Ever Had Your Testosterone Levels Checked?

What Do You Really Know About Testosterone Levels?


Most men give little thought to their testosterone levels. However, knowing if you have low or normal testosterone is important for your health as well as your sex life. Low levels can lead to problems such as low sex drive, muscle loss, weight gain and changes in your mood.

Low testosterone, or hypoganodism, is hard to define because different labs will often have different ranges of low and normal. Usually anyone that has a reading of 300 ng/dL is thought to be low. However, some labs might think that 300 reading is normal.

Different lab results can lead to problems for men with low testosterone: those who have doctors that think 300 ng/dL is normal might actually benefit from replacement therapy, but not receive it. Boosting testosterone levels can boost your overall health.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is currently doing a study testing testosterone levels of 9,000 men. So far, after careful analysis, the researchers found that T levels between 240 and 950 ng/dL should be considered normal for healthy males age 19-39. Older men, and those who are overweight, often have lower T levels.

The researchers also noted that T levels were basically the same among men who live in the same geographical areas. Researchers believe that it will someday be possible to standardize the range of what is normal and what is low in testosterone levels. Standard guides could possibly lead to better diagnosis and treatment of hypogonadism.

In our society, the word 'normal' means a lot to some people. One of the most asked questions in men's health care is, "What are the normal testosterone levels for men?" Right now both doctors and the media are talking about, and urging men to get tested to see if they need testosterone replacement therapy to boost their T levels.

Before anyone takes steps in their journey to raise their T levels (which can be accomplished with methods besides replacement therapy), men should know what normal testosterone levels really are. This is a simple question that does not have a simple answer.

Here's why:

Different Forms of Testosterone

Testosterone comes in three different forms:

  • Bound with the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG.) This is the most common and is about 65% of all testosterone. This testosterone cannot be separated from the SHBG, making it a non-bioavailable testosterone. Only bioavailable testosterone can be added to the body.
  • Bound to albumin proteins. This comprises about 35% of the total testosterone. This is a bioavailable form since the testosterone can be pulled from the protein.
  • One is free, not attached to any other protein. This free testosterone is about 2% of the total and is completely bioavailable and is used by the whole body. This free testosterone travels through the blood, binding to receptors in the brain, muscles and every vital organ.

Your Blood Serum Testosterone Test

After a simple blood draw and a wait of a day or so, your doctor will notify you of your test results. He will show you the results in three separate categories, so you will see three different numbers.

1. Total Testosterone: This number shows the total amount of testosterone flowing through your body. It includes all three types.

2. Bioavailable T: This number shows the amount of testosterone that is attached to albumin proteins. It also includes free T.

3. Free T

From here it gets a little more tricky. Because the definition of what is normal still varies from lab to lab, it isn't always possible to know if you are low or normal. A general set of ranges has been created for all three types of testosterone. These ranges for healthy, normal weight males are:

Total T:

  • Age 19 and up - 240 to 950 ng/dL

Free T:

  • Age 25 to 29 - 5.05 to 19.8ng/dL
  • 30 to 34 - 4.86 to 19.0 ng/dL
  • 35 to 39 - 4.65 to 18.1 ng/dL
  • 40 to 44 - 4.46 to 17.1 ng/dL
  • 45 to 49 - 4,28 to 16.4 ng/dL
  • 50 to 54 - 4.06 to 15.6 ng/dL
  • 55 to 59 - 3.87 to 14.7 ng/dL
  • 60 to 64 - 3.67 to 13.0 ng/dL
  • 65 to 69 - 3.47 to 13.0 ng/dL
  • 70 to 74 - 3.28 to 12.2 ng/dL

Bioavailable T:

  • Age 20 to 29 - 83 to 257 ng/dL
  • 30 to 39 - 72 to 235 ng/dL
  • 40 to 49 - 61 to 213 ng/dL
  • 50 to 59 - 50 to 190 ng/dL
  • 60 to 69 - 40 to 168 ng/dL
  • 70 and up - no determined ranges

Low total testosterone levels are considered to be less than 220 to 300 ng/dL.

  • Normal testosterone levels are varied and different in every man.
  • It is possible to have normal total testosterone levels but have low Free T levels. This can lead to symptoms of low testosterone.
  • The bioavailable number is the number men should be concerned with. Boosting this level of testosterone will lead to an increase in energy and the sex drive, while building muscle strength, all-over feelings of good health, and a much better mood.