shilajit resin in water with shilajit pills next to it

6 Surprising Shilajit Benefits for Men

For one, the sticky substance may elevate your T levels.

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Shilajit (pronounced shill-uh-jeet) is a supplement with roots in traditional medicine systems around the world. “In Sanskrit, the word shilajit means destroyer of weakness,” explains certified Ayurvedic practitioner Susan Weis-Bohlen. The sticky adaptogenic substance has been touted as a cure-all for centuries. When it comes to shilajit’s benefits for men, some research supports its ability to help promote fertility and boost testosterone levels (1). 

While a few small studies suggest the ancient substance could be a treatment for modern problems, experts say the remedy on its own shouldn’t be the only weapon in your arsenal. However, as an adjunct therapy, shilajit may be the icing on the cake to your health protocol.

About the Experts

Nathan Goodyear, M.D., is a Scottsdale-based functional medicine doctor. He’s a natural, holistic, and integrative expert in the cancer field. He’s also the host of the health and wellness podcast, “Practicing with Dr. Goodyear.” 

Susan Weis-Bohlen is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and author of “The Beginner’s Guide to Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Ancient Healing for Modern Life.” She’s based in Baltimore, Maryland.

What Is Shilajit?

Shilajit is a blackish-brown, sticky substance primarily found in the Himalayas (1). It’s formed over centuries through the gradual decomposition of plant matter and minerals in the rocks and crevices of the mountains. It’s literally older than dirt.

“It oozes out in the summer,” says Weis-Bohlen. Then it’s scraped off the rocks and goes through a purification process.”  

For more than 3,000 years, shilajit has been used in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine to promote good health and boost men’s vitality. Like ashwagandha, shilajit is considered an adaptogenic plant medicine, meaning it may help the body adapt to stress. 

Potential Shilajit Benefits for Men

Though shilajit has many uses in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it’s especially popular for men’s health. As with any supplement, you should get your doctor’s approval before using, but here are a few ways the supplement might help you. 

Helps increase testosterone levels

A 2017 study suggests between 24 percent and 39 percent of adult men in the U.S. experience low testosterone—and testosterone levels have been declining over the past twenty years (2). When T levels are suboptimal, you might notice bodily symptoms that range from lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction to mental symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and irritability (3). 

So, does shilajit increase testosterone? While testosterone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes are the gold standard for treating low T, shilajit may also help. “Shilajit is one of the few things that I would recommend—in terms of an herbal supplement—to help men endogenously produce more testosterone,” Goodyear says.

In one 2015 study, a group of middle-aged men was given a 250 milligram (mg) dose of purified shilajit two times daily. After 90 days, the men had increased testosterone levels by more than 20 percent (1). 

Hone’s at-home testosterone assessment is the simplest way to uncover whether your levels are low. If you qualify for treatment, TRT can be sent right to your door.  

May improve athletic performance (and recovery)

If you’re trying to hit a personal best in the weight room, shilajit may help you get there (alongside proper nutrition and maybe a certified personal trainer). 

“Based on what I’ve seen in my clinical experience, shilajit appears to have some muscle-boosting capacity,” Goodyear says. When he’s prescribed shilajit to patients, he’s also witnessed increased energy. 

One small study found that men who took 500 mg a day for eight weeks experienced peak muscular strength, thanks to muscle and connective tissue adaptations (4). Other research points to shilajit’s ability to help remedy muscle fibers damaged during exercise and boost muscle elasticity (which describes how well a muscle contracts and moves back to its normal state) (5).

Supports healthy aging by reducing inflammation

Men live an average of six years less than women (6). If you want to close that gap, shilajit may come in handy because it’s an antioxidant that combats oxidative stress that damages mitochondria and other cells, says Goodyear. “If a cell can make energy efficiently, it will perform its normal functions. And that, in turn, is going to be the key to longevity,” he says.

One review of the research found that fulvic acid (a primary chemical compound in shilajit and a potent antioxidant) could protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress, which is a driver of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes (7). It might also reduce cellular damage and supercharge the body’s natural antioxidants, including glutathione and superoxide dismutase.

“Anything that reduces chronic inflammation, which shilajit does, could theoretically have anti-aging effects,” Goodyear says. “Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurogenic diseases are all associated with chronic inflammation. Anything that controls inflammation is going to improve normal cellular function.” 

Boosts sperm count 

Over the past 40 years, sperm count and quality have decreased in men across the globe, both of which can seriously hinder fertility (8). Some studies suggest  shilajit may give sperm a boost. 

In one small study, 60 percent of men with infertility who took shilajit twice daily for 90 days saw an increase in their overall sperm count (9). An uptick in sperm motility (which helps them reach and fertilize an egg) was also seen in more than 12 percent of the men. 

Goodyear says these findings make sense because shilajit reduces inflammation. “If you’re seeing a reduction in inflammation and an increase in muscle mass, both of these are going to improve testicular function,” Goodyear adds. 

Promotes cognitive function

Almost one-third of men will develop dementia during their lives (10). Research suggests shilajit  may help keep your brain sharp by inhibiting the accumulation of tau (11), a protein responsible for creating twisted masses of dead and dying neurons referred to as neurofibrillary tangles. Tau accumulation in addition to amyloid plaques are indicators of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

One small study suggests that shilajit may even help reverse or delay cognitive decline in those with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants had less confusion and reduced memory loss after taking a supplement consisting of both shilajit and B complex vitamins for 24 weeks (compared to those who didn’t take the supplement) (12).  

Protects your heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men (13), and there’s some evidence that suggests shilajit may provide some protection to your ticker. One small study suggests shilajit may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (14). 

A more recent animal study suggests shilajit might reduce liver damage associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and lower triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar (15). This is an important finding, seeing as lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels can help mitigate heart disease (16). 

While studies like these are far from conclusive, they do hint that shilajit may have a positive effect on your heart health. “Anything that is antioxidative and anti-inflammatory should be cardiovascular protective,” Goodyear explains.

Shilajit Side Effects 

Clinical studies have shown fulvic acid, which shilajit is rich in, to be very safe (17). Goodyear says he can’t recall a single patient complaining about side effects while taking the supplement. Weis-Bohlen says she’s heard of stomach upset and nausea when taking the resin (more on this below), but she chalks that up to shilajit’s terrible taste. 

However, given supplements aren’t FDA-regulated and one-fifth of Ayurvedic medicines made in the U.S. and India that are bought  online have been found to contain detectable levels of lead, mercury, or arsenic (18), work with a healthcare professional to find a reputable brand.

How to Take Shilajit

If you’re going to take shilajit, you’ve got three main options: Capsules, tablets that sit on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing, and resin (you can take it straight or mix it with warm water). Weis-Bohlen says the resin is more potent, but the off-putting taste can activate your gag reflex. 

“It’s like licking your compost bucket,” she says. “Still, in Ayurveda, we believe you must taste your medicine because that starts the whole process.” 

No matter which version you choose, Weis-Bohlen recommends taking shilajit before eating any food. “Then, when you eat the food, the shilajit goes through the [digestive] system first,” Weis-Bohlen says, adding this is a key part of Ayurvedic ritual. “The food presses it downward to the relevant areas,” says.

Ideally, shilajit is taken on a short-term basis to correct a specific problem or imbalance. “It’s for when you’re having some trouble, urinary tract infections, reproductive problems, foggy brain, that kind of stuff. You take it for a matter of weeks or months until you feel like you’re back to normal,” says Weis-Bohlen. 

Both Goodyear and Weis-Bohlen agree that it’s best to seek out a knowledgeable expert to guide you on how to use shilajit, including the appropriate dose and frequency. Goodyear says to look for MDs who are also trained in Ayurveda or homeopathy. Nurse practitioners with training in herbal medicine and experienced Ayurveda practitioners may also be a good resource. 

Best Shilajit to Buy

These are Weis-Bohlen’s top picks.

1. Pandit S et al. (2015). Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers.
2. Soum D Lokeshwar, et al. (2021). Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels Among Adolescent and Young Adult Men in the USA.
3. Anaissie J et al. (2017). Testosterone deficiency in adults and corresponding treatment patterns across the globe.
4. Joshua L. Keller, et al. (2022). The effects of Shilajit supplementation on fatigue-induced decreases in muscular strength and serum hydroxyproline levels.
5. Amitava Das, et al. (2016). The Human Skeletal Muscle Transcriptome in Response to Oral Shilajit Supplementation.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2023). Life Expectancy. 
7. Winkler J et al. (2018). Therapeutic Potential of Fulvic Acid in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases and Diabetes.
8. Vardit Ravitsky, et al. (2019). The forgotten men: rising rates of male infertility urgently require new approaches for its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 
9. Biswas T et al. (2010). Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia.
10. Ezra Fishman, et al. (2017). Risk of Developing Dementia at Older Ages in the United States.
11. Carrasco-Gallardo C et al. (2012). Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity.
12. Carrasco-Gallardo C et al. (2012). Can Nutraceuticals Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? Potential Therapeutic Role of a Formulation Containing Shilajit and Complex B Vitamins
13. CDC. (2019). Leading Causes of Death – Males – All races and origins – United States, 2016.
14. Sharma P et al. (2003). Shilajit: evaluation of its effects on blood chemistry of normal human subjects
15. Ghezelbash B et al. (2020). Hepatoprotective effects of Shilajit on high fat-diet induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats
16. American Heart Association. (2024). Cholesterol and Diabetes.
17. Gandy J et al. (2012). Phase 1 clinical study of the acute and subacute safety and proof-of-concept efficacy of carbohydrate-derived fulvic acid.
18. Saper R et al. (2008) Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet