After the age of thirty, testosterone levels in men begin to decrease. Testosterone levels become sub-optimal and eventually deficient as men age. Sub-optimal and deficient testosterone levels are directly correlated to a host of symptoms and diseases, including:
- Lack of energy
- Decrease in muscle tone
- Decreased libido
- Memory and concentration issues
- Poor sleep Moodiness
- Heart disease
Testing for testosterone levels in men who are aging is not only the key to understanding levels, but also necessary to treat and potentially relieve these symptoms, which were once thought of as just the side effects of growing old. How to test testosterone levels is like a puzzle, and every piece adds important information, allowing a physician to treat each patient individually as opposed to the all too common one-size-fits-all course of treatment. It’s not only important to use these tests to look for deficiencies, but also to see which levels are sub-optimal so they can be treated and you can feel your best.
These are the tests that physicians should use to determine testosterone levels and associated hormones in men:
- Total testosterone
- Free testosterone
- Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG)
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D)
Total testosterone tells you the amount of testosterone circulating in your blood. However, free testosterone shows how much of that total testosterone is bioavailable or how much your body can use. Taking that test one level further, the SHBG test tells you how much of that free testosterone is useable for the body. It binds free testosterone in the blood and makes it unavailable to cell-receptor sites. So just because a person has their total and free testosterone within range, it’s meaningless unless SHBG is within range.
Estradiol level tests are important because they tell you how much estrogen is circulating in your system. Very often, men have estrogen levels that are way above normal, causing its own host of issues including increased risk of heart attack or stroke if coupled with low testosterone. It’s common for men to convert testosterone into estrogen, especially when introducing testosterone into the system, even if bioidentical. This is referred to as aromatization. It’s therefore important for a man to take anastrozole in conjunction with testosterone treatment to ensure that estrogen levels remain normal and the body optimizes testosterone.
Another important adjunct to testosterone treatment is HCG, a hormone that makes sure the testes do not shut down production or atrophy. When you introduce exogenous testosterone into the body, the testes think that they no longer need to work as hard. HCG ensures that they continue working at their optimal.
Testosterone production begins in the brain. Luteinizing hormone (LH) is what the pituitary gland secretes to tell the testes to produce testosterone. If not enough LH is produced, the testes will not produce enough testosterone. If too much LH is produced and testosterone is low, that means that the testes have lost their ability to efficiently produce testosterone and, in response, the brain continues to tell them to produce more through increased LH secretion.
FSH goes hand-in-hand with LH because they’re both produced by the pituitary gland. FSH is responsible for regulating the growth, development, puberty, and reproduction of the human body. A lower secretion of FSH can cause hypogonadism, or failed function of the gonads. High FSH levels are associated with many conditions, including testicular failure and shouldn’t be ignored.
DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and becomes suppressed with age and stress. Many people think that increasing DHEA is enough to optimize your testosterone, but it’s actually just another piece in the puzzle that needs to be treated in conjunction.
The same goes for vitamin D. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and a low level can cause a whole range of symptoms and issues. Vitamin D treatment is very important when it comes to a person’s well being. Research is constantly uncovering more and more symptoms and chronic diseases that low vitamin D effects.
As you can see, a simple testosterone test is not enough to properly diagnose sub-optimal hormone levels and treat imbalances. One size does not fit all and many factors go into optimal treatment of testosterone decline. It’s important to consult a skilled and experienced physician when dealing with your lowering testosterone levels and hormonal imbalances. With the proper care, you’ll feel like your optimal self in no time.
Call the biostation™ today at 888-754-1852 or contact us online to schedule your private, personal consultation.