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Do Testosterone Boosters Affect Sperm Count?
What You Need to Know

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 8, 2021

Given the increasing use of testosterone supplements today, many men are discussing fertility issues.

I worked as a health and fitness trainer for athletes and bodybuilders for almost a decade.

Since we regularly use testosterone supplements, I was interested in the scientific basis of the idea that these supplements affect sperm count, so I decided to do some research.

So, if you are thinking of taking T supplements, I invite you to read this article first.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Normal testosterone level is crucial for sperm production. The amount of testosterone in the testes is significantly higher than in the blood.
  • Low testosterone levels in the testes may cause poor sperm quality, low sperm count and may provide symptoms of fatigue, low libido, poor brain function, and erectile dysfunction. 
  • The diagnosis or treatment of fertility concerns is critical in improving male infertility and overall well-being.

What Is The Role Of Testosterone In Sperm Production?

Sperm production is stimulated by Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and testosterone.

The pituitary gland produces FSH and LH. The Luteinizing Hormone stimulates testicles to secrete testosterone [1].

Testosterone then works with FSH to produce sperm cells. When these hormones are in balance, effective sperm production is achieved.

Does Taking Testosterone Supplements Decrease Sperm Production?

According to research, taking testosterone supplements can decrease sperm production, but that may not always be the cause.

When the body is exposed to external testosterone, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland receive signals indicating that the testicles are functioning well.

Because of this suppressive effect, testosterone synthesis in the testicles, resulting in lower sperm production and fertility rates [2].

On a lighter note, sperm density could recover in three to six months once you stop taking external testosterone [3].

Nonetheless, researchers believe that there is no conclusive direct evidence linking testosterone supplements and low sperm counts and that more research is needed to back up this claim.

Testosterone Supplements and Infertility

hand with two white pills

Several studies have been conducted to determine whether T supplements can indeed cause infertility.

According to one study, most men seeking infertility treatments were found to be taking prescription testosterone supplements.

When fertility specialists advised them to discontinue using an external Testosterone supplement, their sperm density increased.

The study, however, is limited to a clinic in Alabama and Kansas, and it is not conclusive as to whether the T supplements were the cause of their low sperm density [4].

Nonetheless, research suggests that men should avoid testosterone supplements until they have had biological children.

"This has become a preventable cause of infertility." - Dr. Peter Kolettis, a Professor of Urology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Another research suggests that many cases of male fertility problems result from “male factor” infertility, which includes one or a combination of a low number of spermatozoa, poor sperm motility, and abnormal morphology [5].

What To Consider Before Taking Testosterone-Boosting Supplements?

female doctor talking to a male client

You should consult your doctor for medical advice before taking any testosterone-boosting supplements to learn about the potential risks.

Most men use T supplements because they make them look and feel younger.

Exogenous testosterone, however, can cause low testosterone levels, which often result in hair loss, low sex drive, and decreased muscle mass.

Aside from these short-term effects, there could be long-term risks to sexual function and other body processes, such as regulating the heart and bone health [6,7].

Also, due to interactions with other medications, these supplements may affect organs other than the reproductive system, such as the liver or kidneys.

Low testosterone conditions come with age and are best managed with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and quality sleep.

What Is The Best Way To Increase Sperm Concentration And Boost Male Fertility?

The best way to increase sperm concentration and boost male fertility depends on your current medical condition and personal preference.

After consulting your doctor, you can choose whether to increase your testosterone levels naturally, take T supplements, or follow other recommended fertility treatments.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

medical personnel injecting arms

Many fertility specialists advise using Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) as a fertility treatment for symptomatic hypogonadism or low testosterone due to aging or a medical condition.

Researchers believe that testosterone in sprays and pellets may cause infertility more quickly than those from gels and steroids.

TRT uses safer forms of testosterone, from patches to gels. The male hormone is absorbed directly through the skin when applying the patch or gel once a day [8].

Unlike anabolic steroids, which contain male sex hormones in much higher amounts, TRT gradually uses smaller doses to achieve healthy hormonal levels.

TRT and T boosters both claim to be beneficial in combating low T symptoms such as fatigue, low libido, and erection difficulties.

However, T boosters are considered a natural alternative to traditional hormonal therapy because they contain vitamins, zinc, and adaptogens, which help improve testosterone bioavailability in the blood [9], resulting in increased spermatogenesis.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)

stomach view of a pregnant woman

Couples considering in vitro fertilization or having difficulty conceiving their biological children may be given a human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG as a fertility treatment to increase T levels without impairing sperm production.

In one study, HCG, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, had been shown to improve semen quality, particularly motility and morphology [10].

As an FDA-approved prescribed medication, HCG is primarily used to treat patients with fertility issues.

It is not approved for over-the-counter use and is not recommended for the sole purpose of weight loss.

Because TRT appears to fall short in preserving fertility, HCG replacement may be considered an alternative.

It not only promotes androgenization, but it may also help to prevent infertility, oligo spermatogenesis, and testicular atrophy caused by exogenous androgens [11].

On rare occasions, doctors may prescribe HCG in conjunction with T products [12].

Other Medications For Low T Levels

yellow capsules in a jar

Doctors use other drugs to raise testosterone levels, including Letrozole, Clomiphene, and fertility injection of pituitary hormone.

These medications are considered off-label use.

Infertile men should monitor their hormonal levels, and semen parameters as these drugs can cause hormonal imbalances and, in some cases, reduce semen volume.

However, I am not certified to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor do I recommend using these medications without the doctor's approval; it is only for informational purposes, based on our research.

It is always best to con

Natural Testosterone Boosting Supplements

bowls of turmeric powders

Testosterone treatments have been linked to serious health issues, including gynecomastia, allergic reactions, and increased clotting [13].

There are natural testosterone boosting products that you can use to avoid these side effects while still effectively increasing male sex hormones without using T prescription medications and hormonal therapies.

Here is a shortlist of some substances that can safely boost T levels:

  • Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting herb that encourages male reproductive functions by balancing and regulating hormones.=
  • The D-aspartic acid supplement increases Luteinizing hormones (LH) that stimulate the testes to produce testosterone in the male body.
  • Vitamin C supplement is widely consumed to manage the adverse effects of oxidative stress, identified as one of the many mediators of male infertility causing sperm abnormalities.

Can Taking Testosterone Supplements Hurt a Man's Fertility?

Testosterone supplements could temporarily hurt a man’s fertility, but more research is needed to determine whether T boosters severely reduce sperm cell count.

As with any supplements or medications, taking too many testosterone boosters can have negative consequences.

Having healthy male hormonal levels through moderate and medically supervised natural T supplementation might be preferable. Excess testosterone from supplementation or other methods may not help with fertility.

But it has been shown to increase muscle mass, improve bone density and strength, and enhance man's sense of virility.

A healthy diet, a consistent workout, and the proper use of natural and safe testosterone supplements worked well for me.


References:

  1. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-biology/chapter/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4854084/
  4. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691969/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512682/
  7. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/osteoporosis/
  8. https://www.webmd.com/men/guide/
  9. https://www.medicinenet.com/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
  11. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/
  12. https://houstonmenshealth.com/posts/
  13. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/

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