NutritionLifestyle

The 14 Best Natural Testosterone Boosting Ingredients & Foods

Testosterone is undeniably one of the most important hormones your body produces.

Testosterone plays an important role in men’s health but is beneficial for women too, helping with general well-being[1], disease risk[2] and sex drive[3].

Having optimal levels of testosterone is important as you age (for both men[4] and women[5]!), especially as its production tends to drop off in later years, falling by 1 to 2 per cent per year[6].

While medical treatments can be used to improve low testosterone levels, more people are turning towards natural and holistic remedies. Are you one of them?

In this article we explore the best natural ingredients and foods you can add to your diet to boost testosterone levels. If you want to make a beneficial and effective difference to your testosterone amount, keep reading…

These are the best natural testosterone boosting ingredients and foods

1. Vitamin D

Boost Testosterone With More Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the ‘sunshine nutrient’ produced when our skin has direct contact with the sun. It is a natural fat-soluble nutrient which is found in few foods, so it is often prescribed as a supplement.

Vitamin D is known to contribute to bone health[7] and plays a role in muscle function[8] and the immune system[9].

There has been a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and low testosterone – in one study, participants that spent more time in the sun increased their vitamin D levels alongside their testosterone[10].

Clinical evidence shows that exposure to sunlight signals the release of luteinizing – a pituitary hormone that produces testosterone.

A study which looked at luteinizing excretion following bright light exposure in 11 healthy men found that luteinizing levels increased by 69.5 per cent after bright light exposure in the early morning[11].

To increase your vitamin D levels, try to increase your exposure to the sun (remembering to protect your skin) and eat more vitamin D-rich foods such as mushrooms, egg yolks, salmon or tuna.

You can also supplement with a daily vitamin D tablet – the recommended dosage is 10 micrograms (400IU) a day[12].    

2. Fenugreek

Fenugreek - Testosterone boosting food

Fenugreek is one of the oldest medicinally-used herbs, with origins in traditional Mediterranean, Indian and Chinese medicine.

Its extracts are used as ingredients in a number of common products such as teas, cosmetics, soaps, and condiments – so you could be consuming fenugreek in some sort of way without knowing!

The seeds of fenugreek smell and taste much like maple syrup, making it a common ingredient to hide the taste of medicine.

Fenugreek is used for a variety of health ailments, ranging from obesity to skin conditions[13]. It contains a good amount of fiber, minerals and vitamins such as iron which appear to make it an all-round health elixir.

Recently, it has been researched for its potential to naturally increase testosterone levels.

In one study, healthy men aged between 43 and 70 years of age took fenugreek supplements over a 12-week period. They found that their total serum testosterone and free testosterone levels increased compared to placebo[14].

Another study examined fenugreek’s effect on sexual function and quality of life. 60 healthy men aged between 25 and 52 years old consumed 600 mg of fenugreek or a placebo pill daily for six weeks – the fenugreek-taking participants reported improvements in strength, increased libido and greater energy levels.

You can find fenugreek in whole pod-like seeds, leaves or ground into powder which can be used in salads or Indian dishes. It is also available as a dietary supplement in capsules.

3. Ginger

Ginger - t-boosting ingredient

Ginger has long been used in various forms for its culinary and medicinal properties. Ginger contains a range of compounds and metabolites which may contribute to wellness and healing.

One of its many health claims is its purported ability to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain[15].

Human and animal studies have demonstrated ginger’s beneficial impact on testosterone levels. According to the conclusions of a 2012 study, a daily ginger supplement increased testosterone levels by 17.7% over a three-month period in men with fertility issues[16].

Experts have also suggested that ginger may improve sperm health – one study found that it provoked an approximate 16% increase in sperm count when measuring sperm health[17].

You can add fresh ginger to smoothies, juice or teas or take it as a supplement. Some people even add dried ginger to salads.

4. Pomegranates

Pomegranate fruit

Pomegranates are a great source of fiber plus vitamins A and C, as well as minerals including calcium, potassium and iron.

The red fruits are known to have antioxidant activity three times higher than green tea and red wine[18] which may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

In 2012, pomegranates were studied for their effect on testosterone levels in healthy men and women. Participants drank pure pomegranate juice for two weeks and displayed an average 24% increase in salivary testosterone levels. In addition, they also improved their mood and blood pressure[19].

Try the pulpy seeds of pomegranate fruit on their own, in a salad or enjoy its benefits in juice form!

5. Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris - testosterone boosting nutrient

The fruits and root of this small leafy plant have been used medicinally in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda medicine for the treatment of various kinds of diseases[20].

People use Tribulus Terrestris to treat conditions such as eczema and chest pain. Most of its research (which largely consists of animal studies) has focused on its potential to increase testosterone levels and improve sex drive in individuals with low levels of the hormone.

In one 90-day study on men with erectile dysfunction, Tribulus Terrestris increased testosterone levels by over 16 per cent[21].

Researchers have also found that it may increase sex drive, with 67% of women with extremely low libidos experiencing increased sexual desire after they took Tribulus Terrestris supplements of 500-1,500 mg over a 90-day period.

Tribulus Terrestris is available as a supplement in capsule form with recommended dosages beginning at 250 mg[22] three times a day.

6. Spinach

Spinach leaves

Spinach is most commonly known for its protein content, but really it is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium[23] – one of the core minerals involved in muscle development and reproductive function in men.

The nutritious content in spinach has been shown to protein the eyes from sunlight damage[24], moderate blood pressure[25] and fight cancer[26].

It is also packed with vitamin B6 and zinc which has been shown to aid testosterone production[27].

Magnesium has also been shown to exert a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including testosterone, in men.

In one study athletes and non-active individuals supplemented with magnesium over four weeks and both groups experienced raised testosterone levels[28].

Eat more greens like spinach and you may raise your magnesium levels. You can add spinach to smoothies, stews and salads.

7. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

This vital herb has been consumed for over 3,000 years to treat a variety of health ailments.

Belonging to the adaptogen family, ashwagandha has proven ability to reduce stress, improve concentration, boost energy levels[29] as well as increase testosterone levels[30].

Ashwagandha may have a powerful effect on testosterone levels and reproductive health.

In one study, 75 infertile men consumed ashwagandha and showed increased sperm count and motility[31].

It appears to mediate this effect more in stressed individuals because of its potential ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol[32].

Ashwagandha is available in supplements which come in 300mg tablets and can be consumed twice daily after a meal.

It is also available in other forms such as liquid extracts, powders and even tea. 

8. Eggs

Eggs

One egg a day keeps the doctor away, right? Eggs are an excellent source of protein and not as harmful as you may think.

They are jam-packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, powerful antioxidants, and minerals like zinc, iron and phosphorus. The vitamin D content of eggs also contributes to their positive effect on testosterone levels.

Eggs provide a hormone boost through their yolks, which are rich in dietary cholesterol and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – these nutrients may have a positive influence on hormone health.

Eggs also contain aspartic acid[33], an amino acid that triggers the production of testosterone[34]. 

If you already suffer from heart disease or are at high risk of heart disease from other causes, you should eat no more than three eggs per week. 

9. Oysters

Oysters - Testosterone Boosting Food

Oysters are known as the world’s aphrodisiac and while they don’t look particularly appetizing, they are packed with important vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and selenium.

Most importantly, they are rich in zinc, a mineral known to elevate testosterone[35].

In one study, men who received 30mg of zinc every day showed raised levels of free testosterone in their bodies[36].

Oysters can be enjoyed in pasta dishes, seafood soups or stews. Remember to eat oysters with caution and thoroughly cook them to avoid any infections.

10. Zinc supplement

Zinc can also be taken as a supplement to treat an array of ailments. Because it can’t be stored by your body, you need to make sure you consume zinc every day.

Zinc comes in a variety of forms, all which impact on your health in different ways. Some include:

  • Zinc gluconate – the most common form and is usually added to cold remedies [37] such as nasal sprays.
  • Zinc picolinate – considered the best form of zinc because it may be better absorbed by your body[38].
  • Zinc acetate – has a role as an astringent and is often added to lozenges to reduce symptoms of the common cold[39].

Zinc plays a role in overall health, impacting the immune system and activating enzymes of protein metabolism.

There is strong evidence that zinc can affect testosterone production. In one study on elite-level athletes, zinc supplementation was shown to prevent a temporary testosterone drop and aid recovery when athletes exercised to total exhaustion.[40]  

It is possible to take in too much zinc, so be careful with your dosage. The recommended daily dosage is between 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women[41].

11. Fatty fish

Fatty Fish -Testosterone boosting ingredient

Fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines all contribute to reduced inflammation in the body, due to their rich omega-3 fatty acid content[42]. Omega-3 can also help prevent heart disease[43].

Fatty fish is important for testosterone production as it contributes to the synthesis of testosterone.

The oil from fish has been shown to modify the composition of fatty acids in the testes and influence testicular function[44] – changing testosterone metabolism. The process may lead to an increase in testicular testosterone.

Another bonus – eating fatty fish can provide your body with benefits that go beyond increased testosterone.

12. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

DHEA is a hormone naturally produced by your body in the adrenal gland. Natural levels tend to peak in early adulthood and slowly decreases as you age.

DHEA has been researched for its effectiveness in treating a variety of conditions. It may help increase in bone density, especially in women[45], improve symptoms of depression[46] and could have a positive impact on body composition[47].

DHEA supplements have been studied for their effect on testosterone production.

In one study on middle-aged and young men, DHEA supplementation was shown to elevate free testosterone levels in middle-aged men following high-intensity interval training [48].

DHEA may also positively impact on libido and sexual function in women[49].

You can take DHEA as a supplement. A dose of up to 50 mg per day is fairly typical[50].

13. Brazil nuts

Brazil Nuts - testosterone boosting food

Brazil nuts are a dense and highly nutritious source of the mineral selenium.

They are packed with many minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E, the content of which can vary depending on the climate and soil they are grown in[51].

Because of their selenium content, brazil nuts may help boost testosterone levels. Brazil nuts are said to contain an average of 96mcg of selenium per nut, although some can contain as much as 400mcg per nut![52]

But why is selenium important for testosterone? Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a major role in reproduction, DNA synthesis and thyroid hormone metabolism[53].

It has been said that infertile men often suffer from unsuitable levels of selenium. In a study where 200 participants took 200 micrograms of selenium daily for 26 weeks, their testosterone increased by ~2nmol/L[54].   

You can up your selenium levels by eating just two brazil nuts a day[55].

14. Garlic

Garlic

Get your mints ready, you’re going to need them.

Garlic is a nutritional powerhouse rich in essentials vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B6 and selenium. Garlic is low-calorie and associated with a hefty amount of health benefits.

It has been shown to reduce blood pressure[56], protect against oxidative damage in your body[57] and may also have a positive effect on osteoarthritis[58].

Experts have suggested that garlic triggers the release of the luteinizing, the pituitary hormone that regulates the production of testosterone.

In an animal study completed on rats, garlic was shown to increase testicular testosterone when combined with a high-protein diet[59].  

Fresh garlic contains more nutrients than its powder equivalent, so consider this when doing your next food shop!

The Final Word

Testosterone is vital for balancing different processes in your body, especially for the physical and sexual development of males.

How can you know if you have low testosterone levels? The signs are subtle, but may include low libido, fatigue, increased body fat or mood swings.

Get to know your testosterone levels and take the steps to optimize them for overall wellbeing. 

Boosting your testosterone levels may be helped with a healthy change in your diet, but this is not a cure for hypogonadism.

A doctor will be able to confirm if you have dangerously low levels of testosterone and advise on the right therapy for you.

 


References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26839520

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120209/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649360/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6841562

[5] https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7714119  

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21872800

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

[9] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D#autoimmune-diseases-prevention

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20050857

[11] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030421084040.htm

[12] https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/

[13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28266134

[14] https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03528538

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/

[16] https://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=71548

[17] As source 16

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/

[19] https://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0028/ea0028p313

[20] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24600195

[21] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665088/

[22] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27401787

[23] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/others/

[24] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19168000

[25] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531715001359

[26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25711533

[27] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21744023

[28] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3958794/

[29] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19633611

[30] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26609282

[31] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501822

[32] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798

[33] https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000092000000000000000.html

[34] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10744627

[35] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519

[36] https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/BrillaV2.PDF

[37] https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/452949

[38] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857

[39] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5410113/

[40] https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/16648789

[41] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#h2

[42] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/143109/

[43] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/

[44] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312216/

[45] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677000/

[46] https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/cdt/2014/00000015/00000009/art00008

[47] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23824417

[48] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417481

[49] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21942655

[50] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/DHEA_makes_the_fat_go_away

[51] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S096399691730474X

[52] As source 34

[53] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/

[54] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022534708027018

[55] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18258628

[56] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035939

[57] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11238796

[58] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21143861

[59] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11481410


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