by Michael Wohltmann
Testosterone is a hormone in the body responsible for many facets of health and well being. Generally, there is not much thought to measuring it until certain symptoms appear such as depression, sluggish metabolism, mental fog, muscle loss, body fat gain and sexual function and interest decline. These symptoms are rarer in individuals under 40 but lifestyle choices may play a big role in it.
A physician will often order a blood test and evaluate the numbers. Testosterone is broken into two parameters. The first is called “Total Testosterone” and the second is called “Free or Unbound Testosterone”. Total testosterone will range from a few points all the way to 1000(ng/dl) or potentially more in males. Trouble and symptoms will occur at the lower end around 200-300ng/dl. It is important to note that testosterone is thought to peak in the early A.M. and measuring the blood around 8am is thought to be the most accurate. For women the range is 15-70ng/dl.
Free testosterone is the measurement of the more active form of testosterone. Testosterone is bound to other hormones in the body such as Albumin or Sex Hormone Binding Globulin(SHBG). When bound, it is thought that it is less available to be used. This number with blood tests, is represented from a 5-21ng/dl in males. Women will range about 1-7ng/dl. Some practitioners will score free testosterone as a percentage of total testosterone(1-3%). Range parameters are set by different standards according to certain labs, demographics and geographics. Do know that ranges(Highs and lows) can vary from one place to another.
If your number comes out on the lower end, your physician may suggest hormone replacement therapy. Testosterone comes in a variety of administrations. There are oral, injection, creams and implants that can be prescribed. A physician then, will track the numbers over time and hopefully track other markers such as Estradiol or DHT to see how your body reacts to the addition of testosterone.
There are lifestyle choices that can influence these numbers as well. Giving a good look at these can help to raise your numbers or make the drug work even better. Here are some tips.
-Zinc.. No zinc and there is no testosterone. It is simple chemistry. It is thought that the majority of Americans are deficient.
-High blood sugar can castrate testosterone.
-Workouts.. Slower strength workouts tend to influence testosterone more favorably but this is still up for debate. Many types of workouts may influence better numbers.
-Lack of sleep.. Lack of sleep can trigger a cascade of unfavorable hormones and raise blood sugar. Sleep should be an estimated 7-9hrs per night with no to minimal wake ups.
-Certain drugs can impair production such as alcohol and Marijuana.
-Stress can create the same cascade as lack of sleep.
-Carnitines can favorably help boost testosterone. The most potent is Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
-Pantethine(Active B5) can boost testosterone and influence lower cholesterol.
-Herbs like saw palmetto, stinging nettle, and foods like fresh broccoli can assist with testosterone