Its a well documented fact that testosterone in essential for muscle development. So much so that some will want to go to the lengths of taking synthetic testosterone in order to aid their development.

That's not somewhere I want to go. What are the best natural ways of boosting your testosterone levels?

One way I am aware of is to squat heavy, since it engages so many muscles it will naturally lead to a boost. Any other ways?

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    I also want to point out that as you get older your body naturally produces less testoterone. So this is important to most males, not just those looking to bulk-up.
    – Walter
    Apr 20, 2011 at 19:42

5 Answers 5


Age and genetics are the major factors in testosterone generation. It peaks in your 30s and drops steadily thereafter. There are some things you can actively do to increase testosterone level, but the effects will be miniscule compared to what your age and genetics have already given you.

Kraemer et al, 1991; Kraemer et al 1990:

High volume, multiple set programs are more effective at increasing the body's production of testosterone and growth hormone.

Working large muscles such as those in the legs also slightly increases HGH and testosterone.

Eat less soy. Soy increases estrogen, a female hormone, which lowers testosterone. There's scientists on both sides of this. Some say the soy isoflavones are 1/10,000 the potency of real estrogen, so there's no real danger in eating soy.

Get more zinc:

Zinc is very important for the production of natural testosterone because Zinc prevents testosterone from being converted into estrogen (the female hormone) by making the enzyme aromatase not work (look at #3 below) plus...

Zinc itself turns estrogen into testosterone and Zinc helps produce healthier sperm and higher sperm counts so actually... Low levels of zinc can cause low testosterone levels.

Foods high in Zinc include oysters (a natural aphrodisiac), beef, liver, crab, seafood, poultry, nuts and seeds, salmon, brown rice, cheese, pine nuts, beans, turkey, milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese or you can supplement with at least 50-to-100mg of Zinc daily

Get more sleep.

A university of Chicago study showed that men who got little sleep had way lower testosterone levels than men who got 6-to-8 hours of sleep and... According to a University of North Carolina study... Your testosterone levels can drop down by as much as 40 PERCENT when you don't get enough sleep and generally...

Less stress

When you get stressed out - your body releases a "stress" hormone called cortisol that shuts down testosterone production

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    Can you provide the references for the things you quote? Apr 11, 2011 at 13:58
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    +1 for soy, but "eat no soy" would have been even better.
    – J. Win.
    Apr 21, 2011 at 7:48
  • 50-100 mg of zinc daily for more than a month will be detrimental.
    – Mdev
    Apr 7, 2014 at 3:57
  • @J.Won. This one seems to be a myth. According to this meta-analysis, soy products do not decrease the level of bioavailable Testosterone in adult men: dx.doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.fertnstert.2009.04.038
    – Paul K
    Jun 8, 2016 at 10:29

The Four Hour Body examines a couple "protocols" for increasing testosterone, albeit with the goal for increased sexual performance rather than muscle development:

Protocol 1: Long-term and Sustained

  • Fermented cod liver oil + vitamin-rich butter fat - 2 capsules upon waking and before bed.
  • Vitamin D3 - 3,000-5,000 IU upon waking and before bed, until you reach blood levels of 55ng/mL.
  • Short ice baths and/or cold showers - 10 minutes each upon waking and before bed
  • Brazil nuts - 3 nuts upon waking, 3 nuts before bed (only if you're deficient in selenium)

Protocol 2: Short-term "Nitro Boost"

  • 20-24 Hours Prior to "Activity"
    • Eat 800 mg of cholesterol within three hours of bedtime the night before
  • 4 Hours Prior to "Activity"
    • 4 Brazil nuts
    • 20 Raw almonds
    • 2 capsules of the fermented cod/butter combination mentioned above

*Note that the above was hand-typed and without pages of context, and is a rough, but not exact, paraphrase.

A few notes behind the reasoning for these protocols extracted from elsewhere in the book:

  • Cholesterol before bed - Testosterone is derived from cholesterol, and is primarily produced during sleep
  • Almonds - Rich in vitamin E, which counters oxidative stress that lowers testosterone (and sperm production) and (along with vitamin A and selenium) treats partial androgen deficiency in males.
  • Vitamin D - Acts as a steroid hormone and regulates a number of genes related to muscular growth and performance.
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil + Vitamin-Rich Butter Fat - Contains vitamin A (directly correlated with testosterone production), vitamin K2 (activator for vitamin A/D dependent proteins).
  • Ice Baths - Weak support, supposedly increases high-frequency pulses of GnRH, which results in higher levels of testosterone.
  • Brazil Nuts - Selenium-rich, and more effective that direct selenium supplementation. Selenium increase sperm production and quality.

Just to add to what already has been said: studies show that prolonged (over one week) sexual abstinence increases testosterone levels for males. Orgasms boost testosterone levels, but only for a short time.

Link to an abstract of an exemplary study: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs003450100222?LI=true

In contrast, although plasma testosterone was unaltered by orgasm, higher testosterone concentrations were observed following the period of abstinence. These data demonstrate that acute abstinence does not change the neuroendocrine response to orgasm but does produce elevated levels of testosterone in males.


From this article: Increase Tesosterone Naturally

  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Fix any dietary deficiencies after taking a blood test to fnid out which deficiencies you have. That includes zinc, magnesium, vitamin D and more.
  • Weight lifting, preferably compound movements.
  • Sleep enough.


This is interesting this guy is doing a 30 day series of cold baths. Increased thermogenic effect, increased testosterone production and weight loss is expected...cool concept

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