Testosterone is an important hormone in our bodies. It’s mostly commonly known as for its role in as a sex hormone – it’s the major sex hormone for men and people with penises – but it also serves other functions in people of all genders.
In men and all people with penises, testosterone is responsible for a number of functions, including:
Testosterone levels can also have effects on mood. The body’s production of testosterone boosts greatly during puberty and then begins to decline around age 30.
Testosterone also plays a role in the health of women and those with vaginas, including sexual health. It’s one of several androgens (male sex hormones) found in women, and it’s produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland. It’s thought to have an impact on bone strength, ovarian function, and libido, though studies aren’t yet conclusive.
There’s a range of what constitutes a healthy testosterone level. What’s considered normal or optimal varies based on the individual. We’re all unique! For males, the normal range (if we’re measuring through the blood) is: 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) or 10 to 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L). For females, the range is: 15 to 70 ng/dL or 0.5 to 2.4 nmol/L.
Testosterone levels naturally fall with age. But there are some lifestyle factors to consider, too. Lack of exercise, lack of sleep, inadequate nutrients, and high stress can all contribute to decreased testosterone levels. If you’re man and you’re concerned about low testosterone levels, there are some signs to watch out for, including:
If you’re a woman, you may want to watch out for low libido, poor concentration, and occasional irritable moods. If low levels are a concern for you, check with a doctor about measuring your levels. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address low levels, including diet, supplement, and slight lifestyle adjustments.
Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years as part of the Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine. As an adaptogen, it is believed to help our bodies deal with stressors, and is widely used for its stress-relieving properties. It turns out that it may help with testosterone levels, too. One study, for example, looked at the effects of taking 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract once per day. A group of 60 adults were split randomly into two groups – one to take the ashwagandha and the other to take the placebo. Compared with the placebo, ashwagandha supplementation was connected to improvements in mood and stress, and it was also connected to increased testosterone levels in the male subjects. It’s important to note, though, that over time the testosterone increases weren’t significant compared to the placebo. Care/of offers an excellent 30-day supply of ashwagandha, harvested in India.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin, which means that your body doesn’t make it on its own. Instead, you must get it from food, sun, or supplementation. When it comes to testosterone levels, vitamin D supplementation has shown some promising signs. A study looked at the effect of vitamin D supplementation on sexual health for middle-aged men who were deficient in vitamin D. Subjects who showed a vitamin D deficiency were given an oral vitamin D dose of 600,000 international units (IU) (or 15,000 micrograms) monthly and then monitored on a quarterly basis for a year. The results showed that these men saw an increase in testosterone levels after supplementation. Care/of offers an excellent 30-day supply of easy-to-digest vitamin D.
Zinc plays an important role in your body’s reproductive functioning. Indeed, zinc deficiencies have been linked to low testosterone levels in men. So, can a zinc supplement help with this? Some recent studies seem to support this theory. One study looked at the relationship between zinc levels and testosterone levels in men, and found that zinc plays an important role in regulating testosterone levels. It also found that zinc supplementation boosted testosterone levels in older men. If a zinc supplement interests you, you can check out Care/of’s 30-day supply; it’s consistent with a vegan diet.
You’re probably familiar with garlic’s distinct smell and taste. What you may not realize is that garlic’s collections of leaves, which can be divided into cloves, are used for medicinal purposes, too. Garlic consists of important bioactive components, including allicin, ajoene, enzymes, water, vitamin D, minerals, and flavonoids. Moreover, some animal studies have pointed to the possibility that garlic can increase testosterone levels. One study of mice found that garlic intake led to increases in testosterone secretion and that chronic garlic intake led to higher testosterone levels. Another study – this one of rats – suggested that dietary supplementation with 0.8 g/100 g garlic increases testosterone levels in rats fed a high protein diet.
Care/of offers a 30-day garlic supplement supply, manufactured in the United States.
Magnesium is a major mineral in the body. It’s found in more than 300 enzyme systems – systems that regulate a whole range of important biochemical functions in the body, including blood pressure regulation, muscle and nerve function, and blood glucose control. While major magnesium deficiencies are rare, you still may not be getting the recommended daily amount. This is especially so if you’re not getting a lot of leafy greens, beans, or nuts, or if you drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol. When it comes to testosterone levels, magnesium supplementation has shown some promising results. One study looked at the effects of magnesium supplementation on the testosterone levels of athletes and the testosterone levels of sedentary subjects. In both cases, magnesium supplementation was connected to an increase in testosterone levels. Another study found that a combined zinc-magnesium supplement also boosted testosterone levels.
Care/of’s magnesium supplement is derived from Irish sea water and has seventy trace minerals for easy absorption.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone produced naturally in your body’s adrenal gland. Your body uses cholesterol to create pregnenolone, which is then converted into DHEA. DHEA can then be turned into other hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. Your DHEA levels decrease during your lifespan, rising during your childhood years and then declining with age. Some studies now indicate that DHEA supplementation can help boost testosterone levels, though findings are mixed. A meta-analysis of several studies found that DHEA supplementation led to significant increases in testosterone levels in older women. Another meta-analysis – this one comprising 42 different publications – showed that DHEA supplementation led to increased testosterone in every subgroup that was evaluated, with the most pronounced increases being found in female subjects. One study looked at the effects of DHEA supplementation on athletes involved in high-intensity training, and found increases in testosterone levels. But another similar study of men involved in high-intensity training found no change in testosterone levels.
D-Aspartic Acid is a non-essential amino acid, which means our bodies can produce it even if we don’t get it from food. Aspartic acid helps every cell in the body function, and it plays a role in hormone production and release. When it comes to testosterone support, a systematic review of existing studies showed inconsistent results. The review included 23 human studies and four human studies. The animal studies showed a correlation between increased levels of aspartic and acid and increased testosterone levels. The results in human studies were inconclusive, and there’s a need for more and better-designed human trials for us to learn more.
Ginseng is sometimes called the “king of all herbs,” and has been shown to promote health in a variety of ways, including improvements to sex drive. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that it’s also been shown to be a testosterone-boosting supplement. A study of rats showed that rats fed with 5% Panax ginseng for 60 days showed increased blood testosterone levels. Furthermore, a clinical study of 66 human participants found that the use of red ginseng boosted testosterone levels.
Vitamin B6 is a soluble vitamin involved inver 100 enzyme reactions. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg and goes up to 1.9 mg for pregnant people. An animal study took six-week old rats and gave them diets free of vitamin B6 in order to create a deficiency. One result of this was that the rats showed a big reduction in testosterone circulating in plasma. What this means is that either vitamin B6 can lead to decreased testosterone production, or that low B6 levels lead to an increased metabolic clearance of testosterone. Regardless, it’s clear that maintaining adequate levels is associated with more testosterone in circulation in the body. More human trials are needed to determine the importance of vitamin B6 for human testosterone levels.
There are also ways other than taking supplements to boost your testosterone levels. Some natural testosterone boosters include:
It’s always a good idea to be open and frank with your doctor about your health concerns. Medical professionals can do blood work and figure out whether there’s a need to boost your testosterone levels. From there, you can discuss next steps.