The greatest amount of the hormone blood serum naturally attaches to two different proteins: sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin.
A smaller portion does not bind to these proteins and is considered “free”.
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The sex hormone testosterone produces secondary sex characteristics in men.
The testes are responsible for the production of the hormone, but the testicles don’t determine when or how much is produced.
That’s the responsibility of two other glands in the endocrine system.
The pituitary gland, known as the master gland, is responsible for the maintenance and function of all the hormone glands and their secretions.
The pituitary gland is a very small (raisin-sized) gland located in the brain.
When the pituitary gland receives orders from the hypothalamus gland to initiate synthesis of a certain hormone.
The hypothalamus gland oversees homeostasis or appropriate levels of a number of components in the body including hormones and metabolism, to name just two.
The hypothalamus sends out signals as either releasing hormones or inhibiting hormones to the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.
The female ovaries and male testes, both of which control reproductive functions, are affected by luteinizing hormone released by the pituitary, instructing the testes to boost production of testosterone.
It provides a number of other functions other than secondary sex characteristics for boys and men.
It’s responsible for growth spurts, muscle growth, strong bones and more.
In cases where levels are low, men have a number of options but the results will determine course of therapy or treatment.
A free testosterone booster may be recommended, but first, it’s important to get your blood checked.
If you’re concerned about signs or symptoms of low T, your first step should be to schedule a visit with your doctor.
Ask him about ‘average’ levels as well as the amount floating around your bloodstream at any given time during the day.
Levels of “bound” testosterone are highest in the morning. Free T measurements have a great impact on sexual traits.
For example, an adolescent boy entering puberty will have higher levels of free testosterone, but through aging processes those may drop and can eventually contribute to health issues.
What about women? Women also produce the androgen, although in much smaller amounts, by the ovaries.
A woman who has high levels of free testosterone in the bloodstream has an increased risk of being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.
One of the major symptoms of this condition is infertility, a lack of menstruation, and sometimes, hair growth, especially on the face.
Before asking for a free testosterone booster from your doctor or another product over-the-counter, get your blood levels tested.
Just as a blood serum test can measure levels in the blood, a test known as a Free-T Index can determine the amount of unattached or unbound testosterone in the blood.
Men who have been diagnosed or believe they are experiencing low levels of free testosterone experience the same side effects and symptoms as a man who feels a drop in “regular” amounts:
In addition to the Free-T Index test, your doctor may also suggest a number of other tests for a more accurate diagnosis including:
Results are provided in pg/mL or picograms per milliliter.
A normal range is 0.3 to 2 pg per milliliter. Low levels of free testosterone range from 0.1 to 0.3% of an overall testosterone level.
It should be noted however, that such level ranges are an average. A number of conditions can affect the test results such as diabetes or obesity.
The time of day the test is given may also have an effect on overall results.
Even if your results are lower than the average does not necessarily mean you have an issue.
That’s why other tests will be recommended to measure overall hormone levels, production, and function in the body.
Talk to your doctor about how free testosterone levels can affect overall health and wellness.