We already know that testosterone is the main hormone that is responsible for the development of primary male sexual and physical characteristics such as muscle and bone mass, deepened voice, strength gains, and sex drive.
However, we also know that testosterone’s role is immense – it also impacts mental qualities such as mood and memory, as well as other anabolic qualities such as bone density, athletic endurance, stamina, and performance.
That said, what should you do if you want to gain more testosterone – and in effect, gain more of its benefits?
Well, if you’ve been to a sporting event, watched one, read about it, or listened to it anytime in the past decade or so, you will have known about several supplement manufacturers wanting to sell you a product that says it will increase your testosterone production the natural way.
Just to be absolutely and unequivocally clear, this isn’t testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that we are talking about here. TRT is a treatment that is based on giving men with low T a prescription-based course of treatment in a clinical setting.
Rather, we are discussing the dietary supplements that have become popular choices for men who simply want to increase their T levels from “sorta low” to “sorta high” and see how it can positively impact their performance at the gym, in front of the mirror, and in the sack.
This leads us to the most important question: do testosterone pills work? Let’s go on a deep dive to find out.
What do testosterone supplements do for you?
There are plenty of things that improve with age – there’s cheese, single-malt whiskey, and Sean Connery.
On the other hand, your body and your physical, mental, and sexual health do not. You’ll have noticed this once you hit your 30s – you’ll start to see that there’s something amiss with your strength, drive, and muscle mass…and things will only continue to get worse from here on out.
Testosterone is to blame here. Once men hit age 30, the great majority of men start their descent into hormonal decline. It can be a little, and it can be drastic – it all depends on certain physical, sexual, health, and genetic factors.
Testosterone boosters are a category of herbal supplements that are developed to naturally increase your T levels. They generally contain micronutrients that men find themselves deficient in, such as zinc. They can also contain adaptogens, which are ingredients that are thought to improve the body’s reaction to everyday stress, or ingredients that are thought to improve sleep quality.
As you may already know by now, sleep deprivation has been linked to a reduction in testosterone levels for otherwise healthy young men, and is also a hallmark symptom of low T.
Testosterone supplements may work by increasing testosterone within a particular, average range, or by otherwise providing indirect hormonal support.
The end goal for all testosterone boosters is to provide the benefits of what healthy T levels may provide: improved recovery from strenuous physical activity, stronger, bigger muscles, improved sex drive, and better all-around performance, just to mention a few.
Are testosterone supplements safe?
Just as fat burners and pre-workouts before them, testosterone supplements haven’t always enjoyed a trustworthy reputation.
One glance at the testosterone booster section of a health food or supplement shop, and you’ll find several products that appear like they could have used more product design, or products that literally have no information on their labels.
That says nothing about their safety, however – all that means is that you should take control of your own best interests and take the research into your own hands.
All you need to do is read verified customer reviews, find a testosterone supplement from a trustworthy supplement manufacturer, and take it as prescribed, ideally with supervision from your doctor.
Don’t expect testosterone supplements, or any supplement for that matter, to be the magic pill that instantly solves your health concerns – doing so will only set you up for disappointment.
The fact of the matter is that your dietary and exercise habits play a larger role in increasing your testosterone levels than what you know. And, if you want to get the most out of your journey, you’ll want to leverage the benefits of taking a testosterone pill with exercise and the right diet instead of thinking that taking it will be enough.
If you’re totally sedentary, or if you’re completely exhausted from overtraining, you won’t be able to do much for your testosterone levels. Eating right and getting the appropriate servings of dietary fat and cholesterol are prerequisites for healthy T levels and overall health.
Don’t handicap yourself from the get-go – give your testosterone supplement the best chance it can to make a difference.
Can testosterone supplements help you build muscle mass?
To cut a long story short, yes, they absolutely can.
However, a poor diet and a lackluster training regimen can severely decrease the effectiveness of your chosen supplement. Improving these aspects will go a long way in helping your testosterone supplement help you achieve your goals.
With regard to a good training program, a protein-rich diet can play a big role in testosterone and muscled development thanks to the presence of essential amino acids that promote protein synthesis to amplify the effect of testosterone on overall performance.
That said, before even taking a single pill of your chosen testosterone booster, be sure that you’ve set yourself up in the best way possible by following a regular exercise regimen that is designed to give you the best gains, and the right amount of protein and calorie consumption tailored to your weight, health goals, and level of activity.
What are some of the ingredients to look for in a testosterone supplement?
There are more testosterone-boosting ingredients than you can shake a stick at. Getting the best result is tied to knowing which ingredients are scientifically proven to aid the production of testosterone. Here are some of the ingredients we think should keep your testosterone levels within the normal range.
Fenugreek is a herb produced in India that has been traditionally used in food preparations, but now is making waves for its T-boosting properties. Fenugreek has been shown to significantly increase strength over time with proper training and supplementation. It is suggested that fenugreek helps you power through plateaus and continue to increase strength and lean muscle mass.
Zinc and/or Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA)
ZMA is an amalgamation of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6 which is a common ingredient in many supplements, including dietary supplements, sleep support supplements, and testosterone boosters. ZMA helps the body recover by promoting REM sleep and muscular strength. An ingredient that helps you sleep much better and helps you get stronger? Sign us up.
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in the Ayurvedic medicinal tradition (traditional Indian medicine), and is yet another adaptogen that helps the body manage and adapt to its stressors. It also reduces cortisol, fatigue, and anxiety levels, with a potential testosterone boosting effect, albeit with limited research as yet to support this claim.
D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA)
This is an amino acid that is found in the Leydig cells that are located in the testicles, which serves as an intermediary between your central nervous system and Leydig cells to turn cholesterol into testosterone. It is also thought to improve reactions to sexual stimuli by improving the messaging connections between the brain and the testicles.
Longjack (Tongkat Ali)
Longjack contains potent PDE-5 inhibitor properties that can help not just improve your sexual performance, but also your erection size.
These are just a sample of the ingredients we think can help you improve your testosterone levels. But don’t take our word for it – as always, you have to take it upon yourself to find out what ingredients are in your chosen supplement and do your research to see if they match your health goals.
How can I maximize the effect of a testosterone booster with exercise?
Testosterone boosters can serve as an effective tool to help increase muscle size, strength, and stamina, but it can never be a total replacement for a well-designed resistance training regimen. Regular strength training has already been proven to have the potential to boost your T levels, and should be part and parcel of any man’s strategy to increase T.
Starting your workout with the compound lifts, then progressing to isolation movements leads to a better anabolic response. The same is true for shortening your workout without sacrificing volume. T levels are higher when doing shorter workouts, so this is a strategy you can also include.
Lastly, use a wide array of lifting methods (such as drop sets and forced reps) so your body is constantly figuring out a way how to fire on all cylinders. Going beyond failure has been suggested to boost T levels.
Exhausting yourself on every set is not a good idea at all, but the idea we’re suggesting is to go all out on the final set of an isolation exercise – which can increase your T over time.
Testosterone boosters can and do work – all it takes is proper research, sticking to a well-designed weight training program, and eating right. Most importantly, you have to have the right mindset and expectations before taking a testosterone supplement.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so is crafting your dream body. Get stuck in, do the work, and be consistent – these are the qualities that will position you and your testosterone supplement journey for long-term gains and success.