STEP 6B: Examine other alternative ways to raise your testosterone naturally:
Many men with low testosterone do not want to immediately jump on testosterone therapy and with good reason. I personally have had a great experience overall, but not all men are so lucky. And it is also a fair amount of time and expense, etc. Anyway, for many reasons many men are looking for natural ways to
increase their testosterone. See my page
Fixing Your Testosterone With Natural Methods (Greater Than 25%) for some of the bigger gun methodologies to do that. And you'll also want to scan through this page where I include some of the strategies that are a little more "off the beaten path."
Below you will see that twenty years of research have
given us abundant ways to boost testosterone. I would guess many of the things on this list will surprise you: they are the opposite of what most of the bodybuilding magazines and health food stores will tell you.
One caution that I have is that I tried for years to raise my testosterone through lifestyle changes, i.e. diet, sleep, supplements, etc., and nothing budged my testosterone. And I see this quite often on
The Peak Testosterone Forum: some men seem to have actual damage to some part of their HPT
(hypothalamus, pituitary and testes) axis. In those cases, words, going natural just does not work for reasons that we do no understand yet. Of course, it does not hurt to try, and I especially encourage the younger men to do that.
40+ Ways to Increase and Protect Your Testosterone
- Sex. I get to be the bearer of good news: you can actually increase
your testosterone levels by having sex. Let me repeat that again in case you needed
some time to pick yourself up off the floor: you can boost testosterone by having sex.
And you can also have a lot of fun while you're at it. For more information, read
this link on Sex and Testosterone.
(Actually, I know that some of you need some practical
ideas for how to get more sex from the woman in your life. Well, it's not as
hard as you might think in most cases. Here are a few ideas that will
Tease Her and
Increase Her Libido.)
Do you know the foods and drinks that increase erection-boosting
Nitric Oxide? Check out the
Peak Erectile Strength Diet where I show
you how to dramatically and naturally improve your erectile strength.
- Sleep. I've got bad news for all you night owls: testosterone is
directly related to the amount of sleep you get each night. The more
sleep, the more you increase your testosterone. Sleep also
boosts Growth Hormone and rebuilds your Brain. Want an
easy way to increase your testosterone? Turn off the TV and computer and
go to bed! For more information on the MANY benefits of sleep, read this link.
- Big Three. I give a summary of the
Top Three Ways to Improve Your
Testosterone Levels to find out the three natural ways that most guys can give a very
substantial boost to their testosterone.
- Decrease Estrogen. Don't underestimate the power of lowering your
in order to raise your testosterone: the two compete for the same
receptors in many cases. In this link on
How to Lower Your Estrogen I talk about
natural ways to do so. The effects of decreasing your testosterone were
shown by one
study of hypogonadal (low testosterone)
senior men found that giving a estrogen blocker (Arimidex) raised testosterone
on average by 62%.  This is a very impressive number indeed. Now
you can lower estrogen using the 6-OXO - see below - but I recommend monitoring
by an endocrinologist or other doctor that specializes in these kind of issues.
Why? Because some males actually get osteoporosis from low estrogen
levels. Furthermore, some estrogen is important for brain
health. Still other 55 year olds have more estrogen than their wives! So
each case is different and I recommend that you work with someone who knows what
he or she is doing.
- DHEA + HIIT (middle-aged). There is an exciting new study out that shows that a combination of HIIT
and 50 mg of DHEA produced very significant changes in both total testosterone and free testosterone.
Participants basically performed (in the morning on an empty stomach) 5 cycles of very intense 2 minute cycling
with a one minute rest
in between.  So this would not be a walk in the park, but the results were downright incredible:
the middle-aged (49-year-olds) boosted free testosterone by about 66 and ~90 percent 24 hours later.
This is only one study and they did not pull estradiol levels. DHEA reportedly can sometimes raise
estradiol levels in males disproportionately, although I have seen no evidence to prove that. So it would be smart in my opinion
to pull your testosterone and estradiol levels before and after. You can find inexpensive
labs to do this here: Testosterone Testing Labs.
- LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone). Might there be a huge inflammation connection
to low testosterone? Well, why not since inflammation seems to be
connected to almost every other condition and syndrome? We had one poster
who took low dose Naltrexone (3 mg/day) and had stunning results: his
thyroid antibodies dropped by 80% and his testosterone more than doubled! 
It went from 400 ng/dl to 1,000 ng/dl, which is an incredible increase.
Again, this is a specialized case, i.e. a man with Hashimoto's and near
hypogonadism. However, this situation is probably more common than many
people think. Now, if you are fond of using a pharmaceutical even at a low
dosage, there are many anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements that may also
produce great results including turmeric, quercetin, red tart cherry extract and
bromelain. Also, I should mention that LDN has had stellar results with numerous
auto-immune conditions and is a very hot topic in the alternative health
community. (See my page on Naltrexone and Testosterone / E.D.)
- D-Aspartic Acid. This amino acid has great potential. Already one
study on 23 young males found a 33% increase in testosterone (and leutinizing
hormone).  A previous study on rats also showed an increase in growth
hormone as well.  Not bad for a single amino acid, eh?
However, the problem is that this is a relatively "new" supplement and long term
usage history is scarce at best. In addition, amino acids can have rather profound effects, and so caution is in order here.
For example, one issue discovered with D-Aspartic Acid is that it increases
aromatization (to estradiol - E2) according to a couple of studies.  No
one knows how much of an issue this is: some men are reporting
estrogen-esque effects, particularly psychological.
- Diet. You can actually increase testosterone through diet.
Fat and Fiber and the
High Testosterone Diet for more details.
- Weight Lifting. There is considerable evidence that
long term Weight Lifting and
strength training can actually increase baseline testosterone.
Scientists aren't really sure how it does this, but then does it really matter?
The important thing is that pumping iron pumps up your hormones. CAUTION:
Be careful, O Iron Warrior, not to Overtrain which will whack your hormones for days afterward!
- Attitude. Your outlook on life controls just about everything, so why not your
testosterone as well?
Depression will destroy
your testosterone and the opposite will
increase your testosterone. In other words, it's not just your juevos that pump out
an increase in testosterone, it's that
three pounds between your ears. For more information, read
this link on the the Mind.
- Watch the Sugar. This is hot off the press: blood sugar spikes
lead to decreased testosterone.  In fact, blood sugar elevation can whack
testosterone by as much as 25%! Furthermore, it does not matter whether
you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or normal: your testosterone will suffer
just the same. In fact, it actually drove testosterone so low that a significant
number of the men became hypogonadal during the test! And the researchers
found that this was not just a transient result: testosterone was still
significantly lowered two hours after the test. This is yet another
example of the importance of watching your Glycemic Load and managing your sugar
levels. Read this link on
How Sugar Lowers Your Testosterone and Assaults
Your Sex Life.
- Watch the Fat. Consuming a lot of fat can also drive down testosterone in
some cases post-meal. One study showed that a high fat meal reduced testosterone levels
by about 23% for 8 hours after a meal (and perhaps longer). You can read more
about this in my link on
Testosterone and What You Put On Your Plate for more information.
- Macuna Pruriens. According to one study out of India, 5 grams of this
legume given to men with fertility issues (but otherwise healthy) resulted in a
nice 27% boost in testosterone from 449 to 572 ng/dl.  It also had the added
benefit of lowering prolactin by about 33%. Prolactin is
important, but many men have somewhat elevated levels and this can lower libido,
testosterone and dopamine. (Always check with your doctor if you find you
have elevated prolactin, because it is possible that it is The Sign of a Prolactinoma.)
- Bulbine Natalensis. This herb, according to an animal study and compay
research, provides a BIG boost in testosterone. And, just as signficant,
it looks like it lowers estraiol as well. However, there are a few
concerns that you may want to consider and I disccuss tem in my link on Mike Mahler's
New Testosterone Booster. On the Peak Testosterone Forum,
we have not had any men get big boosts in testosterone yet, but this herb definitely
does work in some men according to the studies.
- Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome is associated with lower levels of testosterone
and most guys on this site have a full blown case of it. In fact, researchers have concluded that "while it is clear that disease, and in
the context of this contribution, in particular the metabolic syndrome can
suppress circulating testosterone levels, it has also been documented that low
testosterone levels induce the metabolic syndrome ".  Read
Metabolic Syndrome for how to defeat this menace and
preserve your precious testosterone.
- Varicocele Surgery. A surprising number of guys have a varicocele, which
is a "varicose vein" in the scrotal area. This usually happens from trauma or
doing heavy lifting. A varicocele can leave the affected testicle with an
improper blood supply, which in turn can decrease testosterone output. See
Improving Male Fertility for details.
Some of us thrive on Stress. Adrenaline is a "rush" after all, right? What we don't
realize is that not all our hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, go up
with stress. Some hormones, your beloved testosterone
in particular, head south very quickly under those conditions. In fact, what
science has found is that if your corisol, the primary stress hormone, is high
enough it is the culprit in shutting down testosterone dirrectly. Some of us can,
therefore, increase our testosterone by lowering our
Stress and you can read about it
here. Science has discovered that stress is nasty for all of us
vertebrates and we humans are no exception.
- Overtraining. This is one for
all you gym rats. If a little is good, then more must be better, right? Wrong!
Overtraining can effect your testosterone negatively for
days afterwards and whack your immunity while it's at it. Again, if
you're overtraining, you can increase your testosterone just by having a little
mercy on the ol' bod. See this link on
Overtraining for more details.
- Tribulis Terristris. Ever stepped on a goat head? If you
know what I'm talking about, then you know Tribulis Terristris. This herb
started with several obscure studies from Eastern Europe showing
that it does indeed increase testosterone by increasing leutinizing hormone. Animal
research looked great showing increases in testosterone. Unfortunately,
human studies have been disappointing and have shown no significant increases in
testosterone.  More
studies need to be done for verification, but the evidence seems to be that it
promotes a slight increase in LH (Leutinizing Hormone), which in turn produces a
slight increase in testosterone. Tribulis is probably not going to
dramatically raise your testosterone levels but is definitely worth a try short
term. Tribulis has also been reported - oo la la ! - to increase libido, ejaculatory
volume and semen counts. An animal study on rabbits  also showed that it increased
erectile strength and through increased production of Nitric Oxide. (No, I do
wasn't aware that rabbits needed any help breeding.)Yet another
study showed that it acted on the brain (of rats) in the same way as an
aphrodisiac.  So, Tribulis Terristris is an interesting product that is
probably worth a try: it probably is an aphrodisiac and Nitric Oxide
booster as well
- Horny Goat Weed. This herb is anything but a weed for males: it increase
nitric oxide - woo hoo! - and, at least in healthy rats, testosterone levels as
What else could a fella want? The magic ingredient seems to be icariin, a
common extraction component of Horny Goat Weed. See these links on the
Horny Goat Weed - Supplement Extraordinare
The Power of Icariin for more
Alcohol. Watch the alcohol. Alchohol consumption can lead to Zinc
depletion, which in turn can lead to lower testosterone levels. See
link for more details on the pros and cons of alcohol.
- Drop the Extra Weight.There is nothing
uglier than those love handles to your health: they are estrogen
factories. Fat converts ever increasing amounts your precious testosterone into
Furthermore, low testosterone is correlated to being
Overweight.  I have elsewhere mentioned a
study that examined 64 severely obese men: their average testosterone was a
measly 340 even though the average age was in the late forties.  The same
study noted that weight was associated with an increasing estrogen and
decreasing testosterone. The authors found that bypass surgery decreased
estrogen and increased testosterone significantly! What is interesting is that
being overweight lowers SHBG levels, the protein that binds to testosterone,
which should translate to higher free testosterone levels. However,
multiple studies have shown that being overweight counterintuitively lowers free
testosterone as well.  So, basically, being overweight does everything
negative possible to your hormone levels!
- Thyroid. Hypothyroidism is associated with low testosterone levels. 
Furthermore, an underactive thyroid has many overlapping symptoms with low
testosterone which as mental fog, anxiety, low energy, low libido and the like. This
is definitely worth checking if you are struggling with low testosterone. (This
can also be a definite issue with Female Libido as well.)
Depression. Depression and testosterone do not go together. If you
want to increase your testosterone, you absolutely must get this under control:
depression leads to lower testosterone levels and is strongly associated with
erectile dysfunction as well, which of course will only lead to greater
depression. In addition, many people do not realize that
long term depression usually leads to diabetes, heart disease and loss of brain
tissue as well. Please read this link on
Depression for more details.
Drinking. I have two important rules that I need you to remember about
drinking: 1) Drinking is good for you and 2) Drinking is bad for you.
How do you know which rule applies? If you have one drink per day, two at the
most, the studies show long life and happiness in your future. But if you go
beyond 2 drinks per day, the fortune cookie will read the opposite. Alcohol
slows down the liver's ability to metabolize estrogen, leading to increased
estrogen levels in your body which decreases the all-critical
testosterone/estrogen ratio. So, if you want to increase testosterone,
consider your alcohol intake. You need a six pack in your abs not your
frig! (See this link on
Alcohol for more details.)
- HRT. On this page I have emphasized natural methods of
testosterone. Well, I want to jump in here and emphasize that if your
testosterone is too low, say below 400, you need to get to your doctor and get on
Therapy, i.e. increasing your testosterone through supplementation. Remember
that pure testosterone is natural: it's a chemical that is in
virtually every tissue of your body. This is in contrast to herbal and
other supplement preparations that have sometimes hundreds of ingredients that
are foreign to your body. Most importantly, keep in mind that low testosterone is dangerous:
read the Symptoms here.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C at megadose levels has been shown to lower cortisol
responses to heavy exercise. (I document this in much greater detail in a
link on Stress.) And, as I pointed out above,
increased cortisol is associated with decreased testosterone. So Vitamin C can
easily lead to an indirect increase in testosterone levels. One well-known
study  gave 0, 500 mg and 1500 mg to long distance runners for a week before
a race. The 1500 mg group had significantly lower cortisol levels. Vitamin C
will do a host of other good things for your body as well, including protect
your skin. However, I should point out that one study did definitely show no
improvement in testosterone to cortisol ratios in elite athletes anyway.  If
Vitamin C is hard on your stomach, realize that they make a non-acidic form of
Vitamin C called Ester-C
CAUTION: Always take
Vitamin C with no fat in your stomach: studies have shown that Vitamin C
supplements increase nitrosamine (a carcinogen) levels in the body with even 10% fat in the stomach. It should also be added that
shows research that warrants extreme caution in taking Vitamin C if you have skin (or
types of cancers).
- Resveratrol. Resveratrol is a naturally occurring substance that
comes from grapes and undoubtedly gives red wine some of its health benefits. One recent study showed that resveratrol increased
testosterone - by over 50% mind you! - in animals.  CAUTION: Resveratrol has incredible
potential as a supplement in everything from increasing testosterone to fighting
cancer to extending lifespan. However, it does have several issues:
1) it must be taken in megadoses to produce benefits and 2) some studies have
shown it accumulating in the liver.
- Questionable: Zinc and ZMA.
A zinc deficiency is associated with decreased testosterone production.
So, for certain individuals, supplemental zinc may be beneficial. See this link
on The Benefits and Cautions of Zinc and ZMA.
CAUTION: ZMA has an
Excitotoxin (aspartate) attached to it.
The reported side effects are sleep distrubances for starters.
- CAUTION: Testosterone is actually produced by an intricate chain of events
beginning in the hypothalmus, the part of your brain that is responsible for
certain very ground level physiological processes such as your internal clock
and autonomic nervous system. The hypothalamus secretes
gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to the pituitary gland in controlled
pulses or bursts, which in turn causes the release of leutenizing hormone (LH)
from the pituitary gland. And it is leutenizing hormone that stimulates
the Leydig cells of the testes to create testosterone. Why the science lesson?
Because it is important to know that disease or damage to anything in this
physiological chain, i.e. the hypothalmus, pituitary or testes, can cause
hypogonadism, or low testosterone and will make it very difficult for you to
significantly increase your testosterone. Again, work with your doctor if you
have low testosterone.
- CAUTION: Speaking of your hypothalamus and pituitary,
Excitotoxins can hammer both of these,
potentially damaging both your testosterone and your brain.
- Vitamin D. Turns out a few cents a day of this all-important vitamin could
boost your testosterone levels. Vitamin D is critical for fertility,
muscle growth, exercise performance and hundres of other physiological
processes. Read more here about Testosterone and Vitamin D.
- Magnesium. What dirt cheap supplement might give you a nice boost in
testosterone according to a recent study? Magnesium is very inexpensive and
was found in a study of seniors to be tightly correlated with T levels.
 And it is no wonder: magnesium is used by literally hundreds of critical systems
in the body. Read my link on
The Importance of Magnesium for more details.
Another very interesting study noted that magnesium levels increased
testosterone when combined with exercise.  (They received 10 mg per kg of
- Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto. Could this combo substantially raise testosterone?
One study on healthy males between the ages of 37 and 70, sponsored by the
supplement manufacturer, found that testosterone levels were boosted by an
average of about 300 ng/dl after 7 days.  Furthermore, DHT and
Estradiol were decreased as well. Not bad, eh? The primary agent in this
is likely the
astaxanthin, since Saw Palmetto has not done well in testosterone studies.
Plus, astaxanthin has shown horsepower in other ways, such as exhibiting strong anti-cancer and
anti-arteriosclerosis properties.  However, no one knows long term
safety at this point. CAUTION: Although not common, Saw Palmetto has been
associated with erectile dysfunction side effects.
- Vitamin E. Be cautious about megadosing with Vitamin E: it may lower
testosterone. See this link on
Testosterone and Vitamin E for more
- Caffeine and Cialis. Wat do Cialis and Caffeine have in common?
They are both PDE5 inhibitors, meaning they boost Nitric Oxide and therefore
erections. (Of course, caffeine is much weaker than Cialis.)
However, they also both share something else in common: they boost
testosterone post-exercise.   So why aren't athletes all over the world
using this as a regular part of their regimen? It turns out both of these
in the same studies showed a beyond-normal increase in cortisol as well.
Cortisol is a testosterone-fighter and has many other negative side effects
including muscle breakdown. Better to do the things the natural way.
- Herbs. There are certain herbs that do actually boost testosterone. See
this link on Testosterone and Herbs for more details.
In addition, Miraforte is an example of a blend of herbs and supplements that
will likely boost testosterone for some middle-aged males and libido as well.
- Phosphatidylserine (S-PS). Bovine-derived phosphatidylserine gained fame as a
promising nootropic (brain booster) until concern over possible transfer of
infectious disease halted its production. Now phosphatidylserine is derived from
plant sources, primarily soy lecithin, and it very impressive results. Where it
really seems to excel is in reducing cortisol in athletes and others doing
significant exercise.  Researchers found that this also led to a 6% increase
in testosterone as well. Although not statistically significant, in
general any reduction or limit placed on cortisol is going to boost
testosterone, especially in those engaging in vigorous exercise or other stressful
- CAUTION: L-Taurine. I had a reader write that he had read
that L-Taurine can raise testosterone levels. This probably comes from the
anabolic research blog ErgoLog,
who wrote about a study on rats that showed a dramatic (twofold!) rise
in testosterone from
the human equivalent of 5 grams of L-Taurine per day.  Unfortunately, this
is a rather high dose compared to what is given in most supplements. Furthermore,
one human study has shown that 5 grams had no significant effect on T levels.  Amino acids are very powerful
and have often unanticipated effects in the body, so this solution should be
viewed with caution. Of course, taurine is present throughout our bodies in
"large" quantities and is present in foods, particularly meats. However,
even omnivores are estimated to consume an average of around 58 mg/day.
- Boron (Sodium Tetraborate or Borax). A recent, albeit small study showed that
boron can give a nice boost to free testosterone, all the while lowering
estradiol as well. See my link on
Boron and Testosterone for more details.
- Fenugreek. One study on 30 young males found that 500 mg of
Fenugreek increased total and free testosterone by 7% and 12%, respectively.
 For more information, see my link on
Testeosterone and Herbs.
- Visceral Fat. Gut. Spare Tire. Beer Belly. It doesn't matter what you call
it, those extra pounds around your middle have been correlated with lower
testosterone.  Furthermore, studies have shown that giving men
testosterone (Hormone Replacement Therapy) will decrease visceral fat.  The
reverse is also likely true: the more visceral fat that you accululate,
the lower your testosterone levels. Read this link on
Visceral Fat and How
to Beat It for more information.
The bottom line is that it's easy for most of us to increase testosterone
10%-30% by having more frequent sex, sleeping more, lowering stress levels by
life style changes (and 1500 mg of Vit C on a Low Fat Diet) and adopting a winning attitude
(assuming you're not doing one of the deadly hormonal sins of drinking too much,
being overweight or overtraining).
- CAUTION: 6-OXO. Some men consider supplements to be "natural" and
this supplement appears to be the "real deal", a
legitimate estrogen blocker. In fact, it has been shown to be a permanent aromatase inhibitor,
something I cover in my page on Suicide Inhibitors.
In 2007 6-OXO was studied definitely and the
results look excellent: resistance-trained males saw "FT [free testosterone]
and DHT underwent overall increases of 90% and 192% for 300 mg 6-OXO and 84% and
265% for 600 mg, respectively, while T/E increased 53% and 67% for 300 mg and
600 mg 6-OXO, respectively".  Notice the substantial boosts in free
testosterone and the testosterone to estrogen ratio. These number seem high
based on #5, but if 6-OXO has even moderate estrogen blocking powers, increases
in testosterone would be expected. However, 6-OXO was so
effective that the FDA, decided to ban
this supplement in August of 2009.  This goes
back to what I always
say, "If it's a legitimate testosterone booster, the FDA will ban it". And
it's not all bad: 6-OXO undoubtedly needed more clinical history.
For example, the above study  also
showed substantial increases in DHT and estrone for
example and there were some very negative side effect reports as well.
- CAUTION: Supplement manufacturers will often put yohimbe or other
questionable products into their testosterone formulas. Yohimbe does nothing
significant to boost testosterone and simply boosts blood pressure, which is dangerous long
(or even short) term. And remember: a true increase in testosterone will take
weeks or months to take effect as androgen receptors and neurotransmitters
are rebuilt on the tissue level. Anything that gives you a feeling of
immediate or overnight results is a mirage at best.
- Testosterone Killers.
link on common
Common Lifestyle and Environmental
Testosterone Lowerers. Remember: Your testosterone
levels are only as high as your weakest link, so many of us guys
can increase our testosterone levels simply by getting rid of one or more of
these weak links. It's surprisingly easy for a
male to whack his hormones and not even realize it.
Methyl Mercury will definitely lower testosterone.  Guess where you can get
a nice, stout dose of Mercury for dinner? Yes, that platter of fish, which
originally was one of nature's healthiest foods has very likely been
contaminated. Because of this fact, most experts recommend fish only once
or twice per week
- Grape Seed Extract. If you really dying to lower
estrogen (via inhibition of the aromatase enzyme in this case), the safest
choice is probably Grape Seed extract since it is quite well researched..
However, there is a downside: it can increase SHBG levels, which could
actually lower your free testosterone levels. And our
goal is always to increase testosterone, both free and total. Again, the best way to get
estrogen under control is to get lean. That's right -
drop the weight!
- Free Testosterone.
You should also read my section on
Free Testosterone as there I discuss several things that can
uniquely kill free testosterone that are not part of the above
list. Losing Free Testosterone is just as serious of an issue
as losing total testosterone..
- CAUTION:Saw Palmetto. It is often claimed that Saw Palmetto increases
testosterone. However, I know of no study that actually shows this. What saw palmetto
does do is lower DHT levels, one of the male androgens infamous for causing hair loss
and enlargening the prostate. This is exactly how the hair restoration drug
finasteride, a.k.a. Propecia, i.e. by blocking this same enzyme. The issue
is that some men can experience post-finasteride syndrome even with Saw Palmetto.
In addition, DHT is very important to your libido and so lowering it is something
that should be done cautiously any way.
- Insulin Resistance. Insulin resistance has been correlated with decreased
levels of testosterone.  Of course, insulin resistance is one of the
Metabolic Syndrome already mentioned. But I
wanted to highlight this because so many guys do not even know what Insulin
Resistance means. Insulin resistance occurs in a "pre-diabetic" stage
where your body starts pumping out extra insulin because your cells no longer
because your tissues no longer retain their youthful responsiveness. This
means that both glucose and insulin build up in your system because insulin is
what allows blood glucose to enter your cells. There are many ways to combat
insulin resistance, including exercise and reduction of visceral fat. For
more details, read this link on
- Mitochondrial Function. One study found reduced mitochondrial function
associated with low testosterone. 
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