Compared to the well-documented risks of anabolic steroids and prohormones, testosterone boosters are generally safe supplements. They’re natural and made mostly from herbs, vitamin, minerals, and compounds that you’ve probably already heard of.
However, some testosterone boosters do carry risks albeit relatively minimal particularly when abused or wrongfully taken. That being said, here’s a list of what I think are the safest testosterone boosters in the market as well as a few tips and tricks on how to distinguish a safe T booster from one that’s risky. Let’s start!
These supplements embody the features that I believe can be found in safe yet effective testosterone boosters. However, the market for T boosters have grown considerably over the past few years and this year, 2018, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of these products for sale. If you knew how to spot them, I’m pretty sure you can find other supplements that are as safe, or perhaps even safer for your particular circumstance.
In that case, this article is meant to teach you what safe testosterone boosters look like. So, let’s start answering some questions.
IS IT SAFE TO BOOST TESTOSTERONE?
Uhh, yes and no.
If you were to boost testosterone naturally, then yes, it’s safe.
You see, testosterone is an androgen that’s made by our bodies to develop male characteristics. However, although androgens such as testosterone are considered “male sex hormones”, women do have T in their system as well, albeit to a much lesser degree. Nonetheless, testosterone plays an important role in the health of both sexes.
Some of the characteristics governed by testosterone include:
- facial and body hair
- voice depth
- muscle mass
When your body naturally produces more testosterone, there’s a good chance that you experience changes in these areas as well, most especially when it comes to sex drive and ease of gaining muscle.
However, T’s influence also spreads to other systems. For one, the cardiovascular system has been linked with testosterone, too. And, from where I’m standing, the link between heart health and testosterone is arguably one of the more commonly misunderstood relationships in the past. Why, you ask?
Cardiovascular disease is roughly 2x more common in men than women.
…and since men had significantly more T, our favorite male hormone was an easy target. However, modern research has since debunked this myth.
According to a study, there is “an inverse relationship between testosterone levels and surrogate markers of atherosclerosis, which suggests that it may be a testosterone deficient state, rather than male sex which is associated with CAD (coronary artery disease)”.
So, essentially, there IS a link between cardiovascular health and testosterone but rather than T being a detriment to heart health, the lack of it is actually what contributes to heart disease. The study went on to suggest that increasing the level of testosterone improved the manifestations (atherosclerosis and ischemia) of CAD.
On that note, increasing testosterone synthetically might be a hazard to your health.
When it comes to synthetic testosterone, the best example is probably the anabolic steroids used in bodybuilding. So, let’s talk about that for a bit.
Testosterone boosters are made from herbs, vitamins, minerals, and compounds that essentially optimize your body’s systems into naturally making more T. The result is, obviously, higher levels of testosterone.
Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, are synthetic versions of testosterone that were created in a laboratory to mimic the molecular structure of natural testosterone. However, because they are man-made, they can also be tailored towards amplifying the hormone’s anabolic benefits.
Unfortunately, the slight difference in molecular structure that gives anabolic steroids its powerful effects on muscles are, in large part, also what gives it its notoriously deadly risks.
Having said that, I implore you to consider using natural testosterone boosters instead of its synthetic counterparts on account of safety. However, regardless of whether you choose natural T boosters or lab-made testosterone such as steroids, prohormones, or even traditional testosterone replacement therapy, remember that it’s ALWAYS best to consult your doctor first.
WHY BOOST TESTOSTERONE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Starting at about 30 years old, testosterone levels tend to decline by about 1% per year – it sucks, I know. Moreover, with testosterone influencing so many of our masculine characteristics, it’s only natural that these same characteristics go down with T.
THIS IS WHY WE BOOST TESTOSTERONE
As our testosterone levels slowly yet inevitably go down, so will our sex drive, energy, physique, and even a bit of our mental stability. The negative implications of low T on our quality of life can literally be depressing.
Also, young men can benefit from testosterone boosters as well. Although they normally have high levels of T, the younger population can benefit from a testosterone booster’s effects on muscle and fitness, too.
However, testosterone boosters aren’t made equally. Some of them are designed for a specific demographic and taking the wrong kind of T booster can be bad or, at best, ineffective.
This brings us to the next question.
What features should men look for in the safest testosterone boosters?
This part is where I show you what I believe should be in a testosterone booster that’s not only safe, but also effective. This way, you get the most bang for your buck without having to sacrifice your health and safety. Let’s start!
When it comes to testosterone boosters, or any supplement for that matter, dosage is always going to be one of the most crucial features. If you have too little, it’s not going to be effective; if you have too much, it could be dangerous.
Case in point, pay close attention to the dosages of ALL the ingredients used in whatever testosterone booster you’re eyeing and make sure they’re at a safe and effective range. That being said, it’s going to take forever if I detailed my dosage recommendations on all the ingredients used in testosterone boosters. So, let me just redirect you to my research archives. There I’ve compiled a lot of T-boosting ingredients, their benefits, side effects (if any), and of course, appropriate dosages.
For now though, let me just talk about the one ingredient that, from my experience writing reviews, is commonly misdosed:
As a raw material used in testosterone synthesis, Zinc is as essential as any nutrient when it comes to maintaining healthy T and male health. Furthermore, research suggests that it can also be beneficial for athletic performance.
However, Zinc’s dosage can be tricky. In particular, there’s a study that shows positive results with a low dose of 10.4 mg/day and another study with good results using 66 mg/day. Personally though, I think 66 mg is too high. You see, there’s also a research that says 100 mg of Zinc per day increases the risk of prostate issues. Although 66 mg isn’t quite as high as 100 mg, I think it’s way too close for comfort.
Having said that, I recommend a dosage of 30 mg/day. It’s the same dosage used by some of the best testosterone supplements and it’s right on that not-too-high-not-too-low sweet spot.
- Another ingredient I want to highlight is Yohimbe (yohimbine). It doesn’t actually boost testosterone but some testosterone supplements geared towards weight loss have it in their formulas. Unfortunately, some people may experience cardiac issues at high doses especially when paired with caffeine or ephedrine – a substance that was banned by the FDA back in 2004.
HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS
Besides solid dosages, you should also look out for top-shelf ingredients when determining the safety of a testosterone booster. As a general rule of thumb, high quality ingredients work better than their plain, unenhanced counterparts. Furthermore, better qualities entail better absorption which helps prevent gastric side effects.
Therefore, if you don’t want to vomit, have “the runs”, or feel nauseous after every time you swallow a few pills, train your eye to look for the best possible quality. With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of what good quality ingredients look like:
These usually come as either extracts or plain powder. Of the two, extracts are by far the much better choice. Furthermore, if you can find herbal extracts that are either standardized or concentrated, that would be best. Take a look at a few of the most commonly used herbs in T boosters:
- Tongkat Ali – Mostly known for boosting libido but is also capable of increasing T while decreasing cortisol. Look for concentrated extracts, preferably 100:1 if you can find one.
- Stinging Nettle – Great for boosting “free” testosterone and decreasing estrogen and perhaps DHT. 10:1 is typically what I recommend but standardized versions are great, too.
- Mucuna Pruriens – Look for one that’s standardized for around 10-15% of its active ingredient L-Dopa. This makes it more potent at stimulating LH synthesis which, ultimately, helps promote testosterone production.
- Fenugreek – Has saponins that allow it to boost testosterone, libido, and muscle strength. However, different brands seem to prioritize different saponins. If you have specific needs, make sure what you get is standardized for the saponin that caters to your demands.
- Ashwagandha – A great adaptogen (anti-stress supplement) and an equally great T-booster. Look for KSM-66® or one that’s standardized for its active ingredient, withanolides.
- Rhodiola Rosea – Like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola is also an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress. This makes it capable of maintaining healthy levels of testosterone even in times of turmoil. Look for one that’s standardized for either rosavins, salidrosides, or both.
When it comes to T-boosting minerals, the most commonly used forms are also ones that are cheapest to manufacture. Unfortunately, the truth is that these cheap forms are also very hard to absorb which, as I’ve said, increases the risk for gastric side effects. Here’s a list of the good and bad forms used in T boosting minerals:
- Citrate – Personally, this form is what I prefer. Highly absorbable, odorless, and has no metallic taste.
- Gluconate – Slightly harder to absorb than Citrate but still a lot easier than most forms you’ll see on the market. Oh, and this one’s pretty pricey, too.
- Picolinate – Research has proven that this is more absorbable than both Citrate and Gluconate. However, it is also significantly more expensive.
- Chelated – This is a form where the mineral is connected to an amino acid (e.g., aspartate, methionine) which makes it easier to absorb than most other forms.
- Oxide – Perhaps the most commonly used form in mineral supplements but it is water-insoluble, making it very hard to absorb
- Sulfate – Particularly when it comes to Zinc, Zinc Sulfate is the form that’s typically associated with metallic tastes and gastric side effects.
Obviously, when scanning through a testosterone booster’s minerals, you’re going to want forms that are in “the good” column. On the contrary, “the bad” versions are the forms you should try to avoid. Moving on, we’ve already talked about Zinc as a testosterone booster but here are a couple more examples:
- Magnesium – Promotes relaxation while boosting “free” testosterone and anabolism.
- Boron – Straight-up androgen booster that increases both testosterone and DHT. Moreover, it also increases levels of Vitamin D and Magnesium.
Like minerals, vitamins come in many shapes and sizes – all are good but some are simply better for testosterone. I won’t drag this out for much longer because I think you already get the point on why you should get the best qualities. So, here are a few T-essential vitamins and their bioavailable forms:
- Vitamin D – Per research, men with higher levels of Vitamin D also had higher levels of testosterone. When it comes to form, Vitamin D can either be D2 (ergocalciferol) or D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms can boost T but D2 levels decline faster. D3, on the other hand, is more sustainable and bioavailable, making it the better choice for test.
- Vitamin B6 – Like Vitamin D, Vitamin B6 levels are directly proportional to levels of testosterone. In supplements, the forms you will typically find are pyridoxine HCl or P-5-P. P-5-P is the form that can be readily used by your body so if you want efficient test boosts, choose this.
- Vitamin K – Compared to D and B6, Vitamin K is a bit uncommon in testosterone boosters, probably because it doesn’t have as much research. However, with what it already has, the potential to soon be a staple part of T-booster formulas is clearly there. Look for the K2 variant, preferably in its MK-4 or MK-7 form.
With top-shelf ingredients given in safe yet solid dosages, you’ve already found a testosterone booster that works…
…but does it work for YOU?
Like everyone else, you have your own priorities – what you want and need may not necessarily be the same for everyone. For that reason, today’s testosterone boosters are designed to amplify certain characteristics. That being said, choosing a test booster with the right set of benefits is crucial to how effective you will feel it is.
But why is this important for safety?
Well, formulas that are tailored towards certain demographics also tend to favor similar ingredient combinations. When it comes to design and safety, these combinations are what you should look out for since not all ingredients work well with each other. Here are a couple of examples:
- Zinc + Calcium – Individually, both these ingredients are research-backed testosterone boosters. However, what manufacturers don’t tell you is that these two minerals actually compete for absorption. In particular, research says that Calcium disrupts Zinc absorption which therefore increases Zinc’s dosage requirement. And, if you forgot, then let me remind you that taking in too much Zinc can cause prostate issues. No sane man wants that.
- Yohimbine + Caffeine – We’ve already talked about this but when these two are banded together, they can cause cardiovascular side effects, especially in men and women who have prior heart problems or are sensitive to stimulants.
Besides bad combination, some “good” combinations might also increase the risk of harm to some people. This is, again, why you should pay attention to a supplement’s design. These good combinations may in fact amplify the effects of a testosterone booster but when they’re unregulated or taken by the wrong people, they can also be detrimental. For example:
- Boron + Panax Ginseng – Both of these ingredients are capable of boosting testosterone. The issue here is that they both also increase DHT – an androgen that’s more potent than T. This shouldn’t be a problem for younger men but for older dudes who have become more sensitive to DHT, this can increase the chances of prostate issues and balding.
- The solution? Pair these ingredients with DHT blockers such as Fenugreek, Stinging Nettle, and Saw Palmetto.
- Boron + Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin) – Again, they’re both great at boosting testosterone but the problem is that they also increase the stress hormone, cortisol – a catabolic hormone. When excessively high, this can contribute to heart problems, sexual dysfunction, weaker immune system, and a difficulty building or maintaining muscle mass.
- The solution? Pair these ingredients with adaptogens that help your body manage stress (e.g., Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea)
These are just some of the common combinations used in T boosters. As you continue your search towards the safest and best testosterone boosters in the market, you will inevitably encounter more. Regardless, you can use these same principles to minimize or even eliminate the risk of side effects.
RECAP: THE SAFEST TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS
|T-Booster Supplement||My Review||Website|
|#1 – Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster||My Review||www.performancelab.com|
|#2 – Prime Male||My Review||www.primemale.com|
|#3 – TestoFuel||My Review||www.testofuel.com|
|#4 – Test Freak||My Review||www.pharmafreak.com|
|#5 – Nugenix Ultimate||My Review||www.nugenix.com|
So, there you have it folks – the safest testosterone boosters and how to find them. In a nutshell, the three things I feel like you should consider when buying a safe T booster are:
- Ingredient dosages
- Ingredient qualities
- Ingredient combinations (formula design)
Once you’ve found a product that uses excellent quality ingredients, fitting dosages, and a formula design that suits your needs, I think you’re more than halfway through with the battle.
That being said, the first thing you should do before even buying a supplement is to check with your doctor. This way, you can learn more about your body and be truly confident in the direction you’re going when shopping for a safe testosterone booster.