With five years of writing this website and over 15,000,000 pageviews later, the most common question I get asked about still remains as;
Hey Ali, what’s your supplementation routine?
And even though there are nearly 100 articles about specific supplements and their effects on Anabolic Men, I haven’t written in detail about my personal nutraceutical regimen.
It’s not that it would be secret or anything, it’s simply because I think supplements are not as important as they’re often painted out to be.
Sure they get a lot of press and attention because selling supplements is basically the same as selling hope in a capsule; hope for a better body, hope for weight loss, hope for more virility, energy, you name it.
But at the end of the day, supplements are almost never as effective as they are claimed to be, and most people spend ridiculous amounts of money buying compounds that aren’t conclusively proven to do anything, and most often they aren’t sure themselves if anything ever even changed after taking the pills.
I guess I’m rambling a bit here, but the point I want to drive home is that supplements are not the most important thing to focus on when it comes to optimizing health and natural hormone production.
There are far more important things like getting more sleep, exercising properly, eating a balanced diet, and working to reduce stress from your life. Heck, I’d even focus on optimizing your personal finances to mitigate stress before focusing on perfecting your supplementation routine.
With the reality check out of the way, I guess we can finally focus on the actual topic at hand; the exact supplementation routine that helps me keep my testosterone levels high naturally, while also benefitting other health-related things like sleep, training, digestion, circulation, etc, etc.
The list is constantly evolving and has changed dramatically during these five or so years. I used to take way too many supplements in the beginning, buying into too much hype and bold claims, but now I’d like to think that I’ve somewhat perfected the routine into an effective “package” that focuses on the important and well-proven compounds, and leaves out the useless unproven hype.
Without further delay, let’s get at it…
NOTE: I will link most supplements to Amazon, as this is where it’s probably easiest to get them if you’re from the US (which is ~70% of AM readers). If you’re like me, and nowhere close to America, you will most likely get the best selection with the lowest shipping costs from iHerb.com (which is where I end up buying most of the stuff below).
Supplements I Take to Support Testosterone Production
Multivitamin and Other Micronutrients
I use either Thorne 2 / Day Multi or Basic Nutrients V, depending on which one is available at iHerb at any given time (both are frequently sold out due to their popularity). Taking 1-2 capsules per day with a fatty meal.
I have for a long time said that a multivitamin is the most important “testosterone booster” you can have. There’s just too much evidence supporting the use of micronutrients in increasing and maintaining testosterone levels in healthy humans and animals…
- The fat-soluble vitamins D, K2, E, and A boosting testosterone levels in multiple studies.
- Magnesium, zinc, selenium, boron, copper, calcium, all supporting testosterone production in a plethora of studies.
- Vitamin C and B vitamins working to protect testosterone from the effects of stress & aid in energy production.
Aside from taking the Thorne Multivitamin, I also add in extra vitamin D since I live so high up north that there’s limited sunshine during winter (I take one of these daily). I also add in vitamin E since most multivitamins have too low of dosage for my goals (I use either Jarrows Toco-Sorb or Ultimate-E).
To sum up the vitamin and mineral game, here’s the recap:
Herbal Supplements I Take for Testosterone
Herbal supplements are often praised or completely denounced. Some say they’re the next best thing since sliced bread, others claim they’re the most ridiculous shaman junk you could believe in.
I’ve probably seen or heard the claim “boosts testosterone” or “balances hormones” from over one hundred herbal compounds, but in reality, there’s just a handful that has repeated evidence from actual trials suggesting that they can be used to manipulate hormone levels.
I and my wallet have also come to the conclusion that there are only three (yes, just three) herbal supplements that I can justify buying repeatedly.
The first one is Ashwagandha, which has quite an impressive array of studies backing up its testosterone boosting abilities in animals, young men, and older men. Both the powdered roots and water-extracts like the popular KSM-66 have been shown to work quite well, and I personally tend to buy either Jarrow’s KSM66 Ashwagandha or Daily Nutra KSM-66.
The second herb that deserves its place on my supplement shelf is Mucuna Pruriens, and I tend to buy it as an extract from the Himalaya organic brand. Mucuna contains a natural dopamine precursor called L-Dopa, which converts to dopamine in the body and because of that ends up driving your testosterone production up. This has been extensively studied in animals and humans and pretty much all of the evidence suggests that Mucuna / L-Dopa supplementation is a reliable way to nudge your testosterone production into a higher gear.
The third herb is called Forskolin, which is an extract made from the plant Coleus Forskohlii. This supplement has quite a bad reputation due to Dr. Oz (ridiculously) claiming that it’s the absolute magic bullet for weight loss. It’s not, but it does increase cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels so effectively that scientists use it as a control substance for increasing testosterone in cell-culture studies. Not only can it boost testosterone, increased cAMP levels also upregulate the androgen receptors. I get this supplement mostly from Life Extensions brand on iHerb.
Timing and dosages are as follows:
- Ashwagandha – 600mg of KSM-66, with a meal, 3-4 times per week.
- Mucuna Pruriens – ~500mg, in the morning, 3-4 times per week.
- Forskolin – 10mg of extract, with coffee, every day.
Some Other Supplements I tend to Use and Recommend
Of course, everything shouldn’t revolve around optimizing testosterone, although that is easily the most important hormone for men.
There are things like thyroid health, sleep quality, muscular gains & recovery, circulation, etc, which I try to optimize in my life and for this purpose, I am also supplementing with certain things listed below.
Most of the compounds I’m about to mention will also indirectly help with your testosterone production. For example, if a supplement helps you sleep deeper and improve your thyroid function, it will also help you increase testosterone as both high T3 levels and sleep time/quality correlate positively with the ability of your gonads to produce more of the sacred T-juice.
So here goes…
I take a tablespoon of collagen hydrolysate from Great Lakes before bed every night mixed into water. There are multiple studies showing that the inhibitory amino-acids (glycine & proline) in gelatin can improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Sometimes I mix a teaspoon of Thorne Research Magnesium Bisglycinate powder in there as well, since magnesium is another compound that helps improve sleep quality and relaxes muscle tissue.
Carnitine is also one of the staples that I tend to take in 1-2 gram dosages usually post-workout. I started doing this after I saw the studies where it increased androgen receptor activation, which are basically the receptors that uptake testosterone and DHT into the cell so the hormones can work their magic. As a positive side-effect, I have noticed that my beard feels and looks much thicker when I use carnitine, later on, I found a study stating that it helps shuttle energy to the hair-matrix, which is quite nice as I love my beard and want to pamper it.
Most of the protein powders on the market are absolute junk filled with artificial sweeteners and other questionable compounds that end up upsetting your stomach and turning your farts into nuclear waste. Bluebonnet’s Dual-Action Whey + Casein powder from grass-fed cows, however, is completely natural and free of colorings and sweeteners. It’s a tad bit on the expensive side but when I’m using protein supplements, it’s either this one or nothing at all.
Other training-related supplements I take occasionally are creatine (which everyone and their dog knows is the most well-proven muscle-building supplement there is) and taurine (which likely increases testosterone and for some reason I just feel amazing while I use it mixed in with the water I sip when I hit the gym).
From the grey area between supplements and medicine, I sometimes (very rarely) use an older-generation antihistamine called Cyproheptadine. This stuff is insanely powerful for sleep & lowering serotonin and I’m blacked out easily for 12-hours of restful sleep if I take just a 0.5mg drop of it (I buy it from IdeaLabs in a dropper bottle, depending on your country you may need a prescription for it). Another compound that I rarely take for super deep sleep and/or to reduce anxiety and stress is called Phenibut, a derivate of GABA that was formulated for the Soviet-Union cosmonauts for sleep enhancement (good review about Phenibut by Menno Henselmans here).
To sum up the other supplements:
- Great Lakes Collagen Hydrosylate – 1 tbsp every night.
- Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate Powder – 1 tsp sometimes before bed.
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate powder for muscle and beard gains at 1-2g per day.
- Bluebonnet’s Dual-Action Whey + Casein powder occasionally post-workout.
- Creatine and Taurine powder sporadically when I have some.
- Cyproheptadine (0.5mg) and Phenibut (0.5 grams) very rarely.
Is this the perfect supplementation routine? Probably not. It’s just my personal stack of supplements that I’ve arrived to after about 5 years of writing and reading about male hormonal health.
Exactly what supplements I use is also easily the most asked question I get – so I thought it would be fitting to finally give you guys some clear answers. I hope this article delivered on that.
And again, if you’re not sure where to buy this stuff, Amazon for US residents should stock most of this stuff and iHerb is likely the best option for anyone outside the US.