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Testosterone and You

Testosterone is a predominantly male hormone that plays a critical part in your physical and mental health. 

Both men and women need healthy testosterone levels.

Why care about testosterone levels?

Reasons to care about testosterone..Low testosterone levels in men can result in mental and physical changes, including:

  1. Low energy levels
  2. Reduced libido
  3. Weight gain
  4. Breasts (you read that right)
  5. Mood

    Testosterone is also important to all the women in our lives.

    What does testosterone do?

    Testosterone is responsible for core areas of the body including muscle mass, bone density, body hair, sperm production, and sex drive.

    Jem & Donnys popular Short, Sharp & Fit Podcast on Testosterone, now with over 8000 downloads and streams. Play it right here in your browser.


    Access our Four-part testosterone mini-series here, free.

    Benefits of healthy testosterone levels

    1. Muscle size and strength
    2. Fat distribution
    3. Bone growth and strength
    4. Sex drive
    5. Sperm production
    Benefits of testosterone

      Find more information on the benefits of, and the importance of testosterone here, including Part II of our Podcast mini-series on the benefits of healthy testosterone levels in men.

      How it's produced

      • 95% produced in the testicles.
      • Brain signals the pituitary gland.
      • The pituitary gland releases hormones via the bloodstream. 
      • Testicles then produce and release testosterone.
      • Testosterone levels in the blood rise.
      • Hormone release slows or stops.
      • Production of testosterone then slows or stops.

      More detail on the process and the hormones involved here. You should note only around 2% of total testosterone is "free" testosterone and thus biologically active.

      The rest is bound, and not "active" or available testosterone.

      Total testosterone is a good guide but may not be indicative of the amount of free testosterone.

      But what is normal?

      Testosterone levels start to decline in men from around 30 years of age. Boosting testosterone levels can then become a priority in the pursuit of youth.

      Testosterone begins to decline in men

      Normal levels can be different by individual, thus ranges are often provided as a guideline only, by age range. Testosterone levels are measured in either ng/dl or by nmol/l. More on measuring your testosterone levels explained here.

      The range for a male over 19 years of age can vary. Per Medical News Today, it is 265ng/dl - 923 ng/dl. The University of Rochester Medical Centre gives a range of 270 ng/dl - 1070 ng/dl depending on age. Optimal levels can be controversial.

      Find out more about normal male testosterone ranges by age here.

      Can you have too much? 

      This is unusual unless you are an athlete using anabolic steroids, testosterone, or related hormones to increase your muscle mass and performance.

      Excessive use can raise testosterone levels in the blood, causing the body to stop producing, and reduce the amount of sperm produced, resulting in infertility and a lower sex drive. Not ideal.

      Low testosterone levels or low T

      What is considered "low" has been revised over time and is getting lower. 

      Testosterone levels have been declining for decades with a substantial drop since the 1980s, with levels dropping an average of 1% per year. 

      Double-digit declines were found between men born in the twenties and sixties as an example. Find out more on declining testosterone levels here. 

      40% of men over 45 years old have low testosterone defined as less than 300ng/dl.

      This can increase to 50% in men over eighty. In Australia, it is estimated that 1 in 5 men over 50 years old have low testosterone and at least 5% are deficient. Testosterone supplements can then begin to become a consideration for many men.

      Low testosterone?

      The general consensus is there is a reduction in testosterone of 1-2% per annum. This is total testosterone; free biologically active testosterone can drop 2-3% per annum. That is huge.

      Per the Journal of Urology, 200ng/bl (USA), 345 ng/dl (UK). You can find more information and the detail on low testosterone levels by age range here. Low testosterone levels may be caused by several factors, which you can find here.

      What about male menopause?

      No, this is not male menopause, it is a gradual age-related decrease over time and can vary by individual.

      While it may be declining with time, you can still have healthy levels for your age. This is unlike women, who experience a more rapid drop in oestrogen which drives the onset of female menopause.

      While male aging is characterised by a decline in testosterone levels, we note you can still have healthier, but lower levels as you age, studies have shown mortality rates (reduced longevity) are higher in men with a pronounced age-related decline in testosterone.

        Are you at risk?

        The following are drivers and can increase your risk of low testosterone.
        1. Cardiovascular disease
        2. Obesity
        3. Osteoporosis
        4. Frailty
        5. Alzheimer's

        Other triggers of reduced testosterone include stress, infections, and inflammation. Read more about the impact of reduced testosterone levels here.

        Symptoms of low testosterone

        Symptoms of low testosterone
        1. Not sleeping well
        2. Low energy levels
        3. Low mood
        4. Difficulty concentrating (Brain fog)
        5. Reduced libido

        Getting tested

        Get your testosterone levels tested if you do have any concerns. This can be done by speaking with your doctor and getting a blood test or doing a saliva test.
        Getting tested

        Find out more about testing testosterone levels here and where to get our saliva tests.


          Low testosterone levels can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) which can be administered intramuscularly via patches, gels, or pellets implanted under the skin.

          Can I boost testosterone naturally?

          Yes, losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a well-balanced nutritious diet should be the primary goal.

          Also, make sure you get enough sleep and manage stress levels. Some foods can be testosterone killers, and there are some other things you should try and avoid.

          There are also options you can access to boost testosterone naturally, or at least help support your testosterone levels, using testosterone supplements.

          What else can I do?

          Enjoy life, and live a healthy lifestyle.

          This means good nutrition & exercise, weight management, stress management, and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol or drug use. 

          Unfortunately, there are no known ways to prevent low testosterone which are caused by genetic conditions or damage to the testicles or pituitary gland.

          What about sex I hear you say?

          In studies, testosterone was higher in males and females after intercourse which suggests sexual activity influences testosterone rather than the other way around. There is however a lack of research around the long-term effects.

          But, in separate research, testosterone levels showed little change between 2 and 5 days of abstinence, but levels peaked at 7 days of abstinence.

          Research in this area is limited, however, masturbation and sexual activity it seems can increase testosterone levels. We think it best you read the article on this yourself as there are a number of studies to consider.

          Does testosterone make you aggressive?

          There is evidence from studies that suggest that individuals with more aggressive behaviour have higher levels of testosterone.

          What is not clear is whether testosterone drives aggressive behaviour, or aggressive behaviour drives testosterone? 

          The road to better testosterone



          More info on low testosterone symptoms
          Low testosterone levels
          Normal testosterone
          Benefits of testosterone
          Age related decline


          Disclaimer: The information provided by Old Bull Health in this article is for informational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice. Our content is not intended to be medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and thus reliance should not be placed on it. If you are experiencing testosterone related symptoms, please consult a healthcare professional.

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