What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary hormone responsible for developing and regulating various male physical processes and sexual characteristics. As males grow, the testicles produce testosterone and release the hormone, allowing it to travel until it attaches to androgen receptors in the body to promote protein synthesis and send messages to generate tissue. With these anabolic messages, testosterone can prompt muscle growth and bone mass, increasing strength and density. During this process, testosterone can also send androgenic messages to regulate male characteristics such as reproduction, sex drive, facial hair growth, cell production, and fat distribution.
Once testosterone is released, the brain and pituitary gland are primarily responsible for controlling a man’s testosterone levels. However, over time, the brain and the pituitary gland will eventually produce less testosterone as men age, with testosterone levels declining by 1% yearly. Depending on your physiology, those declining testosterone levels can hugely affect the androgenic and anabolic characteristics that dictate a man’s “masculinity,” eventually causing a range of age-related symptoms. For example, men with low levels of testosterone or Low T typically experience decreased sex drive, low energy, brittle bones, rapid weight gain, and muscle weakness.
Although most men over 40 usually view the symptoms as a natural part of aging, many are unaware that low testosterone may be the underlying cause for many of these issues. However, whether or not you are experiencing age-related symptoms, it is important to have your testosterone levels regularly checked as you continue to get older. A simple blood test can help gauge how much testosterone a man has by measuring the body’s two main types of testosterone: free testosterone and total testosterone.
Most of the testosterone in our bodies is attached to two essential proteins: albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). However, some of the testosterone will remain unattached to any proteins, thus leaving it “free” for use at any time. Physicians commonly refer to this as “free testosterone.” Of course, “total testosterone” is exactly what it sounds like; it includes the “total” amount of both attached and free testosterone residing in the body.
To determine your total testosterone range, physicians will measure your free and attached testosterone. Depending on your symptoms, physicians may only view your free testosterone levels to diagnose certain conditions. In either case, knowing the range of your testosterone levels can help you and your physician decide on the next steps in treatment.
What Are Normal Testosterone Levels in Men by Age?
Although testosterone levels can greatly differ depending on the individual, there is a recognized standard for what is considered an “average” testosterone level for men. Typically, the normal testosterone levels in males range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl), or 10 to 35 nanomoles per liter by the time they reach adulthood.
As boys grow and become men, their testosterone levels usually change at each stage of growth and development, reinforcing their physical and sexual characteristics during each transition. However, most men do not share the same experiences during these transitions, and in some cases, their testosterone levels can be either higher or lower than the average male in their age range.
Typically, male children between the ages of 6 months and nine years have a range between 7 and 20 ng/dl of testosterone. However, by the time they reach 11 years old, the high end of that range can increase to 130 ng/dl, and as they speed towards their teenage years, that number rises to 800 ng/do by the time they reach the ages of 12 and 13.
At 14 years old, most teenage boys begin to feel the full effects of puberty as their testosterone levels spike upwards to 1,200 ng/dl, and they experience noticeable changes such as increased muscle mass and a deeper voice. Usually, the high end of testosterone levels remains steady at 1200 ng/dl, while the low end begins to grow from 7 to 100 ng/dl between the ages of 15 and 16. By the time most males are between the ages of 17 and 18, the low end of their testosterone levels will increase once again, with the range changing from 300 to 1,200 ng/dl.
But once puberty is over, male testosterone levels slowly decrease and balance out. By age 19, the average male will usually have testosterone levels ranging from 240 to 950 ng/dl, which will typically remain the same for most men throughout their 20s and 30s.
However, it is not abnormal for some men in their 20s to experience early andropause, in which their testosterone levels drastically drop below the normal range. During this time, younger men can experience common Low T symptoms such as sexual dysfunction, higher fat concentration, and reduced muscle mass.
In Your Thirties
Nowadays, most men will maintain the same testosterone levels in their thirties that they had in their twenties. However, it is also usually during their thirties that men will experience a slight drop in testosterone production, and in most cases, their testosterone levels will typically begin dropping off at an average rate of 1% per year.
In Your Forties and Beyond
While some men may still produce the same levels of testosterone even as they get older, most typically begin to experience a gradual drop in testosterone by the age of 40. Even though the drop usually remains at 1% every year, it can eventually add up by the time men reach their 50s.
After ten years, the normal testosterone levels for men over 50 would have declined by 10%, and by the age of 70, their testosterone levels are 30% below where they were at the age of 40. Even though most men can still maintain 75% of their testosterone levels well into old age, the decline in testosterone production can also make them vulnerable to a range of age-related symptoms and drastically affect their overall health.
Aging and Low T
|AGE||TOTAL T (mg/dL)||FREE T (mg/dL)||BIOAVAILABLE T (mg/dL)|
Why Does Your T Change With Age?
Since many older men can maintain the same testosterone levels they had in their 20s and 30s, it can be difficult to pinpoint why certain men experience symptoms of Low T as they age. However, physicians have observed that underlying medical conditions such as late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) are usually the leading cause of decreased testosterone. In addition, because the testicles, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland are primarily responsible for testosterone production, physicians have also discovered that reduced function of any of these organs due to disease can also lead to LOH and cause testosterone deficiency. In some cases, physicians have found that older patients who also suffer from obesity and cardiovascular disease also have decreased testosterone levels.
Symptoms of Abnormal Testosterone Levels
Although Low T is usually the culprit behind many age-related symptoms, men with abnormally high testosterone levels are also vulnerable to other severe medical issues. However, it is typically uncommon for men to have high testosterone levels naturally, so most cases involving high testosterone levels are usually due to external causes.
Men who suspect their age-related symptoms are due to Low T may attempt to treat themselves with testosterone supplements and inadvertently increase their testosterone to abnormally high levels without proper medical guidance. Athletes and bodybuilders who use anabolic steroids to build muscle mass and improve athletic performance are also more likely to have high levels of high testosterone. In rare cases, tumors in the adrenal gland or the testicles can also cause testosterone levels to increase.
Signs of High T
Similar to males with testosterone deficiencies, men with abnormally high levels of testosterone usually exhibit a range of common symptoms, which include:
- Excessive body hair
- High blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Low sperm count
- Mood swings
- Prostate enlargement
- Unexplained weight gain
- Heart or liver problems
- Swelling of the feet and legs
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
Men who suffer from low testosterone will typically experience common symptoms, which include:
- Decreased muscular strength
- Lack of memory and concentration
- Low sex drive
- Mood swings
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased bone density
Why You Need Good Testosterone Levels
Having good testosterone levels is essential for developing and maintaining specific male physical characteristics, such as muscle mass, strength, sex drive, fat distribution, and facial and body hair growth. In addition, men are more likely to experience age-related symptoms much faster without healthy testosterone levels, making them more vulnerable to severe medical conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.
When Should You Have Your Testosterone Level Checked?
If you’re a man under 40 experiencing unexplained symptoms of hair loss, acne, weight gain, and decreased sex drive, you may want to consult with a physician and have your testosterone levels checked through a blood test.
Should your range fall below the normal levels of testosterone in men, your physician will prescribe a treatment plan and schedule regular checkups every three months to monitor your progress. However, your physician may prepare you for fewer checkups if your symptoms subside and your health improves.
How Do I Keep My Testosterone High as I Age?
There are several ways to maintain your testosterone levels if you’re a man over the age of 40. Of course, the most common and most effective way to boost your testosterone is to exercise regularly.
Exercises that incorporate high-intensity interval training and resistance training such as weight lifting have shown to be very effective in boosting testosterone.
Here are some other methods to boost your testosterone:
- Live a healthy lifestyle
- Eat a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid repetitive stressful situations
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements
- Ingest natural testosterone boosters such as ginger extract and ashwagandha.
You should also avoid coming in contact with estrogen-like chemical compounds such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), as high exposure can cause your testosterone to decline.
If you’re still experiencing symptoms of low testosterone after using these methods, then it may be time to consider testosterone replacement therapy. By incorporating natural hormone medications and a healthier lifestyle, testosterone therapy can help men over 40 restore and maintain their testosterone levels. However, it’s absolutely imperative that you work with a certified men’s hormone replacement clinic and have an experienced physician safely guide you through treatment so you can achieve the best results.
At Renew Vitality, our experienced team of medical professionals can provide effective testosterone replacement therapy to men suffering from low testosterone and age-related symptoms. By following our daily comprehensive wellness program, you can ultimately change your lifestyle with a medicated treatment routine to help you restore your Low T levels and optimize your overall health. Please contact us at 1-800-785-3945 to schedule an appointment at any of our hormone replacement clinics in the United States.