top of page

Testosterone (Complete Guide)

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

In men, testosterone is the main sex hormone as well as the primary naturally produced anabolic steroid.

It is a crucial element in the development of male reproductive organs such as the testicles and prostate, it is also important for libido and fertility.

Testosterone is also involved in the promotion of secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the development of body hair.

Muscle mass, bone density, fat partitioning, blood cell count and more are significantly affected by testosterone.

In this article, I explain all about testosterone, including how it works, what it does, how to boost it and signs of low testosterone.

Table of Contents:


What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone that may be found in humans as well as other animals.

It is in the androstane family of steroids, testosterone is distinguished by the presence of keto and hydroxyl groups at positions three and seventeen, respectively.

testosterone structure

It is produced by the body from cholesterol in a series of processes and is then transformed to inactive metabolites in the liver after that.

Testosterone can be converted into other hormones such as estradiol by aromatase or converted into DHT by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.

Testosterone and DHT have the ability to bind to androgen receptors. Androgen receptors (AR) are found throughout the body in different concentrations on many cells, this is the primary mode of testosterones effects.

The testicles are the primary source of testosterone production in males. Ovaries in women produce testosterone as well, although in considerably lower quantities than found in men.

During puberty, testosterone begins to rise massively, peaking at around age 19 and then at about the age of 30, the production of testosterone begins to decline year after year. (1)

testosterone by age

Testosterone is the hormone most often linked with sex desire, yet it also plays an important role in sperm formation and fertility.

It also has an effect on bone and muscle mass, as well as the way men store fat in their bodies and even the formation of red blood cells.

Testosterone may also have an effect on mood, memory, cognition and confidence.

What Does It Do?

Testosterone has many different effects, both in males and females.

Sometimes the derivative of testosterone known as DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) possess or mediates some effects seen with testosterone, such as prostate growth, scalp hair loss, and body and facial hair growth.

A certain percentage of testosterone is converted to DHT in the body, this is dependant on an enzyme known as 5α-reductase.

Testosterone and DHT can affect the following organs and systems.

testosterone functions

Below is a breakdown and more in-depth information on each of testosterones effects.

From now on I'll refer to the combined effects of testosterone and DHT to just testosterone, to simplify things.


Increased body and facial hair growth, collagen synthesis and subcutaneous gland secretions are effected by testosterone.

Sebaceous glands are often found adjacent to hair follicles in the skin, and they secrete a fatty substance known as sebum into the follicular duct, which subsequently travels to the skin's surface.

Testosterone can increase the activity of these sebaceous glands, increasing the chance of developing acne due to a blockage of pores in the skin.

An increase in facial and body hair is also seen during puberty and in men. Collagen synthesis is also increased due to testosterone.

However, some men may experience hair loss on their scalp, this usually happens in those with genetic male pattern baldness or those with high levels of testosterone and DHT.

Male pattern baldness can also be increased due to steroid medications derived from DHT or testosterone, such as Stanozolol and Mesterolone.

Below is an image of the process of scalp hair loss.

stages of scalp hair loss

This hair loss can usually be attenuated by using a DHT blocker such as Finasteride.


Testosterone has an effect of both male and female reproductive systems and organs.

There are differences between females and males in terms of reproductive health when it comes to testosterone.

A system known as a negative feedback loop controls the production of testosterone.

negative feedback loop

Testicles are the primary location of testosterone production in men, ovaries produce the most testosterone in women.

Below are the effects of testosterone on male and female reproductive systems and organs.

In Males

During puberty and in boys, a rise in testosterone levels promotes expansion of the reproductive organs such as the penis and testicles.

In men and boys, an increased sexual desire (libido), and an increase in the frequency of erections is seen.

Fertility is also dependant on testosterone production but not testosterone itself, at least in terms of sperm production.

Spermatogenesis is the name of sperm production, it is stimulated by FSH, a hormone involved in the negative feedback loop of testosterone.

FSH and LH is inhibited by testosterone, when testosterone levels start to be metabolised and lower, it then causes FSH and LH to ramp up, testosterone to be produced and spermatogenesis to increase.

This is why testosterone often spikes throughout the day, due to this negative feedback loop. It's also why testosterone replacement therapy decreases fertility, instead of increasing it.

Essentially, testosterone, FSH and LH have to be in a perfect balance and feedback loop for optimal fertility and reproductive health.

There has been recent usage of HCG with great success in terms of fertility in males with low testosterone. (2)

In Females

Testosterone has very different roles in females when it comes to fertility and reproductive health.

Women need relatively small amounts of testosterone; in fact, too much or too little testosterone may interfere with fertility in women.

male and female hormones

According to new research, testosterone aids in the development and growth of follicles, which are structures that store and release eggs during the process of ovulation. (23)

Testosterone is also somewhat responsible for libido and sex drive in females too.


Testosterone plays a huge role in muscle growth and development, strength, and endurance, so much so that the invention and usage of anabolic steroids is so widespread and effective that entire countries, sports and competitions ban their usage.

Anabolic steroids such as testosterone, DHT and their derivatives and modified forms have been used for decades in all types of sports, including the following.

  • Bodybuilding

  • Powerlifting

  • Strongman

  • Cycling

  • Running

  • Boxing

  • Football

  • Rugby

  • Baseball

Almost any and every sport has had usage of anabolic steroids at some point.

There is a reason for that; testosterone and other anabolic steroids are very powerful and influential on muscle growth, strength, endurance, and fat mass.

Muscle Growth

Testosterone has been proven to increase muscle growth.

This is due to an increase in muscle protein synthesis and a reduction in protein breakdown, resulting in a much higher net muscle protein synthesis and balance. (3)

A 3mg/kg/wk (3mg testosterone enanthate per kg per week) showed an increase in protein synthesis of 27%.

For an 88 kg male (around the average weight of a 20 year old in the US) the dosage used in that study would be about 264mg of testosterone enanthate per week.

There was another study done on muscle growth and strength.

A randomised study split 43 men between 4 groups: (4)

  1. Placebo + no exercise

  2. Testosterone + no exercise

  3. Placebo + exercise

  4. Testosterone + exercise

The testosterone groups received 600mg testosterone enanthate each week for 10 weeks.

The placebo group received the same injections but had no testosterone within them.

A regular TRT dosage is around 200-250mg testosterone enanthate every two or three weeks, so 600mg every week is a much higher dosage than regular testosterone replacement therapy.

testosterone muscle growth study results
Fat-Free Mass Changes (kg)

The average fat-free mass changes of this study are as follows.

  1. +0.8 kg

  2. +3.2 kg

  3. +2.0 kg

  4. +6.1 kg

This indicates that testosterone enanthate injections at 600mg per week with no exercise still results in greater muscle growth than exercise itself.

With exercise, the testosterone group gained 3x more fat-free mass than the placebo + exercise.


Strength is altered in many ways, such as the central neural systems ability to send signals, the amount of motor neurones in the muscle, the muscles physical ability to contract, the type of muscle, etc.

Gaining muscle strength isn't just about getting bigger muscles, though it is a considerable factor.

The results of this study show exactly that.

The testosterone + no exercise group gained strength but not as much as the placebo + exercise group.

However, the testosterone + exercise group flew past the placebo + exercise group and increased strength dramatically.

testosterone strength study results
Muscle Area Changes (mm²) + Strength Changes (kg)

Muscle area increased significantly in the testosterone groups and less so but still significantly in the placebo + exercise group.

Strength also increased dramatically in the testosterone + no exercise group, but interestingly the placebo + exercise group had slightly higher strength gains.

However, in the testosterone + exercise group the strength gains were the highest, almost doubling compared to the testosterone + no exercise group.

These results show that increased muscle size from testosterone does have an impact on muscular strength but exercise and resistance training has a significant and synergistic effect on strength gain.

Another study on testosterone and muscle growth showed similar results


Testosterone increases the production of erythropoietin (EPO) in the kidneys. (5)

This extra EPO results in increased red blood cell counts.

testosterone endurance
Androgens increase EPO > EPO increases red blood cells > RBCs improve endurance

Red blood cells are responsible for supplying the body and cells with oxygen. Endurance is not entirely based on oxygen usage, but it is a factor.

Increasing the red blood cell count will improve the body's ability to transport and use oxygen, theoretically improving endurance.


Testosterone has multiple effects on the brain.

In fact, it can even cause the structure of the brain to change entirely, as seen in females undergoing sex-change hormone therapy. (6)

testosterone brain structure change
Brain structure change in female to male sex-hormone therapy.

This could possibly mean that there is a long-term change in behavioural traits and characteristics as a result of testosterone usage, especially in females.

However, testosterone does not just effect the brain structure, it also effects how the brain works.

It has the ability to regulate the expression of certain genes by attaching to androgen receptors.

Testing has shown that testosterone has the ability to exert a non-genomic so-called "neuroactive impact" via acting on neurotransmitter receptors.

Additionally, the aromatised version of testosterone called estradiol may have an effect on a variety of neurotransmitter systems.

A large number of clinical investigations have shown that testosterone has a negative effect on mental illnesses and that sex-related prevalence variations are present.

The antidepressant effect of testosterone may be explained by its effects on the limbic system, particularly on the amygdala, which is a key target in the treatment of depression - as shown by a vast amount of neuro-imaging data, which are consistent with this hypothesis. (7)


Some scientists hypothesised that raising the testosterone levels of males over the age of 65 to those seen in young men would result in increased bone density.

They were right, and the results of one confirmed this hypothesis. (8)

When serum testosterone concentrations of men over 65 years old were raised to levels comparable to those found in younger males, lumbar spine bone density did not increase overall, but it did increase in those men who had low pretreatment serum testosterone concentrations.

testosterone bone

In bone, osteoclasts are a large multinucleated cell that is responsible for both the breakdown and absorption of bone. An osteoblast is a specialised cell that essentially creates bone.

Androgens such as testosterone increase the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts and also down regulate the activity of osteoclasts, providing a net positive impact on bone growth.

Oestrogen's such as estradiol (the aromatised form of testosterone) also cause apoptosis (sell death) of osteoclasts and also reduce their activity, further increasing bone density and growth.


In theory, due to the muscles metabolic energy costs associated with its growth, activity and maintenance (as explained in this article about gaining muscle while cutting), the more muscle someone has, the higher their caloric usage would be, resulting in decreased fat mass.

However, this isn't just theory, there have been studies showing the effect of testosterone on fat mass.

Reduced fat mass is almost exclusively the cause of weight loss in obese men undergoing testosterone replacement. (9)

testosterone and fat mass
Arrows pointing to visceral fat stores.

Fat loss isn't the only effect of testosterone, it seems as though fat is also distributed in different areas due to different testosterone levels.

A low testosterone level may reduce the capacity of the abdominal subcutaneous and muscle to buffer glucose uptake and utilisation, as well as the ability of the abdominal subcutaneous and muscle to buffer fatty acids.

Excess glucose and triglycerides would overspill and be absorbed by visceral adipose tissue, the liver, and artery walls.

This would also have the effect of increasing fat stores around the abdomen, resulting in a big belly, commonly seen in older men.

How Does It Work?

Androgens such as testosterone stimulate protein synthesis and, as a result, the development of tissues that have androgen receptors.

Testosterone has both virilizing and anabolic properties, categorised below. Note that there is a lot of mutual overlap between the categories.

Anabolic Effects

  • Increase in muscle mass and strength

  • Increase in bone density and strength

  • Stimulation of linear growth

  • Maturation of the bone matrix

Androgenic Effects

  • Development of the penis and scrotum

  • Deepening of the voice

  • Growth of facial and body hair

Testosterone has multiple different effects at many different ages, it is crucial in the development of children and babies.

Most of the effects seen above are mediated via the androgen receptor.

Androgen Receptor Pathway

5-alpha-reductase is a protein inside a cell, it converts testosterone (T) into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) if it is present.

The androgen receptor (AR) undergoes a conformational shift and releases heat-shock proteins (hsps) as a result of steroid interaction.

testosterone androgen receptor pathway

It is possible for androgens to exert their effects via the AR in two ways: in a DNA binding-dependent fashion to control target gene transcription, or in a non-DNA binding-dependent manner to start fast, cellular processes such as the phosphorylation of 2nd messenger signalling pathways.

More recently, the AR has been shown to exhibit effects that are not reliant on the presence of a ligand (such as testosterone).

Interestingly, besides increasing risk of prostate cancer, AR signalling may also be implicated in the formation of tumours in the liver, kidney, bladder and lungs.

Low Testosterone

Low testosterone levels, sometimes referred to as "low T" or testosterone deficiency, may cause a number of symptoms in males, including the following.

  • Reduced sex drive and libido

  • Depression, irritability and anxiety

  • Decreased energy and self-esteem

  • Weight gain (fat gain)

  • Facial and body hair loss

  • Breast tissue and nipple swelling and tenderness

  • Increased fatigue and sleepiness

  • Hot flashes

  • Insomnia

optimal testosterone vs low testosterone

The levels of testosterone in adult women decrease gradually over time; nevertheless, low testosterone levels may cause a range of symptoms, including the following.

  • Reduced bone strength

  • Decreased libido

  • Depression

Low Testosterone Causes

While a man's testosterone production normally declines as he grows older, other things may contribute to a decrease or change in hormone levels and balance.

The testicles may be damaged due to injuries, cancer therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can have a detrimental impact on testosterone production.

Chronic health problems, as well as stress, may all have a negative impact on testosterone levels.

Some causes of low testosterone are as follows.

  • AIDS (HIV)

  • Kidney disease

  • Thyroid issues

  • Pituitary gland issues

  • Alcoholism

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

  • Testicular cancer

  • Infections

  • Medication side effects

  • Genetic abnormalities

The removal of the ovaries, as well as disorders of the pituitary, brain, and adrenal glands, may all result in low T levels in women.

In the case of women with low testosterone levels, testosterone therapy may be given, although it is uncertain if the medication is helpful in enhancing either sexual performance or cognitive function in postmenopausal women.

Low Testosterone Risks

There are many risks of chronically low testosterone, including the following.

  • Increased risk of Alzheimers disease

  • Increased risk of osteoporosis due to weaker bones and reduced bone density

  • Increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks (10)

  • Reduced cognition, memory and brain function

  • Reduced strength and muscle wasting

  • More likely to have suicidal thoughts

low testosterone risks

Treatment of Low Testosterone

There are therapies available to help you boost testosterone. Testosterone replacement treatment is the most likely choice.

Treatment may be administered in a variety of methods, including:

  • Gel or cream

  • A patch applied to the skin or inside the mouth

  • Pellets that are implanted under the skin

  • Injection

The dosages and administration frequency changes based on many factors.

Usually the testosterone injection is administered every 1-3 weeks if it is an ester of testosterone such as enanthate or cypionate.

Nebido is a very long-acting ester of testosterone called testosterone undecanoate which is administered up to every 3 and a ½ months, usually between 10 and 14 weeks.

However, testosterone replacement therapy is not advised for men who have had prostate cancer or who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer in the future due to its effect on stimulating prostate and prostate cancer growth.

hCG Therapy

Another type of low testosterone therapy is known as hCG therapy.


hCG is sometimes known as the "pregnancy hormone" due to its effects, but it has more usage than that.

In women, hCG injections have been authorised by the FDA to aid in the treatment of infertility.

hCG is FDA-approved in males for the treatment of hypogonadism, which is a condition in which the body fails to properly stimulate the testicles to generate the sex hormone testosterone, which causes low testosterone.

In males, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) functions similarly to luteinizing hormone (LH).

LH promotes the synthesis of testosterone in the testicles, which is a consequence of the stimulation of Leydig cells.

LH also promotes the generation of sperm in the testicles, improving fertility in men.

As the hormone hCG promotes the production of testosterone and sperm in the testicles, the testicles expand in size over time.

Unlike when you stop undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, hCG therapy can be stopped with lesser drawbacks, you should still speak to your doctor before stopping hCG therapy, though.

Research shows that hCG therapy can help with fertility, sperm production, testosterone production, and is safe and effective for the treatment of hypogonadism.

High Testosterone

Just like low testosterone has many signs and symptoms, high testosterone can be just as harmful, if not worse.

In this section, I'll discuss the signs and symptoms, the causes, and the treatment of high testosterone.

Signs & Symptoms of High Testosterone

The signs and symptoms of high testosterone in men and women, and also in women specifically, are described below.

In Men & Women

  • Acne, spots and oily skin

  • More muscle and strength

  • Body and facial hair growth

  • Increased sexual desire and libido

  • Higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol

  • Sleep apnea, trouble breathing and chest pain

  • Swelling of the hands, feet and legs and water retention

  • Changes in mood such as irritability, aggression, anxiety, and depression

  • Changes in blood pressure causing dizziness, fainting, nausea, headaches, and fatigue

In Women

  • Reduced fertility

  • Irregular periods

  • Reduction in breast size

  • Deepening of your voice

  • Abnormally large clitoris for you

  • Excess body and facial hair growth

  • Weight gain not due to diet or lifestyle

Acne and spots are a very common sign of high testosterone in men and women.

Causes of High Testosterone

You should always get checked out if you experience any symptoms of high or low testosterone as they can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Below are the most common causes of high testosterone levels in men and women.

In Men

  • Cancer or tumour development in the vicinity or of hormonal glands, such as the adrenal gland or the testicles.

  • The use of anabolic steroids, unknowingly by contaminated products and supplements or on purpose.

  • Too high dosage of testosterone replacement treatment (TRT).

  • Accidental exposure to testosterone gel, cream or patches.

In Women

  • PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce an excessive amount of androgen hormones such as testosterone.

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a condition in which your adrenal glands generate excessive quantities of hormones throughout your body, particularly testosterone.

  • Cancer or tumour development in the vicinity or of hormonal glands, such as the ovaries.

Treatment of High Testosterone

The treatment for elevated testosterone levels is dependent on the underlying reason. Usually there is an available treatment, though.

In Men

High testosterone levels induced by pharmaceutical or steroid usage are often treated by removing the source of the high T levels.

If you are using anabolic steroids, stop taking them immediately and see your doctor to monitor any changes in your testosterone levels.

Stop taking any supplements as they could be contaminated with anabolic steroids or other chemicals.

Some testosterone boosting supplements may also be the reason for increased testosterone levels, if that's the case avoid taking them or reduce the amount you are taking.

In the event that you are undergoing testosterone replacement of hCG therapy, see your doctor about dosage and symptom advice.

Be aware that some medications may produce the same or similar side-effects of high testosterone without actually increasing testosterone.

You may want to just reduce the symptoms of high testosterone, in that case acne reducing treatments, hair trimming products and other treatments could help you.

If you have a tumour that is causing your testosterone levels to rise, your doctor may suggest that you have the tumour removed via surgery.

In the case that a tumour is malignant and cancerous, an oncologist will suggest the best treatment for your condition.

In Women

Possibly you may want to just reduce and control the symptoms of high testosterone, in that case reducing acne and hair growth can be controlled via many ways.

Using acne reducing products and skin cleansers can help alleviate acne or spots. Shaving and bleaching excess body hair can also be a good way of controlling excess hair growth.

Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medicines to decrease your T levels:

  • Low-dose medications such as oral contraceptives (birth control), metformin, glucocorticoids, or spironolactone.

It is well known that birth control tablets may prevent testosterone levels from becoming too high.

Desogestrel, gestodene, and norgestimate are some of the most often prescribed birth control tablets for the treatment of high testosterone levels.

Low-dose contraceptives are not advised if you have any plans to get pregnant in the future.

You should also consult with your gynaecologist before beginning any kind of birth control to see if you are at risk for any adverse effects or problems as a result of the changes in your hormones that contraceptives produce.

How to Boost Testosterone

You may wish to try and boost your testosterone levels naturally before you commit to testosterone or hormone therapy.

There are multiple effective and proven ways to do that, as shown below.

boost testosterone naturally

Exercise & Resistance Training

Exercise and resistance training is one of the most efficient methods of preventing numerous illnesses associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Surprisingly, it has been shown to increase testosterone levels.

According to the findings of a comprehensive review research, individuals who exercised frequently had greater testosterone levels. (11)

Exercise improves the testosterone levels, fitness, and response speed of the older population, according to one study. (12)

Increased physical activity, rather than a weight reduction plan, was shown to be much more effective for boosting testosterone levels in obese males, according to recent study. (13)

The most effective form of exercise for increasing testosterone in both the short and long term is resistance training, such as weightlifting or bodybuilding.

In addition, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be very beneficial, but all forms of exercise should be beneficial to some degree.

Combining a workout regimen with caffeine and creatine supplements may help to increase your levels even more. (14)

Any kind of physical activity has the potential to raise testosterone levels.

Among the most successful methods are weight lifting and high-intensity interval training.

Minimise Stress & Reduce Cortisol

The risks of long-term stress, which may raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, are constantly being highlighted in research. (15)

Cortisol levels that are too elevated may cause testosterone levels to drop rapidly. (16)

They function in a "seesaw" fashion; when cortisol rises, testosterone falls in response.

Stress and elevated cortisol levels may also cause an increase in food consumption, weight gain, and the accumulation of dangerous body fat around your organs (visceral fat), among other things.

As a result, these modifications may have a detrimental effect on your testosterone levels.

You should make every effort to minimise the number of repeated stressful events in your life in order to maintain optimum health and hormone levels.

Aim to do the following:

  • Eat healthy foods

  • Get regular exercise

  • Get enough high-quality sleep

  • Laugh and have fun

  • Live a balanced lifestyle

All of which may help you decrease stress and enhance your health, and testosterone levels too.

Excessive amounts of stress are detrimental to your long-term health and may lower your testosterone as a result of increased cortisol.

Get Better Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is just as essential for your health as eating well and exercising regularly.

It may also have a significant impact on your testosterone levels.

However, one research showed that sleeping just 5 hours per night was associated with a 15% decrease in testosterone levels. (17)

The optimum quantity of sleep varies from person to person.

According to one long-term research, individuals who slept just four hours each night had borderline inadequate levels of testosterone. (18)

This is supported by other long-term research.

According to one study, testosterone levels increase by an average of 15 percent for every extra hour of sleep you receive each night. (19)

Despite the fact that some individuals seem to function well on less sleep, studies indicate that 7-10 hours of sleep each night is optimal for long-term health and testosterone production.

Make sure you get enough high-quality sleep to keep your testosterone levels stable and to improve your overall health over the long run.

Healthy Lifestyle & Reduce Oestrogen-Like Compounds

There are a variety of additional variables that may have an impact on your hormone levels.

A healthy sex life is critical in the regulation of your sex hormone and testosterone levels, and it should be practised regularly if possible. (20)

High exposure to oestrogen-like compounds may also have an effect on your hormone levels, so try to keep your everyday exposure to BPA, parabens, and other chemicals found in certain kinds of plastic to an absolute minimum. (21)

Excessive alcohol or drug use, whether for medical reasons or for recreational purposes, may lower testosterone levels.

Laughter, pleasure, and achievement, on the other hand, may all be beneficial to your health and testosterone levels.

Reducing your exposure to estrogen-like substances, alcohol, and drugs may have a beneficial impact on your testosterone levels and overall health.

Laughing, pleasure and good feelings can also have a positive impact on testosterone levels.

Vitamin D & Sun Exposure

Vitamin D is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the globe and is soon becoming one of the most popular vitamins available.

Numerous studies have shown that it offers a variety of health advantages and that it may also function as a natural testosterone booster. (22)

In a 12-month trial, researchers discovered that supplementing with about 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day raised testosterone levels by approximately 25%. (24)

Despite its significance, almost half of the population in the United States is deficient in vitamin D, with an even greater proportion having sub-optimal levels of the vitamin.

In addition, vitamin D and calcium were shown to improve testosterone levels in the elderly, which resulted in a lower risk of falling. (25)

It is recommended that you receive frequent sun exposure or take about 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily in order to increase testosterone levels and enjoy the other advantages of the vitamin D.

Vitamin D3 supplements have been shown to increase testosterone levels, particularly in the elderly and those with low vitamin D levels in their blood.

Zinc, Vitamin B & Magnesium Supplementation

Taking zinc and vitamin B supplements significantly improved the quality of sperm in one research by 74%. (26)

Zinc also has a testosterone-boosting effect on athletes and individuals who are zinc deficient.

A growing body of research has shown that supplementing with magnesium improves free and total testosterone levels in both sedentary and active individuals. (27)

It seems that individuals who engage in physical activity see greater gains than those who remain sedentary.

The combination of vitamin B, zinc and magnesium may help to improve fertility and testosterone levels.

Zinc is used in many testosterone boosting supplements such as in Xellerate's testosterone booster.

Vitamin A, C & E

Some studies have also shown that vitamins A, C, and E may have an impact on your sex hormone and testosterone levels, but further study is required to confirm this.

Vitamin C may improve factors involved in male fertility. (28)

Vitamin E may play an important role in sex hormone production. (29)

Overall, it is essential to maintain and consume proper levels of vitamin A, C and E, especially for optimal testosterone and fertility.

D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)

23 animal studies and 4 human studies were included in one analysis. (30)

Animal investigations in vivo and in vitro showed that the impact of DAA differed based on the species, sexe, and organ studied.

Findings from male animal research revealed that exogenous DAA increases testosterone levels; however, results from human trials were inconclusive.

The evidence for this relationship in humans is currently scarce, owing mostly to the small number of research conducted and the low quality of those conducted.

However, there is a possible trend towards testosterone-boosting effects, at least indirectly.

Therefore, it may increase testosterone, whether directly or indirectly, but more research is needed.

Ginger Extract

The majority of the research that has been conducted on the relationship between ginger and testosterone has shown that ginger supplementation, especially when exposed to oxidative stress, increases testosterone production in males. (31)

These effects are achieved primarily through the stimulation of luteinizing hormone (LH) production.

The elevation of cholesterol levels in the testicles, the reduction of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in the testicles, the stimulation of antioxidant enzyme activity, the normalisation of glucose levels in the body, the increase of blood flow to the testicles, the increase of testicular weight, and the recycling of testosterone receptors are all factors involved.

Overall, ginger and ginger extract likely increases testosterone.


In one study, when compared to the placebo, ashwagandha consumption was linked with an 18% greater rise in DHEA-S and a 14.7% greater rise in testosterone. (32)

There were no statistically significant variations in cortisol and estradiol levels between the groups.

It was determined that the consumption of a standardised ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks was associated with increased levels of DHEA-S and testosterone, despite the fact that no significant differences between groups were found in cortisol, estradiol, fatigue, vitality, or sexual well-being.

Further research with larger sample numbers is needed in order to provide support for the present results, but there seems to be an increase in testosterone levels associated with ashwagandha consumption.



This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.

Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.

This evidence-based analysis of testosterone features 32 references, listed below.

1. Kelsey TW, Li LQ, Mitchell RT, Whelan A, Anderson RA, Wallace WH. A validated age-related normative model for male total testosterone shows increasing variance but no decline after age 40 years. PLoS One. (2015) ✔

2. Rajkanna J, Tariq S, Oyibo SO. Successful fertility treatment with gonadotrophin therapy for male hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep. (2016) ✔

3. Griggs RC, Kingston W, Jozefowicz RF, Herr BE, Forbes G, Halliday D. Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis. J Appl Physiol. (1989, Jan) ✔

4. Bhasin S, Storer TW, Berman N, Callegari C, Clevenger B, Phillips J, Bunnell TJ, Tricker R, Shirazi A, Casaburi R. The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men. N Engl J Med. (1996, Jul 4) ✔

5. Bachman E, Travison TG, Basaria S, Davda MN, Guo W, Li M, Connor Westfall J, Bae H, Gordeuk V, Bhasin S. Testosterone induces erythrocytosis via increased erythropoietin and suppressed hepcidin: evidence for a new erythropoietin/hemoglobin set point. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. (2014, Jun) ✔

6. European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Research shows testosterone changes brain structures in female-to-male transsexuals. (2015, Aug)

7. Peter Höfer, Rupert Lanzenberger, Siegfried Kasper. Testosterone in the brain: Neuroimaging findings and the potential role for neuropsychopharmacology. Euro, Neuropsychopharmacology. (2013)

8. Peter J. Snyder, Helen Peachey, Peter Hannoush, Jesse A. Berlin, Louise Loh, John H. Holmes, Abdallah Dlewati, Janet Staley, Jill Santanna, Shiv C. Kapoor, Maurice F. Attie, John G. Haddad, Jr., Brian L. Strom. Effect of Testosterone Treatment on Bone Mineral Density in Men Over 65 Years of Age. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (1999, Jun) ✔

9. Ng Tang Fui M, Prendergast LA, Dupuis P, Raval M, Strauss BJ, Zajac JD, Grossmann M. Effects of testosterone treatment on body fat and lean mass in obese men on a hypocaloric diet: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Med. (2016, Oct) ✔

10. Laughlin GA, Barrett-Connor E, Bergstrom J. Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (2008, Jan) ✔

11. Vaamonde D, Da Silva-Grigoletto ME, García-Manso JM, Barrera N, Vaamonde-Lemos R. Physically active men show better semen parameters and hormone values than sedentary men. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2012, Sep) ✔

12. Kumagai H, Zempo-Miyaki A, Yoshikawa T, Tsujimoto T, Tanaka K, Maeda S. Increased physical activity has a greater effect than reduced energy intake on lifestyle modification-induced increases in testosterone. J Clin Biochem Nutr. (2016, Jan) ✔

13. Timón Andrada R, Maynar Mariño M, Muñoz Marín D, Olcina Camacho GJ, Caballero MJ, Maynar Mariño JI. Variations in urine excretion of steroid hormones after an acute session and after a 4-week programme of strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2007, Jan) ✔

15. Melamed S, Ugarten U, Shirom A, Kahana L, Lerman Y, Froom P. Chronic burnout, somatic arousal and elevated salivary cortisol levels. J Psychosom Res. (1999, Jun) ✔

16. Cumming DC, Quigley ME, Yen SS. Acute suppression of circulating testosterone levels by cortisol in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (1983, Sep) ✔

19. Granata AR, Rochira V, Lerchl A, Marrama P, Carani C. Relationship between sleep-related erections and testosterone levels in men. J Androl. (1997, Sep-Oct) ✔

20. Dabbs JM Jr, Mohammed S. Male and female salivary testosterone concentrations before and after sexual activity. Physiol Behav. (1992, Jul) ✔

21. Li D, Zhou Z, Qing D, He Y, Wu T, Miao M, Wang J, Weng X, Ferber JR, Herrinton LJ, Zhu Q, Gao E, Checkoway H, Yuan W. Occupational exposure to bisphenol-A (BPA) and the risk of self-reported male sexual dysfunction. Hum Reprod. (2010, Feb) ✔

22. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. (2011, Mar) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔

23. Gleicher N, Weghofer A, Barad DH. The role of androgens in follicle maturation and ovulation induction: friend or foe of infertility treatment? Reprod Biol Endocrinol. (2011, Aug) ✔

24. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. (2011, Mar) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔

25. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Orav EJ, Dawson-Hughes B. Additive benefit of higher testosterone levels and vitamin D plus calcium supplementation in regard to fall risk reduction among older men and women. Osteoporos Int. (2008, Sep) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔

26. Wong WY, Merkus HM, Thomas CM, Menkveld R, Zielhuis GA, Steegers-Theunissen RP. Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril. (2002, Mar) (Clinical Trial) ✔

27. Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biol Trace Elem Res. (2011, Apr) (Controlled Clinical Trial) ✔

28. Akmal M, Qadri JQ, Al-Waili NS, Thangal S, Haq A, Saloom KY. Improvement in human semen quality after oral supplementation of vitamin C. J Med Food. (2006, Fall) ✔

29. Umeda F, Kato K, Muta K, Ibayashi H. Effect of vitamin E on function of pituitary-gonadal axis in male rats and human subjects. Endocrinol Jpn. (1982, Jun) (Comparative Study) ✔

30. Roshanzamir F, Safavi SM. The putative effects of D-Aspartic acid on blood testosterone levels: A systematic review. Int J Reprod Biomed. (2017, Jan) ✔

31. Banihani SA. Ginger and Testosterone. Biomolecules. (2018, Oct 22) ✔

Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.


The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.

Real Muscle leads the way in terms of transparency and privacy, which is why we want to let you know that some of the outbound links in this article may be affiliate links in which we may earn a small commission through. Despite this, our product recommendations are completely unbiased.

We strictly do not advise anyone to use, or consider using, any exogenous hormone or chemical such as testosterone, unless advised or prescribed to do so by a qualified doctor. Doing so could result in serious and long-term adverse effects.