As men age, plenty of them see decreasing levels of testosterone, which is the main hormone associated with muscle mass, strength gains, and sex drive. While we’ve talked about some of the exercises that can help increase testosterone, there are plenty of other solutions to the problem, with testosterone boosters being one of the most common.

We’ve all seen the commercials, where a former pro athlete or “manly’s man” is onscreen talking about how he’s lost a little bit of muscle after he retired, or hasn’t had the same sex drive as his Casanova-living days while younger. But, if you’re anything like us, you probably think it’s some gimmick, unsure if such a booster or supplement actually works.

Whether you’re older and are dealing with decreased testosterone or are curious about what you might be able to do to keep your levels high before that might occur, we have some facts for you about testosterone boosters, so welcome to class, fellas.

OK, so what do testosterone boosters do?

As mentioned above, as we age, things like our sex drive, muscle mass and energy levels tend to decrease. That’s why so many men turn to testosterone boosters to help combat these issues. Essentially, what these supplements are intended to do is to provide a natural increase in building muscle and recovering faster, as well as provide more energy. This can lead to a higher sex drive as well, which is another side effect of low testosterone levels.

If not testosterone boosters, how else can you increase levels?

This is one of the most popular questions for men who experience lower levels of testosterone as they age, because, remember, it’s a common theme. For many men who see this happen, there are options outside of just using testosterone boosters or supplements.

Here are just a few:

  • Get enough zinc in your diet, which can be added from whole grains and/or shellfish.
  • Potassium is a must, so make sure you’re including that into your diet as well. Things like bananas, beets and spinach are all good options.
  • Regular exercise can also help increase testosterone levels, as this is a natural remedy.
  • Make sure you decrease sugar intake and stress, while increasing your sleep at night. Not only will the added sleep help you be more productive in all aspects of life, but it will lead to less anxiety. As for the sugar, well, that’s just not good for you regardless.

What are the main ingredients in testosterone boosters?

If you’ve ever actually looked at the back of a bottle of a testosterone booster, there’s a good chance you see an abundance of ingredients. However, it’s important to know which ones are the most popular, which bring the best results.

Since we’re guessing you aren’t a scientist or pharmacist, here are the ingredients most associated with testosterone boosters.

  • Fenugreek. When researchers studied how fenugreek can help boost testosterone, they found that, when given to a group of men, there was increased strength when mixed with training. It also produced lean body mass to the men who took it for the study after eight weeks.
  • ZMA. A combo of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B-6, ZMA helps men establish a better sleep cycle, and may also increase muscular strength and enhance hormones. Overall, ZMA helps guys sleep better and perform stronger, which is always a good combo.
  • D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA). We could give you a lot of jargon about what D-AA does, but, essentially, it acts as messenger, increasing the communication between your brain and testes.

Are there risks with testosterone boosters?

Like all supplements or prescriptions pills, there are health risks and side effects to using testosterone boosters. Some of these are minor — like sleep apnea, acne breakouts, testicular shrinkage and enlarged breasts — but there are a few major health warnings worth noting as well.

Two the major issues that can come from using a booster are increased heart problems and the potential for an enlarged prostate. This information came from various studies — both here and here, respectively — so the risks of taking testosterone boosters should not be overlooked.