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Ashwagandha and Testosterone: A Review

Ashwagandha may boost testosterone levels in men. Evidence shows mixed results, but many studies suggest positive effects.

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an ancient herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has gained popularity for its potential health benefits, including its ability to increase testosterone levels.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, often called “Indian ginseng” or “Indian winter cherry”, is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body manage stress. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, it promotes overall health, vigor, and balance of the mind, body, and spirit. According to Everlywell, ashwagandha is known for its stress-reducing properties.

How Ashwagandha Works

The exact mechanisms by which ashwagandha may influence testosterone levels are not fully understood. However, several hypotheses exist:

  1. Antioxidant Properties: Ashwagandha has robust antioxidant properties. These may protect cells in the testes from oxidative damage. Since the testes are the primary site of testosterone production, less damage could support higher testosterone levels (Everlywell).

  2. Stress Reduction: Ashwagandha is known for its stress-reducing properties. High levels of stress and cortisol can negatively impact testosterone levels. By reducing stress, ashwagandha may indirectly support healthier testosterone levels (AlphaMD).

Clinical Evidence

Positive Findings

Several studies have demonstrated positive effects of ashwagandha on testosterone levels:

  1. Lopresti et al. (2021): This study involved 57 overweight men aged 40-70 years with mild fatigue. Participants were given 21 mg of withanolide glycosides daily for 8 weeks. The study found a significant increase in testosterone levels (16.6%) compared to the placebo group (NCBI).

  2. Wankhede et al. (2015): In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 57 men with no significant weight training experience, participants received 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily for 8 weeks. The ashwagandha group showed a significant increase in testosterone levels compared to the placebo group (Healthline).

  3. Ambiye et al. (2013): This study focused on oligospermic males and found that ashwagandha supplementation significantly increased serum testosterone and luteinizing hormone levels (NCBI).

  4. Gupta et al. (2013): In men with stress-related infertility, ashwagandha improved semen quality, including sperm count and motility, which are often associated with higher testosterone levels (Everlywell).

Mixed or Neutral Findings

Not all studies have found significant effects of ashwagandha on testosterone levels:

  1. Study by Lopresti et al. (2021): Another part of the same study mentioned earlier found no statistically significant difference in testosterone concentrations compared to the placebo group after 60 days of treatment. However, the ashwagandha group did show a significant increase in testosterone levels (11.4%) compared to baseline values (NCBI).

  2. PubMed Study (2019): In a 16-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study involving aging, overweight males, ashwagandha intake was associated with an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S and a 14.7% greater increase in testosterone compared to the placebo. However, no significant between-group differences were found in cortisol and estradiol levels (PubMed).

Negative Findings

Some studies have shown no effect of ashwagandha on testosterone levels:

  1. NCBI Study (2021): One of the four studies reviewed found no effect of ashwagandha supplementation on testosterone levels (NCBI).

Dosage and Safety

The dosage of ashwagandha used in studies varies widely, ranging from 300 mg to 5 g per day. Most studies have used a dosage of around 300 mg to 600 mg per day. Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most individuals when consumed in moderate amounts. However, it is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals before starting any supplement, especially for those with medical conditions or those taking other medications (Healthline).

Key Takeaways

  • Positive Impact: Several studies have shown significant increases in testosterone levels with ashwagandha supplementation.
  • Mixed Results: Some studies have found no significant difference compared to placebo, although increases were noted from baseline values.
  • Safety: Ashwagandha is generally considered safe, but consultation with healthcare professionals is recommended.

Summary

Ashwagandha shows promise in boosting testosterone levels, especially in men with infertility or those undergoing resistance training. Its stress-reducing and antioxidant properties may contribute to these effects. However, results are not universally consistent, and more extensive research is needed to fully understand its impact on testosterone levels. In my opinion, while ashwagandha appears beneficial, individuals should consult healthcare professionals before starting supplementation.

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