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Why Free Testosterone Levels Shouldn't Be Ignored

Why Free Testosterone Levels Shouldn't Be Ignored

September 01, 2021 1 Comment

Most people know that testosterone plays a huge role in men's health and wellness. Still, many don't understand the details of the science behind free testosterone levels and how free testosterone factors into total testosterone. Every man can benefit from learning more about testosterone and how it affects the body. Free testosterone levels are one aspect worth knowing more about.

Table Of Contents

What Is Free Testosterone?

Free testosterone is the testosterone in the blood that is bioavailable. It is 'free' because it is unattached to any protein. Most testosterone is attached to one of two proteins: albumin and sex hormone-binding globulin. While overall testosterone levels are important, a man's free testosterone range is also key because free testosterone is the type of testosterone that is easily usable by the body.

Testosterone that is attached, or bound, to proteins is not available to androgen receptors. Only free testosterone can interact with androgen receptors. Androgen receptors are a kind of hormone that plays a hugely important role in many aspects of bodily function. The reproductive, cardiovascular, neural, immune, and musculoskeletal systems all rely on androgen receptors and, thus, on free testosterone.

The Function of Free Testosterone

While bound testosterone plays a vital role in the body, many bodily functions can only be stimulated by free testosterone. The functions of free testosterone include enhancing sleep quality and duration, improving sexual functioning, increasing energy and endurance, and raising red blood cell production. Other functions are to balance cholesterol and blood pressure levels, support bone strength, support muscle strength, promote a healthy weight by stimulating metabolic function, and enhance memory and focus.

man in start position before running

Free Testosterone Levels By Age

Normal levels of free testosterone levels in the blood are affected by aging. As a man gets older, his levels of both free testosterone and overall testosterone naturally drop. Normal free testosterone levels are determined by a man's age. The same goes for overall testosterone levels.

Testosterone peaks in a man's late teens, and starts to gradually decline after the age of 30. At this stage, testosterone levels will decline by about 1% each year. Testosterone is measured by nanograms per deciliter.

free testosterone levels by age in men

Puberty onset (transition from Tanner stage I to Tanner stage II) occurs for boys at a median age of 11.5 (+/-2) years and for girls at a median age of 10.5 (+/-2) years. There is evidence that it may occur up to 1 year earlier in obese girls and in African American girls. For boys, there is no definite proven relationship between puberty onset and body weight or ethnic origin. Progression through Tanner stages is variable. Tanner stage V (young adult) should be reached by age 18.

Average Free Testosterone Levels by Age

Free testosterone levels in men vary by age, ranging from:

  • 20-<25 years: 5.25-20.7 ng/dL
  • 25-<30 years: 5.05-19.8 ng/dL
  • 30-<35 years: 4.85-19.0 ng/dL
  • 35-<40 years: 4.65-18.1 ng/dL
  • 40-<45 years: 4.46-17.1 ng/dL
  • 45-<50 years: 4.26-16.4 ng/dL
  • 50-<55 years: 4.06-15.6 ng/dL
  • 55-<60 years: 3.87-14.7 ng/dL
  • 60-<65 years: 3.67-13.9 ng/dL
  • 65-<70 years: 3.47-13.0 ng/dL
  • 70-<75 years: 3.28-12.2 ng/dL
  • 75-<80 years: 3.08-11.3 ng/dL
  • 80-<85 years: 2.88-10.5 ng/dL
  • 85-<90 years: 2.69-9.61 ng/dL
  • 90-<95 years: 2.49-8.76 ng/dL
  • 95-100+ years: 2.29-7.91 ng/dL

Low Testosterone Levels

While normal free testosterone levels do naturally drop over the years, not all decreases in testosterone are non-problematic. Low testosterone is a medical condition, occurring when the amount of testosterone in the blood drops below the normal range.

Low testosterone levels are a major problem for any man. Low testosterone causes a wide variety of health issues. Among the problems that low testosterone can cause are low sex drive, increased body fat, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, hair loss, and decreased bone mass. While testosterone replacement therapy is sometimes necessary to counteract low testosterone, lifestyle changes are often all that is needed.

Even men who do not technically have low testosterone will benefit from higher testosterone levels. While some testosterone losses over the years are inevitable, slowing those declines as much as possible should be the goal.

man smiling outdoors

How To Increase Testosterone Levels

Eating a nutritious diet, losing weight, reducing stress, getting good sleep, and practicing strength training are some of the ways to counteract low testosterone and fight against the nasty symptoms described above.

Another key step is taking a quality supplement. Mdrive will help increase your strength while boosting your energy and drive. Contact us for more information, or check out our line of supplements for men here.

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1 Response

Reynold Lupo
Reynold Lupo

April 20, 2022

In the middle of a quandary, though my testosterone levels are consistently high (783ng/dl), my “free testosterone” levels are consistently low. The last blood test I did showed a level of zero! I’m old, 77, workout and have always been on the stocky side. I have a high percentage of body fat.
my doctor claimed that "free testosterone " levels are variable and you can get different readings. Not sure I believe this.
Are there any supplements specific to this condition ?

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