The Best Testosterone Boosters for Muscle Building & Increasing Performance in 2023

Learn what to look for and avoid when shopping for a safe, effective testosterone-boosting supplement.

Many men begin noticing a dip in their testosterone production sometime in their 30’s. Muscle becomes harder to develop—but not impossible. There are plenty of guys in their 50s and 60s getting jacked (naturally) and they’re doing it with the help of testosterone supplements.

You’ve probably seen the t-booster ads that promise to make you look like Arnold, but what they don’t share are the nasty side effects that come years later from their proprietary blends. That’s why it’s important to find a supplement that not only uses proper ingredients but also lists their doses on the label. 

Here, we analyzed dozens of clinical studies on muscle building and testosterone before creating this guide. You’ll learn what ingredients work and which ones to avoid along with our top picks. 

The Relationship Between Testosterone and Muscle

To build muscle, enough stress needs to be placed on the body to produce muscle-protein synthesis—a foundational building block of muscle mass.

In addition to muscle-based stress through exercise, maintaining healthy t-levels also aids in building muscle mass. Testosterone supports healthy levels of hormones like IGF-1, which play a significant role in promoting muscle-protein synthesis and in turn, increased muscle.

With these factors maintained, you’re effectively stimulating the elements required to increase overall muscle size and strength.

A Quality Testosterone Supplement Can:

  • Increase Physical Performance
  • Decrease Body Fat
  • Increase Muscle Mass
  • Maintain a Healthy Sex Drive
  • Aid Memory Recall
  • Support Mood

Maintaining Testosterone

It’s normal for t-levels to drop as you age, but there are steps you can take to maintain adequate hormone levels.

  • Get Enough Sleep Each Night
  • Stay Active
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet
  • Find a Quality Testosterone Supplement
  • Avoid Drugs & Alcohol Abuse

Results: What to Expect From a Quality Muscle-Building Supplement

  • Muscle Mass & Strength: Certain ingredients promote healthy male hormones or block detrimental ones, which can have a huge effect on your size and strength with training over time.
  • Drive & Stamina: As blood flow increases to your brain and muscles with the right nutrients, you may become more motivated with your goals as well as in the bedroom.
  • Mood & Stress: While you may not think of a muscle-building supplement as a stress reducer, many of the same ingredients that target muscle growth also help you relax and think clearly.

There’s no shortage of ingredients that claim to boost testosterone, but we narrowed the list down to those that have shown positive results in human clinical studies.

Best Ingredients to Boost Testosterone

Tongkat Ali: The #1 Natural Testosterone Booster, hands down, according to the medical literature is a medicinal plant called Eurycoma Longifolia — commonly referred to as Tongkat Ali (TA). Tongkat Ali works by stimulating the release of free testosterone from its binding proteins and improves overall testosterone profiles. Human supplementation trials show a clear indication of reduced fatigue, heightened energy and mood, and enhanced lean muscle mass and fat loss in subjects consuming Tongkat Ali.1-5

In a recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, stress hormone profile (salivary cortisol and testosterone) was significantly improved by Tongkat Ali supplementation, with reduced cortisol exposure (-6%) and increased free testosterone status (+37%).

Stanford University Neurobiology Professor Dr. Andrew D. Huberman discusses the testosterone-boosting effects of Tongkat Ali on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Siberian Rhodiola Rosea (5% Rosavin): Rhodiola rosea is a medicinal plant in the Rhodiola genera (Crassulaceae family) which has traditionally been used as an anti-fatigue agent and adaptogen compound. Only Rhodiola Rosea of Russian origin (West and North Siberia) has a high pharmacological activity and contains the key testosterone-boosting component rosavin. Human test subjects showed marked increases in free testosterone levels, muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy (muscle growth), greater back muscle strength, better coordination, and improved recovery ability.

In a recent study from researchers at the Laboratory of Sports Medicine and Sport Related Nutrition at the University of Rome, athletes who supplemented with Rhodiola Rosea experienced both reduced lactate levels and parameters of skeletal muscle damage after an exhaustive exercise session. Moreover, the athletes taking Rhodiola Rosea experienced substantial increases in bodyfat oxidation (fat loss). Concluded the researchers, “Taken together these observations confirm that Rhodiola Rosea may increase the adaptogen ability to physical exercise.”6

Deer Antler Velvet: Soviet scientists in the 1980s tested the effects of deer antler velvet on the performance of elite Russian athletes, and the results were astonishing. Deer antler velvet helped increase the muscle strength and mass of Russian athletes, while speeding their recovery time from exercise, by naturally increasing levels of free testosterone and growth hormone. Soviet scientists claim the increases in strength helped the Russian athletes shatter new strength records at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

More recently, researchers at the University of New Brunswick in Canada tested the effects of Deer Antler Velvet in 38 weight-training men. The study found that those who took deer antler velvet powder for 10 weeks had significantly greater increases in leg strength and endurance than men who took a placebo.7

5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isolfavone: This non-hormonal anti-catabolic compound has been shown to increase testosterone, decrease cortisol levels, increase protein synthesis, and improve overall recovery from exercise. The use of 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isolfavone as a muscle builder and sports performance aid dates back to the 1970s, when a Hungarian pharmaceutical company Chinoin filed 2 U.S. Patents on the adaptogen showing it could dramatically increase muscle mass and strength in weight-training athletes.8,9 More recently, in one placebo-controlled university study published in the prestigious journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers found that athletes who took the same dose of 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isolfavone provided in Adaptophen daily for 8 weeks experienced a significantly greater increase in muscle mass than those who took placebo. 10

ZMA: Published university research shows ZMA increases testosterone levels by as much as 30 percent in men. One study from scientists at Western Washington University studied 12 NCAA division II football players who took ZMA nightly during an eight-week spring training program and a separate group assigned a placebo. The athletes taking ZMA had 2.5 times greater muscle strength gains than the placebo group; the ZMA group increased by 11.6 percent compared to only 4.6 percent in the placebo group. The ZMA group also had 30 percent increases in testosterone levels (compared to 10 percent decrease in the placebo group). The ZMA group also experienced a 5 percent increase in IGF-1 (growth hormone) while the placebo group dropped by 20 percent.11,12

What Ingredients To Avoid:

Androstenedione: Androstenedione gained popularity as the supplement used by the baseball homerun hitter Mark McGwire and other professional sports players. In January 2005 legislation went into effect in the United States called the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004. This reclassified androstenedione from a dietary supplement to an anabolic steroid, which is a schedule III controlled substance. What’s more, recent research shows it may enhance estrogen levels in men more so than it does testosterone. Some supplements made in China still include Androstenedione, which should be avoided.

Fenugreek: Fenugreek is native to the Mediterranean, Europe, and Asia. Fenugreek seems to slow sugar absorption in the stomach and stimulate insulin. Both of these effects lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Fenugreek might also improve levels of testosterone and estrogen, helping to improve libido. However, the side effects may outweigh the small benefits in most individuals, which include diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating and gas. It may also cause allergic reactions in some people.

3 Tips For Results:

  • Real Results Take Time: Even with the best muscle-building supplement in the world, dramatic changes won’t happen overnight. But if you add it to your regimen not expecting miracles, you may be pleasantly surprised to see “night and day” differences in the mirror. Stick with it for at least 3 months for best results.
  • Clinically Studied Doses: Some brands use quality ingredients, but skimp out on doses to cut costs. Even if you’re getting the right ingredients, you won’t reap the full benefits with weak doses.
  • Money-Back Guarantee:money-back guarantee shows the company’s faith in its product. Look for brands with at least a 60-day refund period — so you get 2 months to try it risk-free.

Top 5 Testosterone Supplements of 2023

We’ve compiled a list of what we’ve found to be the top five testosterone supplements on the market today.

The Bottom Line

Adaptophen is made with a host of clinically-tested key ingredients, including Tongkat Ali, Siberian Rhodiola Rosea, Deer Antler Velvet, 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone, and ZMA — all in efficacious dosages shown effective in peer-reviewed university studies. This, in our view, is the best all-around formula to help you maintain your testosterone, promote stamina, and build muscle.

This was one of the only products that was third-party tested and had no hidden additives or artificial ingredients. 

Additionally, their return policy was topnotch—a comprehensive 60-day, risk-free, money-back guarantee, proving the company stands behind its products.

Update: Adaptophen’s official maker, TeamANR, is now offering the same ingredients in a more potent whey protein formula called Monster Mix. It offers high dosages of Tongkat Ali, Deer Antler Powder, Rhodiola Rosea, Tribulus Terrestris, 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone & ZMA — along with microfiltered whey protein isolate, creatine monohydrate, glutamine, BCAAs, EFAs, vitamins, minerals and more. If you’re a serious weight-training athlete and want to pack on lean muscle mass along with boost your free and total testosterone, consider adding Monster Mix to your Adaptophen supplementation regimen.

Learn More About Monster Mix Whey Protein

The Bottom Line

Nugenix Total-T has L-citrulline malate, boron, vitamin B6 & B12, and zinc which we liked. Unfortunately, the remaining ingredients are questionable at best. 

Fenugreek may cause bloating, and eurycoma longifolia, while known for its aphrodisiac and pro-fertility effects, is now considered a protected plant species. Nugenix also lacks key ingredients that are staples in other formulas, such as Tongkat Ali, Rhodiola Rosea, Deer Antler Powder, ZMA and 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone.

Beyond that, Nugenix offers a comprehensive 30-day return policy. While everyone can try their products risk-free, 30 days may not be enough time to evaluate and return before the refund period is up.

The Bottom Line

Test X180 by Force Factor has vitamin D and vitamins B6 and B12 in their formulation, making for a solid muscle-building base. 

Unfortunately, it’s missing the ingredients we recommend, as it doesn’t contain any Tongkat Ali, Rhodiola Rosea, Deer Antler Powder, ZMA and 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone. On top of that, this formula is a proprietary blend, which means we can’t tell you the exact dose of every ingredient in each blend.

Force Factor’s 30-day money-back guarantee shows us that they stand by their products, but the problem is it’s not really enough time to evaluate whether it’s working.

The Bottom Line

Muram hides their ingredients behind a proprietary blend so you can’t be sure of the exact doses you’re getting.

We’re not quite as sold on them as much as other products on the list due to their weak formulation and short 30-day return policy.

5. Testro-X

By Umzu

The Bottom Line

UMZU Testo-X includes a smattering of just “okay” ingredients like ashwagandha, magnesium, and boron, but these compounds don’t have nearly the scientific support as compounds like Tongkat Ali, Rhodiola Rosea, Deer Antler Powder, ZMA and 5-Methyl-7-Methoxy-Isoflavone.

UMZU also has a fair number of disappointing reviews on Amazon stating their dissatisfaction with the results.

Potential customers should also take into consideration that UMZU offers a 60-day return policy, which is more than many others on the list.

References Cited

  1. “Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subject,” Talbott, et al.  J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 2013 May 26;10(1):28.
  2. “Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors–a pilot study,” R. Henkel, et al.  Phytother. Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):544-50.
  3. “Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trial,” Complement. Ther. Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):693-8.
  4. “Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali): Its Traditional Uses, Chemistry, Evidence-Based Pharmacology and Toxicology,” U. Rehman, et al.  Molecules 2016 Mar 10;21(3):331.
  5. “A 6-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial to evaluate the effect of Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) and concurrent training on erectile function and testosterone levels in androgen deficiency of aging males (ADAM),” A. E. Leitão, et al. Maturitas, 2021 Mar;145:78-85.
  6. “Effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results,” A. Parisi, et al.
    J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 2010 Mar;50(1):57-63. 
  7. “The effects of deer antler velvet extract or powder supplementation on aerobic power, erythropoiesis, and muscular strength and endurance characteristics,” Int. J. Sport. Nutr. Exerc. Metab. G. Sleivert, et al. 2003 Sep;13(3):251-65.
  8. Feuer L, Logrady N, Gottsegen A, et al. Anabolic-weight-gain promoting compositions containing isoflavone derivatives and method using same. United States Patent 3,949,085. April 6, 1976.
  9. Feuer L, Farkas L, Nogradi M, et al. Metabolic 5-methyl-isoflavone-derivatives, process for the preparation thereof and compositions continuing the same. United States Patent 4,163,746. August 7, 1979.
  10. Incledon T, Gammeren DV, Antonio JA. The effects of 5-methylisoflavone on body composition and performance in college aged men. Med Sci Sports Exer. 2001;33(5 suppl):S338 [abstract].
  11. “Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength,” L.R. Brilla, et al. Exercise and Sports Science Laboratory, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.
  12. Wilborn CD, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, et al. Effects of Zinc Magnesium Aspartate (ZMA) Supplementation on Training Adaptations and Markers of Anabolism and Catabolism. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2004;1(2):12-20.

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