Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

What Is a Testosterone Booster? (Everything You Should Know)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 30, 2022

Irritability, low sex drive, and decreased lean muscle mass are just some of the ways low testosterone levels can afflict otherwise healthy men.

I have talked to countless fitness clients who feel they are doing all the right things yet are still plagued by low testosterone. They express their frustrations in how low T- levels affect not only their sexual health but also their emotional and physical well-being.

I decided to tackle the topic head-on and spent months researching low testosterone and what testosterone booster options are available.

This article will provide my research results, including the effects of testosterone on men’s health, what testosterone boosters are, and the potential benefits and risks.

Quick Summary

  • Testosterone boosters and Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) are two major options to increase T-levels.
  • Appropriate testosterone levels in men are critical for both physical and emotional well-being.
  • Many testosterone boosters contain a wide array of natural ingredients to support the natural production of testosterone in the body.

What Are Testosterone Boosters?

capsules and a syringe

A narrow answer is that T-boosters are supplements designed to stimulate natural testosterone production with many natural compounds like vitamins, minerals, herbs, and extracts.

These supplements usually contain scientifically proven ingredients like D-aspartic acid, Vitamin D, Zinc, or Magnesium, which have been studied for their role in increasing testosterone production in otherwise healthy people.

These supplements will be extensively discussed later in the article.

A broader answer to the question would be any vehicle through which you can boost your testosterone levels. This definition encompasses TRT, which is commonly prescribed by the doctor for specific health issues causing the patients to have low levels of this hormone.

If there is not another medical condition affecting your T-levels, you should definitely consult a healthcare professional first.

When you have determined that your overall health is good and the issue lies simply in low testosterone, there are a couple of routes to consider to increase testosterone levels.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

Testosterone replacement therapy, also called androgen replacement therapy or hormone replacement therapy, is FDA approved and can effectively treat testosterone deficiency caused by hypogonadism.

Testosterone therapy is currently  available as [1]:

  • Topical: a testosterone gel that provides easy application through skin
  • Transdermal:  a testosterone patch applied daily which can cause skin irritation in some instances
  • Intramuscular: testosterone injection requiring less frequent dosage administration. It is also known to cause skin irritation and pain at the injection site
  • Subcutaneous: under-the-skin injection considered a better-tolerated alternative to intramuscular [2] [3]
  • Subdermal Implants:  testosterone pellets surgically implanted a few times a year remove the need for daily application or bi-weekly injections [4]

Testosterone Supplements

handful of meds

Testosterone supplements offer organic ingredients to aid the body’s natural testosterone production.

Many of the well-known testosterone boosters contain:

  • D-aspartic acid:  A natural amino acid that may increase levels of luteinizing hormone, which prompts the body to release more testosterone [5]
  • Vitamin D: Studies show differing conclusions regarding the value of vitamin D related to increasing testosterone levels, but it remains a common supplement ingredient [6] [7]
  • Zinc: Research has shown a direct link to zinc deficiency and low testosterone levels [8]
  • Magnesium: An essential mineral in the body that has proven to have an impact on both total and free testosterone levels [9]

Ongoing research evaluates the efficacy of herbal ingredients like ashwagandha root, fenugreek seed, and Tribulus Terrestris as testosterone boosters. [10]

What Affects Testosterone?

There is no shortage of reasons for the increased risk of low testosterone levels, some more manageable than others [11].

These include:

  • Medications:  including chemotherapy, steroids, and opioids
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Obesity
  • Liver damage
  • Stress levels
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Hypothyroidism

What You Need to Know About These Products

man crouch area and another man using a barbell

There are potential benefits and risks to consider when you are seeking advice, diagnosis, or treatment of the following items related to low testosterone:

  • General sexual function:  including erectile dysfunction or decreased sex drive
  • Body composition:  increasing muscle growth and lean muscle mass, or decreasing body fat
  • Age-related hypogonadism: Even if you have good overall health, decreasing testosterone levels as you age are normal. Testosterone levels can decline by approximately 1% per year after the age of 30

Restoring testosterone levels with testosterone boosting supplements or any TRT delivery method have shown to have positive effects on [12]:

  • Sexual function
  • Mood
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Muscle strength
  • Bone density
  • Cognitive function

Other Ways to Boost Testosterone

man in a bench press and another doing yoga

There are several everyday things you can do in conjunction with using trusted natural testosterone boosters to significantly increase blood testosterone, including:

  • Exercise: especially high-intensity interval training (HIIT) [14]
  • Eat healthy: especially foods that contain D-aspartic acid: beef, eggs, avocado, and asparagus contain this vital nutrient.
  • Get some sun: Foods like salmon, mushrooms, and milk contain vitamin D, but sun exposure is also an excellent source.
  • Reduce stress: Stress, especially long-term, can wreak havoc on many body functions, including increasing cortisol levels, and when those levels are unnaturally elevated, it can quickly reduce testosterone levels [15].
  • Get plenty of rest: Getting enough sleep plays an essential role for the mind and body and can be effective in boosting testosterone.
  • Healthy sex life: Even though low T-levels can lower sex drive and cause sexual dysfunction, regular sexual activity can increase testosterone levels.
  • Sexual function
  • Mood
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Muscle strength
  • Bone density
  • Cognitive function

FAQs

How Long Do Testosterone Boosters Take To Work?

There is a lot of variation on how long testosterone boosters take to work, but first results can usually be seen after 3-6 weeks of use. Changes like fat mass reduction and improved muscle strength can take 4-6 months with less effective supplements [16].

What Happens When You Take Testosterone Boosters?

When you take testosterone boosters, you may experience improved sex drive, stronger bones, increased muscle mass, strength, sperm production, and energy levels.

Final Thoughts on Testosterone Boosters

After going through countless reviews, talking to my clients, and experiencing positive results myself, I must confirm that some testosterone boosters actually work great to aid the natural production of testosterone.

I test my blood testosterone somewhat often, and over the years in the fitness industry, I asked my clients to check theirs after to see if T-boosters actually made any difference. And a few effective testosterone boosters consistently proved to be successful in increasing free testosterone levels significantly.

High T-levels can boost sex drive and sperm count, improve body composition by supporting muscle growth and fat burning, and improve mood and cognitive function.

In my opinion, these benefits for men’s physical and emotional health far outweigh any potential adverse side effects.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5182226/
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/102/7/2349/3008651
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34694927/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4431706/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963304/
  6. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/102/11/4292/4096785
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21154195/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8875519/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20352370/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33150931/
  11. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701485/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870326/
  14. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-working-out-increase-testosterone
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24431964/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188848/

Was this article helpful?

About The Author