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These Two Supplements May Give Your T Levels a Boost

A men's hormone expert weighs in on tongkat ali and fadogia.


ongevity podcasters, like Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. and Kyle Gillet, M.D., have long used herbal supplements like tongkat ali and fadogia to optimize their testosterone levels. And many Redditors in r/Testosterone claim these supplements have changed their hormone-hacking protocol entirely. But do these buzzy testosterone-boosting herbs actually work? 

“If your testosterone levels are low normal to normal on lab evaluation, supplements may be a great way to boost your testosterone to a level needed to alleviate your symptoms,” says James Staheli, D.O.

However, herbal supplements can be price-y. Not to mention, herbal supplements aren’t FDA regulated, and their efficacy is often questionable.  Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your stack.

“If your testosterone levels are low on a lab evaluation, supplements may not give you the boost in testosterone needed to fully alleviate your symptoms,” Staheli says.

Below, Staheli explains the efficacy of two of the most sought after testosterone supplements on Reddit. 

About the Expert:

Dr. James Staheli, D.O., is the medical director for Broad Health and a family medicine doctor in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in hormone treatment for men.

Tongkat Ali and Testosterone

If you’re opting for a herbal testosterone supplement, tongkat ali is your best bet, Staheli says.

Tongkat ali helps to activate luteinizing hormones (LH), according to Staheli, which stimulate the cells in your testicles that produce testosterone (1). It may also help to decrease sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)—a protein that regulates the sex hormones in your blood. In turn, this helps your body produce more free testosterone, or the type of T your body uses to maintain muscle and sexual function (2).

There’s no official guidance on what an appropriate dose of tongkat ali is, but research suggests that anywhere between 200-400 milligram (mg) is safe and may be effective for boosting testosterone (3). Don’t go overboard, though. High doses of tongkat ali extract (2,000 mg/kilogram body weight to be exact) may lead to stomach damage, according to the European Food Safety Authority (4). 

And be careful with the standardization, or the consistency of a supplement for quality control. If there’s a high content of eurycomanone (the main plant compound in tongkat ali), you’ll have the same effect at a lower dose of tongkat ali.

Tongkat ali side effects

While tongkat ali is generally considered safe in appropriate doses, there are a few potential side effects that you should keep your eyes peeled for.

  • Insomnia: Some Redditors who have taken tongkat ali say that they had trouble falling—and staying–asleep after taking the herb.
  • Digestive issues: When taken in excessive doses, tongkat ali may constipation or diarrhea.  
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may have a rare allergy to tongkat ali. If you develop hives or have trouble breathing after your first dose, seek medical attention ASAP.


Fadogia Agrestis and Testosterone

The effectiveness of fadogia agrestis—a shrub from Nigeria—for boosting testosterone levels is still up in the air, according to Staheli. 

“To date, a fadogia agrestis human study does not exist,” Staheli explains. “There are a total of six studies (with only one investigating testosterone) that have been conducted on rats.”

A small-scale 2005 study on rats found that those given fadogia extract had higher serum testosterone levels. However, it’s unclear as to why this shrub could improve hormone levels, researchers note (5). Staheli adds that researchers believe that fadogia could raise T levels by increasing LH, but the research behind this theory is currently sparse.

There is no standardized dose for this supplement, so skip the subreddits and speak with your physician before trying it out. 

Fadogia agrestis side effects

The research is still limited on fadogia, so tread carefully if you’re going to add this supplement to your stack. Potential side effects include:

  • Liver and kidney damage: Animal studies show that high doses of this herb could have toxic effects on these organs. However, more research is needed to determine if the same risk applies to humans.
  • Allergic reactions: As with any herbal supplement, there’s a potential risk of having an allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergic reactions may include rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

Can you take fadogia agrestis with tongkat ali?

Before you build a supplement stack, it’s important to tap a registered dietitian or physician to make sure you’re doing it in a safe way. Some herbal combinations can lead to unexpected interactions. 

To easily pinpoint which herb is causing any side effects, you should add these supplements one at a time into your protocol.

A Better Way to Boost Testosterone

If supplements aren’t moving the needle on your testosterone levels—and you’re dealing with debilitating symptoms like fatigue, irritability, muscle loss, or low libido—hormone replacement therapy may be a more effective option, Staheli explains.

To get evaluated for testosterone therapy, ask your doctor for a blood test or order Hone’s at-home assessment kit to check your levels. 

Lose Weight. Build Muscle. Improve Your Sex Drive.

Supplements not enough? Hone delivers treatments for low T to your doorstep, if prescribed.

The first step: Order an at-home hormone assessment, which comes with a free telehealth consultation.