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Testosterone Boosting

Most testosterone boosters don’t work. Those that do may increase testosterone levels either directly or by reducing testosterone conversion into estradiol.

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

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jan 12, 2014
Last Updated:

Are you looking to boost your testosterone?

You need our science-based guides (to combat the misinformation that supplement companies push). We explicitly tell you what to take, what dosage to take, and at what time. Our guides help you make sure you don't get overwhelmed with conflicting information.

To help people improve the exact health goals they care about, we offer a specific guide:

Alternatively, you can get the entire bundle of Supplement Guides. For the price of just three guides, you get access to 17 different guides that help you optimize all facets of your cognition (and more!)

Save time, money, and stress with our unbiased approach to supplements. And with our free lifetime updates, you will always have the latest and most accurate recommendations!

If you want to figure out the best way to increase your testosterone, our guides are the science-based solution for you. Stop wasting money on supplements that don't work. Take what's proven to work.


Testosterone Boosting Summary

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.

Aromatase 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 more information on testosterone and what can impact it, see our increasing testosterone page.
For a guide that gives you step-by-step directions on what to take (and what not to take) to increase your testosterone levels, check out our Testosterone Supplement Guide. Based on peer-reviewed scientific research and includes free lifetime updates!

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We take an independent and unbiased approach — using scientific research — to figure out what works and what doesn't. And because we're an educational organization, we're not trying to hype up supplements to sell.



Things To Know & Note

Do Not Confuse With

'Steroids' (the vague societal term for illicit drugs)

Are you looking to boost your testosterone?

You need our science-based guides (to combat the misinformation that supplement companies push). We explicitly tell you what to take, what dosage to take, and at what time. Our guides help you make sure you don't get overwhelmed with conflicting information.

To help people improve the exact health goals they care about, we offer a specific guide:

Alternatively, you can get the entire bundle of Supplement Guides. For the price of just three guides, you get access to 17 different guides that help you optimize all facets of your cognition (and more!)

Save time, money, and stress with our unbiased approach to supplements. And with our free lifetime updates, you will always have the latest and most accurate recommendations!

If you want to figure out the best way to increase your testosterone, our guides are the science-based solution for you. Stop wasting money on supplements that don't work. Take what's proven to work.


References

  1. ^ Schulster M, Bernie AM, Ramasamy R. The role of estradiol in male reproductive function. Asian J Androl. (2016)