BLOOD TESTS ∙ 2 minutes read

Does ashwagandha increase testosterone?

By Kirsty Mason | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides

Ashwagandha is a natural remedy that’s rumoured to boost testosterone. The herb has been put to the test in a variety of human and animal studies investigating its links to immunity, stress, thyroid function, and even brain disorders. Research on this versatile herb helps us to understand how it interacts with the hormones in our bodies, but what does the scientific evidence actually show? 

As we age, our testosterone levels decline, leading to a male version of menopause and in some cases, erectile dysfunction. This makes ways of increasing testosterone even more appealing. Is the herb the natural testosterone booster that you’ve been searching for? We dig deep into the links between ashwagandha and testosterone.

But first…

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a pharmaceutical herb. It’s classed as adaptogenic, which means that it’s traditionally used to reduce stress. Throughout the years, ashwagandha has been used as a remedy for a variety of illnesses. Now scientists are seeking the answer to a surprising question: does ashwagandha increase testosterone?

Indeed, there’s some scientific evidence that backs the link between ashwagandha and testosterone. Let’s dive in.

Does ashwagandha increase testosterone?

Studies do provide some evidence for the link between ashwagandha and testosterone, although it should be noted that many of the studies have limitations and it’s difficult to draw tangible conclusions from the results. 

Let’s take a look at the evidence.

A study on male fertility compared two groups of men - one of which was treated with ashwagandha and the other with a placebo. After 90 days, the herb improved sperm count by 167%, semen volume by 53%, and sperm motility by 57% in the ashwagandha-treated group. This is compared to minimal improvements in the placebo-treated group. They also took a look at hormone levels and saw a significantly greater increase in testosterone (17% from day 0 to 90) for those treated with ashwagandha. Although this study demonstrates significant increases in various male traits, the researchers recruited just 46 men, with 21 treated with the herb, so it’s difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from the small sample size.

Another study combined an 8-week resistance training program with the supplement and compared results with a control group who took part in the training but didn’t take the supplement. The results showed that the group that took the ashwagandha supplement had significantly elevated levels of testosterone when compared to the control group. They also had greater muscle strength and size, and observed less muscle damage. These are qualities that are known to be linked to the male sex hormone, testosterone.

A systematic review of herbal treatments for testosterone found that ashwagandha, along with fenugreek seeds, were two herbs that have been shown to have positive effects on testosterone in men.

The evidence clearly shows that ashwagandha and testosterone are linked in some way. But the question remains...

Why does ashwagandha boost testosterone?

It’s not exactly clear why ashwagandha is linked to testosterone but it may have something to do with reduced levels of cortisol in the body. 

A study on the effectiveness of ashwagandha on stress reduction found that participants who took the herbal supplement had significantly lower levels of perceived stress, cortisol (the principal stress hormone), and better sleep quality.

And how does this link to testosterone?

Well, there’s a small amount of evidence to suggest that elevated levels of cortisol lead to decreased levels of the sex hormone, but more research is needed to be done to better understand the link between ashwagandha and testosterone.

If you want to know more about your levels of testosterone, the best way to measure the male sex hormone is to take a blood test. If you’re unsure about trying ashwagandha for testosterone, supplements such as Testosterone Support are specifically targeted towards maintaining levels of the critical hormone. Any supplements should be taken alongside lifestyle changes that are known to improve levels of testosterone, such as exercise, a varied diet, and sleep.

The bottom line

Ashwagandha is a herbal remedy that’s been used as a treatment for various illnesses and disorders. Studies on ashwagandha and testosterone have uncovered surprising links between the herb and the male sex hormone. With declining levels of testosterone an issue for many ageing men, the herb may be a suitable natural remedy for boosting testosterone.

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