supplements benefits. I’m currently using this brand (affiliate link), but any brand with actual KSM-66 should suffice.

8. Truth Nutraceuticals: Testro-X

testro x best testosterone supplement for menI really am not a big fan of the multi-ingredient test enhancement supplements commonly sold. With one major exeption; Testro-X.

I may be biased here, since I was involved in the formulation of this supplement, but honestly, let me just tell you that this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill average testosterone booster with unproven herbs jammed to small capsules.

In fact, Testro-X was designed to be the first testosterone booster with ONLY proven ingredients and in optimal – clinically proven – dosages.

We also made sure that the ingredients in it would nicely compliment the use of quality multivitamin, since we already knew that most of the customers would know the importance of micronutrients, and already take some form of multivitamin on a daily basis.

So after long time of researching we came up with this formula;

  • Magnesium citrate – 150mg
  • Zinc gluconate – 15mg
  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha – 400mg
  • Forskolin – 250mg
  • Boron – 10mg
  • Bioperine® (for absorption) – 10mg
  • LH-surge blend (200mg inositol, 200mg glycine, 100mg theanine)

You can read all about the research behind these compounds and their positive hormonal interactions from this article.

Like said, I may be biased, but Testro-X (affiliate link) combined with a quality multivitamin, is hands-down the best multi-ingredient male hormone booster there is, and that is the unbiased truth.

Conclusion on Androgen Boosting Supplements

Well, that was a long article to write, but I didn’t want it to be just like those hundreds of others bro-science “best testosterone booster of 2017” articles, so hopefully you got some actual information out of it.

Would there be any other supplements to consider for testosterone optimization? Maybe, some aromatase inhibitor for example would be good choice to make sure that the increased testosterone won’t convert into estrogen, as would be carnitine, which boosts the uptake of androgens into the receptor sites.

Anyways, if you made it so far. Thank you for reading and hope this article serves you well the next time you look into buying testosterone boosters.


8 Testosterone Boosters that Actually Work to Increase T-Levels Naturally was last modified: February 20th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala
Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
Ali Kuoppala
  • JP

    Great article.

    Been on TRT for a year due to really low T, and it has made me able to make some real improvements in multiple facets of my life.

    I wonder if you could share your thoughts on what supplements, besides a multivitamin, that you would recommend for guys on TRT? The AI keeps the estrogen in check and the HCG keeps my natural production of LH and FSH alive, but would it be worth it to take things like Mucuna and Ashwagandha if my natural test production is being suppressed?

    Thanks so much!

    • I’d say it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take Mucuna or Ashwagandha, although they will not be comparable to HCG in terms of potency (which you probably knew already).

      The main thing is obviously maintaining optimal micronutrient balance, and since you have some the exogenous T in your system, you could probably benefit from carnitine to help your body utilize the hormone better.

      It’s good that you’re keeping the LH and FSH up, as the long-term suppression of LH is the key reason why TRT can be unhealthy (due to the fact that the testicular leydig cells can get permanently damaged if they don’t receive the signals from LH regularly).

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3197648

    • Suhail Khan

      Can i mail personally to mrjp

  • Mitt

    Awesome article. I have been a AM reader for a quite some time now and I have witnessed gradual improvement of quality of this blog. But this site was simply a gold mine of valueable information since very beginning though.
    Thanks a lot Ali, and never stop posting new content!

  • Alex

    What’s up with the niacinamide in the picture? Does it have testosterone boosting benefits as well, and how (much) would you use it?

    • Niacinamide is beneficial for the enzymatic reactions necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, testosterone, and especially DHT.

      I talk a little about it in this article:

      https://www.anabolicmen.com/dht-supplements/

      Dr. Ray Peat also has some good articles that mention the many benefits of niacinamide, so check them out if you’d like to know more.

      • Alex

        Thank you very much.

        How much (mg/g) of the niacinamide one should / can take per day in your opinion?
        And I think Ray Peat is suggesting to split up the dosage over the day, for example 3-4x 250mg!? Would you agree with that?

  • Alex

    And I can’t get your product Testro-X here in Europe, so would you recommend me to get all the other 7 mentioned supps and stack them together, to have a good natural T boosting stack?

    • Hello Alex,

      I have the same problem as you. Even though I was involved in the formulation of the supplement, I have never been able to use it since the Finnish customs sent it back to US (probably since forskolin is a “medical substance” here, but I never received a full explanation).

      I would recommend all the other 7 supplements from this article, I personally use them and think that they’re very important for testosterone optimization, especially the micronutrients.

      • Sajid Badmash

        Does it ship to Asia ( srilanka ) ?

  • Lenny

    If I am a 21 year old powerlifter who probably doesnt have any low T problems but is simply trying to maximize my testosterone in the healthiest, most natural way, do you still recommend Testro-x, Ali? I’ve never taken a test booster but I have been recently been getting interested and reading articles on anabolic men has made me realize how important hormone optimization is for my physical performance. Are there any negative effects of taking a herbal test-booster at a somewhat young age.

  • Magnus

    Hi Ali,

    Love the content! But a bit bummed that all the “recommended” product links are from the US amazon. Was wondering if there was any chance you could give some EU alternatives (DE/UK amazon), since your from finland afterall?

    Regards
    Magnus

  • Gary

    This website is great and has helped me a lot. Thanks Ali!
    I also want to give my view on things too. I don’t think age is the biggest factor in men’s testosterone lowering over time. I wonder if men’s testosterone levels slowly drop after 30 because we become less active with age? Most guys over 30 start to have a family, work longer hours to support them, eat less healthy, there is less time to go to the gym or exercise and there tends to be more stress & worry when you have a family of your own. I think if older men became more active and lived healthier with less stress maybe we could have naturally high test levels over age 50 similar to a younger man? Anyone else agree with all that?

    • Richard Swartz

      I don’t agree completely only because of the human body’s actual aging process. Things break down as we get older. So there will be a natural decline as we age but I do think the rate could be slowed down if individuals ate better, exercised more, and worked on meditative/distressing techniques to keep the body functioning at a more optimal level for a longer period of time.

  • Matt

    How many capsules are you taking that multivitamin in a day?

  • Charles D Neeley

    So you would recommend the multi vitamin and the testro x

  • Delvin J. Treminio W.

    hi, thank you for the great post. could you please provide us with the standar doze of these supplement? 1 capsule of each of them per day? thank you..