These items are reported to boost testosterone, but are low on real scientific data. Many of them do boost sex drive, which is why they are reported to increase testosterone, but that isn’t necessarily true. Sex drive can be increased through other mechanisms like with yohimbe, so don’t take this effect as anything to necessarily do with testosterone. Still, it is possible to boost testosterone through these mechanisms.
Tribulus Terrestris – This ingredient is often over-used and reported as the “gold standard” in testosterone boosters. It has been shown in multiple human studies to not boost testosterone at all or affect androgen levels in general. It is thought to stimulate LH, although this is an unproven. It has been shown in many animal studies to have a positive effect on sex drive, but again in humans, it is proven to not work. Critics of the human studies will challenge the dose and standardization of the extracts studied. It is a decent ingredient for the price, but don’t spend a fortune on it and look for blends with herbal extracts that are better suited for testosterone boosting effects.
Maca – Maca has shown to have no positive effect on testosterone, nor is it a valid pSARM. Maca most likely works by reducing the amount of estrogen and DHT in the system, which is useful but isn’t a pSARM or phyto-androgen effect.
Fenugreek – Similar to ginger, this is a spice that has shown testosterone stimulating properties, but it does not have pSARM activity or any androgenic activity on its own. It is useful in testosterone boosting supplements, but lacks the direct effect. Still, Fenugreek can be a solid addition to any testosterone boosting supplement.
Tonkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) – This herb has many studies showing it to be an adaptogen and herbal testosterone stimulant. Some people are trying high doses as a pSARM but the verdict is still out. Still, it is useful as a testosterone booster and adaptogen, so it is a good addition to a pSARM formula.
Bassella Alba – This is not a pSARM, but it does seem to have potent testosterone stimulating effects. Although not a pSARM, it is still useful in testosterone boosting supplements and has a very positive study showing it to boost testosterone. Although it is new, it is a pretty killer ingredient for a testosterone booster.
Avena Sativa – Wild Oat Straw doesn’t seem to boost testosterone, but may inhibit SHBG, which can free up bound testosterone. It is best stacked with other herbal boosting supplements to increase their effect since SHBG is a main way that testosterone gets inactivated in the body.
Dodder Seed – Shown in several studies, Dodder Seed seems to be able to naturally boost testosterone by increasing LH. Dodder seed is pretty new but shows some promise in the testosterone boosting market.
Urtica Dioica – Better known as stinging nettle, this is probably the most versatile plant for a male or female looking to boost androgens. It contains extracts that reduce estrogen, reduce DHT and reduce SHBG. All of these things are really useful for the bodybuilder, both male and female. There is a recent trend to standardize for just 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran but the raw herb in a 10:1 extract is a much better choice since nettle has so much to offer the bodybuilder.
Cordyceps sinensis – This fungus has been shown in Chinese studies to boost sexual activity and is also an adaptagen. It was also shown in rat studies to boost testosterone. It was brought to market with much fanfare, but it didn’t seem to live up to the hype. Many people are reporting that up to 1200mg of Cordyceps is not having a positive effect on body composition or strength and endurance.
ZMA (R) – ZMA is composed of three/four nutrients that have some limited ability to increase the effect of testosterone. The nutrients are Zinc Asparate, Magnesium Asparate, Zinc Methionine and B6. In clinical trials, this combination has shown not to raise testosterone or provide any body composition benefits. There is one big benefit of Zinc however, which is to increase the sensitivity of the androgen receptor, which could make testosterone more active in some people. This however can be achieved via Zinc supplementation alone and does not require high priced combinations to achieve its effect. The other two ingredients are just window dressing in my opinion since B6 can be gotten from food in and fortified foods and magnesium, while great for you requires higher doses to be effective. ZMA is not bad for you, it just doesn’t warrant the high price that it commands.
Avena Sativa – Avena Sativa is simply oat straw or the part of the plant that they throw away when they are done harvesting oat meal. Avena Sativa does have a decent effect, which is to possibly increase free testosterone via SHBG bocking. As a first attempt SHBG blocker, it was innovative 10 years ago, but today many better products have replaced it as the premier SHBG blocker like Stinging Nettle Avena Sativa isn’t necessarily a bad thing when taken as a supplement, it is just not that great of an ingredient for raising testosterone.
Tribulus Aquaticus – this ingredient has zero information substantiating it as a testosterone booster however it does have some anecdotal reports of people liking its effects. Still, without even one study showing this to do anything, it is probably one to watch for it’s adaptogenic effect if nothing else.