What Are the Side Effects of Taking Testosterone Boosters?

While your testosterone levels are higher when you’re young, they will naturally decline with age. Testosterone is an androgen that is often referred to as a “ main male sex hormone.”

Though androgens are present in both men and women, men often have much higher levels of testosterone in their bodies. Certain factors such as age, lifestyle, and medications can affect your sex drive. However, your testosterone levels are a major factor as well.

A drop in testosterone levels can cause low libido, decreased energy levels, depression, and negatively affect your relationships.

Thus, people with lower testosterone levels turn to testosterone boosters to increase their dipped levels and improve their overall mental, physical, and social health.

How Do Testosterone Boosters Work?

To understand the side effects of testosterone boosters, you must first know what they’re made of and how they work. Testosterone is naturally present in the human body.

Moreover, it improves various masculinity-related features such as muscle growth, facial hair, a deeper voice, energy level, bone strength, and sex drive. As the name would suggest, testosterone boosters contain ingredients that increase testosterone levels.

Primarily, they consist of a blend of ingredients like vitamin D3, vitamin B6, DHEA, Tribulus Terrestris, creatine, HMB, D-aspartic acid, zinc, fenugreek extract, and ginseng extract. Testosterone boosters treat low testosterone levels by increasing testosterone production in the body.

They tend to increase testosterone levels naturally. These boosters also stimulate the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which are present within the brain. Both of these organs affect the production of testosterone.

The testosterone boosters push the pituitary gland to produce hormones that are essential to the production of testosterone. Moreover, the compounds in testosterone boosters bind to one’s androgen receptors, increasing both sex drive and muscle mass. Thus, if you’ve noticed that you tend to crash in the evening due to low energy levels and can’t perform as well as you used to, you might be suffering from a dip in your testosterone.

If so, testosterone boosters may help. As mentioned, these boosters improve muscle mass, sexual performance, energy and stamina, fat loss, and overall mental and physical performance. Now, let’s discuss the side effects of testosterone supplements in detail.

Testosterone Booster Side Effects According To Its Types

Testosterone boosters come in different types and forms. Thus, the side effects of any particular testosterone booster may vary accordingly. While some forms will have more side effects, others may have a less negative impact on your body.

Hormone replacement therapy is not a worthy option. However, are these boosters safe to use, or do they cause any harmful side effects? If you’re considering the best testosterone boosters to improve libido, you should know about their side effects first.

To avoid experiencing side effects, combine your use of boosters with exercise and a healthy diet. Now, we will go over the different types of testosterone boosters and what their side effects may be:

  • Gels

Testosterone boosters are available in gel form. These boosters are applied to the skin in order to raise testosterone levels. Gels, like other kinds of boosters, do cause some side effects. These gels may cause dry skin, acne, headaches, hot flashes, insomnia, and muscle pain.

  • Capsules/ Pills

Testosterone capsules or pills are oral testosterone boosters. They are taken with food or water and as prescribed by a healthcare professional or a doctor . These capsules or pills have side effects that are generally common in most boosters. For instance, they may cause heart or liver disease, high blood level , and other issues. We will go into more detail about these side effects later on.

  • Injections

Testosterone boosters also come in an injectable liquid form. A doctor or nurse administers the injection, which will then boost the level of testosterone in the body. Some side effects of testosterone injections include acne, breast enlargement, back pain, headache, redness or bruising at the injection site, mood swings, and fatigue.

Do Testosterone Supplements Have Negative Effects?

As we’ve mentioned, testosterone boosters come with a normal range of potential side effects, as many supplements do. One thing to note is that testosterone boosters aren’t the same as testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone boosters, available in pill, powder, patch, gel, and injection form, are a short-term solution. So, are testosterone boosters safe to use?

Some over-the-counter testosterone boosters are considered safe, but only if they are taken in moderation. However, all OTC testosterone boosters have increased risks, possibilities and side effects. Following are the most common side effects of testosterone boosters:


Typically, acne troubles teenagers going through a change in hormone levels due to puberty. As such, those who use testosterone boosters may experience an increase in acne due to the fluctuation of hormones.

Supposedly, people with high testosterone levels are more prone to acne than those with low testosterone levels. This is because testosterone stimulates sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that can clog pores, resulting in pimples.

Male Breast Enlargement

Gynecomastia or male breast enlargement often occurs due to an imbalance of testosterone levels. Though several factors can cause breast enlargement in men, there is speculation that using testosterone boosters might be one of them. When men use testosterone boosters in high amounts, some of the excess testosterone is converted into estrogen. Thus, using testosterone boosters in excess amounts can cause a man’s breasts to become more prominent.

Luckily, this side effect isn’t usually permanent. The excess estrogen and breast tissue will start to recede once the testosterone levels regulate themselves. If you plan to use testosterone boosters and wish to avoid this side effect, ensure you don’t go overboard.


Edema or fluid retention occurs when fluid collects in the lower body parts, especially the feet. In this condition, the ankle or foot appears to be swollen. This side effect occurs when the testosterone hormone pushes the body to retain more fluid. While this condition is usually painless, the fluid buildup can cause some mild discomfort.

Moreover, testosterone boosters may cause a fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, decreasing blood flow throughout the legs. Try wearing compression socks if you’re facing edema due to testosterone boosters. These socks are available in different weights and compressions.

When using compression socks, it’s recommended that you start with lightweight socks and gradually increase the weight according to your comfort level.

Sleep Apnea

A few studies suggest that high doses of testosterone hormones can cause sleep apnea and breathing issues. If you snore loudly and feel tired after sleeping, you could have sleep apnea. This study discusses the effects of high doses of testosterone, showing that it can disrupt sleeping and breathing processes. Apart from restless, shortened sleep, testosterone levels can also impact sleeping quality.


Though testosterone boosters are taken to boost libido, they can, unfortunately, cause infertility in some individuals. The human body needs a balanced amount of testosterone so that all reproductive functions run correctly. Thus, if a person’s testosterone levels are too low or too high, this can result in infertility. Moreover, the use of testosterone boosters can affect sperm production, decreasing one’s fertility.

Luckily, infertility caused by the long-term use of testosterone is reversible. Those who use testosterone boosters for a shorter period of time will recover more quickly than someone who has used testosterone boosters for several years.

Note that if you plan to use testosterone boosters in the form of injections or pills, you are more likely to experience infertility. Those who use testosterone boosters in tablet, gel, or powder form are not as likely to experience this side effect.

Hair Loss

Another side effect of testosterone boosters includes hair loss. While some men believe that aging is the main reason for their hair loss, this is not always the case. A hormonal imbalance or the use of synthetic testosterone can result in hair loss, too. Depending on the type and quality of the testosterone booster, your hair could grow thin and fall out.

Increased Aggression

Testosterone boosters are thought to increase aggression in men and make them more violent. A study on the nature of aggression shows that men with higher testosterone levels are more aggressive than those with lower levels. For example, athletes who use testosterone boosters are thought to be more aggressive during gameplay. Thus, these supplements are often prohibited in professional sports leagues.

Another study claims that men who had extra testosterone injections had contradictory social behaviors. In other words, some individuals experienced more aggressive tendencies, while others experienced a reduction in aggressive behavior. However, using testosterone boosters in moderation is unlikely to result in increased aggression.

Loss of Libido

Though testosterone boosters are meant to improve sex drive, sometimes they can result in a loss of libido, too. Sometimes, the increase in testosterone can have an adverse effect. Testosterone can block the production of dopamine, a hormone that is responsible for an increase in sexual drive.

The More Severe Side Effects Of Testosterone Supplements For Men Like Prostate Cancer

The above side effects may occur due to the short-term use of testosterone boosters. While these side effects are usually reversible once you stop taking the boosters, there are more serious side effects regarding long-term use. The following side effects are much more dangerous:

Increased Blood Pressure

Testosterone boosters increase blood flow and affect the heart muscles’ contraction. Thus, it may increase blood pressure, and a study also proves this.

Though a low testosterone level can also cause health issues, if your testosterone level is average and you consume these pills, it’ll cause hypertension. Moreover, since 2015, the FDA has also ordered that testosterone supplements be labeled to inform people about the increased risk of stroke and heart attack.  

Liver Damage

Testosterone boosters might cause liver abnormalities too in later life. However, this side effect occurs if testosterone boosters are used in high quantities and for a long time.

The ingredients in the testosterone boosters interfere with the liver enzymes and cause disturbances in liver function. Some synthetic versions of testosterone, called anabolic steroids, cause liver damage. Men using testosterone boosters have described side effects, including abdominal pain, kidney and liver abnormalities, and liver failure.

Elevated PSA Levels

Scientists have discovered that men with higher PSA levels also have higher testosterone levels. PSA tests are blood tests that determine one’s PSA levels. Note that PSA refers to prostate-specific antigens. If your PSA level is higher than four nanograms per liter, this is abnormal and can indicate prostate cancer. Thus, these tests are crucial to discovering prostate cancer early in men.

Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged prostate is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes bigger and swells up. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate can negatively impact one’s daily life. Though these symptoms don’t cause increased risk of prostate cancer, they may cause other issues. For instance, an enlarged prostate can cause frequent urination, a weak urine system, urine stream intermittency, and nocturia. 

Many people have reported prostate enlargement due to frequent and continuous usage of testosterone boosters. This can cause painful urination, and if you have prostate cancer, things can worsen. The testosterone boosters increase the growth rate of cancer cells, and thus it is essential to have a prostate exam before taking testosterone boosters. 

High Red Blood Cell Count

The hormone boosts the production of the red blood cells in one’s body. Thus, testosterone boosters could cause the body to produce too many red blood cells, leading to a dangerous situation.

For instance, a high red blood cell count could cause a stroke or heart attack. Also, testosterone has an erythrogenic effect that boosts the production of red blood cells. It also increases the hematocrit and hemoglobin, especially if older men consume testosterone boosters. 

Safe Alternatives To Testosterone Boosters

Since testosterone plays a vital role in men’s overall health, it is best to have a balanced level in the body. If you have low testosterone levels, you’ll obviously consider testosterone boosters to improve the level. If there are no side effects of testosterone boosters, continuing them won’t be wrong.

However, if you’re facing any side effects due to the boosters, you can consider other natural and safe alternatives. There are countless ways to improve the testosterone levels in the body; the following are some of them:

Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help maintain a hormonal equilibrium in the body in both males and females. Especially in males, lower testosterone levels can cause obesity and other health issues. Exercising regularly helps maintain a healthy weight, which can increase the level of testosterone in the body. If you’re a middle-aged man, you can gradually start being active, starting with a walk daily for ten to twenty minutes.

If you aren’t used to exercising regularly, don’t go overboard at the start.  Later, you can start building strength using weights or work with a trainer to help you work out. If you’re a couch potato, you should know that the imbalance in testosterone levels in your body is because of your inactivity. In such a situation, your brain understands that you don’t need to build your muscles or strengthen your bones. Thus, it slows down the production of testosterone in the body. If you’re physically active, your brain will signal to produce more testosterone in the body to maintain an equilibrium. 

Get Enough Zinc

Numerous studies prove that zinc boosts testosterone. In a study in 2010, it was found that zinc improves testosterone levels in men undergoing dialysis. Though zinc doesn’t improve sexual dysfunction, it improves the level of testosterone in the body, which could help make the situation better. Also, it is a proven fact that men with hypogonadism have lower zinc levels in the body. 

You can take zinc supplements if the level is too low or start eating zinc-rich foods such as oysters, poultry, and meat. There are other sources of zinc, too, for instance, nuts, beans, crabs, whole grains, and lobsters. If you’re an adult male, you should consume around 11 mg of zinc daily. To conclude, zinc plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy testosterone level in the body.

Be Well-Rested

Exhaustion and not getting enough sleep can lead to many problems, including low testosterone levels. According to a study in 2011, not getting enough sleep can cause low testosterone levels in adults and young men. Another study proves that people who sleep well have balanced testosterone levels in the body. 

Lack of sleep doesn’t only cause low testosterone levels but also causes other health issues. Adults need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily to have a healthy routine and function properly. 

Take Vitamin-D

Vitamin D is another essential mineral that you must consume if you want to boost your testosterone level naturally with natural testosterone booster . Various studies have found that men who took Vitamin D supplements had higher levels of testosterone. Exposure to vitamin D through sunlight or supplements helps boost testosterone levels. In addition, men who have vitamin-D deficiency are more likely to have low testosterone levels and other hormone-related issues. 

Reduce Stress

Under constant stress, it will negatively affect your body and create a hormonal imbalance. When your body is under stress, it doesn’t produce enough testosterone or other hormones. Apart from that, stress also reduces the energy level and causes low libido.

These symptoms also occur when there are low testosterone level in the body. To reduce stress, you can try meditation, which effectively releases stress and alleviates depression. Moreover, you can cut back on your working hours and spend a few hours on some healthy activities daily too. Also, You can opt for testosterone therapy.

Review Your Medications

Certain medications such as fentanyl, OxyContin, and MS Contin can also cause a drop in testosterone in your body . Plus, glucocorticoid drugs like prednisone may also reduce testosterone production. If you’re taking anabolic steroids for muscle building or improving your overall athletic performance, you must review them too.

These drugs also result in a low testosterone level in the body. However, you must not stop these medicines if they are necessary. In this case, it is best to discuss the issue with your healthcare provider. 

Conclusion: Are Testosterone Boosters Healthy?

There are several side effects of testosterone boosters, and some of them are dangerous too. However, the more severe side effects are associated with continuous usage. Plus, if you take more than the recommended dosage, higher amounts of testosterone in your body can also cause side effects. Besides that, the side effects also vary from person to person. One can opt for testosterone treatment also.

For instance, some people might experience the side effects while others may not. Thus, it is best to talk to a healthcare provider before taking the testosterone boosters. You can always try out a particular brand for a few days and check out if there are any side effects. Best for people with testosterone deficiency.

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