Increase Free Testosterone: 6 Secret Supplements That Actually Work

Medically reviewed by — Research analysis by Alex Eriksson

Reaping the benefits of testosterone isn’t as simple as boosting your production of the male hormone. You’ll have to ensure that you get to increase free testosterone as well.

How do you do that? It can be as simple as taking supplements that lower the amount of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), or at least prevent the glycoprotein from keeping testosterone hostage.

Although SHBG does help in maintaining proper hormonal balance, it sometimes fails to stay within the right levels. That’s why some men suffer from erectile dysfunction and infertility.

In this article, we’ve listed some of the most popular supplements when it comes to fighting back against the testosterone-binding glycoprotein – and it’s up to you to choose which among them suits you best.

Tongkat Ali works in two ways – it stimulates male hormone production and unbinds testosterone trapped by SHBG.

Tongkat Ali

This plant’s roots are commonly used throughout Southeast Asia to cure all sorts of ailments, ranging from lack of libido to malaria. Scientifically speaking though, tongkat ali’s potency stems from its eurypeptide content.

Eurypeptide is much more effective in releasing trapped testosterone. Therefore, this means you shouldn’t rely on it if you mainly wish to increase your androgen production.

You’re probably wondering how much tongkat ali you will need before noticing any of its benefits. Unfortunately, there are no established dosage guidelines for this supplement.

Nonetheless, there’s nothing to worry about even if you’d simply choose to follow what’s on the label – a high dose of approximately 600mg daily doesn’t cause any problems, even in relation to blood, kidney, and liver function.

Stinging Nettle

Although not among the friendliest of plants (given that it literally stings those who touch it), stinging nettle shows potential in combatting hormone inactivation.

This supplement works by specifically targeting SHBG, binding to sites where the glycoprotein is supposed to connect with androgens. However, the exact process through which this happens is yet to be fully understood (studies on this plant are still limited).

It seems though, that stinging nettle’s effectiveness is closely related to the dose at which it is taken. Live trials haven’t been done so far, but the results gathered from cell cultures should encourage researchers to continue the scientific inquiry.

As for safe dosages, taking anywhere from four to six grams daily shouldn’t put you at any risk – as long as you manage to keep yourself hydrated while taking this herb.


In most cases, you won’t need more than the daily recommended dose of magnesium (that’s approximately 400mg). You’ll only need more if you constantly spend a lot of time working out – the mineral will end up in your sweat, after all.

How does magnesium work? Well, the process isn’t so different from what stinging nettle does – the mineral renders SHBG inactive by literally binding to it, eliminating the chances that testosterone would get trapped instead.

Before you shop for magnesium, however, know that the mineral comes in different forms. You need to stay away from both magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate as these are poorly absorbed.

Vitamin D

Often mentioned to those who need to get a bit more sun, this vitamin can actually be made inside the human body. That’s definitely a good thing, considering that only a few food items contain Vitamin D (salmon, cod liver oil, and swordfish are your best bet).

There’s very limited information on how Vitamin D prevents SHBG from binding with testosterone. However, the studies so far serve as proof that the micronutrient does have a direct effect on the glycoprotein’s levels.

Note that these studies weren’t carried out randomly just to find more ways to fight the effects of low testosterone. The vitamin is involved in all sorts of processes within the reproductive system, including sperm cell maturation.

The daily intake requirement for Vitamin D is only at 600IU. It appears though, that taking megadoses is perfectly fine, given that taking up to 4,000IU daily is still deemed generally safe – and those numbers are only expected to rise as new studies are carried out.

In fact, taking boron for seven days is already enough to boost testosterone levels by roughly 30 percent.


This rare mineral is among the most potent testosterone boosters, despite not having a set recommended daily intake value

What’s even more interesting is that the mineral seems to have a dose-dependent effect. However, based on animal trials, taking high doses of boron is counter productive considering that toxic effects are typically observed.

Do these findings have anything to do with SHBG? As it turns out, the mineral isn’t just boosting the body’s androgen production – it increases the amount of unbound (or, in other words, free) testosterone.

If you’re planning to get more boron, remember that the safe limit is merely at 20mg daily. Well, that shouldn’t be surprising since having 3.25mg of the mineral daily (or per 2000 kcal) is what’s considered to be high intake.


If you’ve also done your research on testosterone production, you should know that zinc plays an important role in the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone.

Given the latest findings though, that’s not the only good thing about the mineral. It’s also capable of creating alterations in the structure of SHBG, lowering the glycoprotein’s capacity to bind with hormones.

You only need around 10mg of zinc daily, meaning it should be easy to get sufficient supplies of the mineral – especially with the availability of supplements containing it.

Do note though, that studies are yet to be made regarding the differences among zinc’s various forms. Also, be sure to check the labels for elemental zinc content – that’s the actual amount of the mineral.


Choose among these supplements wisely and begin your quest to increase free testosterone. With your newfound knowledge, you should finally be able to fight back against SHBG – but if you’re still a bit unsure, it won’t hurt to discuss things with your doctor or dietitian.

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Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

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