In this article I talk about Testosterone Level Ranges, what is considered normal, and possible ways to increase them.
What is Testosterone and Why Do We Need Healthy Testosterone Levels?
As most of you fellow bodybuilders know, testosterone is the male hormone responsible for the development of the male sex and reproduction organs; in addition to also promoting male characteristics such as a deep voice, facial hair, increased levels of muscle mass, aggressiveness, confidence, and supports a healthy sex drive. Men’s testicles produce this hormone in large quantities while female’s ovaries produce some of it in very small quantities.
Low levels of this hormone create metabolic issues that have immediate and long-term consequences for the person suffering from a deficiency.
Maladies Of Low Testosterone Levels
Needless to say low levels of testosterone can cause a male to first and foremost lose his sex drive. Also energy levels will plummet as well as muscle mass and strength.
Even if you are giving it all you got in the gym and following your diet, you may find that getting a good pump at the gym is hard, and also that gaining muscle is becoming a very hard task to accomplish. Worst of all, fat loss seems harder than ever as well.
If you suffer from low testosterone your mood may also take a dive and you may often feel depressed. In addition to the above, the following are also maladies of low testosterone levels:
*Increased insulin resistance (which makes it hard to lose body fat as insulin levels will increase in the body due to the fact that the cells are not accepting this hormone efficiently).
* Constant fatigue and reduced zest for life.
* Depression, bad moods and aggressive behavior (something that oddly enough has been mistakenly blamed on high testosterone levels for years).
* Reduced mental capacity and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Age For Testosterone Level Decline:
At what age does this decline start happening? The time at which this decline in levels begins is still much debated amongst experts but recent research seems to indicate that it can begin as early as 25-30 years old. My advice to you is that if your sex drive is low, then you should have your levels checked because this is the most common symptom of low testosterone. A simple blood work will show you what your testosterone levels look like. Typically, this is not a test that the Doctor orders when you get your physical so you need to request it from your Doctor when you get your next physical.
What are the Normal Values for Testosterone Levels?
Normal values of testosterone levels for males: normal range of total testosterone for men is between 300 – 1200 nanograms per deciliters (ng/dl). Normal ranges for free testosterone (the actual active testosterone that your body can use) are: 8.7 – 25 picograms per milliliters (pg/ml).
Normal values of testosterone levels for women: normal range of total testosterone for women is between 15 – 70 nanograms per deciliters (ng/dl). Normal ranges for free testosterone (the actual active testosterone that your body can use) are: 0.5 – 5 picograms per milliliters (pg/ml).
Needless to say the closer to the upper level you are in both ranges the better.
What to Do If Your Test Shows Low Testosterone Levels?
If you come up with low testosterone levels in your test results, I would first try to use some natural alternatives in order to see if these can help you to restore your levels. The efficacy of some of these supplements is still under debate by some of the experts in the field, but in my opinion, before considering hormonal replacement therapy, I would explore all over the counter alternatives.
Also, I would like to mention that by increasing your hormonal levels you may experience some acne and slightly increased aggression. Finally, if you have a propensity for male pattern baldness and/or an increased prostate you should monitor these things if you still decide to use some of these products.
Some natural testosterone boosters that I really like are (not in any particular order):
Natural Testosterone Booster #1: ZMA – Relatively inexpensive, ZMA provides nutritional insurance against a deficiency of Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B-6. A deficiency of zinc alone can dramatically lower your testosterone levels, so I feel it is a good idea to first and foremost make sure that the low levels do not come from a nutritional deficiency.
ZMA consists of Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate and vitamin B-6. This all-natural product has been clinically proven to significantly increase anabolic hormone levels and muscle strength in trained athletes. Hard training athletes typically deplete the body from these essential minerals.
Studies have shown that supplementing with 30mg of Zinc and 450mg of Magnesium per day can elevate testosterone levels up to 30%.
Due to the fact that ZMA consists of two minerals and a vitamin B, teenagers can safely use this product
How to Use: Take a serving of ZMA prior to going to sleep. There is no need to cycle off this product.
For a listing of ZMA products click here: ZMA Products
Natural Testosterone Booster #2: Labrada Nutrition’s HumanoGrowth – This testosterone booster is composed of 2 ingredients that help to increase testosterone, growth hormone levels, lower cortisol, improve mood and maximize recovery as well as protein synthesis (ability of the body to turn the protein you eat into muscle):
a) Humanofort – a patented standardized embryo extract from Europe that has been shown to boost testosterone and growth hormone levels while reducing cortisol. It is rich in various growth factors that are good for hormonal production and general health as well. It even helps to improve the quality of your sleep!
b) Lean Muscle Accelerator (LMA) – a purified plasma protein that improves protein efficiency by up to 31% and promotes a positive nitrogen balance by up to 20%. In simple terms, this all means that you convert more of the protein that you eat into muscle. In addition, this plasma protein also helps your body to burn more fat for fuel instead of muscle tissue during periods of dieting.
How to Use: Take 4 capsules of HumanoGrowth prior to sleep. There is no need to cycle off this product.
For more information on HumanoGrowth click here: HumanoGrowth Information Page.
Natural Testosterone Booster #3: QNT USA Testek - This is another pro-hormone free testosterone booster that naturally increases growth hormone and testosterone levels through different pathways than the ZMA and HumanoGrowth. In addition, Testek has ingredients that help to increase focus, memory, regulate your mood and increase your recovery capacity at the gym.
a) Flavone Comple – The testosterone increase in this product is accomplished via a flavone complex that causes a reduction in estrogen. By reducing estrogen levels the body begins manufactures more testosterone.
b) Alpha GPC – An acetylcholine precursor that increases growth factors by inhibiting somatostatin, which is the growth hormone inhibiting hormone. As you inhibit somatostatin you increase GH levels dramatically by 333%. [As a matter of fact, in a study performed at the Center for Applied Health Sciences, subjects consuming Alpha GPC prior to resistance exercise increased their peak anabolic growth factors by 333%.
c) Phosphatidylserine (PS) – Naturally occurring phospholipid that research has shown can speed up recovery, prevent muscle soreness and more importantly, reduce the cortisol response to intense exercise. This improves the Testosterone/Cortisol ratio by as much as 184%, which ultimately results in a more anabolic environment.
d) DHT Reduction Complex – Finally, testek protects the user against the increased DHT production caused by increased testosterone levels via the use of flavones and lycopene. In addition, Testek’s combination of ingredients promotes good mood and increased concentration and focus at the gym.
How to Use: Take 1 serving (4 capsules) 1-2 times daily with water. Use one serving in the morning and/or early evening. Use for approximately 6-8 weeks then cycle off for 2 weeks.
For more information on Testek click here: Testek Information Page.
Natural Testosterone Booster #4: Nutrex Research Vitrix - This final testosterone booster increases testosterone via the use of herbs that increase the lutenizing hormone and that lower estrogen levels. Again, I include this booster on the list since it accomplishes the testosterone increase using different ingredients than the formulas already mentioned.
a) Tribulus Terrestris – A Bulgarian herb that tends to increase both free and total testosterone levels enhancing, as a result, your sex drive and muscle building capabilities. It is believed that it exerts its effects through an increase in Luteninizing hormone (LH) levels, a hormone which in turn signals the body to increase its testosterone production.
In addition, this herb has been used for centuries for ailments such as headaches, premature ejaculation, water retention, and dizziness. Also, some research indicates that it has properties that enable it to protect the liver and the cardiovascular system as well.
b) Avena Sativa – Better known as wild oat, is an annual grass, which is cultivated for its edible grain. It has the effect of increasing free testosterone levels (the testosterone that can be used by the body). While the mechanism under which it exerts this benefit is not clear, it is suspected that it occurs through an increase in Lutenizing Hormone levels, just like Tribulus.
c) Eurycoma Longifolia Jack – This is a plant reputed to have aphrodisiac properties. It is commonly known as Tongkat Ali in Malaysia. Studies have show that Eurycoma Longifolia Jack can increase your testosterone levels by stimulating the production of luetinizing hormone and also by freeing bound testosterone. It can also help you recover from a workout, improve your mental acuity, strengthen your immune system and even reduce your body fat.
d) Vitex Agnus Castus – This herb inhibits prolactin release which helps to keep testosterone levels up.
e) Epimedium – commonly referred to as Horny Goat Weed, contains special components with anti-estrogenic properties. Again, by reducing estrogen levels in the body, you get to increase testosterone levels.
How to Use: On training days you can take 6 capsules 1 hour before the workout. On non-training days I just take 6 in the morning. I take this supplement from Monday through Friday leaving 2 days off.
For more information on Vitrix click here: Vitrix Information Page.
At What Age Should I Start Using Testosterone Boosters?
Since testsoterone levels begin to decline at 25, that is the age I would recommend you start checking your testosterone levels and start considering some testosterone boosting supplementation. Teenagers, in my opinion, should stay away from any supplement that has an effect on hormonal levels as there is no need to upset a teens delicate hormonal balance. However, there is no harm in teens using ZMA as these are just minerals that prevent a deficiency. Besides, teenagers produce approximately the equivalent of a 300 mg shot of testosterone per week anyway so there is no need to attempt to increase the production of testosterone in a system that is already producing at peak levels.
Do I Need to Take All 4 Testosterone Boosters To Get Results?
Not at all. While I would recommend you to consider stacking all 4 products if your testosterone levels are really low, if money is an issue you can get some ZMA in order to ensure that your low testosterone is not caused by a deficiency of those minerals. Then you can use one of the other 3 products in 8 week intervals. So for 8 weeks you can stack ZMA with HumanoGrowth. The next 8 weeks you can stack ZMA with Testek and the last 8 weeks ZMA with Vitrix before re-starting again.
Testosterone Levels Testing
I suggest that you re-check your testosterone levels after 12 weeks of using your testosterone boosters, getting proper rest and following a proper bodybuilding training/nutrition program that maximizes your hormonal output and keeps your cortisol levels in check. If your levels remain unchanged then I suggest that you talk to a well qualified endocrinologist so that you can look at what the cause for the low levels is and analyze what your options are.
More Information About Testosterone Levels, How to Increase Them, and What Is Causing Them To Go Down
Here is an incredibly informative resource that I found which discusses the subject in more depth and also gives solid information on the many reasons (such as estrogens in the plastic bottles of the water that you drink from* and even shampoos!) that are causing us guys to have lower testosterone levels at an earlier age: How To Increase Testosterone