Everything You Need to Know About Testosterone Supplements
Typically, when we think about hormones, we think about pimples and the teenage years. However, the truth is that hormones play an essential role in our everyday life from the time we’re conceived to the time we die.
Hormones are involved in far more processes than puberty and sex drive. While chromosomes from dad’s sperm determined whether you were assigned male or female at birth, sex hormones are responsible for the significant differences between men’s and women’s anatomy and even the way their brains function.
Hormones: What are They, Really?
Hormones are chemical messengers secreted from hormone-producing glands into the blood and carried to their appropriate organs or tissues, where they carry out their functions.
The hormone-producing glands responsible for sex hormones are:
- pituitary gland
- ovaries in women
- testes in men
The glands and hormones exist in a sensitive balance that can be thrown out of whack by any number of things. Stress, injury, aging, etc., are all things that can affect hormone levels. In men, when sex hormones get thrown out of balance, it can affect many of the things that are stereotypically associated with being a man:
- sex drive
- sperm production
- muscle mass
While a drop in these things certainly doesn’t make you any less of a man, hormone changes can be frustrating. People often feel “off” and experience other annoying side effects. So, it’s perfectly natural to want to get things back in balance. If you are considering trying out a test booster, there are some things you should know. First, let’s talk about the big T.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in both men and women, though the ovaries make it in much smaller quantities than the testes. Production generally increases significantly through puberty, and after age thirty, it begins to decline.
The male sex hormone is typically associated with negative, aggressive behaviors in men, but that association can mostly be boiled down to myth.
Testosterone does, however, play roles in:
- male sex organ development
- voice deepening
- facial and body hair
- muscle mass and strength
- bone growth and strength
- sperm production
It’s not all muscles and rainbows, though, and too much testosterone can be worse than too little. Men with abnormally high levels face issues like heart damage, liver disease, and other scary conditions.
Too little T and you’re fighting a drop in the things we mentioned earlier, along with hot flashes, increased breast tissue, irritability, and depression.
What Causes Testosterone to Lower?
As with many hormone problems, lots of circumstances and conditions can lead to lowered T.
Illness and infections, like:
- cancer and tumors
- kidney failure
- inflammatory conditions
- Kallman syndrome
- Klinefelter syndrome
- sleep apnea
- type 2 diabetes
Injuries such as:
- trauma to the testes
- trauma to the brain
Medications or substance abuse like:
- prescription drugs
- steroids, from prednisone to anabolic steroids
Of course, the most common reason testosterone levels lower is due to the natural aging process. If you’re suffering from illness, injury, or other health conditions, working with your primary care physician is a great way to get your hormone levels back in check.
If you can rule out most of these causes and still feel like your levels are off, you could ask your primary care physician to test your hormone levels with a blood test. Then try some natural remedies or go right for a test booster.
Natural Remedies to Treat Low Testosterone
Luckily there are several scientifically backed things you can try to boost your testosterone before trying a testosterone supplement. Things like exercising, eating a balance of carbs, proteins, and fats, minimizing stress, maximizing sleep, and avoiding estrogen-like compounds and chemicals like dairy, BPA, parabens, and others.
You can also try adding a multivitamin and a vitamin D3 supplements to your daily regimen.
Is Vitamin D a Testosterone Supplement?
No, vitamin D is not specifically a testosterone supplement. It is, however, an essential vitamin involved in countless crucial functions in the body. Known mostly for its partnership with calcium in keeping bones healthy and strong, and most recently for its immune function support, vitamin D is also an effective test booster.
One study conducted over twelve months found that using vitamin D as a test booster (about 3000 IU/day) led to a 25% boost in testosterone levels.
Testosterone Supplement Recommendation: Swiss Natural Vitamin D3
Swiss Natural is a safe and effective natural vitamin D3 formula. One tablet contains 1000 IU of vitamin D3. To effectively use as a test booster, take three tablets (3000 IU) a day until symptoms improve. Consult with your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Using Multivitamins as a Test Booster
Along with vitamin D3, other vitamins and minerals can help hormone levels. Many men suffering from low T are low in zinc. Healthy levels of zinc can boost testosterone. There’s some debate, but some studies suggest that taking vitamins A, C, and E can improve T levels.
One study shows that zinc and vitamin B increase T levels and improve sperm quality, and another study shows vitamins A, C, and E improved sex hormone levels. A convenient way to ensure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals is to include a multivitamin in your daily routine.
Multivitamin as Testosterone Supplement Recommendation: Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men
Opti-Men is a multivitamin by one of the oldest, most reputable supplement companies on the market. It is designed specifically for men with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural test boosters to support men’s overall health. It includes all the natural test boosters mentioned—vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and zinc.
How do Test Boosters Work?
If you already eat right, exercise, and take multivitamins, but you still suffer from low T symptoms, try testosterone supplements. “Testosterone supplements” or “test boosters” are typically herbal supplement pills, powders, or capsules, formulated to encourage a man’s body to produce more testosterone naturally.
The internet is full of skeptics warning of the dangers of using test boosters, and rightfully so. Testosterone supplements can be dangerous in the same way that all supplements can be. The looser regulations on dietary supplements make it easier for shady companies to slap any claim on the label without evidence and load their products with harmful and even dangerous ingredients.
You can avoid this danger by shopping with a reputable supplements store or a brand known for effective, safe products. You should also shop smart and look for test boosters that includes scientifically-backed ingredients like the vitamins we’ve already listed. Some other herbal supplements known for their test boosting effects are ashwagandha, Tribulus Terrestris, D-aspartic acid, and fenugreek.
Testosterone Supplement Recommendation: Top Test Boosters
Performance Fortitude is a natural testosterone supplement from ANS Performance, a leading sports supplement brand. This supplement includes vitamin D, zinc, ashwagandha and other herbal ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. Regular use of this test booster leads to better muscle growth and improved libido thanks to better blood flow and reducing cortisol.
Animal is another sports supplement brand that has been around for a long time and has made a name for itself. Stak is a natural test booster with ingredients like vitamin D, vitamin B6, zinc, tribulus terrestris, fenugreek, and ashwagandha.
Side Effects and Risks of Natural Testosterone Supplements
There are very minimal risks in using vitamin and mineral supplements if you purchase from a reputable brand. However, some herbal supplements used as test boosters can cause side effects. Side effects for the herbal testosterone supplements that we’ve mentioned are:
Ashwagandha—stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting
Tribulus terrestris—stomach pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, excitation, and insomnia
Fenugreek—diarrhea, upset stomach, gas, and bloating, dizziness, headache, sweet-smelling urine, nasal congestion, or allergic reactions
Risks of Anabolic Steroid Test Boosters
Risks for natural test boosters are minimal. The testosterone supplements we recommend do not contain large doses of any of these ingredients. It’s likely that you will not experience any side effects except for the desired results.
However, such is not the case if you choose to go down a darker path and try illegal testosterone supplements like anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic testosterone supplements used to improve athletic performance and build muscle; however, the severe side effects are not worth the risk.
There are medical uses for some synthetic testosterone supplements, but they are illegal for performance use under the Controlled Substance Act. Not only is the use of synthetic test boosters dangerous and illegal, but it also leads to some side effects that are essentially the opposite of what users are trying to achieve.
Side effects of illegal test booster use are:
- severe acne
- fluid retention and bloating
- pain and difficulty urinating
- enlarged male breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- increased red blood cell count
- lowered HDL and raised LDL cholesterol (good and bad cholesterol, respectively)
- hair loss or unwanted hair growth
- infertility and lowered sperm count
- lowered sex drive
- shrinking male sex organs
- aggression and hostility
- impaired judgment
Along with these side effects, serious risks of synthetic testosterone supplement use for performance include:
- psychological addiction and dependence
- heart problems, including sudden cardiac arrest
- liver problems and damage
- degeneration of collagen leading to injuries like tendon ruptures
- bone loss and osteoporosis
- permanently stunted growth in adolescents
If you or someone you know is using anabolic steroids, you should seek professional help to discontinue use and get on the path to health.
The bottom line is that low testosterone can affect many men in varying stages of life. If you are concerned, you should talk to your doctor and adopt lifestyle habits conducive to naturally raising T levels. You can also try natural testosterone supplements that combine vitamins, minerals, and other herbal supplements to help the body naturally produce more testosterone. Whatever you do, stay away from synthetic test boosters.