Effects of Testosterone Hormone on
Weight Loss & Fat Loss
Testosterone & fat loss go hand in hand. Low testosterone is one of the biggest causes of weight loss resistance.
Every time the word testosterone is mentioned, we all tend to think this is only a male hormone.
It is a hormone that increases libido in men – True but does so in women too! The secret is the right supplements that can safely boost testosterone levels without bad side effects.
In fact, testosterone hormone plays a very significant role in women. Example, the ovum (female egg) depends on optimum testosterone levels to develop.
Without optimum testosterone levels, weight loss & fat loss, even with diet and exercise becomes very difficult – sometimes impossible.
Hormones like estrogen, Progesterone & prolactin are dependent on testosterone levels in the body.
So, what is Testosterone?
Testosterone is an anabolic androgenic steroid hormone produced by the gonads (testes/ovaries) in humans.
The term “androgenic” means that testosterone promotes the development of male sex characteristics and regulates male reproductive function.
The term“anabolic” means that testosterone helps the body build tissue, specifically muscle.
Testosterone is suggested to be the most powerful muscle-building hormone that humans produce endogenously (i.e. within the body).
Many studies show that testosterone administration reduces amino acid oxidation and increases muscle protein synthesis as well as net muscle protein balance, resulting in increased muscle mass.1
Bottom Line: Testosterone is the most important hormone in muscle building & fat mass reduction in human body.
But testosterone does much more than support muscle building and maintenance.
In fact, testosterone has fairly ubiquitous properties in both males and females, especially with regards to regulating libido, aging, hair growth, body composition, mental health, immune function, and more.
Research shows that both men and women with higher testosterone levels experience a myriad of benefits, including 2,3
- Increased strength, power, and endurance
- More efficient muscle growth and fat loss
- Enhanced energy, vitality, & sex drive
- Boosted confidence and motivation
The conundrum we all face as humans is that testosterone levels naturally decrease as we age, particularly past the age of 25.
Thus, many people (especially men) notice that they have a tougher time losing body and building muscle as they grow older.
Naturally, keeping your testosterone levels in a healthy range is imperative for not only losing weight but also for keeping your general wellness and longevity in check.
Consequently, testosterone plays a big role in weight loss and body fat reduction by helping protect the muscle tissue you have when you’re on a low-calorie diet.
Remember, your goal shouldn’t be to just lose any weight for the sake of seeing the number on the scale go down; rather, your goal should be to lose body fat and maintain as much muscle as possible.
Similar to other hormones your body produces, myriad factors affect your endogenous (natural) production of testosterone.
Factors that support adequate testosterone production include:
- Sufficient sleep (7-8 hours per night)
- Healthy body composition (leanness)
- Intense exercise (especially vigorous resistance training)
- Being well-nourished
- For males only: Intermittent abstinence (up to one week of not ejaculating)
- Dietary supplements (specifics provided in the following sections)
Factors that reduce testosterone production include:
- Diabetes (specifically type-2 diabetes) & Insulin resistance
- Obesity and central adiposity
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Lack of fat in the diet
- Sleep deprivation
- Chronic stress and/or depression
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Prolonged cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise
Misconceptions About Testosterone
It’s important to understand what exactly testosterone is as the general public seems to hold many misconceptions about this hormone.
Testosterone is a derivative of cholesterol and one of many androgens that the human body naturally produces.
It is an essential hormone and works to balance out the actions of other steroids, including cortisol and estrogen.
While testosterone certainly influences your capacity to build/maintain lean body mass and lose body fat, it doesn’t in and of itself do those things with no effort on your part.
In other words, just because you have higher levels of testosterone, you won’t magically build muscle and lose weight if you’re not also being diligent with your exercise regimen and eating a proper diet.
Unfortunately, when most people think of testosterone they immediately associate it with a man who is muscular and aggressive – like a pro bodybuilder or athlete.
What many people don’t know is that the amount of testosterone used for “performance enhancement” is drastically more than what your body ever produces naturally.
Bodybuilders have been known to take as much 2,000 mg per week of testosterone, often increasing their blood testosterone levels to more than 10 times what the body produces endogenously.
Intuitively, you’re going to experience significant side effects by taking such a large amount of an otherwise essential hormone.
It’s no wonder people associate higher testosterone levels with “roid rage” when their only frame of reference is a hulking pro bodybuilder they see at the gym or a pro athlete charged with domestic abuse while also testing positive for steroid use.
This sadly gives both men and women major misconceptions as to what testosterone actually does.
Testosterone is a natural hormone and necessary for all humans. If you don’t produce enough of it, your health and quality of life will slowly deteriorate.
As such, by optimizing your natural testosterone production (whether your male or female), you’ll have an easier time losing body fat and keeping it off.
However, it’s crucial to consider that more is not always better, especially when it pertains to steroid hormones.
You want to have a healthy (normal) level of testosterone whether you’re a man or a woman. Adverse effects are more likely to occur if you have too much testosterone or not enough.
The good news is that having too much testosterone is extremely uncommon unless you’re actually taking an exogenous form of testosterone (such as an injection).
In most cases, people with testosterone level abnormalities suffer from a deficiency.
How to Tell if You Have Low Testosterone
Testosterone is produced through an axis in the body comprised of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and gonads (often referred to as the HPG axis).
Through a cascade of hormonal signals, the gonads are instructed to produce testosterone as necessary for healthy function. As noted before, testosterone levels tend to decline naturally as we grow older.
However, the aforementioned lifestyle factors and other external factors can also cause testosterone levels to fall lower than they should.
For decades, females have been implored to seek medical help when they experience symptoms of menopause.
Clinically speaking, our understanding of andropause and the essentiality of testosterone has lagged behind that of menopause.
Most people aren’t aware that menopause (which is tied to low estrogen) is a completely normal part of female biology and aging.
Andropause (low testosterone) is similar in that men naturally produce less testosterone as they grow older.
In fact, even an otherwise healthy adult male may lose 5% or more of his natural testosterone production per year once he reaches the age of 30.
The crucial thing to keep in mind is that losing natural testosterone production is a normal part of biology and aging.
Thanks to advances in medical research, it’s become quite lucid that restoring/maintaining testosterone levels is not only beneficial for vitality and overall wellness but also for promoting healthy body composition.4
While testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is slowly gaining traction in the scientific and medical communities, there are also quite a few dietary supplements that appear to be effective for supporting healthy testosterone levels without the need for TRT.
Low Testosterone in Males
While females need testosterone, this hormone plays a much bigger role in males since it’s a major androgen.
From both primitive and modern perspectives, men are viewed as those who lead and grab life by the horns, so to speak. Some people like to refer to this as the “alpha drive,” which is a reference to the leader of a wolf pack.
In fact, research suggests there is a correlation between males with higher levels of testosterone and having “alpha” characteristics, which is more or less a way of saying that men with higher testosterone are naturally more dominant and confident.5,6
Thus, it’s really no surprise that males become afraid to admit that their “manliness” is fading, especially as they grow older.
After all, no man’s partner wants to hear that he’s lost his motivation to pursue his dreams, or that he has no interest in sex, or that he’s going to skip another night at the gym because he’d rather sit on the couch and drink beer.
Surely, those all sound like excuses and things that can be remedied with a change of attitude. Many males are told to just “man up” when they face adversity, but how are they supposed to man up if the very substance that regulates their manhood is depleted?
Sometimes a supplement is needed to ensure your body produces sufficient testosterone and that’s not something to be ashamed of. If anything, it just means you’re more cognizant of your health and well-being.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of the best testosterone booster supplements.
Supplements for Boosting Testosterone Levels, Naturally
The great thing about these testosterone boosters is that they are natural and non-hormonal, meaning they won’t suppress your endogenous hormone production like prohormones and steroids often do.
ZMA is a combination of zinc and magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6.
Zinc is involved in the action of several hormones, including insulin, growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen, and in more than 200 enzymatic reactions.
It is one of the most important supplements to take for both males & females!
Research has indicated that active individuals require more zinc and are also at a greater risk of being zinc deficient.7 Zinc has also been shown to increase testosterone levels in zinc-deficient men.8
Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, especially for muscular contraction and regulating the adrenal glands. 80% of all humans are magnesium deficient!
Vitamin B6 is necessary for glycogen catabolism to “unlock” carbohydrate energy and it has also been shown to diminish the actions of certain catabolic steroids, such as glucocorticoids like cortisol.
This can boost the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio, leading to positive muscle-building effects and enhanced fat loss.
Although there are some conflicting findings regarding ZMA, it has been shown that men with zinc deficiencies experience an increase in testosterone levels by supplementing with zinc.7
One study on American football players showed that a combination of 30 mg zinc monomethionine aspartate, 450 mg magnesium aspartate, and 10.5 mg vitamin B6 increased total and free testosterone levels by about 32%.9
ZMA is, therefore, a useful supplement for people that lack zinc and magnesium.
Bottom line: It is prudent and safer to increase testosterone levels indirectly using ZMA that taking testosterone supplements or illegal steroid injections!
Shilajit is a natural substance made over the course of hundreds of years of plant decomposition by microorganisms.
This mineral exudate is primarily found in the Himalayas and has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years; now, recent clinical trials are showing that it can significantly increase total serum testosterone in both men and women.
A recent clinical study showed that subjects who supplemented with shilajit for three months experienced a 50% greater increase in free (“usable”) testosterone levels compared to those who took a placebo.10
It appears shilajit elevates testosterone levels by increasing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and serum levels of the testosterone precursor dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Pro tip: Women with low DHEA tends to have low-quality eggs unsuitable for conception. This is tested in the lab by testing a hormone called Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). This is not uncommon in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Eurycoma Longifolia Extract (Malaysian Ginseng)
This plant has been used for centuries as a natural means of increasing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)), which consequently helps the body produce more testosterone.
In fact, one murine study found that rats given Eurycoma longifolia extract experienced a two-fold increase in testosterone levels.11
It also appears Eurycoma longifolia extract has natural anti-estrogen properties as well, making it most appropriate for men.
Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum Seed Extract)
The increase was most notable between weeks 6 to 12, suggesting fenugreek may increase serum testosterone by stimulating pulsatile secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, increasing testicular sensitivity to LH, and/or reducing testosterone metabolism.
However, further studies are necessary to gain a better understanding of how fenugreek can increase testosterone levels.
Pro Tip: This explains why fenugreek supplement is one of the most sought after supplement for increasing libido in both men and women.
Safed Musli Extract
Safed Musli is the Hindi name for the herb Chlorophytum borivilianum, which is typically found in tropical regions of India.
The roots of Safed Musli are purported to contain phytochemicals that promote anabolic, androgenic, and aphrodisiac properties in the body.
One study found that rats given Safed Musli extract exhibited a greater tendency toward sexual behavior and were more likely to mate than their control-group peers.13
It is thought that this was the result of an increase in testosterone levels.
Safed Musli has been shown to have libido effects close to Viagra and have been called the herbal viagra, together with Dopa Mucuna.
Ashwagandha Root Extract
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is arguably the most versatile adaptogenic herb known to man. While many people use ashwagandha root extract supplements for reducing stress and controlling cortisol production, research from the Indian Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University suggests that this herb can also increase testosterone levels by as much as 40% in males and significantly elevate sperm count as well.14
Pro tip: Adaptogenic supplements means that they tend to adapt and fix deficient areas of your overall health. Example, Ashwagadha has beeen shown to be effective against Cushing’s Syndrome & Hypothyroidism.
Boron is a trace mineral that doesn’t seem to get much attention these days. One research from the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran found that men taking 10 mg of supplemental boron with breakfast daily for just one week increased their testosterone levels by as much as 30%, while subsequently reducing their estradiol (estrogen) levels by nearly 40%.15
Testosterone for Fat Loss
The main thing to remember is that testosterone is absolutely crucial for both males and females. Many women fear that having higher testosterone levels will make them “manly,” but that’s necessarily the case, particularly if you’re not actively using exogenous testosterone.
On the contrary, having low testosterone is not going to make weight loss an easy task, whether you’re a male or a female.
As such, it’s worthwhile to have your testosterone levels checked by your doctor and see where they fall.
If they are on the lower end of the normal range, then it’s prudent to consider using one of the natural testosterone booster supplements discussed in this article.
Also, be sure to avoid the lifestyle factors that can decrease your natural testosterone production, such as chronic alcohol consumption, not sleeping enough, doing too much cardio, and sitting around all day.
Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle is one of the best ways to help keep your testosterone levels where they should be, and that will make your weight loss journey much more efficient.
Pro Tip: For women, it is recommended to supplement with low dose DHEA (10-25Mg, three times a day) to get optimal testosterone levels.
- Griggs, R. C., Kingston, W., Jozefowicz, R. F., Herr, B. E., Forbes, G., & Halliday, D. (1989). Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis. Journal of Applied Physiology, 66(1), 498-503.
- Storer, T. W., Woodhouse, L., Magliano, L., Singh, A. B., Dzekov, C., Dzekov, J., & Bhasin, S. (2008). Changes in muscle mass, muscle strength, and power but not physical function are related to testosterone dose in healthy older men. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56(11), 1991-1999.
- Burger, H. G. (2002). Androgen production in women. Fertility and sterility, 77, 3-5.
- Bassil, N., Alkaade, S., & Morley, J. E. (2009). The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 5, 427.
- Eisenegger, C., Kumsta, R., Naef, M., Gromoll, J., & Heinrichs, M. (2017). Testosterone and androgen receptor gene polymorphism are associated with confidence and competitiveness in men. Hormones and behavior, 92, 93-102.
- Dalton, P. S., & Ghosal, S. (2014). Self-confidence, overconfidence and prenatal testosterone exposure: evidence from the lab.
- McDonald, R., & Keen, C. L. (1988). Iron, zinc and magnesium nutrition and athletic performance. Sports Medicine, 5(3), 171-184.
- Prasad, A., Mantzoros, C., Beck, F., Hess, J. and Brewer, G. (1996) Zinc Status and Serum Testosterone Levels of Healthy Adult. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 12(5), 344-348.
- Brilla, L. and Conte, V. (2000). Effects of a Novel Zinc-Magnesium Formulation on Hormones and Strength. Journal of Exercise Physiology online, 3(4).
- Pandit, S., Biswas, S., Jana, U., De, R. K., Mukhopadhyay, S. C., & Biswas, T. K. (2015). Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologia.
- Low, B. S., Das, P. K., & Chan, K. L. (2013). Standardized quassinoid-rich Eurycoma longifolia extract improved spermatogenesis and fertility in male rats via the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 145(3), 706-714.
- Rao, A., Steels, E., Inder, W. J., Abraham, S., & Vitetta, L. (2016). Testofen, a specialised Trigonella foenum-graecum seed extract reduces age-related symptoms of androgen decrease, increases testosterone levels and improves sexual function in healthy aging males in a double-blind randomised clinical study. The Aging Male, 1-9.
- Thakur, M., Chauhan, N. S., Bhargava, S., & Dixit, V. K. (2009). A comparative study on aphrodisiac activity of some ayurvedic herbs in male albino rats. Archives of sexual behavior, 38(6), 1009-1015.
- Ahmad, M. K., Mahdi, A. A., Shukla, K. K., Islam, N., Rajender, S., Madhukar, D., … & Ahmad, S. (2010). Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertility and sterility, 94(3), 989-996.
- Naghii, M. R., Mofid, M., Asgari, A. R., Hedayati, M., & Daneshpour, M. S. (2011). Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 25(1), 54-58.