There are hundreds, possibly even thousands of testosterone boosters on the market today. Not all of them work as advertised. In fact, we recon that only a few dozen come close to doing all of the things they say they can. There are probably only about 10 products which really can raise your free serum testosterone levels in a safe, reliable manner.
But with so much variety, and such aggressive marketing, how can you possibly tell good from bad?
How do you find the right product for you?
Well, a good place to start would be our product reviews. We try to review as many testosterone boosters as we possibly can. While we can’t possibly cover them all, we do our best to cover all the biggest, most popular products.
Our reviews are all comprehensive, impartial, and fair. We draw on the most up-to-date scientific studies to decide what works and what doesn’t.
But you might not want to leave it up to us to tell you which testosterone boosters work well and which don’t. So, we’re going to teach you what you need to be looking for when choosing a good quality test supplement.
What Makes A Good Testosterone Booster
There are a number of different components which combine to make up a good testosterone boosting supplement.
In our opinion, to be really effective a testosterone booster needs to tackle the problem along multiple different pathways at once.
If you’re feeling weak and lethargic, it might well be because of low testosterone. But it is almost impossible for you to accurately identify the reason for your depleted testosterone levels. It could be too much aromatase activity, not enough luteinizing hormone, or not enough Vitamin D. It might even be a combination of all three or these things and more.
So it’s important that a testosterone booster try several different pathways to elevating test levels in your blood.
Let’s look at some of the most important.
Increase Luteinizing Hormone
One of the main ways in which modern testosterone boosters work is by ramping up luteinizing hormone (LH) release.
LH is found in both men and women. In women, it triggers ovulation. In men, it signals Leydig cells in the cells to begin producing and releasing testosterone.
It is released by the pituitary gland when the body senses that it needs more free serum testosterone. It then modulates the release of testosterone from the testes. Or more specifically, LH regulates the expression of the enzyme which turns androstenedione – released by the Leydig cells – into testosterone.
Some men simply do not release enough LH when they need to. Others produce what the body needs, but not enough to really maximize muscle growth, recovery, virility, etc.
Hope is not lost though. Some natural substances are known to directly stimulate the release of LH from the pituitary gland, which then triggers the release of testosterone from the testes.
Reduce Aromatase Activity
Aromatase is the enzyme which converts excess testosterone into estrogen. Your body needs estrogen, so it needs aromatase.
A lot of you will have already heard of “aromatase inhibitors”. These are pharmaceutical drugs used to reduce the activity of aromatase, thereby reducing the rate of conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Bodybuilders use them to slow down estrogen conversion, which keeps their free serum testosterone levels at a maximum. They also prevent the side-effects of certain steroids that aromatase rapidly – for example, the bloating and gynecomastia associated with Dianabol use.
However, you don’t necessarily need to turn to pharmaceutical-grade drugs to reduce aromatase activity. There are natural substances which have been shown to reliably and significantly reduce aromatase activity. They do not seem to come with the same health risks as pharmaceutical-grade aromatase inhibitors, although they are significantly less powerful.
A solid testosterone booster needs to employ some kind of natural aromatase inhibitor in its formula.
Top quality testosterone boosters will also contain something which readily binds to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG).
SHBG is a protein made in the liver. Its role is to regulate levels of estrogen, DIH, and testosterone in the blood.
It works by binding to these sex hormones. The binding prevents them from being absorbed and utilized by your tissues. It effectively renders them impotent; by binding with testosterone, it prevents it from doing all of the things we associate with testosterone – all androgenic effects are blunted.
Thankfully, there are some clever ways you can reduce SHBG naturally.
Certain substances are known to bind strongly to SHBG. In doing so, these substances reduce the amount of unbound SHBG there is in the blood. There is therefore much less SHBG free for binding to testosterone; this means higher testosterone levels overall.
We think this is an absolute must-have for a top quality testosterone booster.
Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency Rectification
The basic thing that all testosterone boosters need to get right is to rectify the big vitamin and mineral deficiencies associated with low testosterone.
There are a handful of vitamins and minerals that your body needs in order to properly synthesise and regulate testosterone levels in the blood. Sadly, many men today are deficient in one or more of these vital substances. The reason for this are largely based around lifestyle; we spend too long sat down indoors eating the wrong food.
The most common deficiency – and the one most damaging to testosterone levels – is Vitamin D. Office-based work means few of us spend very long outdoors anymore, which invariably means low Vitamin D. We can store some in our fat, but once we run out, testosterone levels will plummet.
The same is true of zinc and magnesium – both are necessary for healthy testosterone production, and both are far from prevalent in the average western diet of today.
Testosterone boosters really need to put these basic dietary deficiencies right as a first step.
We think the best dosing schedule for a natural test booster is one that keeps you topped up with active substances all day long.
Therefore, we prefer supplements that split their daily servings up into 2-4 equal parts. This will allow us to take a fraction of the total daily serving at different points throughout the day.
We value this so highly for a very good reason.
Some of the most effective natural testosterone boosters – the substances that promote LH release for example – half quite short half-lives. They have a pronounced but short-lived effect. Pretty soon, your back to baseline LH production, which means baseline test productions.
Taking smaller doses regularly throughout the day is an effective way to keep your testosterone levels elevated all day long. We think this is a much healthier way to go about raising your natural test levels, and it will definitely yield better results than taking your total daily dose in one go!
For most of you, price is going to be the major consideration when shopping for a testosterone booster.
You want good results, but you don’t want to have to re-mortgage the house to get them.
At the same time, you definitely get what you pay for. A testosterone booster might be cheap, but if it doesn’t work at all, then the value for money you get is 0. You don’t want to waste $10 on a supplement that does nothing when you could spend $40 on a supplement that actually works.
There is a middle ground with testosterone boosters that you really need to find for yourself.
After all, $60 might be extremely pricey for one man and almost nothing for another. What counts as “expensive” for you depends on your income, your priorities, and your other commitments.
Generally speaking though, we think a good quality testosterone booster should cost somewhere between $40 and $60 per month’s supply.
Cheaper than that, and we start to question the quality of the ingredients.
More expensive, and we need to question whether the ingredients and doses really justify the price. Above $80 and it’s likely that you can buy the individual ingredients for a lot less money.
Where Should You Buy Testosterone Boosters?
In our opinion, you should always try to buy directly from the manufacturer or from a reputable wholesaler. Buying through Amazon or eBay comes with too many risks. The sellers might not be trustworthy; you might not get the exact product you expected; the product could be out of date; you will struggle to get a refund buying from random people on eBay, and so on.
Buying straight from the manufacturers just gives you an added bit of protection. You know exactly who to complain to if something is wrong, and it’s much easier to get a refund if the product arrives faulty, it doesn’t work as advertised, or it causes side effects.
Buying from manufacturers also has two major benefits: money back guarantees and multibuy deals.
Most reputable manufacturers will offer some kind of money back guarantee. They typically allow you to return the product if there is something wrong, or if it doesn’t work to your satisfaction (so long as you abide by their terms), and they’ll give you 100% of your money back. This really speaks volumes; the manufacturers that do this obviously have confidence that their product works well.
You also tend to get serious discounts when buying multiple boxes straight from the manufacturers. If a testosterone booster is to give you optimal results, you really need to use it for a good couple of weeks. That usually means purchasing more than one box at a time.
Some of the best products give you significant discounts when you buy more than one box. It’s always worth checking this before you buy from Amazon, GNC, or wherever.
How Long Do Testosterone Boosters Take To Work?
Some of the ingredients used in testosterone boosters have an almost immediate effect on serum testosterone levels. We’re talking hours in some cases rather than days.
But in most cases, it takes a couple of weeks of consistent supplementation to see meaningful increases in serum testosterone.
If you’re severely deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral, then it will take time to rectify that properly. For best results, you’ll really want to store up plenty of Vitamin D in your fat. This can take a good month of consistent supplementation.
The same goes for reducing aromatase activity or reducing the free SHBG in your blood – the biggest differences in testosterone levels take several weeks to manifest. Overnight results are always going to be small and temporary. Big changes take time!
What Kind Of Differences Can You Expect?
Natural testosterone boosters can actually have quite a dramatic effect on your free serum testosterone levels.
Lots of people will argue with that, but the evidence is there for everybody to see.
There are plenty of valid, peer-reviewed clinical trials which show that certain substances can increase testosterone levels significantly. We have written about these substances in our best testosterone booster ingredient guide. We strongly recommend checking this out before you choose your supplement.
Are They Safe?
Generally speaking, testosterone boosters are safe and side effect free for most people. They are designed to naturally increase your own endogenous testosterone production and to gently suppress aromatase, SHBG, etc. Their whole purpose is to be a safer, side effect-free alternative to anabolic steroids, pharmaceutical-grade estrogen suppressors, etc.
They are supposed to be made from natural substances; herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and so on. The idea is to support and promote your own natural testosterone production, not to flood your body with exogenous hormones or to force your body to produce too much.
If a product contains synthetic drugs or exogenous hormones, then it really isn’t a testosterone booster as we know them.
And yet many products do!
There are several popular testosterone boosters on the market today which contain dangerous substances like exogenous sex hormones and synthetic drugs.
The manufacturers do not make it clear to potential buyers that this is what they’re getting. Instead, they present the product as a natural testosterone booster just like all the products that contain herbs, mineral and vitamins.
You therefore need to be very careful when using a testosterone booster.
Many of them are safe, but there is a significant number which pose very real risks – both short and long term.
We always advise running any new supplement by your regular family doctor before you start using it. It’s always worth looking for professional reviews and user reports online too, just to get a feel for what to expect. But at the end of the day, your doctor is the best person to talk to about health risks. Tell them what you plan on using and don’t go ahead until you get their OK!
It’s also crucial that you do plenty of your own research. We aren’t doctors, and we can never be completely exhaustive in our reviews. All we can do is draw on our own research and extensive experience using these products to show you the most serious dangers.
But we aren’t infallible. You MUST do your own research as well as seeking proper medical advice before using testosterone boosting supplements.
To make your research easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous substances commonly found in testosterone boosters today. We do our best to keep this updated, but of course we can’t be ahead of the manufacturers. If you know of something not featured on this list which should be, let us know!
How To Choose The Right Testosterone Booster For You
Choosing the perfect testosterone booster for your needs is a fairly straightforward task.
You need to first figure out what your specific needs are; are you an older guy looking to regain some vitality, or are you a natural bodybuilder looking to maximize testosterone levels as you pound the weights?
Whether you’re an athlete undergoing heavy weight training or an older gentleman hoping to light a fire under your libido, a good quality natural testosterone booster can help. However, there are some stacks more suited to these particular circumstances than others.
If you’re an older man hoping to keep your testosterone levels nice and high as you age, then we advise checking out our top rated supplements for older guys.
If you’re looking for something to keep your testosterone levels elevated while you put on some solid muscle mass, then you can start by looking at our favorite testosterone boosters for young athletes.
Of course, if a supplement boosts testosterone, it boosts testosterone. But it’s worth looking at some of the subtle differences between the different products to find the one most aligned with and tailored to your needs.