Longjack, also known as Tongkat ali and pasak bumi, is a shrub hailing from Southeast Asia purporting to improve libido. It’s gaining traction in the scientific community for potentially increasing testosterone levels, and researchers at South Africa’s University of the Western Cape found that longjack improved testosterone levels and muscular strength in physically active seniors (a population with typically low testosterone).
Let’s do a quick review of what I shared in the introduction to this series. August of last year was a tough month for me, primarily because of a huge and grueling project we were in the midst of here on the site. I was stressed out and my sleeping, healthy eating habits, and workout regimen all suffered. At the end of the month I got my testosterone levels tested and found that my total T was 383 ng/dL and my free T was 7.2 pg/mL – close to the average for an 85-100-year-old man.
Testosterone is a male hormone. Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted by the brain directly into the blood, which carries them to organs and tissues of the body to perform their functions. Testosterone is produced by the testicles, two oval organs that produce sperm in men. Dietary supplements help with increasing the levels of hormones if we have low levels in the body. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive organs. In addition, it helps with increasing muscle mass, bone mass, and the growth of body hair. It is also good for general health and well-being. It also prevents loss of bone mass and density. Testosterone also helps maintain the sex drive and energy levels. Moreover, it helps with production of sperm and red blood cells. Testosterone levels start to fall with age. As a result, some men who have low testosterone levels may benefit from testosterone prescribed by their doctor. Testosterone booster supplements may also help.
When you get tested, your doctor will see if you require supplementation. I try and have clients maintain a serum blood level between 50 and 80 ng/mL. Studies have shown that men with lower levels of vitamin D had lower levels of testosterone. If a man tests below my preferred range, I typically recommend 5,000 IUs a day until the levels improve. Vitamin D3 supplements are widely available (best is to get one that contains vitamin K as well, as that allows for greater absorption), and you can also bump up your sunlight exposure. I find, and studies confirm this, that many men are deficient in vitamin D and it is a huge issue relating to testosterone levels.
“Eat often if you want to keep your testosterone high. People who go on starvation diets are destroying their testosterone levels. Its one of the worst things you can do.” – It is proved scientifically that fasting increases testosterone and HGH levels, and when you eat, insulin levels go up, testosterone goes down! so eating often will keep insulin levels up and T….
We scoured the database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (part of the U.S. National Library of Science) for articles. Of the many ingredients marketed as boosting testosterone levels, we only found four backed by multiple articles based on human testing. For the best chance of boosting testosterone levels, a supplement needs to contain magnesium, fenugreek, and longjack — and some zinc wouldn’t go astray, either.
Before the ready availability of non-injectible testosterone preparations, and because of their ease of administration by the oral route, 17-alkylated steroids were popular surrogate agents for testosterone. These substances, however, were capable of inducing several risk factors for coronary artery disease (Kopera 1993; Hall and Hall 2005) and as a consequence, particularly after the revelations of extensive 17-alkylated anabolic steroid abuse by athletes, testosterone, became unjustly incriminated. The evidence, however, tends to suggest just the opposite; testosterone may even be cardioprotective. Dunajska and colleagues have demonstrated that when compared to controls, men with coronary artery disease tend to have: lower total testosterone levels and free androgen indices, more abdominal fat, higher blood sugar and insulin levels (Dunajska et al 2004).
Both Beast Sports’ Super Test and iSatori’s ISA-Test contain a proprietary blend, which means they don’t disclose the amount of each and every ingredient in the mix. This is only a problem if there is an ingredient tucked into a proprietary blend for which we need to know an amount, like magnesium and zinc. While none of the ingredients in Beast Sports’s proprietary blend raised any red flags, iSatori’s blend contains melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Melatonin is an ingredient that has a hard upper limit — Healthline suggests at most 10mg for an adult — and even lower doses can interact poorly with many medications. Since we can’t confirm whether the amount of melatonin in iSatori’s proprietary blend is under 10mg, we cut iSatori.
Bottom line: testosterone boosters aren’t right for a lot of people. We dive deep into ingredient research below, but typically, testosterone boosters contain at least one (and often three or more) different ingredients that each impact your circulatory system — both the heart and blood. If you’re taking any kind of blood-thinner medication, or you have a history of heart disease, these supplements can get really dangerous, really quickly. The simple fact of the matter is that hormones are tricky things to mess with, and a doctor should be your first port of call to help you safely achieve your goals — whether they’re related to fitness, weight, or libido.
Binge drinking on the other hand does impact Testosterone levels – especially on a short term basis. Two studies (22 & 23) show that large acute quantities of alcohol consumption in a short period led to decreases in Testosterone levels by a whooping 20-23% after 24hours! Note however this is drinking to extreme excess! Likewise, chronic alcohol abuse is known to reduce testosterone more notably (as seen in alcoholics).
Fenugreek is often found in Indian, Turkish, and Persian cuisine. Multiple studies have found it to improve testosterone levels, and in particular, sexual performance. Scientists at Babu Banarasi Das University and King George’s Medical University in India have found that fenugreek improved testosterone levels. Testosterone levels increased for 90% of the volunteers, sperm morphology (the size and shape of sperm) improved for 14.6%, and more than 50% of volunteers experienced improvements in mental alertness, mood, and libido.
While I do have a pretty manly mustache, I’m not a doctor or a medical expert. I’m a guy with a law degree he’s never used who blogs about manliness. What I’m about to share shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for qualified medical expertise. It’s simply my experience and views on the subject. Before you make any changes in lifestyle or diet, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Be smart.
Consume organic dairy products, like high-quality cheeses and whey protein, to boost your branch chain amino acids (BCAA). According to research, BCAAs were found to raise testosterone levels, particularly when taken with strength training.12 While there are supplements that provide BCAAs, I believe that leucine, found in dairy products, carries the highest concentrations of this beneficial amino acid.
The aim of treatment for hypogonadism is to normalize serum testosterone levels and abolish symptoms or pathological states that are due to low testosterone levels. The exact target testosterone level is a matter of debate, but current recommendations advocate levels in the mid-lower normal adult range (Nieschlag et al 2005). Truly physiological testosterone replacement would require replication of the diurnal rhythm of serum testosterone levels, but there is no current evidence that this is beneficial (Nieschlag et al 2005).
Dr. Anthony’s Notes: Correcting a common zinc deficiency can really help testosterone levels. This is why many supplement companies make testosterone boosting supplement stacks called “ZMA” (which stands for Zinc-Magnesium Aspartate) – which is essentially a combination of zinc and magnesium. Do note that LONG TERM high dose zinc supplementation is NOT a good idea (above 30-40mg). Taking too much zinc can lead to a copper deficiency (the two minerals compete for absorption), which causes problems of its own. Verdict: this is one of the natural testosterone supplements that work. Best Food Sources: Beef, lamb, oysters, pumpkin seeds, cashews, quinoa, turkey, chickpeas How To Take Zinc: 30mg once per day with food is ideal. And as we alluded to above in my “notes,” it's often best to take zinc WITH the next supplement on our list…
The amount of testosterone synthesized is regulated by the hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis (see figure to the right). When testosterone levels are low, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is released by the hypothalamus, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to release FSH and LH. These latter two hormones stimulate the testis to synthesize testosterone. Finally, increasing levels of testosterone through a negative feedback loop act on the hypothalamus and pituitary to inhibit the release of GnRH and FSH/LH, respectively.
Why the difference? The discrepancy in findings between these studies is likely due to the initial training status and base testosterone levels of the subjects. While more research is warranted on this ingredient, D-AA is one of several ingredients suggested to be effective in boosting test levels, especially for older men whose natural testosterone levels have declined due to the natural course of aging.
The confusion is understandable, as one in-vitro study noted that high doses of zinc blocked the enzyme 5-a reductase inside test-tubes. But the studies that don’t see much daylight actually show that oral zinc supplementation on actual living, breathing, humans is able to significantly boost the production of dihydrotestosterone, and it does so even when there’s no deficiency in the mineral.
All the active substances available in TestoGen are fully natural. And their efficacy and safety is science-backed. So, if you don’t have individual sensitivity to the supplement ingredients and purchase the product directly from the manufacturer instead of purchasing from unknown suppliers, the likelihood of side effects during the supplementation is minimal. And the customer feedback proves this.
With the exception of increasing my fat and cholesterol intake, my diet wasn’t that unconventional. I didn’t follow a strictly low-carb or Paleo diet because recent research has suggested that a diet high in protein and low in carbs actually causes T levels to decrease. With that said, I was judicious with the carbs. I tried to get most of my carbs from veggies and fruit, but I didn’t freak out if my wife made us spaghetti for dinner.
Popular through the centuries in Ayurvedic healing (a traditional practice of medicine in India) ashwagandha is what is known as an "adaptogen." This means the body may be able to use it to help adapt to stressors. While many people supplement with it for reducing cortisol, anxiety, and fatigue levels, ashwagandha also holds relevance for us here with potential testosterone boosting benefits.
The most common "out of balance" testosterone levels are found to be on the low side of normal; this occurs because a male's highest testosterone level usually peaks at about age 20, and then it decreases slowly with age. It has been suggested that a 1% decrease in testosterone level per year is not unusual for middle-aged (30 to 50 years old) and older males. While this decrease may not be noticeable in some men, others may experience significant changes starting in their middle-aged years or more commonly at age 60 and above. This drop in testosterone levels is sometimes termed hypogonadism, "male menopause" or andropause.
Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for developing coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus. Predicting who might develop the metabolic syndrome would allow preventive measures to be taken in addition to weight control and other lifestyle modifications such as cessation of smoking and increased exercise. It is known that with decreasing testosterone availability in aging males there is an increase in fat mass and decrease in lean body mass (van den Beld et al 2000), there are disorders of insulin and glucose metabolism (Haffner et al 1996) and dyslipidemia (Tsai et al 2004). Kupelian and colleagues (2006) in analyzing data from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study demonstrated that men with low levels of testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, or clinical androgen deficiency, especially men with a BMI of greater than 25, were at increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome and hence, diabetes mellitus and/or coronary artery disease.
Testosterone was first used as a clinical drug as early as 1937, but with little understanding of its mechanisms. The hormone is now widely prescribed to men whose bodies naturally produce low levels. But the levels at which testosterone deficiency become medically relevant still aren’t well understood. Normal testosterone production varies widely in men, so it’s difficult to know what levels have medical significance. The hormone’s mechanisms of action are also unclear.
The basis for my thinking that T levels could be boosted by cold baths came from a post I wrote a few years ago on the benefits of cold showers. One benefit I found in my research was that they could increase testosterone levels. I mentioned a 1993 study done by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England that found increased T levels after taking a cold shower. Here’s the thing. I can’t find a link to the original source and I can’t find any other studies that support this claim! So without supporting research, I’m unsure of the effects of cold showers on testosterone.
In accordance with sperm competition theory, testosterone levels are shown to increase as a response to previously neutral stimuli when conditioned to become sexual in male rats. This reaction engages penile reflexes (such as erection and ejaculation) that aid in sperm competition when more than one male is present in mating encounters, allowing for more production of successful sperm and a higher chance of reproduction.
As blood levels of testosterone increase, this feeds back to suppress the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus which, in turn, suppresses production of luteinising hormone by the pituitary gland. Levels of testosterone begin to fall as a result, so negative feedback decreases and the hypothalamus resumes secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone.