If you're a man over the age of 30, chances are you've started to notice a decline in your energy levels, sex drive, and muscle mass.
These are all common signs of low testosterone, and while they may seem like an inevitable part of aging, it's important to take steps and combat them.
That's because low testosterone levels have been linked to a variety of issues, from reduced libido and erectile dysfunction to depression and chronic fatigue. Some of those complaints, such as erectile dysfunction, can significantly decrease your quality of life.
If you're a man experiencing low testosterone levels, you may wonder if ashwagandha can help. Ashwagandha is a natural herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for a variety of issues.
Preliminary research confirms that ashwagandha may help boost low testosterone levels in men. Keep reading to learn more about ashwagandha and testosterone, and to find out if this herb could be right for you.
Where did ashwagandha come from?
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine to aid various ailments . It is a small evergreen shrub with yellow flowers native to the regions of India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa.
The plant is from the Nightshade family (Solanaceae), and it is the richest source of withanolides from all 2700 species in that family. Withanolides are the plant's main bioactive molecules, which possess most of its beneficial properties.
Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and stands for "horse smell." It describes the plant's root, which has a strong horse-like odor, but also refers to its properties and benefits for men - giving you "the strength of a horse."
The Latin name of the plant is Withania somnifera. "Somni-fera," which means "sleep-inducing." This refers to the powerful adaptogenic properties of the herb, as it helps promote calm and reduces perceived levels of stress.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha's benefits have been known by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years and are now widely researched by scientists worldwide. Some of the most prominent ones include:
- improving resistance to stress
- reducing cortisol levels
- stimulating thyroid function
- improving physical performance
- supporting male sexual function
- supporting testosterone synthesis
Clearly, all these benefits can significantly improve a man's health. The majority of them stem from the fact that ashwagandha is an adaptogen. This means it increases the tolerance of your body to stress.
In one prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root was highly effective in reducing stress and anxiety in adults .
Ashwagandha is particularly effective at managing stress, promoting healthy inflammation levels, improving physical endurance, and boosting mental clarity. It can also help support the nervous system and is believed to bolster libido and fertility.
As such, ashwagandha can be highly advantageous for men looking for an all-encompassing holistic approach to improved well-being.
What does ashwagandha do for males?
Ashwagandha powder has numerous benefits for men, the most prominent being its effect on testosterone and fertility.
According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available studies, Withania somnifera can increase testosterone levels by 17% on average in infertile males .
Moreover, Ashwagandha root extract led to a 59% increase in semen volume, a 57% increase in sperm motility, and a whopping 167% increase in sperm concentration. This was sufficient to revert male infertility and result in pregnancy in 14% of the couples.
Another study also found that the antioxidative benefits of ashwagandha significantly improve sperm count and motility . Treatment of infertile men recovered the seminal plasma levels of antioxidant enzymes and vitamins A, C, and E.
But the benefits of ashwagandha for men do not end here. The herb can also stimulate the function of another of your endocrine glands - your thyroid.
In a trial with 50 participants, 8 weeks of ashwagandha supplementation led to a significant increase in the levels of thyroid hormones and a reduction in TSH .
If you are an active man, ashwagandha can also boost your muscle strength and performance. Ultimately this may aid your efforts in maintaining or even increasing your muscle mass.
In one 8-week study, resistance-training men who took ashwagandha had a significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage, increased muscle strength, and improved muscle compared to individuals who took a placebo .
Ashwagandha may also boost endurance, as another study of 40 men reports that supplementation significantly increased their velocity, physical power, and oxygen capacity .
Why does ashwagandha boost testosterone?
The main mechanism via which ashwagandha appears to boost testosterone levels is by lowering another hormone that interferes with the normal function of the testes. That is the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to reduced testosterone production when its levels are high.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that can significantly reduce perceived stress and cortisol levels. One trial reports that the herb can lower your morning cortisol levels by almost 30% after 8 weeks of supplementation .
The researchers also note that the reduction in cortisol was associated with a significant increase in testosterone levels.
The cortisol-lowering effects of ashwagandha can also help improve your sleep quality, according to a trial with 58 participants . Your sleep quality is tightly associated with your testosterone production, and every hour of missed sleep lowers your testosterone levels by a whopping 15%.
Therefore, ashwagandha works to improve your testosterone levels by lowering cortisol, reducing stress, and improving your sleep quality.
These benefits are due to the presence of withanolides in ashwagandha root extract and, more specifically, the withanolide called Withanoside IV. Research reveals that out of all the numerous withanolides in the herb, Withanoside IV is the main ingredient that helps reduce cortisol levels 
What are the advantages of ashwagandha for testosterone?
Taking ashwagandha can not only boost testosterone and improve your gym sessions but also benefit mental health and sexual drive - important considerations for any man looking to get greater value from their basic health supplements.
Ashwagandha also has another major advantage over other methods to boost your testosterone levels, which is its safety. The herb is generally well-tolerated by most people with no reported side effects.
However, ashwagandha's effects are potent, and if you have any concerns or are taking any medications, please speak with your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
Consult a doctor before supplementing Ashwagandha powder if you have diabetes or any problems affecting your blood sugar levels.
Withania somnifera can reduce your blood sugar and blood pressure levels which are most likely secondary effects to the increased tolerance to stress.
However, combining it with medications that do the same can make the total effect too strong and lead to unpleasant symptoms related to hypoglycemia and hypotonia.
Ashwagandha may also stimulate your thyroid to produce more hormones, so if you are already taking thyroid medications such as L-thyroxine, the herb may also potentiate its effects.
Does ashwagandha increase estrogen levels?
A major advantage of ashwagandha over other testosterone booster supplements is that it also does not affect estrogen levels.
Preliminary studies even suggest that another of the withanolides in ashwagandha - Withaferin A may work to block the estrogen receptors, which help reduce the effects of estrogen in the body .
Boosting testosterone without increasing estrogen levels in men is important, as high estrogen in males can lead to undesired effects. They include an increase in adiposity, reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, water retention, swelling of the breast tissue, etc.
Therefore it is best to aim for a testosterone booster that contains ashwagandha as it lacks most side effects of other supplements.
What type of ashwagandha boosts testosterone the most?
Not all types of ashwagandha are created the same. Only the ashwagandha root extract contains an optimal ratio of withanolides and other bioactive molecules for an optimal effect.
Furthermore, the best Ashwagandha supplement should be produced in the U.S., containing standardized root extracts of Withania somnifera, and regularly undergo third-party testing by independent agencies.
When taking the right kind of ashwagandha, the research shows that it will take only 60 days to increase your testosterone levels . It's important to note that this period can vary depending on individual biology and lifestyle factors such as stress levels or diet.
If you are looking to boost its potential further, consider taking a supplement that also helps optimize your nutrition by adding testosterone-boosting nutrients such as zinc and vitamin D3.
One supplement that covers all of the requirements above and even takes men's health a step further is the Warrior's Code Men’s Vitality by NutriRise.
Each serving of this testosterone booster delivers a standardized dose of Ashwagandha extract that contains at least 2.5% withanolides and an additional 1000 IU of vitamin D3 + 40 mg of zinc.
On top of that, it also contains other testosterone-boosting herbs and ingredients such as Tribulus Terrestris, Horny Goat Weed, Maca, Fenugreek, DIM, Tongkat Ali, and boron.
Warrior's Code Men’s Vitality has maximum absorption thanks to the addition of 5 mg of BioPerine (black pepper extract), which slows down the gastrointestinal transit time of the testosterone supplement, which prolongs the time for uptake and absorption .
NutriRise offers 100% organic extracts of all 5 herbs in the blend, which are obtained from natural and sustainable sources. It is manufactured in a U.S. facility that complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).
The rigorous 3rd party testing also guarantees that Warrior's Code Vitality is free of harmful binders, fillers, allergens, GMOs, pesticides, dairy, gluten, animal products, artificial colors, flavors, hormones, heavy metals, and preservatives.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.