Ashwagandha and Testosterone: What's the Link

Ashwagandha has been called many things over the course of humanity’s existence. The Latin name is Withania somnifera. Some call it an antioxidant or an adaptogenic — others call it an alternative medicine because of its traditional Indian use in Ayurveda.

Should you call it your pathway to better testosterone levels? That’s harder to say. 

Like the claims of many supplements on the market today, ashwagandha’s ability to boost testosterone levels is hazy. Clinical trials and systematic reviews of the root (also known as Indian ginseng) still leave unanswered questions about the potential effects of Withania somnifera on your T levels.

Below, we’ll share what the research says so far, what it means for you and what to consider if you’re interested in dealing with testosterone issues with a supplement.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub in the nightshade family, which is shared by the likes of tomatoes. Its traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine in India is mostly in the form of a tonic for varying ailments.

Some research suggests that compounds within ashwagandha called withanolides could reduce cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone). It might help people with chronic stress and other mental health conditions that affect well-being while reducing the risk of stress-related issues down the line. As an antioxidant, it can also help relieve oxidative stress.

The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) doesn’t regulate herbal supplement ingredients the same way as prescription medications. So ashwagandha supplements aren’t subject to the same strict approval process to validate their claims. 

Ashwagandha hasn’t been proven to be an effective treatment for any of the above issues, nor has it been shown to be safe and effective for weight loss, erectile dysfunction (ED) or any other men’s health issue.

As such, you may have seen it labeled as or included in testosterone boosters — one of its purported health benefits.

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Does Ashwagandha Increase Testosterone?

The effects of ashwagandha supplementation on testosterone aren’t the subject of any high-quality, double-blind or placebo-controlled studies currently published. And no randomized controlled trial has taken place.

The few clinical studies on the topic do suggest that ashwagandha could have a mild but noticeable positive effect on levels of testosterone in healthy males.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone responsible for maintaining sex drive, erections, muscle mass, bone density, consistent energy levels and cognitive function.

Low testosterone levels are associated with a variety of negative effects, including mild fatigue, depression and difficulty concentrating. Some health conditions and medications may affect steroid hormone levels and contribute to low testosterone (aka low T).

Here’s what we know:

  • A study published in 2010 in the sexual health journal Fertility and Sterility investigated the effects of ashwagandha root on semen profile and infertility. It found that treatment with ashwagandha improved testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin in infertile men — all major factors linked to sperm quality, motility and overall male fertility. 

  • Another study from 2015 looked at what effects the extract of ashwagandha could have on muscle mass, strength and testosterone in men aged 18 to 50 who were asked to take part in resistance training. Ashwagandha root extract supplementation created significant improvements in strength when performing bench presses and leg extensions, along with a significant increase in muscle size in the chest and arms.

  • A more recent study published in 2019 looked at the effects of ashwagandha on several hormones in overweight males. Participants who used ashwagandha showed a 14.7 percent greater increase in testosterone than the guys in the placebo group.

While these findings are promising, it’s important to put them in perspective:

  • Currently, we don’t know if ashwagandha increases testosterone more than a small amount — or how it compares to other options for increasing testosterone production.

  • It’s also unclear if using ashwagandha produces any noticeable improvements in the symptoms of low testosterone.

As such, it’s best to think of ashwagandha as a “maybe” when it comes to boosting testosterone levels — not as a proven treatment for a weak sex drive or other symptoms of low testosterone.

Does Ashwagandha Increase Size?

There’s no evidence to suggest that ashwagandha increases penis size or anything having to do directly with sexual function. Sorry, fellas.

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How to Use Ashwagandha for Testosterone

To use ashwagandha, follow the instructions provided with your supplement. Additionally, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider before using ashwagandha, as it may cause interactions when taken at the same time as several common medications.

Ashwagandha is widely available as an over-the-counter supplement. It usually comes in tablet, powder or liquid form. You can buy supplements containing ashwagandha from many health stores, pharmacies and online vendors of natural supplements. 

Remember, each product will have its own instructions on dosage amount and frequency — if you’re not sure what to do, talk to a healthcare provider.

How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take Per Day for Testosterone?

Since ashwagandha is a dietary supplement and not an FDA-approved treatment for low testosterone, there’s no officially recommended ashwagandha dosage for testosterone. 

Most studies on ashwagandha involve a dosage of approximately 500 milligrams (mg). For example, a study of ashwagandha as a physical-activity supplement involved one 500-milligram daily dose, while a similar study that focused on muscle strength involved a dose of 300 milligrams taken twice daily.

Again, this is why it’s always best to check with a healthcare provider before using ashwagandha (or any other herbal supplement) as a testosterone booster. A medical professional can provide guidance on how to take it.

Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is generally safe to use, but talk to your healthcare provider before taking new supplements.

Why? Ashwagandha supplements and other over-the-counter herbal remedies could interact with certain medications, including those used to treat high or low blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, autoimmune disorders and some thyroid conditions.

Ashwagandha may also trigger immune disorders, affect recovery from surgery and worsen thyroid disorders.

It’s crucial to note that the long-term effects of ashwagandha are unknown. While it’s possibly safe to take for up to three months, more research is needed about long-term use for us to know the true side effect profile of this supplement.

So, please check in with your provider before using ashwagandha, especially if you take medication or have an existing health issue. 

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In Conclusion on Ashwagandha and Testosterone 

Here’s what to keep in mind when considering taking ashwagandha to boost T levels.

  • At this point, research on the benefits of ashwagandha is mixed and pretty limited. But there’s some real evidence suggesting it can boost testosterone, with several studies showing measurable increases in testosterone levels for men who used ashwagandha supplements.

  • Ashwagandha also appears to help with physical fitness, with a few small studies demonstrating an increase in strength and muscle mass.

  • However, these studies are small in scale. So it’s best to view ashwagandha as a supplement that might help increase testosterone production, not as a proven option for treating issues such as low testosterone. 

  • Since ashwagandha is available over the counter, it may be an option worth considering if you want to increase testosterone with something that’s easy to add to your daily routine.

Interested in exploring other natural solutions for ED and other men’s health issues? See our blog on the benefits of lecithin sexually.

You can also look into science-backed, FDA-approved treatments and online therapy options on our sexual health platform.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.

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