Although testosterone is primarily thought of as a male sex hormone, it is actually required and manufactured by both sexes. Low testosterone can lead to a variety of medical problems. While prescription testosterone is really the best way to improve testosterone levels, certain herbs and vitamins can be helpful in promoting optimum testosterone production, function and overall health. Herbs for testosterone increase come from all over the world.
Testosterone is one of the three major sex hormones – the other two are estrogen and progesterone. Women produce smaller amounts of testosterone than men and need it for energy, physical strength and sexual drive.
Excess levels of testosterone in women can lead to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Testosterone also affects a man's health throughout the lifespan. For example, testosterone plays an important role in:
- Maintaining bone and muscle mass
- Storage of fat
- Red blood cell production
- Sexual health and functioning
- Overall physical health.
Testosterone in men stimulates sexual development and male sexual characteristics, and typically peaks in the younger years, then gradually declines after age 30. A significant drop can result in difficulties with sexual function, loss of physical strength, sleep disturbances, fatigue, depression and increased body fat.
Prescriptions are available to provide testosterone to those people who have significantly low levels. These injections, implants, gels and patches add testosterone to the body. Herbs, vitamins and supplements don't replace this important hormone. However, some promote testosterone production. Others target distressing symptoms of low testosterone. Herbs, vitamins and supplements may also help to improve your overall health, which may help promote testosterone production or function. You should always talk to your doctor before adding a new herb or supplement to your regimen, as some may have unpleasant side effects or be contraindicated for some conditions. Clinical trials on these products may be limited.
Herbs for Testosterone Deficiency
- Ashwaghanda (Withania somnifera) – used traditionally in Indian folk medicine for sexual dysfunction and infertility. This may be one of the best herbs for testosterone deficiency. One study showed increased serum testosterone levels in men who took ashwagandha.
- Fo Ti (Hoshou Wu or Fallopia multiflora) – one of several herbs used for low testosterone treatment, this is a Chinese herb used for centuries to enhance sexual health and as an impotence cure.
- Garlic (Allium sativum) – although no human trials have been done, trials in rats showed increased testosterone levels with garlic supplementation. Horny Goat Weed (barrenweed) – used for over 2,000 years, this may be one of the best herbs for testosterone. This herb increases testosterone levels and helps open blood vessels, which can increase energy due to improved circulation. It is also used to increase libido and sexual stamina.
- Long Jack (Tonkat Ali) – Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, this herb is used to enhance men's sexual performance. It is also known to boost energy levels, helping deal with the fatigue that is one of the symptoms of low testosterone.
- Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) – native to the Andes mountains, where it was reserved for Inca royalty, maca root is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli that has been found to help increase testosterone levels. It is one of the more useful herbs for testosterone increase and also helpful for improving muscle mass.
- Malaysian Ginseng – native Southeast Asian plant. Another of several herbs for low testosterone treatment. Used to increase libido and stimulate testosterone production.
- Pine Bark Extract (Pinus pinaster) – limited studies indicate it may be useful for low testosterone when paired with a compound called L-arginine aspartate.
- Puncture Vine (Tribulus terrestris) – may increase sperm counts, increase testosterone levels and benefit men who are impotent.
- Sarsaparilla root – this plant is actually a natural steroid. It has been used for prostate problems, male pattern baldness and to enhance sexual performance in men.
- Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) – there is some research that indicates saw palmetto can increase sperm production, boost libido and improve other symptoms of low testosterone.
- Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) – used in Ayurvedic medicine for symptoms of low testosterone. Studies indicate it increases testosterone levels.
- Yohimbe/Yohimbine (Pausinystalia yohimbe) – has been found to be as effective as Viagra when tested in rats. Erectile dysfunction is one of the problems associated with low testosterone. One of the conditions associated with low testosterone is depression. This herb can help counteract the sexual problems often associated with medications used for depression.
Vitamins for Testosterone Deficiency
Vitamins and minerals for testosterone are readily available in combination and individual forms. A healthy diet in combination with a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement promotes optimum health as well as testosterone production. Vitamins for testosterone deficiency are numerous. For example, vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins for testosterone and a deficiency can result in low testosterone levels. Vitamin B complex – which includes eight different vitamins – is important for testosterone production and energy levels. Men who are deficient in vitamin E show a significant drop in testosterone levels. Magnesium, calcium, boron, manganese and selenium are minerals that affect testosterone production and function.
Two important vitamins and minerals for testosterone are vitamin D and zinc. Vitamin D (cholecalciferol) is one of the essential vitamins for testosterone. In men who actually have vitamin D deficiency, supplementation can help increase testosterone levels. Low testosterone and zinc deficiency often go hand in hand. Although you can obtain zinc from red meats and proteins, it is also available in vitamins and supplement form.
Dealing with low testosterone often involves a multi-pronged approach that includes prescription testosterone, better nutrition, herbs, supplements and vitamins. MGT Wellness offers a number of hormonal preparations for both men and women. Consult your physician before embarking on this journey, particularly if you are using herbs for low testosterone treatment.