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April 14, 2023
If you are over 30, we've got some bad news. Your testosterone levels are declining as we speak.
And as your levels continue declining, your energy levels and muscle mass may end up going with it. Now, we know that sounds dire, but fortunately, you're not powerless.
Because despite it being an inevitable side effect of aging, there is a way to counter the effects of diminishing T levels.
In addition to making sure your lifestyle habits are supporting healthy testosterone levels, including things like eating healthy and getting enough sleep, another way you can increase your testosterone levels is by using testosterone boosters, a supplement that raises your T levels.
We're sure you've got questions about how all of this works, so we put together this comprehensive guide, which explains everything you need to know about testosterone, declining levels, and taking a testosterone booster.
Table of Contents:
**For full transparency, this post may contain affiliate links where we could earn a commission on a purchase you make at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products that we have thoroughly researched and think you will find valuable.**
Testosterone is a hormone that for males, is produced in the testicles, and for women, in the ovaries (yes, women produce some testosterone too!). The hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced in the adrenal glands and is converted to small amounts of testosterone or estrogen.
Testosterone is the primary and most crucial androgen, meaning it is responsible for the growth of male characteristics.
Technically, testosterone is actually an anabolic-androgenic steroid (a natural kind produced by your body) due to its muscle-building effects and ability to increase male sex characteristics. You can learn more about this in our article: Is Testosterone A Steroid?
Healthy testosterone levels play a vital role for both men and women. For men, it's crucial for overall health, significantly impacting everything from muscle mass to mood to energy levels.
As we briefly mentioned above, testosterone plays different roles during the stages of development. First is fetal development, which occurs around seven weeks in utero, when the testicles are formed.
The next stage where testosterone plays a significant role in growth is puberty, which is when a young man's testosterone levels rise to the highest levels they will reach in their lifetime (ahh, to be young again).
Testosterone plays an important role in several changes the male body experiences during the teenage years, including increasing in height, more body and pubic hair, a deeper voice, a higher libido, and an increase in the growth of reproductive organs, including the prostate gland.
As we move into adulthood, testosterone levels slowly decline but still play an essential role. The most important reason we need testosterone in adulthood is for reproductive reasons.
Testosterone is essential for the production of sperm and for maintaining your sex drive. It also plays other critical roles for adult men, including signaling the body to make new red blood cells, helping to keep your muscles and bones strong, and enhancing your overall well-being.
As far as women, most of the testosterone produced in their bodies is naturally converted to estradiol, the female sex hormone.
Testosterone plays a role in everything starting with fetal development, but the more significant effects begin to show during puberty. From birth to about five years old, males have a normal testosterone range of less than 12 ng/dL.
From age six to ten, this number can double to roughly less than 25 ng/dL before really beginning to rise in the teenage years.
Between 11 and 15 years old, the average testosterone range rises dramatically to 830 ng/dL. A 16 to 17-year-old would have a standard range of 300 to 1,200 ng/dL. Around 30, testosterone levels slowly decline at roughly 1% a year.
Total testosterone levels can fall into a wide range, as several factors, including time of day, contribute to the variance. For example, testosterone levels peak at 8 AM, while levels are lowest at 9 PM.
For older adults, their morning peak production is often severely lowered, compared to those who are younger, and their levels plateau by the middle of the afternoon.
To get an idea of average testosterone levels, take a look at the chart below, compiled from a study the University of Michigan did on average testosterone levels for men ages 20-441.
Total Average Testosterone (ng/dL)
When looking at all of the results from their study, the researchers determined the average total testosterone for men between the ages of 20-44 is roughly half of what it is during the teenage puberty years.
To get more of a detailed look at healthy testosterone levels from 40 and up, check out the chart below, based on a Harvard Medical School study2.
Total Average Testosterone (ng/dL)
These studies show how testosterone levels continue to decline slowly after age 30, decreasing with each decade of a man's life.
There are three significant factors that can impact testosterone levels. Here's a closer look at each.
As mentioned above, age is one of the main reasons testosterone levels begin to drop. Studies have shown that after age 30, men lose roughly 1% of their testosterone levels each year. This means that by the time you're 70, you will have lost over 30% of your total testosterone from the peak.
The leading cause of decreased testosterone in older men is hypogonadism, which is decreased functional activity of the gonads.
The primary source of testosterone or androgens in males is called Leydig cells. Studies have shown that the Leydig cells are less responsive to gonadotropin stimulation in males over the age of 65 compared to males under the age of 503.
This means that adding a testosterone booster to your list of must-take supplements for men over 40 is a good idea (we'll talk more about this shortly).
Another factor that can cause our testosterone levels to decrease is obesity, which is defined as anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30, while overweight is a BMI between 25-29.9.
Studies have shown that obesity decreases testosterone levels due to insulin resistance-associated reductions in the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is responsible for transporting androgens (male hormones) and estrogens (female hormones) in blood and regulating their access to target tissues4.
Essentially, obesity changes the way the body responds to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels, therefore leading to fat gain.
One of the leading causes of decreased testosterone is alcohol abuse. Research has shown that consuming large amounts of alcohol can lead to decreased testosterone levels and impaired fertility.
Alcohol has been shown to impair all three parts of the male reproductive system, which includes the hypothalamus, the anterior pituitary gland, and the testes.
In the testes, alcohol damages the Leydig cells, which produce and secrete testosterone. In the pituitary gland, alcohol decreases the production, release, and activity of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
Lastly, alcohol negatively affects hormone production in the hypothalamus5.
Concerned you may have low testosterone? Here are 6 signs to look for.
The libido is directly correlated to testosterone levels, meaning your sex drive increases as testosterone levels increase. It also means a decreased testosterone level will decrease sex drive.
It may not be easy to recognize this as it is happening, but it is often evident in hindsight once your levels return to normal.
If you have noticed your sex drive isn't what it used to be, it might be a good indicator that your testosterone levels are low.
The relationship between low testosterone and ED is complex and not fully understood, as many men with low testosterone will not suffer from ED.
More importantly, low testosterone levels are linked to several other diseases and chronic conditions that play a role in ED, such as obesity and heart disease6.
If you frequently feel unexplainably tired, low testosterone could be to blame.
Testosterone plays a vital role in positive energy levels, so it's logical that decreased testosterone would lead to fatigue. In fact, fatigue is one of the most common signs of low testosterone.
If you have significantly less energy throughout the day or suddenly become extremely tired, you may have low testosterone levels. The fatigue can be seen in daily activities, work production, or even your sex drive.
Perhaps the most noticeable physical sign of low testosterone is a loss of bone or muscle mass. We know, we know - that's not what any of us want to hear. Testosterone plays an essential role in the development and maintenance of muscle mass, so reduced levels of the hormone will also reduce muscle mass.
Testosterone also helps maintain muscle density, which is why we lose lean tissue with lower test levels. Testosterone binds to androgen receptors in muscle cells to maintain the strength of muscle fibers.
When test levels decrease, the number of bound testosterone on muscle cells also decreases, which degrades the maintenance of your muscle7.
So, if you are following a regular workout split and not noticing any progress, your lower testosterone levels could be to blame.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the main bodily changes that occur when your testosterone increases (primarily during your teenage years) is an increase in body hair. This works both ways, as you slowly lose your hair as testosterone levels drop.
Hair loss is closely associated with the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which reduces the size of hair follicles. Genetics plays a vital role in the sensitivity of hair follicles.
In addition, hair loss is not exclusive to the head as it is more common for you to start losing facial and body hair first. The armpits and pubic hair are very common places for hair loss, as well as on the shins and arms.
People are often misdiagnosed with depression when in reality, they are dealing with low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in your overall mood and state of mind, which is why dramatic changes in testosterone levels can cause mood swings, depression, stress, brain fog, and memory loss.
This applies to an increased testosterone level, like during puberty, or decreased levels, as we experience as we age. Low testosterone levels can cause brain fog or reduced cognitive function because testosterone deficiency affects our ability to concentrate.
If you are feeling depressed, please see a doctor, as they are best equipped to help determine the cause of it, along with the treatment options.
A blood test is the only way to accurately test your testosterone levels.
The most common way is by going to your doctor for a blood test and having them do a complete blood panel.
You can also buy an at-home test that works similarly by using a small amount of blood.
If you have low testosterone, there are several natural ways to try to increase testosterone production. This includes exercising consistently (working out boosts testosterone), eating healthy, following a proper sleep schedule (that's good for muscle recovery as well!), avoiding drugs, and limiting alcohol.
Eating certain foods, including eggs, tuna, beans, garlic, oysters, beef, and leafy green vegetables, can also help your natural testosterone production.
Testosterone boosters and testosterone replacement therapy are two other options that can help you increase your free testosterone levels. We'll get into more detail on both of these in the following sections.
Testosterone boosters are supplements that promote healthy testosterone levels by raising testosterone levels in your blood, either naturally or synthetically.
These supplements are typically used to help your body produce more testosterone to restore normal testosterone levels. And, they often include a combination of the best minerals, herbs, and vitamins, all of which we discuss in our article: 8 Best Supplements to Increase Testosterone Naturally.
Check out our article "What Are Testosterone Boosters?" for even more information on what these supplements are all about.
Testosterone booster pills may work in different ways, but the end goal of each is to increase the amount of free testosterone in your blood. The most common way testosterone boosters work is by increasing the level of testosterone in the body.
Some products contain natural plant-based ingredients, which can help increase the production of testosterone. Some natural products can also boost testosterone levels by attempting to reduce the rate at which testosterone is broken down in the body.
Other products increase testosterone directly using synthetic hormones or other ingredients, such as DHEA, a natural hormone in the adrenal gland that makes androgens and estrogens. By targeting secondary hormones, testosterone boosters can indirectly raise testosterone levels.
Another product similar to this is D-Aspartic Acid, which is an amino acid involved in testosterone production and releasing hormones. Studies have shown that D-Aspartic Acid can increase the release of a hormone in the brain that will result in testosterone production8.
TestoPrime is an extremely effective and popular testosterone booster that contains D-Aspartic Acid, in addition to many other research-backed ingredients that work to increase your testosterone levels.
Testosterone replacement therapy uses medication to replace or increase testosterone production. A significant difference between testosterone boosters and TRT is that TRT uses prescription treatment, such as testosterone injections, under the advice and guidance of a doctor.
TRT uses blood work and a specific prescription regimen to control testosterone levels in a precise manner, whereas testosterone boosters produce a more comprehensive range of results.
If you're interested in going the TRT route, check out this list of 8 Best Online TRT Clinics. As these companies are designed to make the process of getting tested and treated virtually for low testosterone, it's a great option.
Testosterone boosters differ from testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in their mechanism of treating the problem.
Testosterone boosters increase testosterone levels in the body, either naturally or synthetically. They can do this by either triggering the production of more testosterone or by preventing testosterone from breaking down.
Some people may be more responsive to testosterone boosters than others, so results may vary. If you have very deficient testosterone levels, TRT is often recommended so a medical professional can treat the issue before it worsens.
Test boosters are recommended for those with moderately low testosterone symptoms or those looking for a performance boost. We recommend speaking with a doctor before starting either, as well as getting blood work done to determine the best treatment.
Wondering why boosting your testosterone may be important? Take a look at these 4 benefits of testosterone boosters.
The main reason people use testosterone boosters as performance enhancers is for their ability to enhance muscle hypertrophy. We cannot stress enough how important testosterone is to muscle growth and development.
Increasing your testosterone levels has been proven to increase muscle growth in size and strength directly. One study tested the effect of testosterone boosters on muscle mass and protein synthesis. giving a standard pharmacological dose of testosterone for 12 weeks to nine healthy male subjects.
Muscle mass, measured by creatinine excretion, increased in all nine men by an average of 20%. They concluded that increased testosterone would increase muscle mass by increasing muscle protein synthesis9.
Aside from looking for an athletic performance enhancer, the second most common reason people use testosterone boosters is to increase their sex drive.
And good news! Several different studies have shown that supplementing with testosterone will increase your sex drive, especially in older men. One experiment used men over 65 with low testosterone levels and measured their sexual activity, sexual desire, and erectile function.
Compared to the placebo group, the group treated with testosterone supplements significantly improved in 10 of the 12 measures of sexual activity. They found the increases in sexual desire and activity were directly related to the magnitude of increases in testosterone10.
As we learned above, testosterone levels directly impact our energy levels, as well as our overall mood. Fatigue is one of the worst symptoms of low testosterone because it can also affect your mood and cause depression and irritability.
Testosterone has been shown to increase our energy in multiple ways, including boosting muscle endurance by increasing muscle mass and increasing the production of red blood cells.
Several studies have shown that increasing testosterone levels will combat fatigue, boost your mood, and improve the overall quality of life11.
By increasing your ability to pack on muscle, testosterone boosters can also help you lose weight. As you add muscle mass to your frame, testosterone boosters increase your base metabolic rate, enabling you to burn more calories at rest.
Having a more muscular body composition will help burn more calories, which will increase weight loss. Studies have shown that decreased testosterone levels associated with older age come with decreased fat-free mass and increased and redistributed fat mass.
Testosterone administration has been shown to improve body composition by increasing muscle mass, decreasing fat mass, and increasing lean body mass11.
In general, testosterone boosters are safe, especially when you follow the correct dosing. While there are several great benefits to using testosterone boosters, and for the most part, the perks outweigh the cons, there are drawbacks to know about.
The level of risk depends heavily on your age, life circumstances, and other medical conditions.
The drawbacks and side effects are increased the longer you use testosterone boosters and the higher the dosage. This means that following the proper dosing recommendations is essential.
Testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to have a risk for prostate cancer, liver toxicity, and tumors, worsening symptoms of sleep apnea and congestive heart failure, gynostemia, infertility, and skin diseases11.
Other potential side effects include sleep apnea, increased risk of injury, kidney stress, and blood thickening (polycythemia).
Another common side effect of testosterone boosters is acne, which occurs due to overstimulation of the sebaceous gland, meaning the skin is producing extra oil. To prevent this, try using acne products containing alcohol, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide to help dry the skin.
Remember, stick with the right dosing, and don't forget to make sure your testosterone booster contains natural, effective ingredients. We'll discuss the best ingredients to look for shortly.
If you are over 25 and suffer from more than one of the symptoms we discussed above, there is a chance you have low testosterone levels.
Anyone suffering from low testosterone would likely benefit from testosterone boosters, but ideally, you should consult a doctor before starting, as well as get a full blood work panel done.
If you are moderately healthy and looking to gain muscle mass, improve strength, gain muscular endurance, or improve your athletic performance overall, then testosterone boosters may be perfect for you.
T boosters also work great if you want a boost in overall energy, mood, and sex drive.
The most important group who should not take testosterone boosters are teenagers or young children. When you are going through puberty and your early 20s, your testosterone levels are naturally extremely high.
It is dangerous to take any hormone supplement under the age of 25 because your endocrine and central nervous systems are still developing. If you are older and suffer from a serious illness or disease, always speak with a doctor before starting a testosterone booster.
People with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure should also consult a physician before taking T-boosters.
You can learn more about this in our article: Is It Bad To Take Testosterone Boosters At 20?
With so many different brands and options, it can be overwhelming to pick a supplement. Fortunately, SET FOR SET found the best testosterone booster supplements for 2023 to help you determine the best fit for you.
If we had to pick the best overall testosterone booster, it's TestoPrime.
This product contains all-natural, research-supported ingredients to increase your testosterone levels. Some of the ingredients include D-Aspartic Acid, Ashwagandha extract, Vitamin D, and Zinc, among several others.
The company is third-party tested and contains no synthetic ingredients, which is especially important for athletes.
TestoPrime is an all-natural testosterone support that can help any man take control of his youthful vitality with a flood of new and natural testosterone...
A close second on the list of best testosterone boosters is TestoFuel, a muscle builder and libido booster, both of which are arguably the most desired aspects of testosterone boosters.
This product also uses all-natural ingredients, with a base of oyster extract, Fenugreek, and Siberian ginseng. It is research-backed so that you can increase testosterone and energy levels, while boosting your metabolism safely.
When picking out a testosterone supplement, there are certain ingredients that are better than others. We recommend making sure some of the following ingredients are included in your testosterone booster.
D-Aspartic Acid is one of the most common ingredients in testosterone boosters. It is an amino acid regulator and plays an important role in the production of testosterone.
Studies have shown that supplementing with D-Aspartic Acid can increase the body’s natural testosterone synthesis by up to 45%12.
Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, along with vitamins E, A, and K. Vitamin D supplements are directly associated with the production of testosterone, so the more vitamin D you have, the more testosterone you will have.
Studies have shown that vitamin D can increase levels of free testosterone and prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen13.
Zinc is an important mineral that plays a role in the production of testosterone. Zinc has been shown to increase testosterone levels and stop the conversion of testosterone into estrogen14.
Fenugreek is a plant from India and North Africa that is one of the most popular natural testosterone boosters. Fenugreek contains the active ingredient furostanolic saponin, which has been shown to increase T levels and improve strength levels.
One study found that daily use of Fenugreek for three months resulted in an average of 46% higher testosterone production in a group of 50 men15.
A type of amino acid, L-arginine plays an essential role in protein synthesis and has been shown to increase testosterone levels16.
Ashwagandha is a natural herb that's been used for centuries for various ailments. A study from 2010 found using 3 grams of ashwagandha for three months raised testosterone levels between 14 and 41%17.
Stick with the ingredients we mentioned above, and avoid using testosterone boosters that include the following ingredients.
There are so many testosterone boosters on the market that it can feel pretty overwhelming when you're trying to select one. You can narrow down your selection by looking for testosterone boosters with at least one or two of the following 4 qualities.
The most important thing to look for when buying a testosterone booster is whether the product uses all-natural ingredients. Synthetic ingredients are more dangerous and have more severe side effects since they are foreign to the body.
Research shows that natural ingredients are effective and safe, so we recommend sticking to these products. Not only is this crucial for your overall health, but it's also important if you are an athlete who can be tested for banned substances.
If you're looking for a good natural testosterone booster, check out our review comparing TestoFuel vs TestoPrime. You can't go wrong with either option!
If you have experimented with different supplements over the years, you most likely have experienced a bad product. Unfortunately, several products may not produce any results, or they may cause bad side effects or negative reactions.
This is where a money-back guarantee comes in handy. These products can be expensive, so it is comforting to know you can get your money back if you are unsatisfied.
The United States has some of the most strict laws and qualifications for supplements, so products made here are most likely safe to use.
Products made in other countries may use unknown substances or proprietary blends, which can contain harmful or banned substances. It is safest to use products made in the United States to ensure it uses quality ingredients. Hunter Test is a great example of a USA-manufactured supplement.
We even did a comprehensive Hunter Test review, so you can learn more about it before purchasing.
One of the best stamps a supplement bottle can have is third-party tested. This shows that the product has been thoroughly tested by an independent company to ensure it's high quality and safe.
You can feel safe using a product that has been third-party tested. In addition, it's important to buy supplements that are produced by a reputable company as this helps ensure you're buying a high-quality product.
Testosterone boosters’ effectiveness and safety depend on the user following the proper dosage. It is important to follow the instructions on the product because skipping doses or using too much can lead to more side effects and less effective results.
For example, TestoPrime has users taking four capsules every morning for one month. Stick with this, and don't go over what the company recommends.
Another significant difference between testosterone boosters and TRT is the length of time using the product. Typically testosterone boosters are only used for four to eight weeks, while TRT is typically at least 12 weeks and can be indefinite.
You might notice a boost in energy within the first few days of using a testosterone booster, while the strength gains will take slightly longer, usually at least two weeks.
It's important to note that test boosters are not miracle drugs. You still need to follow a proper diet and regularly exercise to see muscle gains.
The easiest way to tell if your testosterone booster is working is by comparing your statistics from before you started taking them to what they are halfway through taking them and toward the end of taking them.
You could do this by measuring your bicep muscle and tracking that, having a test done that measures your body fat percentage, or simply monitoring how you look through pictures.
Other measurable ways to determine if they're working include weight loss and more strength in the gym. Additional signs it is working is if you feel an increase in energy, libido, or overall mood.
While testosterone boosters are a great way to increase testosterone levels, there are also several ways you can naturally boost your test levels. Doing these in conjunction with a testosterone booster is a great way to support healthy T levels.
Some of the best ways to boost your testosterone naturally include exercising regularly, avoiding fat gain and maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and drugs, getting good sleep, and eating healthy.
Certain foods can also help boost testosterone. The best t-boosting foods include eggs, tuna, beans, oysters, beef, leafy green vegetables, and garlic. In fact, one of the benefits of garlic supplements is their ability to increase your testosterone.
Any remaining testosterone booster questions? Let's answer them here!
Yes, testosterone boosters work. Several quality products can successfully increase testosterone levels in the blood.
Most companies will provide this information along with the recommended dosing. One thing to note is that testosterone levels are highest in the morning, so many products may recommend taking them in the afternoon or night when levels decline. The most important thing is to take them at the same time every day to keep your T levels consistent.
As long as you are a healthy individual over the age of 25 with no chronic conditions, then yes it should be healthy to take a testosterone booster. We always suggest consulting your doctor before starting a testosterone booster, as they are not for everyone and may lead to minor side effects.
Aside from using a testosterone booster, there are several ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally. Working out consistently, eating healthy, having a proper sleep schedule, and avoiding drugs and alcohol can all help boost testosterone levels.
You should expect to experience gains in muscle mass, strength, endurance, and elevated libido.
The best testosterone booster on the market is TestoPrime. The supplement contains a great combination of all-natural products, including D-Aspartic Acid, Ashwagandha, and Fenugreek.
Most of the side effects of testosterone boosters are mild such as acne, hair loss, and mood swings. Some potentially more serious cons include changes in cholesterol and a potentially increased risk of heart disease.
Guys, your testosterone levels will inevitably decline with age. There's no getting around this, but fortunately, there is a way to get around overly low testosterone levels. You can avoid many issues (or help resolve them) that low testosterone creates by using testosterone boosters.
Besides losing muscle and gaining weight, low testosterone levels can simply cause you to not feel like yourself, and in worst-case scenarios, lead to several diseases and health issues.
It is essential to treat the issue properly, and testosterone boosting supplements, especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle (get enough sleep!) can help.
If you're looking for more lean muscle mass, increased energy, and weight loss, check out the 7 Best Testosterone Booster Supplements in 2023.
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