Testosterone levels have quickly become one of the most prevalent health concerns among men.
More and more men have been investing in testosterone pills over the last decade in an attempt to battle fatigue, low sex drive, and even stubborn belly fat.
Too much of it and you’ll inadvertently end up behaving like Mike Tyson in his prime. Too little testosterone will have you cowering beneath the bedsheets of your dingy apartment, barely paid for by your failing job.
I exaggerate, but with so much information out there it can be easy to get mixed up in what it can and can’t do.
Let’s break it down from start to finish, so you can decide whether or not testosterone pills are right for you.
What Is Testosterone
A quick science lesson.
Testosterone is a hormone that is found in both humans and animals. It is primarily associated with men who produce it in the testicles, but women also produce a small amount of it in their ovaries.
In men it plays a key role in the development of reproductive tissues and is responsible for all the things that you might call ‘manly’ such as increasing muscle mass, growing body hair, and fueling sex drive.
Its production is at its peak during puberty, and once you hit 30 your testosterone levels will naturally start to dip.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Testosterone deficiency can happen at any age. During fetal development, a lack of testosterone can have the potential to seriously impede the development of male characteristics. During puberty, it affects the further development of the penis, deepening of the voice, and your overall growth.
It’s fair to say that a lot of what being a man seems to be about is riding on your testosterone levels. And once you reach adulthood, it’s far from over. Some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone levels include:
- Lack of energy
- An increase in body fat -especially around the belly and chest.
- Erectile dysfunction
A number of underlying health issues could also be the cause of your symptoms, so before you decide your body isn’t producing enough testosterone its important to get tested by a doctor.
Also keep in mind that your testosterone levels naturally change throughout the day, so if you do get tested, its best to do so in the morning after a good night’s sleep when they are at their natural peak.
Symptoms of Too Much Testosterone
Before we look into how to increase your testosterone levels, it’s important to take note of the symptoms of having too much. Especially when taking testosterone boosters.
Abnormally high testosterone is incredibly rare. In fact, the main body of reported cases come from individuals who are undergoing testosterone replacement, when they don’t really need it. This is why it’s important to assess your lifestyle and be tested by a doctor before taking testosterone pills.
Some of the most common signs that you might have abnormally high testosterone levels are:
- Increased production of sebum (oily skin) and acne.
- Breast enlargement – this is because the excess testosterone is converted into estrogen. You might also experience a decrease in testicle size and an increase in body fat for this reason.
- Swelling of the prostate – this commonly manifests as trouble starting to urinate, a weak flow of urine, and needing to strain when you pee.
- Fluid retention
Take note of these symptoms and be sure to consult a doctor if any of them present themselves when taking testosterone boosters.
Natural Ways to Increase Your testosterone
Before we get on to testosterone pills, let’s take a look at some of the natural ways you can increase your T levels. Even when using testosterone pills, it’s important to do so along with a balanced lifestyle to ensure maximum effect.
Getting a good night’s sleep is often overlooked, but when it comes to your testosterone levels, it is a must.
Studies have shown that sleep plays a vital role in testosterone production along with other health benefits.
When thinking of your testosterone levels, aim for 7-10 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep each night.
Getting a healthy, balanced diet can give you a huge boost when it comes to testosterone production.
Eating plenty of protein, healthy fats, cruciferous vegetables, and unrefined carbohydrates are going to be essential for optimizing your hormone levels.
Cut out unnecessary sugars, fried foods, alcohol, cigarettes, and fad diets. Anything that involves ‘starving’ the body as a means of losing weight is likely to also lower your testosterone levels.
Exercise, especially resistance training is proven to boost testosterone levels in men. Studies have found that regular exercise means higher T levels at any age.
As a general rule, the higher the level of intensity the higher the level of testosterone production. So think less gentle walks and easy jogs, and aim for weight lifting and HIIT based exercise.
One study found that as your BMI increases by one point, your testosterone levels decrease by around 2%. So using exercise along with a balanced diet in order to maintain a healthy weight can also aid in optimizing your testosterone levels.
The body responds to stress by releasing a chemical called cortisol. Cortisol and testosterone have an interchangeable relationship. High levels of cortisol mean less testosterone production, and higher levels of testosterone mean less cortisol.
Reducing your stress levels means reducing your cortisol levels, so focus on exercise, a balanced diet, quality sleep, and cutting out any unnecessary stressors from your life.
With all that said and done, let’s get to why we’re really here.
Also known as ‘Testosterone Boosters,’ testosterone pills have quickly become a huge part of the supplement industry.
Most testosterone pills are a blend of natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common ingredients and see what science has to say about them:
- Ashwagandha – A herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is commonly used on its own to treat low testosterone, and is a very common ingredient in testosterone boosters. Studies have shown that taking ashwagandha as a supplement can have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
- Tribulus Terrestris – This is without a doubt the most common ingredient in testosterone boosters, and probably the most likely to be taken on its own. Interestingly enough, the jury is still out on whether or not it actually increases testosterone levels. Whilst it has been proven to increase libido and promote sexual wellbeing, a number of studies have found it to be ineffective in affecting testosterone levels in humans.
- Deer Antler Velvet – This extract comes from the epidermis that covers the inner structure of the growing bone and cartilage, which eventually develop into the antlers of a deer. Believe it or not studies have suggested that it increases testosterone levels.
- Fenugreek – Fenugreek extract is derived from the plant’s seed. Studies have found that it can increase testosterone levels.
- Shilajit – Shivaji is the result of a long process of breaking down plant matter and minerals. It is a sticky, black, tar-like substance that comes from rocks in high mountain ranges. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine and has been found to increase testosterone levels.
- Zinc – Studies have found that taking 30mg of zinc daily can have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
- DHEA – DHEA is naturally produced in the adrenal glands and is converted to testosterone by the body. However, there is no definitive answer as to its effectiveness when taken as an oral supplement. Some studies support its use, whilst others have found that it has little effect on testosterone production. Some findings even indicate that it might increase testosterone levels in women, but not in men.
- D-Aspartic Acid – DAA is an amino acid that is responsible for regulating hormones and plays a role in the development of the nervous system. Studies on taking DAA to increase testosterone levels return mixed results.
- Vitamin D – Whilst supplementing Vitamin D can increase energy levels in people with a deficiency, there is no conclusive evidence that it can increase testosterone levels.
Testosterone boosting supplements are often used by bodybuilders to increase muscle mass, help burn fat, and boost strength. They are also used by men looking to improve their libido, and even to help alleviate erectile dysfunction.
Before considering taking a testosterone booster, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re taking it for.
To help you with that question lets take a look at what testosterone boosters can and cannot do.
What Testosterone Pills Can Do
Increasing your testosterone levels by taking a testosterone booster can help increase muscle mass when paired with resistance training.
It can also help to maintain bone density and boost red blood-cell production. This is especially useful for athletes as it means that your blood can carry more oxygen around the body, which helps to preserve energy levels when exercising.
Testosterone boosters can improve your libido and help to promote erections.
They can also work to help stabilize your mood by boosting serotonin production and lowering cortisol levels.
These are the positives, but raising your testosterone levels too high can thicken the blood, increasing the chances of clotting. And, as mentioned earlier, it can cause fat to develop around your chest, giving the appearance of ‘man-boobs’ and can also cause acne.
Using supplementation to boost your testosterone levels can also reduce the amount your body creates naturally. Before taking testosterone boosters its important to ascertain whether or not you have low T levels. Get tested!
What Testosterone Pills Can’t Do
Testosterone does not play a part in the growth of connective tissues and ligaments. This means that using testosterone to build muscle can result in the muscle tissues being unsupported, which can increase the chance of injury.
Whilst testosterone boosters can improve your libido and promote erections, they will not make your penis any bigger or make your erections last longer.
Testosterone pills will not mimic the effect of taking anabolic steroids. They might make a slight difference to muscularity and strength when paired with an effective training routine.
One of the biggest misconceptions of high testosterone levels is that they increase aggressiveness in men. They are often confused as having a similar effect on the mood as anabolic steroids.
Whilst higher testosterone levels might increase your energy levels and your ‘get-up-and-go’ they will not turn you into Dr. Edward Hyde!
Testosterone – The Take Home
It’s important to be aware of why you’re looking to take testosterone boosters, and it’s just as important to be aware of what you can expect from them.
Taking testosterone boosters may be of use if you’re looking for an increase in libido or a little extra edge in the gym. But, its hard to say whether or not they would be potent enough to combat low testosterone levels on their own, or even when paired with significant lifestyle changes.
Before taking testosterone pills, it’s important to see a doctor. This will not only allow you to examine the reasons behind your low testosterone, but It will also help you to explore your options.
It might also be useful to discuss testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if you are suffering from low T levels.
Check out the rest of our site for more information on boosting testosterone and do not hesitate to contact us if you are concerned about your testosterone levels.