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There are supplements for all different kinds of purposes out there. Some of them help you build muscle, some of them keep your hair and skin nice and healthy, and then there are the beard growth supplements.
However, whenever a new niche pops up, one must be aware of possible scams that could exist. Even though this applies to all niches, a more novel niche deserves special attention.
There will always be those unethical individuals who are solely out for your money and don’t care about what your actual goal is; the health, growth, and longevity of your beard!
Thus, we’re going to skip the scammers and go over some natural supplements that will help you accomplish those goals, and achieve the masculine, sexy beard, you’re after!
How Do Beards Grow in the First Place?
But, before we go into the different kinds of supplements that are available to you, let’s discuss how a beard actually grows so that we understand how these supplements will help us out.
The foremost thing to know about beard growth is that androgens are the most important regulator of all hair growth, especially facial hair. As we progress through puberty, our androgens naturally increase. Because of this, our vellus hair (prepubescent hair) turns into what’s called terminal hair, which creates larger, curlier, and darker hair shafts (1).
The most potent androgens we know of are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, better known as DHT. So, it then makes sense that you need to increase your testosterone and DHT in order to support the growth of your beard, right?
One important thing to remember here before we dive into the supplement list is that providing the proper nutrients to your body will expedite the beard growth process, as well as keep it healthy.
So, I emphasize the importance of:
- a well-rounded diet with plenty of protein for optimal regeneration of hair follicle cells,
- dietary fats (saturated and unsaturated) in order to support the body’s hormonal processes,
- and micronutrients that assist in everyday physiological body processes.
With all of this mind in mind, you’re now aware of the reasons why the following supplements will help in the growth and longevity of your beard. Without further adieu, here are the ones to help you get the beard you’ve always wanted!
8 Helpful Beard Growth Supplements
Boron is a mineral that’s commonly found in various fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, apples, and avocado. Admittedly, we don’t think about it much. Many of us don’t really even know what its purpose is. Well, maybe we should give it some more thought.
In a brief 6-day trial, boron was able to both reduce estrogen and increase free testosterone (2). This is very significant, as there is a huge difference between free testosterone and total testosterone.
Free testosterone only makes up about 0.1-0.3% of a man’s total testosterone levels, as the rest is mostly bound to a hormone called SHBG, or sex-hormone binding globulin (3). In this bounded state, it can’t perform any other functions or target any other tissues to perform its steroid functions, such as cellular growth. However, free testosterone can!
This is why it’s very important when data shows an increase in free testosterone, not just the total. This increase will most likely be able to accomplish a lot more as opposed to if it was just an increase in total testosterone with no effects on free testosterone. In the preceding study, the increase in free testosterone was actually accomplished by reducing SHBG in the blood.
How much to take: Research is still determining a finite dosage, but 10mg seems to be the sweet spot, commonly producing results in less than a weeks’ time.
The good ole’ sunshine vitamin. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find in many foods naturally, as most of the sources that we get it from are often fortified, such as in cereal, milk and orange juice. This is why it’s essential that we supplement with it.
Even if you do live in a more tropical climate, it’s unlikely that you’re reaching an optimal amount of this vitamin in order to experience its utmost potential.
For instance, one study took 165 men and gave them over 3,000 IU of Vitamin D per day for one year, and they witnessed significant increases in both total and free testosterone! (4)
What many people don’t realize is that vitamin D is technically a prohormone. No, not the synthetic kind that’s been illegalized years ago (a.k.a designer steroids), but a natural one that helps in the creation of new steroid cells from cholesterol, which is the building block for testosterone and its derivatives.
It’s important that we acquire this vitamin through various methods to ensure that we get enough of it. This can be accomplished through getting skin exposure to sunshine whenever possible, eating foods fortified with vitamin D, and supplementing with a high-quality vitamin D supplement.
How much to take: The preceding study utilized 3,300 IU, so I would recommend using a 5,000 IU vitamin D supplement, is this is the dosage that’s most often commercially available.
This is an Ayurvedic herb that is most well-known for its properties as an anxiolytic (able to decrease levels of anxiety). However, where it gets interesting is the correlation it has between athletic performance and testosterone.
In a strength training study involving men who’ve never even regularly strength trained before in their lives, 8 weeks of supplementing with ashwagandha was able to increase their strength and increase their testosterone significantly more so than the control group who didn’t take the supplement (5).
This was taken at a very modest dose of 300 mg as well, as most commercially available doses range from 400-500 mg.
How much to take: A minimum of 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract taken every day.
Most people think this supplement is only for those who are deeply enriched in the world of strength and power training. Although it may be true that those activities enhance its testosterone promoting effects, it is not completely necessary to witness the amazing results creatine can provide for you!
For instance, in just 3 weeks, DHT showed great elevation in a group of 20 healthy college-aged rugby players (6). DHT is responsible for the linear growth of facial hair over time. Because of this, it is responsible for giving the beard a nice, healthy, full look to it (7).
Even in a simple observational study of 26 everyday users of creatine, they were noted to have mildly elevated levels of testosterone before they started taking it (as well as an added bonus of having lower “bad cholesterol” ratings) (8).
Thus, creatine supplementation doesn’t necessarily have to be always correlated with a weight training regime. With the increase of both testosterone and DHT, two very potent androgens, creatine is definitely a supplement I’d want in my beard growth stack.
How much to take: Around 5 grams per day.
Not your typical supplement that’s for sure. Don’t worry if you don’t like the taste of honey, you can get it in its encapsulated form as well.
An up-and-comer in the supplement world, it is quite similar to pollen in its chemical structure. It was first examined to look at its effects on cholesterol levels in the blood, in which it has proven to provide significant reductions (9).
However, what’s of most notable interest here is one study that took average older adults (primarily between the ages of 40-60) and gave them 3,000 mg of royal jelly to take for six months (10). What they witnessed was, along with improvements in blood glucose levels, an increase in testosterone.
Now, it wasn’t as notable as it was compared to supplements like boron and vitamin D.
However, what makes this so notable is that it happened in older individuals. It’s often much more difficult to witness increases in testosterone and other androgens as we age, as these naturally decline over time. Though many studies comparing royal jelly’s effects to testosterone are not present as of yet, this fact alone gives us great promise for its future.
How much to take: Roughly 3,000 mg per day.
Interestingly enough, that cup o’Joe that you have every morning may be helping you to grow that beard after all!
Well, with an exception of course.
Caffeine appears to increase the testosterone response to exercise, as caffeine ingestion immediately before exercise increased testosterone by 12-15% more than the group who didn’t take it before an intense sprinting performance (11).
So, this should give you an even bigger reason to begin a consistent exercise regime if you have not already. The same study showed that exercise by itself was able to increase testosterone by an average of 53%. This was shown with 240mg of caffeine, which is about the same amount you’ll find in your medium-sized iced coffee.
How much to take: This is highly individualistic, as people carry various levels of tolerance to this compound. To some, they can intake 240mg and feel absolutely no stimulatory effects, while others can take it and experience a panic attack.
If you have never had caffeine before, or rarely have it, then gradually increase your dose to as close to the 240mg marker as you can. However, if you can handle more caffeine, then by all means, take as much as you find comfortable to handle and not a drop more.
This has become a very popular “testosterone-boosting” supplement over the years, and for good reason. But the mechanism in which it works is probably not what you think it is.
A 2009 study examined the action of this amino acid in both humans and rats and drew up the same conclusion; this supplement was able to increase testosterone in both humans and rats not by increasing testosterone directly, but by increasing a a very important fertility hormone called LH, or luteinizing hormone (12).
Lutenizing hormone is produced in the pituitary gland inside of your brain and it is responsible for signaling to your testicles (more specifically the Leydic Cells) to begin the production of testosterone.
It’s quite simple, if we have more LH, we’ll produce more testosterone; in theory.
How much to take: The verdict is still in question pertaining to how much you should take exactly, but anywhere between 2,000-3,000mg should suffice.
Another amino acid, this one works a lot differently compared to the other ones on this list. This one doesn’t affect testosterone or any of its derivatives directly. However, what it DOES do is significantly reduce stress.
You’re probably asking yourself, “okay, but what does this have to do with testosterone and the optimal growth of my beard?”
Well, when we reduce stress, such as what was found when 100mg/kg of tyrosine was able to decrease adverse moods, stress, and performance impairments when exposed to a 4.5 hour bout of cold and hypoxia (13).
The explanation for this is due to the fact that stressful situations block the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, as well as an alertness hormone known as norepinephrine. When tyrosine is ingested, it is able to prohibit any further blockage of these hormones.
Wait, what does all this mean?
When we’re exposed to stress, we produce cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol causes a whole host of problems, one of the most significant being an easier time gaining body fat and a harder time losing it (14). Obviously not good.
Not only that, higher levels of cortisol are correlated with lower levels of testosterone (15). So taking tyrosine will definitely help us mitigate the damaging effects of cortisol on our beard.
Optimal beard health and growth requires a multifaceted approach. Not only does it require an increase in the levels of both testosterone and DHT, but also the proper management of stress.
Also, we must make sure that we are providing ourselves with not only the vitamins and minerals I’ve put into this list but also taking a high-quality multivitamin supplement in order to offset any of the micronutrient deficiencies you may have in your everyday diet.
Don’t forget to add in a vigorous exercise routine as well, remember, it significantly increases testosterone! In this way, you can ensure that you’re doing everything you can to maintain a full, thick beard for years to come.
Take these precautionary steps and experiment with the above-listed supplements, and you’ll definitely be on the right path.
Keep reading: 10 Most Helpful Supplements for Men’s Health
ⓘ Any specific supplement products & brands featured on this website are not necessarily endorsed by Zachary.
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About the Author
Zachary MacDonald is a fitness professional with a Master’s Degree from The University of Tampa in Exercise & Nutrition Science. He is a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), as well as an amateur bodybuilder in the National Physique Committee, the world’s largest amateur organization of bodybuilding! Email Zachary.