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Did you know that there are different ‘forms’ of testosterone found in males?
All are important when it comes to providing secondary male sex characteristics as well as in a number of physical, emotional, and mental aspects of health.
So what exactly is free testosterone? In a nutshell, it’s the amount or level that is unattached to proteins. What does it do? How is it different than other forms of the hormone?
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Men produce fairly consistent levels of test from adolescence through middle age.
Women also produce small amounts of the hormone just as men produce small amounts of estrogen, more commonly associated with female hormones.
Both are powerful hormones that provide secondary sex characteristics as well as help to maintain lean body mass, muscle strength, bone strength, and more.
The greatest levels of testosterone in males binds to two different proteins: sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin. Sex hormone binding globulin is a compound that binds androgen and estrogen together.
Androgen and estrogen are sex hormones. SHBG protein is manufactured in the liver and binds to three different sex hormones found in both males and females:
Think of SHBG as the vehicle that transports these hormones through the bloodstream. In a nutshell, sex hormone binding globulin is responsible for controlling levels of T used by body tissues.
Levels of testosterone as well as SHBG fluctuate by age, gender, and health status.
Smaller amounts of test are not bound to proteins and are considered “free”.
Free or un-bonded levels have an impact on how well (or poorly) it functions in the body. That means that a man with low bonded or low levels of free testosterone in the body will feel typically the same symptoms and side effects such as:
Testosterone levels are usually measured with a simple blood test followed by analysis. Free testosterone in the bloodstream is measured with a test known as a Free T Index.
This test measures not only the unattached or “free” levels in the bloodstream, but total levels as well.
Your doctor will take a blood draw just as for a regular or total testosterone blood test, and have the lab analyze it for overall levels.
Test results can vary depending on age, overall physical health, any contributing or coexisting medical issues, illness or disease factors, and so forth.
Free testosterone range levels are measured in picograms per milliliter or pg/mL.
Normal levels in average adults range 0.3 to 2 pg/mL. A low level can range anywhere from 0.1% to 0.3% of the total level.Check out the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels here.
A number of options are available to treat low free testosterone levels.
As a first step, your doctor may recommend a change in diet, increased exercise, or changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking or drinking.
Alcohol consumption in large amounts can contribute to low T levels that affect both types in the bloodstream.
In addition to change in lifestyle and diet, a number of natural, over-the-counter, or prescription treatments are available.
Prescription options include injections or topical application methods such as transdermal patches, creams, lotions, or gels.
Prescription only products are powerful and can initiate a number of side effects in users such as headaches, decreased appetite, skin changes, hair loss, and a decrease in libido as well as shrinking testicles.
Discuss side effects and adverse reactions of treatment therapies carefully with your doctor to weigh options.
Another possible solution for increasing low free testosterone levels is through natural supplements.
A number of herbs and plants have been used for centuries to treat low libido, to increase sex drive, performance, and erectile dysfunction in men.
Just a few of these products include:
Such components found in nature have been used for centuries if not thousands of years.
Many herbal supplements such as green tea or brazil nuts, known as boosters are on the market today to help improve levels of the hormone in men through glandular support, mainly for the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, responsible for overall function, production, synthesis, and increase or decrease of hormone production in the body.
Talk to your doctor about average free testosterone range measurements based on age and what to do if you’re diagnosed with low free testosterone, options are out there.
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