What are Normal Testosterone Levels?

Although it seems straightforward, there are a number of variables that confound the question, "What are normal testosterone levels?" The lack of a standard, a barometer, or a baseline makes this a particularly difficult question answer because 'normal' is always a relative term. As a result, the generally accepted answer comes in the form of age-specific averages. However, laboratories, doctor's offices, and internet (especially hormone-related websites) are littered with charts that claim to depict average male testosterone levels. So with a plethora of seemingly credible sources, and an abundance of conflicting information, who's wrong, who's right, and how do we know?

Generally Speaking

In general, a testosterone level above 500 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter) is considered healthy. This is based largely on the results of men (both ailing and healthy) from numerous testosterone-related studies, wherein measures at or above 500 can still be symptomatic of low testosterone because remember as a men ages the total testosterone binds more and more to SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which will go up with age making free testosterone less available. This is the hallmark of most andropausal aging patients. There are many men in the 700 800 range that are symptomatic of low testosterone and their free testosterone level will reflect this.

Again thats why free testosterone is the main number to look at when making the diagnosis along with symptoms, health history, ect.

Labs are only used as a guideline and well trained physicians know how to look at the big picture.

Nature and Nurture

Our bodies are equipped with set points, or levels that are genetically programmed as optimal and comfortable for us. For example, the average human mouth temperature is 98.5, but some people are naturally warmer while others are naturally cooler, and their bodies homeostatically work to sustain these individual temps. The same can be said for a variety of other set points including blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, body fat, etc. As our bodies change, grow and respond to varying stimuli, our set points change with us. Our bodies also have other more variable individual differences such as the rate at which our hair and nails grow (generally in spurts), how quickly injuries and wounds heal, how much sleep is adequate, how rapidly skin is replaced, etc.

What we consider to be "normal levels" of testosterone is yet another variable. Most of the factors that influence our testosterone levels are believed to be encoded within our DNA and are thus genetic, but external factors can have a substantial impact on some of these measures, including testosterone. Some of these factors are, whether or not we smoke, drink alcohol, exercise regularly, participate in intense weight training, eat testosterone-promoting foods, take medication, have chronic medical conditions or illnesses, etc. It is because of these genetic and non-genetic factors that norms for testosterone levels are far more individualized than standardized.

Laboratory Calculations

Unfortunately, labs have varying ranges for what they consider normal with values ranging from the low 200s to over 1200 ng/dl. However, most seem to agree on, and at least consider the normal range for men to be between 350 and 1000 ng/dl. Each lab uses their own formula for calculating total testosterone, based on the several measured factors which often include bound (that which is attached to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - SHBG) and 'free' (unbound or available) testosterone, FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteining Hormone), and other breakout measures. As if that wasn't bad enough, testosterone levels further break down into age-specific average levels, which inject even more controversy. The most examined age group appears to be between 45 and 54.

The Best Measure

Even the time of day you're tested can influence your testosterone levels, as they peak between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., then fall to their lowest daily levels between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. As you can see, there's plenty of room for confusion with regard to what's normal, and consequently even more difficulty determining whether or not your results are normal. Rather than cite a chart, or reference a so-called-authority on testosterone levels, I'd like to provide you with the absolute "BEST" possible measure available. The best way to determine your testosterone level, and whether or not it's average or hypogonadal, is to have it measured by your own personal physician. Your physician knows you and many of your lifestyle choices (some of which were described above), and you can share any additional information that you feel might be pertinent. For example, be sure to let him or her know if you have: been feeling depressed or fatigued; experienced a loss in sex drive; a loss of erectile function; been under any serious stressors; lost weight for no discernable reason; suffered from muscle loss or the inability to grow muscle; been taking any over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements; etc. All of these factors can be symptoms of low testosterone.

Your physician will review the results with you to aid your understanding, and to help you interpret your 'very specific profile' independent of the laboratory's generic cookie cutter one. Then, should intervention be necessary, you can get the professional attention you need on which avenue to pursue. The key is to always remember, what's 'normal', is best defined in terms of what's normal for you!

LowTestosterone.com is committed to providing our clients with exceptional testosterone treatment at the absolute best prices available! Our extensive network of doctors are "Low Testosterone Certified" and are eager to help improve your quality of life today!