When it comes to male physical fitness, the urge to replicate the physiques you see on the cover of health magazines constantly looms in the back of the head of all gym-goers. Six pack abs, massive arms, and a set of wide shoulders remain on the checklist of every man that steps foot in the gym.
Unfortunately, hard work and a healthy diet aren’t the only things that boost you towards the perfect body. While you may be a long term fitness enthusiast, some men seem to barely step foot into the gym and somehow become bigger, stronger, and leaner than yourself. If you are seemingly outworking them, how is it possible they are seeing better results? The answer is genetics, and more importantly, their natural levels of testosterone.
Don’t let this deter you from seeking out your goals, because there are plenty of nuances to consider when trying to remedy lower levels of testosterone. legwork.guide is going to help you find the best supplements to boost your testosterone and lead you on the path to the physique you strive for in the gym.
What is Testosterone?
In simple terms, testosterone is the primary male hormone that regulates a number of key body functions including fertility, libido, muscle growth, and recovery. While testosterone is also a natural hormone for women, the levels are 90-95% less than men. In addition to the above mentioned, testosterone also affects:
- Increased hair growth
- Increased bone density
- Fat metabolism (more effective fat burning)
- Mental Health (increased confidence and self-esteem)
As you can see, the positive effects of high levels of testosterone directly correlate to many of the typical ‘masculine’ characteristics. But how much testosterone do you need?
What Your Testosterone Levels Should Be
There is quite a wide range of testosterone levels that can be medically considered ‘average’ or sufficient. Measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), normal levels vary between 270-1070 ng/dL. It is tricky to figure out which levels are best for which men. Some men may feel perfectly fine and healthy at lower levels, while others may feel the symptoms of lowered testosterone at the same or even higher levels. These symptoms include:
- Lowered libido
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat or obesity
These symptoms become increasingly common as you age, with men seeing a drop in the natural production of testosterone starting around the age of 30.
Do Testosterone Supplements Work?
The effectiveness of testosterone supplements is a hotly debated topic among the health community. While some may say the only effective method of increasing testosterone levels is through exogenous supplementation from a doctor, there are numerous natural supplements that have been proven to be beneficial.
While medically prescribed testosterone is most effective, it is both hard to get prescribed (because of the variation in ‘normal’ levels) and a life long commitment. Testosterone injections and creams shut down your natural production, which means you will need to rely on the prescribed testosterone for life.
Taking natural supplements, in conjunction with certain lifestyle changes, can provide similar improvements without medically invasive drugs or procedures.
Which Supplements Work?
Commonly found in all-inclusive testosterone boosters, D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA) has been proven to significantly increase levels in as little as two weeks. Increasing testosterone up to 40%, users found an immediate increase in libido within the first few days of use.
While long term supplementation shows mixed results, D-AA has been a consistent supplement for treating infertility.
Acting to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, this results in a positive increase in levels. While Fenugreek has debatable effects on muscle growth, it can act to improve overall well being and treat sexual malfunction.
Magnesium and Zinc
While not directly boosting your testosterone levels, zinc and magnesium have been proven among athletes to improve performance by purely maintaining your natural levels. Dehydration from strenuous activities can significantly lower testosterone, and supplementing these minerals can negate the negative effects and bring you back to baseline.
One of the most popular testosterone boosters, Tribulus Terrestris was tested against a placebo showing increases of about 15% within the group. One of the most common benefits observed within the study was the reversal of erectile dysfunction as well as overall sexual performance.
Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is one of the most studied supplements in regards to increasing testosterone. Naturally produced by the body, DHEA is a hormone that actively decreases estrogen and increases testosterone. With a safe daily dose of 100mg, users have reported about a 20% increase.
A widely used supplement for a variety of benefits, Vitamin D surprisingly also acts to slightly increase testosterone levels. Vitamin D is naturally produced by the body from skin exposure to the sun. While often taken during the winter months due to decreased sunlight, supplementing about 3000 IU of Vitamin D year-round can improve testosterone levels by about 20%.
Other Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone Levels
While not direct supplementation, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that positively benefit your testosterone levels. Examples of this include:
- Increased exercise
- Increased duration and quality of sleep
- Reducing stress
- Decreased sugar consumption
- High protein diet
Managing your testosterone levels is a tricky game when it comes to mental and physical health. Because many of these are natural vitamins, minerals, or hormones, results will vary from person to person. Just like the variance in testosterone levels between men. The reputation of success behind each of these supplements will also vary. Keep an open mind and research which of these products fits your needs best.