How To Use Ashwagandha To Boost Your T By Over 40%
Ashwagandha is the best-kept secret in all of men’s health.
Today I’m going to show you EXACTLY how you can use ashwagandha to skyrocket T levels.
…and it doesn’t stop there.
My Ashwagandha Recommendation
Ashwagandha does many other things that make men more manly as well.
Put your nerd hat on because this guide is a COMPLETE review of the research on ashwagandha as it relates to testosterone and men’s health.
Let’s jump right in:
- What Is Ashwagandha?
- A Proven Testosterone Booster
- Study 1: Ashwagandha, T, LH, FSH
- Study 2: Results Reproduced
- Study 3: How It Works (Spoiler Alert - Its Cortisol)
- Study 4: Ashwagandha Turns You In A Stud
- Study 5: Impressive Results For Bodybuilders
- Other Benefits
- Side Effects
- How To Use Ashwagandha
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
What is ashwagandha?
For those of you who want to dig deep into ashwagandha, I recommend this video:
But for those of you who are not interested in watching that hippie talk for 30 minutes (I joke. It is good information), I still want you to understand some basics.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- Ashwagandha is a nightshade. This belongs to the same family as potatoes, peppers, tobacco, and tomatoes.
- It’s commonly used in Indian medicine (aka Ayurveda) for a variety of ailments.
- It’s a shrub that grows roughly 1 to 2.5 feet tall (at most).
- It flowers and fruits. The fruit is orange and shaped like a leafy bell.
- Ashwagandha gets its name from its terrible smell. ‘Ashwagandha’ literally translates to ‘smell of the horse’ in Sanskrit.
- If you haven’t guessed based on the Sanskrit comment I just made, ashwagandha has it’s roots (pun intended) in India.
And last, but not least:
It contains phytochemicals
I gave this one it’s own section because it’s useful for our purposes (i.e. men’s health). In reality, I don’t give a crap what it looks like, where it comes from, or how it smells.
I do want to know how ashwagandha can benefit me.
That’s where these phytochemicals come in. Phytochemicals are nothing more than chemical compounds found in plants.
The majority of phytochemicals found in ashwagandha come from a class called withanolides.
Here’s an interesting fact:
Withanolides are made up of a steroid backbone. Not to imply that ashwagandha is an anabolic steroid or anything, but interesting none-the-less.
Here are some of the proven health benefits of the phytochemicals found in ashwagandha:
But what about testosterone?
Does Ashwagandha Really Boost Testosterone?
Here on AndrogenHacker, you won’t find me talking much about ‘testosterone boosters’. Targeted lifestyle manipulation is the primary strategy we focus on to increase T levels.
Here’s the truth:
99% of T boosters are total junk.
There is ONE exception.
Based on scientific literature Ashwagandha is different.
There have been several scientific studies done on ashwagandha and testosterone and every single one of them have compelling results.
Studies 1 & 2 listed below are the most compelling evidence showing a relationship between ashwagandha and testosterone.
These two studies are VERY similar in both design and results. So similar in fact, that its basically the same study conducted by two different organizations at different times and with different participants. Did I mention that the results were more-or-less the same?
In other words, the results have been replicated.
This is powerful.
In medicine, a single study typical holds little weight. Even if design, methods, and analysis are flawless, a single study is just, well, one study.
Once a study has been replicated, it’s results are significantly more meaningful.
Pay close attention as we go through the nitty-gritty details of the testosterone boosting effects of ashwagandha in each of these studies.
Study 1: Ashwagandha Significantly Increases Testosterone And LH (But Not FSH)
The first study I’m referencing was done in 2010. It looked at how ashwagandha effects “reproductive hormone levels”.(1)
This study was conducted on infertile men ages 25 to 40 years old.
They broke them into 4 groups:
- The control group
- Men with normal sperm parameters
- Men with a low sperm count
- Men with low sperm motility
Before doing anything, they tested various blood levels including, but not limited to luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone (T). They were then treated with 5 grams of ashwagandha per day.
They continued to treat these guys with 5 grams of ashwagandha root extract every day for a total of 12 weeks.
Did ashwagandha actually work to increase testosterone?
Here’s what happened.
All measurements (including testosterone) increased in all groups with one glaring exception:
The craziest thing about these results is that follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels decreased after taking ashwagandha. For those of you who don’t know, FSH is what stimulates sperm production. The reason these results are counterintuitive because sperm quality actually went up in all groups taking ashwagandha even though FSH levels went down.
Even though FSH levels dropped across the board, sperm parameters all improved. Kind of counterintuitive, but that’s what happened.
And here are the actual results:
|Luteinizing hormone (mIU/ml)||Follicle stimulating hormone (mIU/ml)||Testosterone (ng/ml)|
|Control (Normal Fertile Dudes)||7.94||5.67||7.09|
|Normal Sperm But Infertile||Before 6.87
|Low Sperm Count - Infertile||Before 4.02
|Low Sperm Motility - Infertile||Before 3.82
That translates to -
- A 14.65% increase in testosterone in ‘normal but infertile’ men.
- A 40.7% increase in men with a low sperm count.
- A 21% increase in men with low sperm motility
Study 2 (A Replication Of Study 1)
Thank god I’m currently going to school for a higher level nursing degree at the moment, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had access to this next study.
“Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: a proton NMR study at 800 MHz.”(3)
Withania Somifera is just another name for ashwagandha.
Here’s what they did in this one:
The study was made up of 180 infertile men aged 22 to 45 years old. They broke these men into 4 groups:
- Normal Sperm
- Low Sperm Count
- Low Sperm Motility
- Control Group
They gave the first 3 groups 5 grams of ashwagandha per day for 3 months.
- Semen Concentration
- Sperm Motility
Here were the results:
|Control (Normal)||Men With Normal Sperm, But Infertile||Men With Low Sperm Count||Men With Low Sperm Motility|
|Sperm Motility||72%||Increased from 62% to 72%||Increased from 50% to 58%||Increased from 17% to 25%|
|Sperm Concentration||70 million/ml||Increased from 58 million/ml to 70 million/ml||Increased from 15 million/ml to 30 million/ml||Increased from 50 million/ml to 60 million/ml|
|Lutenizing Hormone||8 mIU/ml||Increased from 7 mIU/ml to 8 mIU/ml||Increased from 4 mIU/ml to 6 mIU/ml||Increased from 3.8 mIU/ml to 5 mIU/ml|
|Follical Stimulating Hormone||5.8 mIU/ml||Decreased from 6.1 mIU/ml to 5.9 mIU/ml||Decreased from 7.9 mIU/ml to 6.3 mIU/ml||Decreased from 6.8 mIU/ml to 5.9 mIU/ml|
|Testosterone||7 ng/ml||Increased from 5.8 ng/ml to 6.8 ng/ml||Increased from 3.5 ng/ml to 5 ng/ml||Increased from 4.2 ng/ml to 5.1 ng/ml|
First of all, those are some pretty awesome increases in T levels. Let’s convert the testosterone measurements from ng/ml to ng/dl so it’s easier to understand. The control group had testosterone levels of 7ng/ml or 700 ng/dl.
Before taking ashwagandha:
Infertile men with otherwise normal sperm had T levels of 5.8 ng/ml or 580 ng/dl. Men with a low sperm count had testosterone levels of 3.5 ng/ml or 350 ng/dl. Men with low sperm motility had testosterone levels of 4.2 ng/ml or 420 ng/ml.
After taking ashwagandha:
Infertile men had T levels of 6.8 ng/ml or 680 ng/dl. Men with low sperm counts test levels were 5 ng/ml or 500 ng/dl. Men with low sperm motility had testosterone levels of 5.1 ng/ml or 510 ng/ml.
That’s a 17.2% increase in testosterone in infertile men, 42% increase in men with a low sperm count and a 21.4% increase in guys with low sperm motility. Not bad.
Study 3: How Does Ashwagandha Work?
By Decreasing Cortisol
It’s a proven fact:
As cortisol goes down, testosterone goes up (and vice versa).(16)
Cortisol has long been known for its relationship with stress, anxiety, and depression.
This study(6) helps to demonstrate excatly how ashwagandha works to increase testosterone. It was conducted on both males and females. The studies participants were given either:
- 300 mg of ashwagandha extract twice a day
Researchers had participants take 3 different tests and also drew blood cortisol levels before and after 60 days. The 3 tests were:
The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) - a test that gives a score on the risk of mental disease.
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) - A very common test that measures a person’s stress level.
The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) - A way of measuring a person’s perception of their anxiety, depression, and stress level.
Here’s what they found:
The big take away here was that cortisol levels in the ashwagandha group were ~28% lower after 60 days whereas the placebo group was ~8% lower.
The questionnaires results were pretty impressive too:
|Ashwagandha Group||69% improvement in anxiety, 68% improvement in social dysfunction, and 79% improvement in depression||44% improvement in stress||77% improvement in depression, 76% improvement in anxiety, 65% improvement in stress|
|Placebo||12% improvement in anxiety, 4% worsening in social dysfunction, 11% worsening in depression||5.5% improvement in stress||5% improvement in depression, 4% worsening in anxiety, 10% improvement in stress|
Study 4: Ashwagandha Increases Sperm Count, Quality, And Quantity
Here’s a pretty interesting research study showing multiple benefits for men in addition to improving semen quality.(5)
They took a bunch of infertile guys and broke them into 3 groups. All groups had normal sperm but were unable to get their partners pregnant.
- Infertile guys who were not stressed, and didn’t smoke.
- Guys who were infertile and under stress.
- Guys who were infertile and smoked cigarettes.
They supplemented each group (except the control) with 5 grams of ashwagandha each day for 90 days.
This is what happened:
|Infertile||Infertile Stressed||Infertile Smokers|
|Sperm Concentrations||17% Increase||36% Increase||20% Increase|
|Testosterone||13% Increase||22% Increase||10% Increase|
|Cortisol||36% Decrease||48% Decrease||48% Decrease|
It should also be noted that pregnancy rate increased by 15% in groups treated with ashwagandha.
Study 5: Ashwagandha For Bodybuilders
Can ashwagandha make you gain weight?
Can it help you build muscle?
That’s exactly what researchers were trying to find out when they conducted a study titled:
“Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial”(4)
Here’s how they did it:
They took a bunch of healthy dudes aged 18 to 50. These guys were total noobs when it came to resistance training. They were placed on a 3 day per week upper/lower training program over 2 months.
They were also either given 300mg ashwagandha root or placebo.
What were the results?
They tested for several things including:
- Body fat percentage
|Ashwagandha Group||Placebo Group|
|Bench Press||138% Increase||84% Increase|
|Leg Extension||52% Increase||38% Increase|
|Testosterone||15.25% Increase||2.6% Increase|
|Body Fat %||3.47% Decrease||1.52% Decrease|
First of all, there are some obvious noob gains going on here. An 84% increase in bench press in the placebo group!? Hot damn! Even so, the ashwagandha group outperformed in every single parameter in this study.
Keep in mind that this is just a single study, but it appears that ashwagandha may be beneficial for bodybuilders and weight loss. It also appears to increase testosterone levels 6x more in those training with it vs. those training without it. Pretty amazing results.
As an added benefit, the decrease in body fat percent was more than double in the group who took ashwagandha.
Bonus: Other Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Video)
This article is about the benefits of ashwagandha and testosterone so I don’t want to go into to much detail on other benefits.
If you are interested you can check out this video as it does an amazing job of reviewing these other benefits:
As you can see there are many. Here is a quick list complete with references (but, seriously you need to watch the video):
- Stress Management(6)
- Thyroid Support(127)(128)
- Improved Memory(129)
- Improved Sleep(123)
- Improved Immunity(116)
- Hair loss(130)
- Reduced Belly Fat(4)
- Blood Sugar(126)
Ashwagandha Side Effects
So far we have had nothing good to say about ashwagandha. As you have read, it is a proven testosterone booster and has many other benefits as well.
Buyer beware -
There are several reported side effects of ashwagandha. Many of these side effects are something you should talk to your doctor about if you are considering supplementing with ashwagandha.
The question is:
What are the side effects of ashwagandha?
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Stomach upset
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Heart palpitations (rare)
- Vivid dreams
- Dry mouth
How Exactly Do You Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha Dosage [Based On Research]
When it comes to maximizing your hormone levels as a man, it appears that somewhere between 300mg and 5 grams of ashwagandha is the dosage range.
That is a huge range so let’s narrow it down.
The two hormones you should be most interested in are testosterone and cortisol. Let’s review the dosages and resulting changes in hormone levels from the studies mentioned in this article.
|Study 1||5 grams||15%, 21%, and 41% increase in testosterone|
|Study 2||5 grams||17%, 21%, and 42% increase in testosterone|
|Study 3||300 mg||28% decrease in cortisol|
|Study 4||5 grams||10%, 13%, and 22% increase in testosterone|
|Study 5||300 mg||15% increase in testosterone|
Unfortunately, the studies conducted on testosterone and ashwagandha only used 2 different dosages (300mg and 5 grams). It’s difficult to come to any set-in-stone conclusion about the proper dosage based on that alone.
But we can say this:
In study 5 we saw a 15% increase in testosterone levels based on 300mg per day. Keep in mind that these were healthy men. We saw a similar 15% and 17% increase in healthy men in studies 1 & 2, but these guys took 5 grams per day. So if your testosterone levels are ‘normalish’ you should consider a lower dosage.
The biggest increases in testosterone (40+ percent) were seen in the first 2 studies in men with subpar sperm who also had the lowest testosterone levels to start. These guys took 5 grams of ashwagandha per day. That being said, you would be jumping to conclusions to think that you needed that much ashwagandha to get those results. Note that there have been no studies done on the effects of a lower dosage of ashwagandha in unhealthy guys.
If you know for a fact that your levels are low, you might consider taking a higher dosage, but keep in mind that you might be wasting your money.
Other dosages may be more appropriate with other goals in mind, but these are the conclusions we can come to for ashwagandha and testosterone specifically.
Like everything else on this website, you should always consult with your doctor before doing anything.
How do you know which ashwagandha is best when it comes in many different shapes and sizes?
Here’s what I mean. There are:
Not only that, but the supplement industry is rife with crappy products. There are only a few that actaully work to increase testosterone levels naturally.
If you’re going to use a supplement, you want to buy something that has been proven clinically, standardized, and created by a reputable company.
KSM 66 is that product for ashwagandha.
KSM 66 is the ashwagandha product that I personally use and recommend - (Affiliate Link)
I personally take 1 pill (600mg) twice a day - Once in the morning, and once at night.
I’d Like To Hear From You
Now it’s your turn to get in on the conversation about ashwagandha and testosterone:
Do you think the research is accurate?
Have you ever used ashwagandha before?
If you have taken ashwagandha, what benefits have you noticed? Side effects?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.