Does ashwagandha increase testosterone?


The traditional Asian ayurvedic herb known as ashwagandha does increase testosterone levels in men. In addition to raising anabolic hormone levels in men, the herbal supplement can reduce estrogen cortisol and increase lean muscle mass. The studies done up to this point on this herb are very interesting for athletes and bodybuilders alike. 

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. The plant’s name comes from the Sanskrit word ashva, which means “horse,” and gandha means “smell.” Its scientific name is Withania somnifera.[1] It is believed to be an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to stressors and maintain balance. Ashwagandha is a remedy for various health conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, and arthritis. It is also beneficial for people who want to increase their anabolic hormone levels or athletic performance.

How does ashwagandha boost testosterone?

Ashwagandha boosts testosterone because of withaferin-A, an ingredient found in ashwagandha. withaferin-A has anti-estrogenic properties, and these an-estrogen properties lead to a decrease in estrogen.[2] When the body senses this decrease in estrogen, it triggers production of testosterone as a compensatory mechanism to try and increase estrogen levels. In men, if the body detects estrogen levels are low, the body will increase testosterone production. Because the primary way men produce estrogen is by converting testosterone into estrogen.[3]

Another mechanism that scientists think ashwagandha uses to stimulate testosterone is by reducing oxidative stress in the male reproductive organs such as the testicles. The scientists found a higher level of antioxidants in test subjects taking ashwagandha. This higher level of antioxidants means that there will be a lower level of free radicals able to create oxidative stress and damage.[4]

How much does ashwagandha increase testosterone?

Ashwagandha causes testosterone levels in the body to rise by as much as 40 percent! Scientists documented this incredible increase in a study in which they gave test subjects 5 grams of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) per day. There were two groups. The first group consisted of 75 healthy men and the second group had 75 men who were considered infertile. Within the infertile group then, men were divided into subgroups. The infertile men with an average sperm count had a 15 percent increase. In the men with a low sperm count, there was an increase of 40 percent, and there was a 21 percent increase in slow-moving sperm men.[5] 

The only caveat to this study is that the normal healthy men did not see any statistically significant increase in test levels. This might mean the testosterone-raising benefits of ashwagandha are only in low testosterone-producing men. The saving grace to this is that many men in North America have low test levels and fertility problems, which means they could benefit from this herbal testosterone booster.

Another study found a positive increase in test subjects’ testosterone levels even in men healthy men with no fertility issues. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study took 57 men between 18 to 57 years of age. They divided them into one placebo group and an ashwagandha group that received 300mg twice a day for a total daily dose of 600mg of ashwagandha daily. The study was eight weeks long. At the end of the study, researchers noted no change in testosterone levels in the placebo group, but they saw a 15 percent increase in the ashwagandha group. The study also showed increased muscle mass and strength in the ashwagandha group.[6]

How much ashwagandha to take?

Based on the studies showing a rise in testosterone, the optimal dosage ranges from 600mg to 5 grams per day to stimulate increased hormone production.[7][8] Ashwagandha, or more specifically the active ingredient withaferin-A, has a half-life of approximately 1.4 hours. This is not long, so doses should be broken up into several smaller doses taken throughout the day. It is also recommended to take it with food for greater absorption.[9]

How long does it take for ashwagandha to work?

The majority of the studies on ashwagandha ran for weeks and months. The shortest study was 4 weeks long, and the longest was 6 months long. To get the best increase in hormone levels, you should take ashwagandha for at least 4 weeks at a minimum. 

Is ashwagandha good for bodybuilding?

Ashwagandha is a good bodybuilding supplement and one that every bodybuilder should add to their supplement arsenal. Ashwagandha can positively impact testosterone and reduce estrogen, which can help bodybuilders increase their lean muscle mass. It can also help reduce cortisol, a catabolic stress hormone that can break down muscle and negatively impact muscle growth.[10]

This herbal supplement can also benefit bodybuilders by improving performance and muscle strength. One study helped athletes increase their one-rep max on the bench press by 44 pounds in just 8 weeks![11] This increase in power could translate into more muscle growth, especially if you are pushing 44lbs more weight in the bench press, this will undoubtedly lead to increased lean mass gains.

Does ashwagandha increase testosterone?

To summarize everything, we can say with certainty now that men can expect to see a rise in testosterone levels based on the studies. In addition to increased anabolic hormones, it also reduces estrogen and cortisol levels, both of which are beneficial to athletes looking to build muscle and strength. So, if you want to increase your strength and muscle mass, adding ashwagandha to your supplement regimen might be a good idea. Especially if you are a man with low testosterone and have known fertility problems, you should look into this herb further and talk to your doctor about it.

The information contained within this article should not be taken as medical advice. You should consult your doctor before starting any new health or supplement regimen.