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6 Science-Backed Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone

Learn how to naturally increase testosterone. Delve into the intricate science of achieving optimal levels, uncovering strategies to naturally reach the coveted 1,000 ng/dL mark.

Inside Tracker icon
By Staff Writer
Jovan Mijailovic
Edited by Jovan Mijailovic

Updated June 13, 2024.

A man doing a yoga pose in a greenhouse - 6 Science-Backed Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is essential for numerous functions like growth, cognitive function, and reproductive health. Maintaining optimal levels is crucial for overall well-being and healthy aging. [1]

Although it can drop around 1%-2% each year after age 40, it can happen anytime. [2] Below, we'll explore how you can naturally increase its levels with enough dedication.

» Increase your testosterone levels with science-backed recommendations and live healthier, longer

A man stretching with the text '6 ways to naturally boost testosterone' in the foreground.

1. Consider taking an Ashwagandha supplement

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb derived from the roots of the Withania somnifera plant. It’s an integral component of Ayurvedic medicine and is linked to reduced stress. But that's not the only benefit.

One randomized controlled trial had 57 men—amateurs in resistance training—take 600 mg for eight weeks. It significantly increased their testosterone levels and muscle strength compared to a placebo group. [5]

» Learn how ashwagandha can help you build muscle and amplify your strength

In a smaller study, 46 males with low sperm counts took 675 mg of Ashwagandha daily for three months, and their testosterone counts increased by 17% at the end. [6] Another similar one found a nearly 15% boost after 16 weeks. [2]

Note: Interestingly, trials that included women found that ashwagandha didn’t increase their testosterone levels. [7]

» See why women should also care about testosterone

A bowl of ashwagandhaa sits in the background, while a poster that reads, Supplement research - Ashwagandha study

2. Improve the duration and quality of your sleep

Excess and a lack of sleep may lower testosterone. A 2015 study of 1,274 men aged 65 and older concluded that they needed almost 10 hours of sleep to see testosterone improvements. [8]

Another small trial had 10 males sleep five hours per night for a week; it significantly reduced their testosterone. [9] They also had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and low energy and libido.

» Discover expert tips to battle hormonal insomnia and you reclaim your rest

You should get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you rest less during a busy work week, you can catch up on the weekends to increase your testosterone levels. [10]

Note: Magnesium or melatonin supplements can help those struggling to drift off.

» Learn more about getting a restful night’s sleep without changing your bedtime

3. Optimize vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is most famous for its role in keeping your bones healthy, but it has receptors throughout the body—including in reproductive tissue. For men, research says that decreased levels of this nutrient lead to low testosterone. [11,12]

» Explore the link between Vitamin D and restful nights

A year-long trial of both sexes also showed that daily supplementation of just over 3,000 IU significantly increased total and free testosterone—which corrected the vitamin D deficiency. [13] 

Note: Before beginning high-dose vitamin D supplementation to improve testosterone, it is best to know where both values stand. If neither is low, this strategy may not be beneficial.

» Discover how vitamin D can restore low testosterone levels

4. Be physically active, but don't overdo it

Physically active men have a better testosterone profile compared to those more sedentary. [14,15] For those who workout less often, weight or resistance training can increase the hormone's levels. [16] 

But you shouldn't overdo it. Too much exercise without recovery can lower testosterone levels in what's called overtraining syndrome. It's the result of excessive workouts with inadequate rest that impacts hormonal, mental, and immune system health. [17]

» Fuel your recovery. Explore how protein rebuilds muscles after your workout

Note: High creatine kinase—an enzyme found in muscles can indicate overtraining syndrome. The condition can also lead to sleep issues, which can reduce testosterone levels.

A diagram of magnesium's role in testosterone production

» Are your testosterone levels low? See how you may be overtraining

5. Get enough magnesium

Magnesium affects muscle function and interacts with testosterone in the body, with research showing a positive influence of this mineral on testosterone when supplementing and doing resistance training. [18–20]

» Can't get enough shut-eye? Unlock the link between magnesium and better sleep

The recommended daily intake is 420mg for men and 320mg for women. You can find it in foods like pumpkin seeds, spinach, and black beans.

Similar to vitamin D, magnesium supplementation may only benefit men with deficiencies. Our users also reflect this—the data shows that 20% of men and 28% of women have below-optimized magnesium levels. 

6. Eat healthy fats and enough calories

A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis of nine studies totaling 206 participants found that low-fat diet decreased testosterone levels in men. [21,22] Interestingly, the effect was stronger in participants with European ancestry.

Healthy fats like those in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds are essential for supporting hormone health. 

On the other hand, those who are physically active are at risk for low energy, meaning they don’t get enough calories to support what they burn. This effect is also associated with less testosterone. [23]

Note: If your testosterone is low but your vitamin D and magnesium are optimal, consider whether a lack of healthy fats or general underfueling may be the culprit. And if you're unsure of whether you’re getting enough for your activity, consult a dietitian.

» Refuel & recover: Explore our guide to optimal post-workout nutrition

The impact of low testosterone on men's health

Around 55% of 18-35-year-old male InsideTracker users and 44% of male users of all ages have below-optimized total testosterone. The hormone's low levels can impact physical performance and quality of life.

Symptoms of low testosterone include:

A poster with the words, five signs of low testosterone in men

» Curious about why SHBG matters? Explore testosterone action vs testosterone levels

Getting optimal testosterone levels naturally

Optimal testosterone levels in men are an integral component of promoting healthy aging, muscle growth, and sexual and cognitive function. You can also boost the hormone naturally through dietary and lifestyle adjustments.

But first, you need to know where you currently stand. The InsideTracker Ultimate + Subscription plan will tell you whether or not your total and free testosterone and SHBG are optimized and provide more personalized recommendations on how to improve them. 


What is testosterone?

Testosterone is an anabolic hormone responsible for:

  • Regulating puberty
  • Sperm production
  • Ssex drive
  • Bone health
  • Muscle mass
  • Red blood cell production
  • Hemoglobin concentration [1]
  • All these processes run smoothly when there is a balance between bound and free testosterone. The former attaches to a protein like albumin or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Most of it—around 97-98%—is bound, but this type is biologically inactive. [3]

What is the reference range of total testosterone?

The lower end of the reference range for total testosterone is between 250-300 ng/dL, and the upper is 1,000-1,100 ng/dL. [1] But just because something is within the scope, it does not signify optimized levels. You can still be deficient.


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