Ashwagandha and Testosterone: Benefits, Interactions, and Side Effects

UltraPharmRX Medical Team

UltraPharmRX Medical Team

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic member of the nightshade family of plants. Its roots and berries have long been used in several traditional Ayurvedic and African medicinal systems in India.

Its purported benefits include helping reduce inflammation, boost overall health, and increase muscle strength – but its most sought-after effect is its potential to increase testosterone levels. 

Ashwagandha may help directly boost testosterone levels, but it can also do so as a side effect of its ability to reduce cortisol levels. However, since the FDA doesn’t regulate ashwagandha supplements, you would need to buy supplements from a trustworthy company.

 

Ashwagandha 101: What is it?

Ashwagandha (W. somnifera) is an adaptogenic plant also known as Indian ginseng. Adaptogens are medicinal plants used in alternative medicine to help the body manage physical and mental stressors.

Besides ashwagandha, popular adaptogens include ginseng, cordyceps, reishi mushrooms, astragalus, and Rhodiola, which have been used in traditional Chinese, Indian, and African medicinal systems for centuries.

Ashwagandha is also thought to help improve brain function and reduce joint inflammation, but the most popular reason people take it is its potential effects on testosterone.

 

Getting ED medication has never been easier

Connect with a US-licensed healthcare provider for a FREE evaluation!

The link between ashwagandha and testosterone

 

That said, can the claims about ashwagandha and its link to testosterone be substantiated? Early indications say that they might. A 2015 study noted that ashwagandha supplements seem to boost testosterone levels. The study found that testosterone levels increased five times compared in men who took ashwagandha extracts compared to those that didn’t.

Another 2010 study examined 150 men split evenly between fertile and infertile men. The study found that the control group of infertile men experienced increased testosterone production and luteinizing hormone, known to promote testosterone production. 

Moreover, ashwagandha may help men struggling with poor reproductive or fertility issues by helping improve semen quality, sperm motility, and sperm count in infertile men, besides boosting testosterone levels.

Ashwagandha may also help treat reproductive health issues linked to stress. A 2011 study determined that men with stress-related fertility issues experienced incremental improvements in semen quality, reduced stress levels, and increased incidences of pregnancy in 14% of their partners.

 

The link between ashwagandha and its effects on testosterone and cortisol

 

Occasional reports state a link between testosterone and cortisol levels in the body and that ashwagandha supplementation may play an integral role in this interaction. A 1983 study suggests that heightened cortisol levels in the body consequently reduced testosterone levels. However, more conclusive research is needed in order to gain a better understanding of this relationship.

 

Other purported ashwagandha benefits

Ashwagandha is thought to derive its medicinal benefits from its withanolide content. Withanolides are naturally occurring steroidal lactones present in ashwagandha berries and roots. They are thought to directly influence cortisol levels as an adaptogen. According to a couple of studies, ashwagandha may be able to reduce the stress hormones known as cortisol. Another clinical trial showed that it may contribute to mental health and well-being, helping reduce symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.

Other health benefits linked to ashwagandha include its potential to boost muscle mass and fight cancer. Preliminary research tends to support such claims. Withaferin A, a substance derived from ashwagandha, may help treat certain cancers such as prostate, colon, lung, and breast, among others. However, further research is needed to confirm such findings.

One potential benefit that may be better substantiated is the plant’s role in increasing muscle mass and strength, which has been demonstrated in several small clinical trials. Another study demonstrated improved muscle strength and size in participants given ashwagandha compared to those given a placebo. 

 

Getting ED medication has never been easier

Connect with a US-licensed healthcare provider for a FREE evaluation!

What are the dosages and types of ashwagandha?

 

Ashwagandha is commonly found in capsule or powder form, but you may also find liquid extracts. Ashwagandha supplements can be bought online or in health and supplement stores.

However, as the United States Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate dietary supplements like ashwagandha, it is of paramount importance to buy your ashwagandha supplements from reputable and trustworthy companies. Ashwagandha has been used in quantities of 125 mg to 5g in clinical trials that support its benefits.

Do keep in mind that you should always consult a qualified healthcare provider before going on a supplement regimen, and begin taking lower dose supplements to determine which dosage is right for you.

 

What are the potential side effects of taking ashwagandha?

 

Ashwagandha doses ranging from 125 mg to 5g have been used in studies that look at the plant’s benefits. Very few study participants experienced any tangible side effects of taking ashwagandha supplements. However, one participant excused himself from a study after experiencing vertigo and increased appetite on a low ashwagandha dose.

In general, ashwagandha is well-tolerated, but people that may have any allergies or intolerance to nightshade plants like ashwagandha and tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers should generally avoid taking the supplement. 

Consult your healthcare provider regarding your medical history and any other medicines you might be taking prior to taking ashwagandha to prevent any side effects you might experience in taking the supplement.

 

Receive Expert Quality Care
from your phone or computer,
with UltraPharmRX

  • 100% U.S. Licensed Medical Provider
  • U.S. Licensed Pharmacy
  • Discreet Shipping
  • Monthly Refills
  • No Waiting Rooms, No Appointments
  • Text Messaging Based Consultation *

Receive Expert Quality Care
from your phone or computer,
with UltraPharmRX

  • 100% U.S. Licensed Medical Provider
  • U.S. Licensed Pharmacy
  • Discreet Shipping
  • Monthly Refills
  • No Waiting Rooms, No Appointments
  • Text Messaging Based Consultation *