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Do Testosterone Boosters Work? (Science-Based)

David Dack
Published by David Dack
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: March 24, 2022

Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep are all usually enough for a healthy individual to keep their blood testosterone levels appropriately high for their age.

But, as I’ve seen time and again in my fitness training practice, many people still need testosterone boosters to keep their T-levels in check and preserve muscle building and various other health benefits that come with it.

There are countless products on the T-boosting supplement landscape, but I found that many of my clients came short after several months of use, and they regularly complain to me and often come for advice.

I spent months researching this subject so I can help my clients make better and more informed decisions, and in this article, I lay down the results of my research and an answer to the question: do any testosterone boosters really work?

Quick Summary

  • Efficacy of testosterone boosters depends on the quality and the selection of ingredients.
  • Testosterone levels affect many areas of men’s health and well-being.
  • There are many benefits to using testosterone boosters.

What Are Testosterone Boosters and How Do They Work?

stack of capsules and syringe

Testosterone boosters are any synthetic or natural substance that increases testosterone levels.  There are several options to consider when looking to raise your testosterone level, including:

Testosterone replacement therapy in the form of:

  • Injectable testosterone
  • Medicated patches
  • Oral capsules

Testosterone boosting supplements containing:

Factors That Affect Testosterone Levels

man upset and another man showing belly

First, let’s look at what is considered normal testosterone levels. Generally accepted “normal” levels are in the range of 300-100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Anything less than 300 ng/dL is considered low testosterone or male hypogonadism [3].

In a healthy aging male, it is natural for the testosterone level in his body to decrease, usually at a rate of 1-2% per year [4].

Other factors that can lead to testosterone deficiency are:

  • Injury
  • Acute and Chronic Illnesses
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Alcohol abuse
  • HIV/AIDS

Effects of Low Testosterone

These are some of the symptoms of low testosterone levels; they can be age-dependent and vary in severity:

  • Decrease in body hair
  • Low luteinizing hormone (LH)
  • Depression
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Irritability
  • Decreased bone density
  • Lack of muscle growth
  • Fatigue

As you can see from the list, the effects of low testosterone are not simply limited to a man’s sexuality but encompass his entire well-being, physically and emotionally [5].

“If you have confirmed low levels, and your sexual symptoms are bothersome enough to need treatment, it's reasonable to start testosterone.” -Dr. Victor Adlin, endocrinologist

Pros and Cons of Testosterone Boosters

You cannot underestimate the importance of natural ways of increasing testosterone like reducing stress, getting plenty of rest, exercising, specifically high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and eating healthy. When these aren’t working, you have a couple of options to boost testosterone.

Seeking a doctor’s advice, diagnosis, or treatment is essential before taking any course of action. Usually, a doctor will order a blood test to determine your T levels and use this information to advise you on the next steps.

Testosterone Treatment

man with syringe and a woman patching her elbows

There are a few options for testosterone therapy, and all seem viable to treat hypogonadism [6].

Choices for treatment include at-home methods and others that require administration by a healthcare professional:

  • Injections into the muscle - administered every 10-14 days
  • Pellets implanted under the skin every two months
  • Testosterone gel - rubbed on the skin daily, and take care not to transfer the hormone to another person
  • Testosterone patches - applied daily

As with any treatment, there are benefits and risks. The following are some adverse side effects:

  • Skin acne and irritation
  • Fluid retention
  • Smaller testicles
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Decreased sperm count

Testosterone Supplements

capsules

Supplements increase testosterone levels naturally. Boosters that contain the following ingredients work best to augment the testosterone the body produces:

  • D-aspartic acid - a natural amino acid that helps release hormones [7]
  • DHEA - a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands [8]
  • Vitamin D - an essential nutrient that affects blood testosterone levels [9]

Related Article: Best Vitamin D Supplements

It is worth noting using anabolic steroid prescriptions has a purpose when the testosterone level the body naturally produces is deficient [10]. The increased risk for serious side effects or death makes this an inferior option for young, healthy men.

Whether you opt to elevate your testosterone levels with therapy or a supplement, the benefits are the same:

  • Improved erectile function
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Loss of body fat
  • Improved sex drive
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved mood

FAQs

Which Testosterone Booster Is Best?

The best testosterone booster contains ingredients like D-aspartic acid and vitamin D that work naturally with what your body produces.

Are Testosterone Boosters Worth It?

Some people have found testosterone boosters worth it when evaluating benefits versus risks. Age, weight, lifestyle, symptoms, and blood testosterone levels are necessary to consider when determining if the good outweighs the bad for you.

Final Verdict: Do Testosterone Boosters Really Work?

If you are looking for more testosterone to treat low libido, improve body composition, or improve sexual function, it is worth considering a testosterone booster.

The research continues, but so far, there have been many positive correlations pointing to the significant benefits of taking a testosterone supplement.

The advantages of high-quality testosterone boosters include increased energy levels, improved muscle strength, and increased sex drive, and in my opinion, they seem to vastly outweigh any potential risks.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5870326/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC1508369/ 
  3. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/keep-testosterone-in-balance 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC2544367/
  5. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism
  6. https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/guidelines/testosterone-deficiency-guideline 
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/d-aspartic-acid-and-testosterone 
  8. https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-dhea-increase-mens-testosterone-levels-89137 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21154195/
  10. https://www.webmd.com/men/anabolic-steroids

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