Testosterone is a male sex hormone created primarily in the testicles, although small amounts are also produced in women. Throughout life testosterone levels change; they increase from birth until the age of 25 and then they slowly begin to dwindle.
There are a lot of over-the-counter testoterone boosting supplements that claim to naturally increase testosterone levels, yet for the most part they consistently fail clinical trials.
There are, however, some tried and tested methods to increase testosterone levels naturally by either direct stimulation of the Leydig cells in the testicles or by increasing the sensitivity of the pituitary gland to GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone -released from the hypothalamus).
- D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) - has been shown in a clinical study to increase testosterone levels by 40% in just 12 days! Fantastic supplement for increasing natural testosterone levels. Works by stimulating additional LH (luteinizing hormone) production and thus increase testosterone production from the testicles.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) - a powerful, naturally occuring supplement that is capable of increasing estrogen metabolism. Estrogen is the product of testosterone aromatization (from the aromatase enzyme). Estrogen has two forms, the 16-hydroxy and 2-hydroxy. The 2-hydroxy form is regarded as the “good estrogen” and as anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. DIM has the ability to enhance 2-hydroxy production and lower 16-hydroxy production. The increased metabolism of estrogen also leads to a lack of stimulation in the hypothalamic chemoreceptors and thus leads to a great release of LH and FSH and a net increase in testosterone.
- Holy Basil (AKA Tulsi) – a herb used in rural villages in India as a contraceptive (if women have too much testosterone they cannot get pregnant). In one study a small administration of Tulsi caused testosterone levels to become unmeasurably high. This study was done in animals though, yet it’s use a contraceptive has been successful and spanned centuries.
- Bulbine Natalensis – a South African herb that has been used in clincal studies (again animal studies) and has shown to markedly increase testosterone levels.
There are also supplements that have continuously failed to increase testosterone, yet are touted as being some of the best for natural hormone increase:
- Tribulus Terrestris has failed continuously in three very high profile studies conducted in humans. The claim is that it can cause a dramatic increase in testosterone and some bodybuilders use it to restart their natural hormone function after using performance enhancing drugs. However, it does not work.
- ZMA – Zinc and Magnesium Aspartate (a combination or Zinc, Magnesium and B6) is a very good supplement for overall health and helping you sleep. However, it has also failed in two high profile studies in humans to increase testosterone at all.
Benefits of Increasing Testosterone
- Enhanced feeling of well-being.
- Stronger bones, tendons and muscles.
- Improved general health.
- Improved sexual function.
- Improved libido.
- Increase in overall strength.
- Improved athletic performance.
- Reduced chance of a heart attack.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Improved emotional and mental health.
- More optimal body composition – less bodyfat, more lean tissue.
Testosterone is a very powerful hormone and has applications in medical science beyond increasing athletic performance or creating “mass monsters” in the bodybuilding world.