The easiest way to determine if an over-the-counter Testosterone Booster will work is to check the ingredients list. Whilst propriety blends and brands have had little scientific testing the ingredients within the product are a different story. We have ranked a number of commonly associated ingredients with testosterone boosters into 4 categories : Imperative, Advisable, Questionable, Avoidable based on the current scientific literature.
Vitamin D – Most commonly associated with the exposure to sunlight, vitamin D is often linked to male fertility as vitamin D receptors can be found on sperm cells. Studies have conclusively shown that supplementing vitamin D in deficient middle aged men, also resulted in a raise in testosterone levels (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195).
Zinc – An essential mineral for general health, it is located with the body’s cells and is responsible for aiding the immune system, making proteins and DNA. Supplementing zinc deficiencies have shown to boost levels of testosterone in the body and generating a more robust immune function (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17984944) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16648789) (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/509824?resultClick=1)
Magnesium – Another vital mineral for a healthy body, magnesium is responsible for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and making bone, DNA and protein. Supplementing magnesium to aid a deficiency can also increase total testosterone (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3). Total testosterone comprises bound and free forms
DHEA – Dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone that is capable of creating other hormones, including testosterone and is found circulating the body. It is known to particularly aid the increase of testosterone in cases of age related deficiencies (https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/98/9/3615/2833096) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417481).
Coleus Forskohlii – is a herb capable of increasing cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels in the body. Testosterone synthesis is linked to an increase of cAMP in the testes. One study on overweight men noted that this testosterone synthesis was increased with the supplementation of coleus forskohlii (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16129715). The primary bioactive ingredient in coleus forskohlii is called forskolin, however there are many bioactive compounds present of which long term effects remain unstudied.
D-Aspartic Acid – D-AA is an amino acid regulator of testosterone synthesis. Results of studies researching testosterone increases through D-AA have been mixed with the most likely benefactors being infertile men.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24074738) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19860889)
Boron – Another dietary mineral which is thought to influence the handling of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. It is linked with preventing arthritis, increasing bone density and improving testosterone levels. Research has varied considerably though for acknowledging precise affect to testosterone levels. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21129941) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8508192)
Eurycoma Longifolia – A Malaysian and Indonesian native, this flowering plant is often credited with aiding the T levels of men who are stressed or who have onset issues of infertility. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21671978) (https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-10-28)
Fenugreek – used as a herb, spice and vegetable, it’s a plant cultivated worldwide as a semiarid crop. Whilst some purport it raises T, there is superior evidence suggesting it does not. (https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol2/iss1/13/
Tribulus Terrestris – an herb from Ayuverda (a system of medicine with roots in India) commonly associated with male virility (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15994038
Anything purporting to be a libido enhancer. These ingredients whilst demonstrating an affect on the libido do not always correlate with an improved testosterone level and should not be considered as viable options.
Maca – aka Peruvian ginseng, it’s a herb found in the high Andes of Peru. Commonly used as a root vegetable, it is a well known aphrodesiac but that is likely to be it’s only significant relationship to testosterone
Horny Goat Weed – native to China, it’s an herb that is derived from the flowering plant species epdimedium. Whilst it has purported libido enhancing properties, no studies on T levels in humans have been conducted.
Its important to not get caught up in the marketing and hype, any decent testosterone booster will include many of the important ingredients listed above. Nearly all of the studies isolate one ingredient at a time so combining a few of them together that have proven test boosting effects would be an excellent place to start.