It's important for all men to be aware of the warning signs of low testosterone. If your T-levels are in the problem area and you're above 50, it's best to consider testosterone therapy as soon as possible. The longer you neglect the problem, the lower your levels may drop.
Keep an eye out for these common warning signs in yourself and your male family members and friends. If you notice multiple symptoms, get your levels tested as soon as possible.
Healthy Testosterone Levels
It's natural for testosterone levels to decline with age. But some men experience these drops far too early in life. The FDA defines a normal testosterone level as anything between 280-1,100 ng/dl. T levels below this threshold qualify for a low T diagnosis.
You can measure your testosterone levels with a blood test, known as a serum testosterone level test. Many of the common warning signs of low T may be confused for natural aging.
Young men experiencing several of these signs should get tested as soon as possible. Older men (40+) should consider getting tested, even without obvious symptoms.
Testosterone and Aging
Testosterone affects your body differently at the various stages of your biological development.
However, the hormone is a significant part of your overall health throughout your life, from your development in your mother’s womb all the way into your geriatric years.
Fetal Testosterone Levels
Testosterone levels play a fundamental role in male biology before you're even born. This hormone helps to shape a developing fetus in the womb.
It begins to lay the groundwork for the development of masculine characteristics later in life by influencing the development of the reproductive system and masculinizing the brain.
However, abnormal T-levels can have detrimental effects on developing fetuses as well. It's important that these levels fall into the sweet spot of healthy development.
Research shows that abnormally high levels increase the risk of autism, while low levels increase the risk of Alzheimer's in later life.
Adolescent and Young Adult T-Levels
Testosterone levels peak during this time of your life. As a boy enters puberty, testosterone is responsible for the rapid physical changes which accompany the transition into manhood. These changes include:
● Deepening of the voice
● Broadening of the shoulders
● Growth of facial, pubic, and body hair
● Facial features become more masculine
● Sex drive peaks
The average testosterone levels make a massive jump during this stage. According to Healthline, T-levels during puberty fall into the following ranges:
● 10-11 years old: <7-130 ng/dl
● 12-13 years old: <7-800 ng/dl
● 14 years old: <7-1200 ng/dl
● 15-16 years old: 100-1200 ng/dl
● 17-18 years old: 300-1200 ng/dl
● 19+ years old: 240-950 ng/dl
● Average adult male: 270-1050 ng/dl
As you can see, there are sharp spikes in T-levels between 11 and 12 years old, and 13 and 14 years old before leveling off at 1200 ng/dl in the mid to late teens.
During the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, these levels stabilize around the average adult level of 1000 ng/dl.
After age 30, testosterone levels begin to drop each year by an average of 1%. This is normal, and testosterone drops during this time of your life will most likely not lead to any of the common warning signs. Low testosterone becomes a serious problem when it falls at a more rapid pace.
It's still important to take steps to maintain your testosterone levels as you age. Combine natural supplements with a challenging exercise routine to extend your vitality into middle age and your golden years.
The Common Warning Signs of Low T
Testosterone is a sex hormone, but that doesn’t mean that low levels only affect your life in the bedroom. However, sexual issues are the most easily identifiable warning signs, so let’s start with those:
● Lowered sex drive - A sudden lack of interest in sexual activity often signals low T.
● Fewer spontaneous erections - During puberty, you may remember getting frequent erections, sometimes for no discernible reason. Fewer spontaneous erections (think morning wood) may be a sign to get your T-levels tested.
● Erectile dysfunction - If you're having trouble becoming aroused with your partner, you should talk to a doctor about getting tested.
● Infertility - If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant with no success, low testosterone counts could be the source of the problem.
● Low semen volume - Men with higher testosterone counts produce more semen and vice versa. If you've noticed a decline in your semen production, consider getting your T-levels checked.
The majority of men who suffer from low T get tested as a result of sexual issues. However, there are a few other symptoms of low T which could be confused with the natural aging process:
● Hair loss - Hair loss is a natural byproduct of aging for many men, but occasionally it is a result of low testosterone. A loss of facial hair is an especially urgent warning sign.
● Chronic fatigue - While it’s natural to have less energy as you get older, chronic and unexplained fatigue may be a symptom of low T. If you’re eating healthy and getting plenty of rest and water but still feel tired all the time, you may want to get tested.
● Muscle mass loss - Since testosterone is an integral part of building muscle, those with low levels may notice a deterioration of their muscle tissues. This is especially troublesome if you try and fail to regain mass through regular weight lifting.
● Bone mass loss - Testosterone helps to keep your bones strong. If you’re suffering from low T, you’re at a heightened risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
● Increased body fat - Certain research suggests that testosterone plays a role in how your body stores fat. Men with low T occasionally experience fat-based weight gain. Specifically, many suffer from gynecomastia or man boobs.
● Mood changes - Studies have shown that men who suffer from low T are likely to become more depressed, irritable, and less focused. This can also lead to a lack of self-confidence and motivation.
● Sleep pattern changes - Sleep pattern disturbances become more frequent as men reach their 40s. Research suggests a correlation between low T levels and trouble sleeping.
If you’ve noticed multiple symptoms of low testosterone, it’s important to get tested quickly. If your levels are abnormally low, don’t hesitate to address them with natural supplements and regular exercise.
Causes of Low Testosterone
Our lifestyle choices influence our testosterone levels. Healthy choices lead to healthy testosterone levels as we age. But unhealthy ones can be destructive and lead to serious testosterone-related issues later in life.
Keep the following choices in mind if your health and T-levels are important to you:
● Cut the junk food - If you're always eating junk food, your body is going to suffer in many ways - your testosterone levels are no exception. Overeating or eating processed foods gives you more calories than you need, which can increase estrogen levels and decrease testosterone.
● Eat healthy fats - Low-fat diets can lead to testosterone drops. Make healthy fats an integral part of your diet to keep your levels where they should be. Examples include walnuts, pistachios, avocados, and fish.
● Supplement your Vitamin D - Vitamin D deficiency becomes extremely common during the winter months, especially in colder climates. A lack of exposure to sunlight is the cause, and there is a correlation between this deficiency and low testosterone.
● Get in the gym - A lack of a regular exercise routine is one of the most common culprits of low T. Lifting weights or doing HIIT workouts is the best way to raise your testosterone levels naturally. When you lift weights regularly, testosterone production allows your muscle groups to recover and grow stronger.
● Don’t solely rely on supplements - While natural supplements are a reliable way to raise your T-levels, they can’t do all the work. Your supplements should only be one aspect of an overall lifestyle change. It’s not just about boosting your T-levels - it’s about becoming a healthier man.
● Minimize daily stress - Chronic stress produces a chemical called cortisol, which reduces your testosterone levels. Make sure to get adequate rest and try to strike a balance between work and your personal life to reduce stress and keep your T-levels healthy.
Low testosterone problems are more common than you may realize, but awareness is spreading. Ideally, we should cultivate healthy lifestyle choices in our youth and maintain them through adulthood to reduce the risk of developing low T.
If you notice multiple symptoms, it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Allowing the problem to fester untreated will only make the recovery process more difficult.
If you notice any of these warning signs in a family member, don't hesitate to talk with them. Many Americans are not aware of the danger of low testosterone levels, so it's important to educate the men in our life to promote healthier lifestyles.