Ashwagandha boosts testosterone and muscle size


perpetual student
Staff member

Body builders and those interested in keeping their bodies tuned often reach for supplements with dubious ingredients. Certainly not all, but some of these can stress the body in different ways. One of these stresses is an overloading of chemicals and amino acids onto the body, which can stress the liver. The liver needs to process all of these chemicals. If they are foreign to the body, the immune system must kick in and break them down.

Thus we find that many body building supplements that claim to boost muscle size and testosterone levels can have a harmful effect upon the body. Some can contain ingredients that can race the heart and combine to cause cardiovascular concerns.

Is Ashwagandha a body-building supplement?
In an article published a couple of years ago, I listed more than fifty medical conditions that Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) can be used for. As we are constantly updating my articles with new research, we will be adding a newly-found effect of Ashwagandha soon: The ability to boost muscle size and increase testosterone levels.

Indeed, Ayurveda portends that Ashwagandha encourages bala – which means strength.

The clinical research was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The study tested 57 men between 18 and 50 years old. They were not involved in any weight lifting training prior to the study. The men were divided into two groups. One group of 29 men was given 300 milligrams of an Ashwagandha extract twice a day for eight weeks (600 milligrams per day).

The other group was given a placebo for the same period. Both groups underwent a supervised muscle training program for the two months.

Before and after the study, the researchers tested the subjects for muscle strength using the bench press and leg extension workouts. They also measured muscle size, fat composition and muscle recovery.

They measured muscle recovery levels by testing blood levels of creatine kinase. This is a marker for muscle injury – which increases after strenuous workouts.

In addition, they measured serum testosterone levels.

All these were measured prior to and after the two months of Withania supplementation.

Ashwagandha boosts muscle strength
The research found that those who took the Ashwagandha were significantly stronger after the eight weeks. The Ashwagandha group bench-pressed an average of 46 kilos (101 lbs) while the placebo group benched an average of 25 kilos (55 lbs).

The Ashwagandha group lifted an average of 14.5 kilos on the leg extensions, and the placebo group lifted an average of 9.8 kilos.

Withania somnifera boosts muscle size
The Withania group’s average muscle size was also significantly larger than the placebo group. The Ashwagandha group’s average arm muscle size was 8.6 centimeters, while the placebo group’s was a measly 5.3 cm. Meanwhile, the Ashwagandha group’s chest muscle size average was 3.3 cm while the placebo group’s was 1.4 cm.

Ashwagandha helps reduce muscle damage
Any weight training regimen that builds muscle strength will cause damage to the muscle fibers. These slight tears must be healed by the body. The quicker the better.

The Ashwagandha group also had a greater reduction of muscle damage resulting from their workouts. This again was seen in creatine kinase reductions. The Ashwagandha group had reductions of 1462 U/L following their workouts, while the placebo group’s reduction was 1307 U/L.

This means that the Withania group healed faster than the placebo group after their workouts.

Ashwagandha reduces body fat levels
The researchers also found that the Ashwagandha group’s body fat percentage was significantly less than the placebo group. Their body fat level decreased by 3.5 percent, while the body fat levels of the placebo group went down by 1.5 percent.

Ashwagandha increases testosterone levels
The researchers also found that after the eight weeks, the Withania group had significantly higher levels of blood testosterone than the placebo group. The Ashwagandha group’s testosterone levels were 96.2 ng/dL while the placebo group was 18 ng/dL. This is a significant difference!

Ashwagandha boosts testosterone in other research
This is not the first study that has shown that Ashwagandha boosts testosterone. In a study published in 2013, researchers tested 46 men. About half the men were given 675 milligrams of Ashwagandha extract per day for three months. The other half was given a placebo.

After the 90 days, the Withania group had 17 percent higher testosterone levels compared to the placebo group. (They also had 53 percent higher sperm counts compared to the placebo group.)

In a study published in 2009, researchers found that Ashwagandha contained a set of steroidal chemicals. These are called withanolides. They contain several steroidal lactone triterpenoids.

Body building, testosterone and health
Many people equate body building with poor health – likely because of the many reports of steroid use and unhealthy body building supplements. But this research clearly shows that body building can be a healthy form of exercise – one that can be supplemented with healthy products that aid muscle strength and recovery.

The bonus round here is that testosterone levels can be boosted. Testosterone levels will often go down as men and women age. This can reduce immune system strength and slow recovery. It can also increase the risk of hair loss, enlarged prostate and other conditions.

Increasing testosterone levels doesn’t require pharmaceuticals that can upset our body’s natural balance. Certainly, weight lifting can also lift natural testosterone levels to some degree. But as this research shows, adding Ashwagandha to a weight training regimen can significantly boost testosterone levels to new heights.

One doesn’t have to become a body builder to take advantage of this effect. Adding some weight lifting or resistance workouts to our regimen is easy. Remember that pushups and pullups are considered weight lifting, so a gym isn’t even necessary.

Links to References found in original article

Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 25;12:43. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9.

Ambiye VR, Langade D, Dongre S, Aptikar P, Kulkarni M, Dongre A. 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. doi: 10.1155/2013/571420.

Mirjalili MH, Moyano E, Bonfill M, Cusido RM, Palazón J. Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules. 2009 Jul 3;14(7):2373-93. doi: 10.3390/molecules14072373.


New member
Shame it didn't remove muscle mass. I am like my father & uncle - pack on muscle easily and have a ridilously hard time getting rid of it. My father has never been in a physical job yet still has huge biceps and can roughhouse with my brothers easily.

I haven't been in a gym for 6 years yet can still do 30 reps of 320lbs - leg press.


perpetual student
Staff member
WhiteCrow, envy here. I am totally, absolutely the opposite. I have never been able to gain weight, neither fat nor muscle. I've always been hyper, maybe ADHD. And skinny bones too. Well now, in my 60s, I can't seem to get rid of midriff. If only I could move it around. Redistribute it to the rest of my body.

D Bergy

New member
Good information.

I think I will give it a try. Pretty sure my testosterone has dropped over the years. Need a new experiment anyway.



New member
Case - Thank you for an excellent post!

I have recently completed my Bachelor of Science Degree in Alternative Medicine and over the next 6 years hope to become a naturopathic doctor (not clinically trained), Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, and a chiropractic doctor (clinically trained). I make it a point to cleanse my body quarterly so that any toxic impact on my GI Tract, Kidneys, and Liver can be taken care of both internally, and externally via a specific cleanse.

I have dealt with the issue of having low testosterone that is not too low but low enough to affect my ability to increase my lean body mass. My overall health is better than most but I still look for ways to improve my health.

I agree with you that everyone needs to adjust their diet and supplementation so that it has the least amount of toxic impact on the organ systems in our bodies. I personally use mostly raw vitamins, minerals from plants vice rocks, and electrolytes from water, sole, and trace minerals ions.

I tried getting testosterone injections but I didn't see any progress and I always seemed to have a bump in the area where the needle was inserted in my upper thigh/glute area. I have sense stopped - mainly because these were chemical injections.

Currently I am using an amino acid that DOES NOT contain soy - thank GOD! I am also switching over to a Ketosis diet - not to worry - I am making sure that I get GREEN in even though my carbs are reduced, GREEN carbs are significantly less than FRUIT and GRAIN carbs. My fat sources are primarily from avocado, coconut (cold pressed) and some saturated from meat. And yes I am consuming some form of probiotic daily.

I get my hematology results biannually and my last report before the change in diet was excellent. I needed to increase my selenium (from 1 to 3 Brazil nuts daily), and I needed to increase my Vitamin D - I use RAW CODE capsules and Garden of Life Spray.

I do have the MTHFR Gene mutation and I am compound heterozygous for both A1298C C677T. I am at risk for hyperhomocysteinemia. I am also positive for DQB1*02 which means there is a slight chance that I am at risk for Celiac Disease (0.5%) I have a plethora of food intolerances but I am only completely allergic to molds and grasses.

Concerning Ashwagandha - I definitely appreciated the information that you provided in your post. In short, I do believe that utilizing Ashwagandha in accordance with my overall health goals (reduce fat, increase muscle) is the next step for me. Provided my workouts are consistent and my ketosis diet proves to assist with overall fat reduction, I should be able to increase my testosterone (17% from 450 to 526.5) and LBM while reducing my fat from 30% to hopefully 18% or less.

The fact that "researchers found that Ashwagandha contained a set of steroidal chemicals - withanolides" as stated in your report, that contain several steroidal lactone triterpenoids, is an added bonus. This will also help me achieve my goals.

Thank you once again from taking the time to provide information that is supported by clinical data.

Blessings to you and Merry Christmas!


New member
Shame it didn't remove muscle mass. I am like my father & uncle - pack on muscle easily and have a ridilously hard time getting rid of it. My father has never been in a physical job yet still has huge biceps and can roughhouse with my brothers easily.

I haven't been in a gym for 6 years yet can still do 30 reps of 320lbs - leg press.
That's a good thing for a guy! :p