How to Effectively Evaluate Your Blood Testosterone
By Jay Campbell
December 20th, 2018
When you want to access the full potential of TOT optimization, it’s essential to monitor your health and understand your test results simultaneously. Because your body is different from anyone else’s, both you and your physician need to know how it will react to the treatment and the current level of testosterone in your bloodstream. Similar to any other therapy, it starts with bloodwork. Lab results of your blood will help you determine your current testosterone levels. And since TOT is a lifetime treatment, it’s essential that you know how to effectively evaluate blood results and monitor the effects on your testosterone.
Types of Testosterone and What to Look For
Serum testosterone is the total concentration of testosterone in your blood stream. On the other hand, free testosterone is the small amount of testosterone floating around that your body can use. Usually, only about 2% of the testosterone found in the body at any point in time is ‘free/active’ and bioavailable (available for your body to use.) Although the normal range varies depending on the lab running the tests, accepted total testosterone levels are generally in a range of around 264–916 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood (ng/dL), according to LabCorp263. The scale varies depending on the blood laboratory performing the tests, and the range between can be different from lab to lab.
What Are the Base Values?
It’s worth noting that the “normal” range used to be 348-1197 ng/dL but was changed in July of 2017 to 264-916 ng/dL to accurately reflect the epidemic of obese men with lower testosterone levels. These new numbers are what the labs will say is the normal range for all men of any age. If you’re in your 30s or 40s, you won’t get an age-specific range because those values remain unclear. It means you could be 35 with testosterone levels that are “within range” of a 70-year-old, but low for your age and your body. It is a reminder of why it is imperative for progressive TOT physicians to treat the symptoms of their patients instead of solely relying on the findings of a single lab report.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
In a healthy young male, 60% of testosterone attaches to Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG). The liver primarily produces the SHBG and then releases it into the bloodstream. The body can’t use hormones bound to SHBG, and therefore they lose their anabolic effect. As men age, SHBG levels rise and bind strongly to the testosterone molecule. It lowers the body’s absorption of free testosterone. We want to have as much free (usable) testosterone available as possible to enjoy the benefits it provides. SHBG is also an essential marker of insulin resistance, and studies have shown that it is an independent predictor of metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. In aging men, the rise in SHBG and associated maintenance of total testosterone values may mask low levels of free testosterone. For the reasons stated, SHBG is a critical component of proper TOT evaluation. It is imperative for your doctor to be vigilant in tracking your SHBG levels and free testosterone levels while you are on TOT.
When running blood work, always do it in the presence of your TOT physician. Talk to them regularly about the impact of the treatment on your serum and free testosterone, and SHBG, and determine the next step together. If you want to be on the same page as your physician and reach the full potential of your body; purchase your TOT Bible and find out more.