Testosterone Boosting

Purported to increase serum testosterone levels through increasing endogenous production or conversion. Most supplements do not have a pragmatically meaningful effect, if an effect at all, in humans.

Our evidence-based analysis features 1 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis by and verified by the Examine.com Research Team. Last updated on Jul 18, 2018.


For a list of supplements to take to boost testosterone, see the increasing testosterone supplement stack.

You may know your total testosterone levels, but they don’t tell the whole story. Your total testosterone can be divided into three categories:

  • Tightly-bound testosterone. About two-thirds of the testosterone in your blood is bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Your body can’t use it.

  • Loosely-bound testosterone. About a third of the testosterone in your blood is bound to albumin. Your body can use it, with some effort.

  • Free testosterone. A small percentage of the testosterone in your blood (1–4%, as a rule) just floats around freely. Your body can readily use it, and the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase can convert it to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) — a very potent androgen.

Together, your loosely-bound and your free testosterone compose your bioavailable testosterone, which has a greater impact on your health than your total testosterone.

Testosterone boosters are supplements that increase your production of testosterone. Often included in this category are also supplements that only increase your percentage of free testosterone or your DHT.

1Aromatase inhibitors

Supplements that inhibit CYP19A1, the aromatase enzyme, are indirect testosterone boosters in men. CYP19A1 serves many purposes, one of which is to convert testosterone to estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen. Inhibiting this enzyme reduces the percentage of testosterone that gets converted to estradiol.

Contrary to what you might think, the male body needs estradiol,[1] though in lesser quantity than women do; when it detects that its estradiol levels are too low, it reacts by increasing its production of the base material it needs to make estradiol — in other words, it increases its production of testosterone.

Aromatase inhibitors can boost testosterone on their own, but they can also complement other testosterone boosters. If you take a supplement that increases testosterone without inhibiting the aromatase enzyme (through hypothalamic stimulation, for instance), you may find yourself with more estradiol than you need, a situation that taking an aromatase inhibitor may remedy.

If you’re a man, that is. As we saw, aromatase inhibitors hinder the conversion of androgens to estrogens; in premenopausal women, however, ovaries produce most of the estrogen, so aromatase inhibitors are much less effective.

For a list of supplements to take to boost testosterone, see our increasing testosterone page.

Editors' Thoughts on Testosterone Boosting

In regards to 'cycling' testosterone boosters, it is always a good idea to do so. Some of them do have side-effects that could be problematic if used excessively (Bulbine Natalensis) and some have benign but undesirable side-effects only associated with prolonged usage (chronic usage of high doses of Ginger). Many others don't have these 'bad effects' since they are not studied as much, so it would still be prudent to cycle them.

Things that act in the testicles have adverse effects on the testicles like atrophy and may reduce HPTA stimulation over time if used too much, while compounds that act in the hypothalamus can cause symptoms of what people call 'adrenal fatigue' (vague enough term) where the hypothalamus starts to fatigue. Possible reason why abuse of D-Aspartic Acid, anecdotally, is associated with fatigue and ennui rather than mini-balls.

Anywho, this page is catered towards including every testosterone boosting 'supplement' that is claimed regardless of its actual efficacy in doing so; a very broad meta-page. For a concentrated list of the more promising ones, please refer to our testosterone boosting 'stack' page

Kurtis Frank

(Common misspellings for Testosterone Boosting include testosterne, boostr, test, testosterone boosters)

Cite this page

"Testosterone Boosting," Examine.com, published on 12 January 2014, last updated on 18 July 2018, http://examine.com/supplements/testosterone-booster/