Testosterone is a key player in how much muscle you can grow, how quickly you can recover, and how important it is in sports performance for speed and power. Therefore, finding ways to promote higher levels of testosterone naturally will be an advantage to any athlete. Especially with the use of safe and reliable supplements like ashwagandha. Which is becoming more popular year-on-year.
In this article, I’ll quickly summarise ashwagandha’s associated benefits (proven by science) to help improve your testosterone. But first, before we look into the ways ashwagandha can increase your T. Let’s clarify what it is and the mechanisms behind how it works:
What is Ashwagandha?
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Testosterone
When supplementing with ashwagandha, the reported benefits are as follows:
- A state of well-being and relaxation
- Increased strength
- Greater resilience to external stressors
- Improvements in sperm quality
- Increased free-flowing testosterone
- Better vitamin and mineral retention
One huge benefit of this herb (the others I’ll discuss below) is the reduction of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress (OS) is different from that of regular stress. This is because OS can be brought on from acute stress that builds up into chronic stress – either emotional or physical. This can wreak havoc on your health. Just to give you an example, oxidative stress can aggravate cancer cell growth.
Therefore, if there’s a way we can actively lower our oxidative stress. Especially from an ‘overload’ in training and daily stressors, it should be something to pay attention to in our daily lives. That’s where supplementing with ashwagandha can help. Stress reduction is important, as a rise in cortisol ‘stress hormone’ declines testosterone. Ashwagandha works to counter this effect.
In some cases, ashwagandha can also improve the quality of your sleep – which further improves your hormones linked to muscle growth and fat loss – growth hormone for example, which is increased during deep sleep, thus further speeding-up recovery.
How Much Ashwagandha To Use To Improve Testosterone?
While there is no definitive recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the use of ashwagandha, several studies have been done highlighting its benefits with doses between 100 and 600 mg per day.
The most notable study on the benefits surrounding ashwagandha (mentioned below) suggests using 300 mg twice per day to improve testosterone levels, fat loss, muscular strength and recovery.
Ashwagandha Testosterone Studies
Strength and Testosterone
In one study, after supplementing with 300 mg of ashwagandha root twice daily for 8 weeks, saw the test subjects improve in their strength, muscle size, fat loss, and serum testosterone levels. As for measurements, they used a 1 rep max (RM) on the bench press and leg extension exercise. And to no surprise, ashwagandha was able to raise strength significantly compared to the placebo group, along with their testosterone by a total difference of 78.2% compared to the placebo group. (I)
Another benefit to having more testosterone is the way that it promotes fat loss. This is because having more testosterone signals for the release of lipids (fats) to be used as an energy source.
In this same study as mentioned above, body fat also decreased greater in comparison to the placebo group when using ashwagandha – which highlights ashwagandha as a useful sport ergogenic, sexual health aid, and sports performance supplement. (II)
As for muscle recovery, ashwagandha can also heal your damaged muscles. This is because Muscle Protein Creatine Kinase is important as it helps your muscles repair. In simple terms, creatine kinase (CK) is an enzyme found in the muscles that increase the repair of muscle damage post exercise.
Therefore, with the use of ashwagandha, you can reduce exercise-induced muscle damage at a faster rate. This will ultimately lead to quicker improvements in your training – allowing you to see results at a much faster pace.
Semen Quality and Erectile Strength
One study in India found that using ashwagandha helped men with low seminal profiles, who were undergoing infertility tests, improve their rates of conception thanks to using this ancient herb.
The infertile men were able to reduce oxidative stress, while at the same time, increase their antioxidant enzymes and levels of vitamins A, C, and E – which are good indicators of erectile strength – along with seminal and reproductive health in men. (III)
What’s more interesting is that the infertile men also saw an increase in their serum T (testosterone) and LH (luteinizing hormone), while also reducing their levels of FSH – Follicle-stimulating hormone (a cause of hypogonadism – man boobs) and PRL – Prolactin (which causes infertility, loss of libido, and the inability to regulate glucose control). (IV)
Sport Nutrition Expert Recommendation?
With the rise in the use of supplements, so has the elaborate methods in testing their effects and benefits. Ashwagandha is up there as ‘tested and proven’ with some of the best supplements for increasing sports performance, recovery, and yes, testosterone.
Ashwagandha is versatile in the way that it helps to retain minerals and vitamins that are vital to normal testosterone levels. And also in the way it reduces oxidative stress while boosting testosterone levels naturally, along with sperm quality and overall sexual health.
On top of all of this, it’s been shown to stimulate fat loss by changing body composition – i.e. an increase in lean muscle mass. And, if all of that wasn’t enough, it’s also been shown to be safe in the long run – posing no side effects for long term use.
In my own personal opinion, I use ashwagandha throughout the whole year. It helps me to sleep better, it improves my testosterone levels and strength gains. If this sounds like it could of benefit to you, I highly recommend using ashwagandha.
(I, II) Wankhede, Sachin, et al. “Examining the Effect of Withania Somnifera Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Recovery: a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 25 Nov. 2015. (source)
(III) Ahmad, Mohammad Kaleem, et al. “Withania Somnifera Improves Semen Quality by Regulating Reproductive Hormone Levels and Oxidative Stress in Seminal Plasma of Infertile Males.” Fertility and Sterility, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2010. (source)
(IV) Bolyakov, Alexander, and Darius A Paduch. “Prolactin in Men’s Health and Disease.” Current Opinion in Urology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2011. (source)