Ashwagandha's Health Benefits For Men
As men get older, they experience a shift in hormones, just as women do. But rather than a decrease in estrogen, it’s a drop in testosterone production.
As this happens, men often deal with both physical and emotional effects that come with hormone fluctuations. Some of the common symptoms associated with declining testosterone include:
- Erectile dysfunction and other changes in sexual function
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Higher body fat
For extremely low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy is an option. But before resorting to that, there are some lifestyle changes you can try.
The following habits can naturally boost testosterone levels in men:
- Strength training. All exercise is beneficial in increasing testosterone, but strength training is the most effective. Exercise is also instrumental in reducing body fat and stress, both of which contribute to low testosterone. And speaking of stress, it’s also important to…
- Decrease stress. Chronic stress disrupts the pathway by which the body signals the testicles to make testosterone.
Along with lifestyle, certain supplements can help increase testosterone and alleviate symptoms of low testosterone.
For instance, zinc and vitamin D deficiencies are both linked to low testosterone. Make sure your levels of these nutrients are in the healthy range. Your doctor can easily check for these deficiencies via blood test.
The amino acid L-citrulline and herb rhodiola rosea are both great for enhancing sexual function and erections—both symptoms of low testosterone.
And one of the most well-rounded of all the supplements when it comes to men’s health is the herb ashwagandha.
Hormones, Stress, Muscles, and More
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is part of a class of medicinal herbs called adaptogens.
Adaptogens naturally regulate body functions such as metabolism and the hormonal system, and help your body adapt to stressors in your environment. They also reduce damage that these stressors can place on your body.
There are many forms of ashwagandha, but KSM-66® is especially beneficial for men and alleviating concerns specific to declining testosterone.
Arguably one of the most distressing effects of low testosterone is changes in sexual function. Getting and maintaining erections can be more difficult, and changes in sperm count and semen can cause fertility issues.
Ashwagandha has been shown to be very helpful in this regard.
One study of the KSM-66 formulation of ashwagandha was studied in 46 men ages 22–44 with low sperm count. They were given either the herb or placebo for 90 days.
Those who took the supplement had 17% higher testosterone levels. They also experienced a substantial 167% boost in sperm count, 53% higher sperm volume, and 57% greater sperm motility.1
Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are also more common with hormonal changes. Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to help you adapt to and better manage stress.
In a study involving 64 people with a history of chronic stress, half were given ashwagandha (KSM-66) and the other half placebo. Everyone took one capsule twice a day for 60 days.
The results showed that those taking the ashwagandha “exhibited a significant reduction in scores on all the stress-assessment scales.” They also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood.
The researchers wrote, “The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”2
More stress and anxiety can often lead to sleep problems. Since ashwagandha can help with stress and anxiety reduction, it in turns improves sleep.
According to a recent study, “Ashwagandha root extract is a natural compound with sleep-inducing potential, well tolerated and improves sleep quality and sleep onset latency in patients with insomnia...”3
Muscle Strength & Recovery
Testosterone plays a pivotal role in muscle growth and overall strength. As levels drop, many men notice a decrease in muscle and an increase in fat.
While ashwagandha isn’t going to miraculously make you look like a body builder, if you put in the work by doing regular strength training, supplementing with this herb can definitely help in both building muscle and muscle recovery.
This was proven in a study of 57 men ages 18–50. Half the group took ashwagandha, and the other half took placebo. All of the participants took part in resistance training for 8 weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, the men who used ashwagandha experienced significantly greater increases in:
- Muscle strength on bench press and leg extension exercises
- Muscle size in the arms and chest
- Testosterone levels
They also had larger reductions in body fat and exercise-induced muscle damage.4
Where to Find Ashwagandha
You can find ashwagandha in most health food stores and online retailers. For issues related to men’s health, however, be sure to buy a product formulated with KSM-66 full-spectrum extract.
Newport Natural Health’s Enhanced Male supplement contains this form of ashwagandha, along with other ingredients known to improve men’s health, including L-citrulline, rhodiola rosea, and more.
Having low testosterone can be challenging. But fortunately, there are safe, effective, natural ways to combat symptoms and balance your hormones so you feel more like your old self. Give them a try and see how you feel after a few weeks!
- Ambiye V, et al. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:571420.
- Chandrasekhar K, et al. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262.
- Langade D, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Cureus. 2019 Sep;11(9):e5797.
- Wankede S, et al. Examining the Effect of Withania somnifera Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Recovery: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 25;12:43.