What are healthy free testosterone levels?
Inside this detailed guide, we’ll breakdown everything you MUST know about free testosterone levels in men, including:
- Free testosterone levels by age
- Total-T vs. Free T
- Why Free-T matters
…and so much more!…
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the human body. Testosterone plays a huge role for athletes who are trying to build muscle mass and strength. However, it’s also extremely important for your overall health.
If you do not produce enough testosterone then you may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, and many other illnesses. Understanding the importance of healthy free testosterone levels may be one of the most important things you can do for your overall health.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the human body. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and is responsible for many of the physical characteristics that you see in men including facial hair and broad shoulders.
Testosterone is primarily produced in the testes in men, although women also produce some testosterone in their ovaries. Research has shown that normal testosterone levels are essential for optimal health. Men with low testosterone levels often suffer from low energy, sexual dysfunction, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
Men who are able to raise their testosterone levels through medical interventions including testosterone replacement therapy often see a rapid improvement in their overall health and well-being [1–3].
Unfortunately, testosterone levels are declining in most countries, especially in older and younger men [4–5]. Research shows that men’s testosterone levels have been declining about 1% per year every year sense 1950, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
There are many reasons for this: testicular failure, pituitary axis abnormalities and environmental toxins are three of the most common reasons identified by researchers [6–7]. Other reasons may include obesity, malnutrition, improper exercise, poor sleeping habits and increasing levels of stress.
Understanding testosterone (and especially free testosterone) is extremely important for anyone interested in optimizing their health, energy levels, sexual performance, or athletic abilities.
What is Free Testosterone?
There are two ways of measuring testosterone levels: total testosterone and free testosterone.
Total testosterone is a measure of the total amount of testosterone that is floating around in your blood at a time. Free testosterone is a little different: it measures the amount of testosterone in your blood that can bind to the cells in your body and exert its physiological effects. In other words, free testosterone measures the amount of “active” testosterone in your bloodstream.
Free testosterone plays a huge role in men’s and women’s health. Research shows that advanced age, a poor diet, diabetes and hypertension are all associated with low free testosterone levels [8–9]. In fact, low free testosterone levels are associated with mobility restrictions, frailty, osteoporosis and reduced athletic performance [10–11]. Many unwanted health conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer and prostate disease are also caused by low free testosterone levels [10–14].
Research has identified many benefits to having higher free testosterone levels. Some of the most obvious benefits include increased muscle mass, improved athletic performance and improved sexual function and fertility [15–18]. Some of the less obvious benefits of free testosterone include improved cardiovascular health, decreased symptoms of depression and improved cognitive function [19–24].
In fact, it’s hard to think of a bodily system that is not positively impacted by optimal free testosterone levels. This is one of the reasons medical treatments designed to raise your free testosterone levels including testosterone replacement therapy are becoming so popular in recent years.
Free Testosterone Levels in Men | Ultimate Guide
There are two main ways to measure your testosterone levels: total testosterone and free testosterone. Most people focus only on their total testosterone levels. Unfortunately, this is a mistake, as your free testosterone levels are probably even more important than your total testosterone levels. Let me explain.
Total testosterone measures all of the testosterone that is floating around in your bloodstream at any one time. The problem with the total testosterone measurement is about 98% of the testosterone in your bloodstream is bound to one of two proteins: sex hormone binding globulin (shgb) or albumin.
When your testosterone binds to one of these hormones, it becomes inactive. The other 2% of your testosterone that is not bound to one of these two hormones is called your “free testosterone” because it is free to bind to the cells in your body and exert its physiological effects.
Free testosterone is probably a better measurement of your testosterone levels because it only measures the “active” testosterone in your bloodstream. Some individuals can have high total testosterone but lower free testosterone. This shows how important it is to look at your free testosterone levels in addition to your total testosterone levels.
So what are normal free testosterone levels? Normal free testosterone levels in healthy, adult men range from 5.25 – 20.7 ng / dL, or nanograms per deciliter of blood [25–31]. This is significantly lower from total testosterone, which ranges from 300 – 1200 ng / dL.
Here is what normal free testosterone levels look like for men of different ages [32–39]:
- Teenage males: 5.25 – 20.7 ng / dL
- Men in their 20s: 5.25 – 20.7 ng / dL
- Men in their 30s: 4.65 – 19.0 ng / dL
- Men in their 40s: 4.26 – 17.1 ng / dL
- Men in their 50s: 3.87 – 15.6 ng / dL
- Men in their 60s: 3.47 – 13.9 ng / dL
- Men in their 70s: 3.08 – 12.2 ng / dL
Free testosterone levels vary enormously from one individual to the next. Free testosterone levels tend to slowly decline as an individual gets older. This is a normal part of aging, but it is also associated with several negative health outcomes.
Free testosterone levels also vary significantly between individuals of the same age group. For example, two men in their 20s can have free testosterone levels of 20.7 and 5.25 ng / dL.
Both men are in the “normal” range for free testosterone levels. However, the second individual is much more likely to experience symptoms of low energy, depression, sexual dysfunction and a host of other signs and symptoms of low testosterone.
Many medical professionals consider the lower end of the free testosterone range as a sign of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels. The good news is there are many strategies that you can use to raise your free testosterone if you are on the lower end of normal.
These interventions range from natural strategies to medical solutions like testosterone replacement therapy. These options will be covered later in this article.
Signs of Low Free Testosterone in Men
Men (and women) need require a normal amount of free testosterone for optimal health. Most people begin to experience negative signs and symptoms when their testosterone falls below the normal, healthy range. This is why it is so important to identify and treat hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels.
Some signs of low free testosterone such as reduced energy levels can be relatively mild. Others such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease are more serious.
Here are some of the top signs of low-T in men:
- Reduced muscle mass [40–41]
- Male infertility and reduced sexual performance [42–43]
- Impaired cardiovascular health [17–18]
- Increased risk of depression [44–45]
- Obesity, diabetes and metabolic dysregulation [44–45]
- Reduced cognitive function [21–22, 46]
One of the most common signs of low free testosterone levels in men is reduced muscle mass. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for building muscle mass and strength. Athletes sometimes take supra-physiological doses of testosterone to speed up the muscle-building process.
Most individuals find that their overall muscle mass decreases as their free testosterone levels go down. Low free testosterone levels are one of the main causes of sarcopenia, a muscle-wasting disease. Another common sign of low free testosterone levels is impaired sexual function.
It is well established that low free testosterone levels make it more difficult to achieve or maintain an erection, as well as to conceive during sex [42–43]. If your performance in the bedroom is not what it used to be then a decline in your free testosterone levels may be to blame.
Some of the lesser known symptoms of low free testosterone levels include depression and general cognitive decline [21–22, 44–46]. Finally, many life-threatening conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysregulation are actually signs of low free testosterone levels, especially in men [17–18, 44–45].
How to Increase Free Testosterone Levels Naturally
Testosterone plays a critical role in everything from athletic performance to cardiovascular health to sexual performance. If you are suffering from hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, then increasing your testosterone levels is one of the best things that you can do for your overall health and well-being.
The truth is there are many strategies that you can use right now to raise your testosterone levels. Here are a few of the most effective strategies:
- Losing weight
- Resistance training
- Sexual activity
- Vitamin D
One of the fastest and simplest ways to raise your testosterone levels is to lose weight. Research shows that men who lose weight see a rapid improvement in their total and free testosterone levels. In fact, one study found that the incidence of hypogonadism went down by over 50% in a population that underwent a weight loss program !
Weight loss is especially effective for raising your free testosterone levels because it reduces the size of your fat cells. Inside your fat cells is an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme has one job: to take the hormone testosterone and convert it into the hormone estrogen.
The bottom line is the more body fat you have, the more your body will convert your testosterone into estrogen and the lower your free testosterone levels will be. Another simple strategy for raising testosterone is to start a resistance training program.
Research shows that lifting weights and engaging in other forms of resistance training such as gymnastics, rock climbing or mixed martial arts has a positive effect on testosterone levels . Another great way to naturally boost your testosterone levels is to engage in sexual activity.
There is plenty of evidence showing men’s testosterone levels increase following sexual activity . This is true both in the short term, or immediately following sexual activity, and for several days after the event. If you are looking for more conservative ways to naturally increase your testosterone levels then improving your sleep habits or getting some extra sunlight are great options.
Research shows that getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night and optimizing your vitamin D levels are two powerful ways to raise your testosterone levels [50–51]. Finally, there are some natural testosterone boosting supplements that you can use to raise your T-levels.
One of the most popular products available today is called ecdysterone. This natural substance has been shown in studies to dramatically increase strength and muscle mass in resistance training subjects [52–53]. If you are looking for that extra “edge” in the gym, then ecdysterone may be just what you are looking for.
How to Increase Free Testosterone Levels with TRT
Testosterone replacement therapy is a medical intervention designed to raise a patient’s total testosterone to the higher end of the normal range.
Testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, is normally performed under the direct supervision of a doctor. It is completely different from something like steroids, where the goal is to raise one’s total testosterone to unsafe levels.
Here’s how it works: first, the patient discusses their signs and symptoms with their doctor to determine if they might be suffering from low testosterone levels. Next the doctor orders a blood test to determine the patient’s exact testosterone levels.
If the patient does have hypogonadism and is experiencing symptoms of low testosterone then the doctor may prescribe a testosterone medication. Usually this is an injectable form of testosterone or a testosterone gel that can be rubbed on the skin.
Testosterone replacement therapy is one of the fastest, most effective and safest ways to treat hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in younger and older men. In fact, multiple meta-analyses performed in 2021 showed that TRT is a safe and effective way to raise one’s total testosterone levels and to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of low T [54–57].
Research shows that testosterone replacement therapy is effective for increasing muscle mass and strength, improving cognitive function, decreasing symptoms of depression, improving sexual function, and even reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Remember, TRT is not about increasing your testosterone as high as possible (like some bodybuilders try to do). Instead, it is designed to replace the testosterone that your body used to produce on its own. The goal of TRT is for you to be at the mid-upper end of the normal range for total testosterone so that you can maximize your overall health and well-being.
Some men do not like the idea of using small insulin needles to administer the testosterone. Injectable forms of testosterone are still the gold-standard administration technique. However, more and more men’s health clinics are using testosterone creams and other treatment strategies with their patients [58–59].
The bottom line is TRT is a powerful treatment option for men with low testosterone levels. It is a proven treatment strategy that has helped countless men optimize their health in a safe manner.
The BEST Online TRT Clinic
Testosterone replacement therapy is a very popular treatment option for men suffering from hypogonadism, or low testosterone. There have been many recent developments in how patients get started with TRT. One of the most exciting developments has been the growth of online TRT clinics, or telehealth medicine.
Online TRT clinics are a great option for anyone who thinks they are suffering from the signs and symptoms of low testosterone but does not want to go through the hassle of visiting an in-person clinic. This is very understandable. After all, not everyone wants to wait 30-60 minutes in a clinic when they can do everything from the comfort of their own home.
One of the most popular online TRT clinics is called Fountain TRT. This company was founded by Dr. Doron Stember, a board-certified urologist. The thing that makes Fountain TRT unique from other online clinics is their simple 3-step process that they use with all their patients.
The first thing you do is fill out a questionnaire to see if you have some of the symptoms of low testosterone. Your doctor will schedule a time with you to go over these results using zoom and other video calling services.
If your doctor agrees that you may be suffering from low testosterone then the next step is to perform a blood test to measure your hormone levels. Your doctor will schedule a time for you with one of their partnered lab facilities. He or she will also review the results of the blood test with you so that you understand exactly what your needs are.
Finally, if your doctor agrees that you are a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy then you will be given a prescription for a testosterone cream. The cream will be delivered directly to your home and your doctor will walk you through step-by-step on how to administer it.
Fountain TRT prefers testosterone creams over the traditional testosterone injections because they are easy to administer and work for a wide variety of patients. If you are looking for a great online TRT provider then we strongly recommend Fountain TRT.
Get hormone therapy today with Fountain TRT...
Free Testosterone Levels | Overall
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the human body. In fact, maintaining healthy testosterone levels is one of the most important things that you can do for your overall health and well-being.
Testosterone plays a role in everything from building muscle mass and strength to regulating your sexual and reproductive systems to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
There are two main ways to measure your testosterone levels: total testosterone and free testosterone. Most people focus on their total testosterone. However, your free testosterone is probably even more important. Free testosterone measures the amount of active testosterone in your bloodstream that can exert positive physiological effects.
There are many natural ways to increase your free testosterone including exercising, losing body fat, improving your sleeping habits, and getting enough vitamin D. However, if you are suffering from hypogonadism or clinically low levels of testosterone then testosterone replacement therapy may be a viable treatment option.
TRT has been shown to be safe and effective when performed under the supervision of a doctor. If you are looking for an online TRT provider then Fountain TRT is a great choice.