What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that belongs to a class of hormones called Androgens.
Understanding testosterone, what it does and how it functions in the body, is essential for anyone thinking of using steroids.
After all, every single anabolic steroid is a synthetic derivative of testosterone – a modification of it.
That is to say, the chemical structure of testosterone is altered in various ways to generate a new kind of anabolic steroid like Trenbolone, Dianabol and Winstrol.
These new steroids can be classified generally as testosterone analogues.
There are a number of reasons people take it’s enhancing effects for increasing levels of testosterone in the body, here we focus on bodybuilders. Buy Testo-Max online here.
Table of Contents
First, the basic testosterone definition:
It is the principal male sex hormone.
It’s one of the many hormones produced by the endocrine system.
Where is Testosterone produced in males?
Testosterone is manufactured in large amounts by the male testicles (testes).
It is also synthesized in small amounts by women’s ovaries and in very small levels by the adrenal glands of men and women.
Testosterone is known by a lot of names — precursor hormone, parent hormone, progenitor hormone, analogue hormone.
Whatever the name, this male sex hormone is produced in the testes’ Leydig cells.
Levels of testosterone production in the body are controlled by the pituitary gland, known as the master gland because it controls the function, production, and secretions of numerous hormone glands in the body.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, which is a chemical messenger in the body.
These hormones send messages to the various cells and tissues telling them what to do (e.g., heal and repair muscle tissue, grow muscle tissue, carry out a certain function).
The diversity of hormones in the body are what keep the human body’s varied functions regulated and balanced.
Two terms help clarify where testosterone comes from:
As mentioned, endogenous testosterone is manufactured in the testes by the Leydig cells, reputed to be one of the main sources of androgens in males.
Endogenous testosterone is a hormone responsible for male characteristics such as growth of body and facial hair, a deeper voice, sex drive, and ability to achieve and maintain an erection, among others.
The male reproductive organs produce not only testosterone, but the spermatozoa otherwise known as sperm.
The Leydig cells are responsible for the maintenance of male reproductive functions through the production of testosterone.
Adult Leydig cells are more than capable of producing testosterone all by themselves.
This is mentioned because it’s important for bodybuilders and athletes to realize that injecting or otherwise utilizing exogenous testosterone into the body when the body is more than capable of manufacturing its own (and often is), hormone levels may be disrupted.
This disruption can trigger the pituitary gland to send orders to the testes to cease production of endogenous testosterone.
Hormones and hormone functions must be carefully balanced in the body.
Testosterone is important for many reasons, including the growth and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics in men – voice changes, facial and body hair growth, growth of male sex organs, rise in sex function and libido.
These functions and the androgenic effects they generate cannot properly function without adequate levels of testosterone.
The muscle growth promoting effects are noted as being an anabolic effect, not just an androgenic one.
What is anabolic?
It refers to the advancement of bodily tissue growth such as muscle growth.
Anabolic effects occur because of testosterone’s ability to indicate the need for a rise in the protein synthesis rate, or the rate at which the body synthesizes and produces new strands of protein in the muscle tissue.
It’s why men are often more muscular and have a heavier lean bodyweight than women.
Females don’t have a lot of testosterone in their body, producing around 0.25mg of testosterone a day compared to 2.5 to 11mg of testosterone in men.
Estrogen is the main sex hormone in females, which is a steroid but not an anabolic one. Thus, its effects differ to testosterone.
Estrogen helps create a softer tone, allowing for more body fat than men.
Estrogen promotes fat storage in many parts of the body to help with certain female-only roles, such as pregnancy and fetal development.
Women also tend have less muscle mass and are often more susceptible to osteoporosis (bone deterioration).
Women also tend to be shorter than men on average.
The amount of testosterone the body generates depends on an array of factors:
For the most part, males, on average, produce between 50 and 70 milligrams a week.
Testosterone really ramps up during the puberty years.
This increase in testosterone facilitates developmental changes in the male body, providing the groundwork for an array of functions.
Endogenously-produced hormones are used to develop the anabolic steroid derivatives Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and Nandrolone.
Thanks to the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, testosterone converts to DHT.
Nandrolone, on the other hand, is a result of the testosterone/estrogen conversion through aromatization.
Testosterone lays the groundwork for any produced anabolic steroid.
Without it, there would be no Nandrolone or DHT. And, without those, there would be no analogues or other derivatives.
Nandrolone and its popular esterified variant Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate) are popular performance steroids.
Another widely circulated steroid based on Nandrolone is Trenbolone.
DHT-based steroids include Anavar, Winstrol and Primobolan.
Why do strength athletes and bodybuilders seek out testosterone and other Anabolic Androgenic Steroids?
There are many positive effects that testosterone can have on a bodybuilder’s goals.
We are going to cover some of those benefits, as well as the dangers, of injecting supraphysiological levels of testosterone.
We should begin by saying that testosterone isn’t approved for the use of physique enhancement and performance.
At one time, testosterone supplements were used for these purposes. This is what led to the creation of Dianabol, which was solely a performance-enhancing drug.
Researchers synthesized testosterone in the 1930s, capturing the attention of the entire medical community.
One of its first uses was improving performance and physique, but mounting concerns that this constituted cheating and poor sportsmanship, combined with the significant risks of life-altering side effects, caused many countries to outlaw the non-prescription use of testosterone and testosterone derivatives.
Still, improving performance and physique remains one of the main ways anabolic steroids like testosterone are used today by underground communities of athletes and bodybuilders.
According to studies, the average user of anabolic steroids is between the ages of 25 and 35 years of age and is a middle-class, heterosexual male.
They are not competitive bodybuilders or professional athletes. Instead, they are using the anabolic steroids to improve their physique and appearance.
Testosterone is perhaps the only anabolic that is routinely cycled by itself.
All steroids are suppressive of natural testosterone production. To offset this negative influence on the male endocrine system, bodybuilders will virtually always include testosterone as a second compound in a steroid cycle.
Dianabol-only cycles or Winstrol-only cycles are strongly discouraged. At the very least, physique builders will recommend users stack 100 mg of Testosterone a week, which is around the ballpark of Testosterone Replacement Therapy doses.
However, a testosterone-only cycle is very common. The decline in natural testosterone production is already addressed with the use of exogenous testosterone.
We cover this process in more detail in our section on Testosterone’s mechanism of action, but in simple terms, androgens like testosterone create effects in the body by attaching to androgen receptors on target cells.
Hormone receptors are found on the surface of cells or deep within the nucleus of a cell.
When the hormone reaches its “target” it binds to receptors on the target site. Imagine a key that slides into a lock or a car that pulls into a parking space.
After the hormone latches or locks onto the receptor, it sends a message that initiates specific actions in the target cell.
This communicates to the cell that it needs to behave in a certain way.
When the testosterone hormone exerts its action on a muscle cell, that cell will initiate gene transcription, which is the copying and interpreting of a specific DNA sequence.
This sequence tells the cell to start the synthetic and development process of contractile proteins.
This leads to an increase in muscle size and strength.
Simply put, testosterone is the hormone responsible for giving cells the blueprint and instructions they need to do their job.
Testosterone will tell muscle cells that they must create new muscle tissue.
When testosterone acts on muscle cells, it doesn’t just tell the cell to start the development of new muscle cell units like myosin and actin.
The resulting gene transcription also tells the cell to boost its carbohydrate storage capacity.
Fat cells are receptive to androgens like testosterone.
But even as androgens support the breakdown of fat in fat cells, this process is not known to cause any significant fat loss.
It’s been suggested that androgen interaction with fat cell receptors causes an increase in beta-adrenergic receptors.
According to recent 2017 study, these receptors are “critical for weight loss.”
It is understood that testosterone and other anabolic steroids have a part in the regulation of body fat levels, as noted by the increase in body fat levels when androgens and testosterone levels drop.
This is seen with women who don’t have high levels of androgens like men do.
Estrogen, which is the principal hormone in the female body, increases fat storage and promotes and retains body fat in certain areas of the body.
This estrogen related fat gain is also observed in andropause and hypogonadism patients, who see higher body fat storage when testosterone levels are lower.
Bodybuilders and athletes using anabolic steroids tend do draw on various methods to try and control their estrogen levels.
It is understood that when androgen levels increase, the body fat to lean muscle mass disposition converts to a body composition that leads to higher lean muscle mass and a drop in fat mass.
The kidneys is another example where testosterone and related androgens exert themselves.
Testosterone via the receptor interaction tell the kidney cells to produce the EPO hormone (erythropoietin).
This protein hormone then journeys to the bone marrow and tells the body to ramp up its red blood cell production.
When engaging in an anabolic steroid cycle, a performance user will often experience an increase in their red blood cell levels, sometimes referred to as their hemoglobin levels.
Hemoglobin is the protein within the middle of the red blood cells, so the two terms can be used interchangeably. Hemoglobin is where oxygen affixes to red blood cells when they move to the lungs to collect oxygen.
These cells then go to various cells and tissues to give them the oxygen they need to thrive before going back to the lungs for more oxygen that again attaches to the hemoglobin protein.
When there is an increase in hemoglobin levels, it will cause an increase in red blood cell count.
Red blood cells transport oxygen to and through the blood, increasing athletic performance and endurance.
It can also enhance the look of vascularity in lean muscle mass.
Every single anabolic steroid is known to cause this process, known as erythropoiesis.
This is because of their interaction with androgen receptors.
However, the effect on erythropoiesis stimulation will be more dramatic for certain steroids.
Evidence suggests that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and some of its variations may not cause this activity within kidney cells because it metabolizes too quickly into non-active hormones via the 3-alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase chains of enzymes.
These enzymes are seen in copious amounts in both muscle tissue and the kidneys.
The sum of all of this is that Testosterone is used by people who want to improve their athletic potential as well as their physique and performance.
Bodybuilders circulate supraphysiological levels of testosterone to achieve quicker gains in muscle size and strength.
Bodybuilders and other people looking to lose fat will also use testosterone to retain muscle tissue that often breaks down when dieting.
Testosterone is believed to allow a person to reach and even surpass their genetic limits for muscle mass.
Although testosterone is used for medical and non-medical reasons, many people use it for more niche reasons such as enhancing their libido.
Still, most people today use testosterone to boost their muscle mass and improve their physical being and performance.
For the purposes of bodybuilding, injections are widely felt to reign supreme.
For people who are adverse to the frequent and often painful injection schedule of using testosterone for performance and physique, oral forms of testosterone called testosterone undecanoate may be one option.
Oral testosterone formulations like Andriol are said to be better used in the context of medical treatments for low testosterone.
They are far less bioavailable than injectable testosterone, so a bodybuilder has to dose quite a large amount to see any results. 250-400 mg a day is not uncommon with this variation of testosterone.
This can get expensive.
For a product like Restandol Testocaps which cost about $2 per 40 mg capsule, you can see how an 8 week cycle at this dosage would begin to add up.
Some will claim physique and performance results from other testosterone forms like Axiron’s topical formulation. These reports are often met with skepticism by experienced PED-users who say that getting to the circulating levels of testosterone needed to see results is unlikely with topical agents.
Physique builders and athletes spend enormous amounts of time researching where to buy testosterone online.
Because of the strict laws against performance-use of these drugs in the US and many other countries, many turn to the black market.
Countless underground labs (UGLs) have cropped up around the world to service this demand.
As a result, finding gear online is understood to be quite easy.
What is difficult is getting that product delivered without raising red flags with law enforcement.
The other big challenge for bodybuilders is ensuring the product they are purchasing is high quality.
Product that is dirty, broken, expired or padded with filler ingredients can leave a person with money wasted on product that is at best ineffective and at worst harmful to their health.
This wouldn’t be an issue if performance-users could simply pick up testosterone injections from their local pharmacy like they would a bottle of megavitamins.
Pharma-grade testosterone undergoes rigorous inspection, and is heavily regulated to ensure consistency in dosage, sterility and quality.
No such consumer protections exist in the black market, but this is largely where physique builders have to turn if they want to begin cycling these drugs.
Some products seem to be hard at work trying to pass as legitimate pharmaceuticals.
Alpha Pharma in India is an example of this. They offer a form of Testosterone Propionate called TestoRapid in a 100mg/ml dosage that is pretty standard in the human prescription market for testosterone.
However, it is apparent that their product range is addressed to performance-users and not to patients or doctors.
There are also red flags about their manufacturer’s license number and market authorization. For example, they claim to have an approved human-grade license for Equipoise, a steroid that is only approved for animal-use worldwide.
Other UGLs embrace their role as an unregulated provider of testosterone.
British Dragon offers a number of testosterone injection formulations, including a version of Testosterone Enanthate called Testabol Enanthate.
They also offer a version of Testosterone Propionate.
British Dragon was ostensibly shut down during a raid in the late 2000s, so it is unclear whether present-day British Dragon is genuine or simply the wares of opportunists trying to ride on the coat tails of a legendary UGL brand.
There are also testosterone blends manufactured specifically for the PED-user community.
A popular UGL brand of testosterone is Omega Lab’s Super Test, a blend of Testosterone Cypionate, Enanthate and Propionate. It is dosed at 400 mg/ml, which is quite high.
Another UGL testosterone blend is Sustaplex 325 by Axio Labs. It incorporates Testosterone Propionate, Cypionate, Phenylpropionate, Decanoate, and Acetate.
The combination of estered testosterone formulations is said to give the product a steady release window, with the short ester Propionate and Acetate providing the immediate results and the longer esters carrying the results beyond the immediate surge with their slower rates of release.
Bodybuilders also encounter pharmacuetical-grade brands on the black market.
Some are said to be more prone to counterfeit than others.
Agoviron Depot is a product that is popular in the black market because while it is made by a legal pharmacy, it is believed to be seldom counterfeited.
It is a water-based testosterone suspension injection manufactured by Biotika in the Czech Republic.
Under the care and supervision of a medical professional, testosterone injections can be administered with minimal risk.
Performance users are at a greater risk of side effects since they will typically cycle dosages that are higher than what is medically recommended, and they will do so outside of the supervision of a physician.
Testosterone suppression is a chief concern for many physique builders.
This refers to a disruption in the body’s hormonal balance leading to the suppression or even shut-down of endogenous testosterone production.
Symptoms of testosterone suppression closely resemble those of low testosterone.
Other possible side effects of supplementing with testosterone, whether for medical purposes or for bodybuilding, include:
Women who supplement with testosterone are at risk of virilization.
Women might experience development of male characteristics such as increased growth of facial or body hair (hirsutism), cessation of menstruation (amenorrhea) and increased in acne.
Prescription-strength testosterone injection solutions are often purchased from underground labs or black-market resources by bodybuilders and athletes taking testosterone for non-medical reasons.
It bears repeating: there are health risks associated with buying testosterone from the black market that are independent from the regular side effects already associated with injecting this hormone.
Always be aware of the potential for adverse side effects, not only to exogenous testosterone supplementation, but because underground labs may produce testosterone supplements that are contaminated, expired, or contain fillers or other ingredients that can cause a number of side effects and adverse reactions.
Testosterone boosters are recommended instead of synthetic Testosterone injections for performance and athleticism.
Instead of dumping excess amounts of testosterone into the body, these help promote the body’s natural ability to raise testosterone levels on its own.
But how does the body manufacture the testosterone hormone?
The pituitary gland, a tiny, pea-sized gland located deep in the brain, is known as the master gland of the body because it controls and maintains the function of numerous endocrine or hormonal glands in the body.
These include the testes, adrenal glands, and the pancreas, the function of the parathyroid, the thyroid, and the pituitary gland itself.
The pituitary gland is responsible for sending messages to various glands to either increase or decrease manufacture and secretions of certain types of hormones into the body.
The pituitary gland receives these instructions from the hypothalamus.
A number of endocrine glands in the body are controlled by the relationship and hormonal signals between the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, also located in the brain.
This system of interconnected glands is known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-axis (HPA).
When the testes manufacture testosterone, this interaction is said to be influenced by the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular-axis (HPTA).
Levels of testosterone in the body are controlled by the HPTA.
The pituitary gland produces a number of other hormones including:
Growth hormone – This hormone controls not only growth and development but promotes the production of protein. Protein is required by all cells in the body for life. It’s also needed for muscle growth.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – These hormones control a number of reproductive functions including synthesis or production of testosterone.
When levels are low, the hypothalamus kicks into action and releases Gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH, which instructs the pituitary to produce LH and FSH.
The LH and FSH is then released to signal the testes to produce and secret testosterone.
Endocrine glands, like the testes, the ovaries, or the adrenal glands, secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are basically defined as chemical substances that affect specific body activities.
Think of hormones as messengers of sorts that coordinate and control a massive number of activities and functions in the human body.
Hormones, including testosterone, have a powerful effect and influence on the function of major body organs. They have the ability to influence growth and development, sexual characteristics, reproduction, and more.
Hormones like testosterone can impact the way the body stores fluid, energy, and even levels of sugars (glucose) and potassium (salt) in the body. Even very small secretions of a hormone can initiate massive responses in the body.
Therefore, hormones like testosterone can influence other body organs and their functions throughout the body.
Hormones can be divided into three distinct types – peptide, steroid and monoamine.
These all work within a receptor/hormone interface.
While vague, it’s similar to a lock and key – the hormone is the key while the receptor is the lock. Both must be there for an action to take place.
While peptide, monoamine and other non-steroid hormones work in this manner, they attach to and stimulate receptors on the exterior of cells.
How they send signals via the receptors isn’t the same as the steroid hormones.
Non-steroid hormones affix to the receptor on the cell’s surface.
This will activate different proteins and enzymes inside cells to communicate important messages.
The activated proteins in the cell become messengers called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and cyclic AMP (cAMP).
These agents travel inside the cell and prompt the nucleus to initiate a gene transcription.
While this function of prompting gene transcription is the same for non-steroid and steroid hormones, their actions in various stages differ.
The testosterone hormone does not merely affix itself to the surface of the target cell as is the case with peptide hormones.
As noted above, the testosterone hormone itself enters into target cells by means of dispersion via the cellular phospholipid bilayer (the layer that wraps around the cell).
It travels via the cytosol to reach the androgen receptor.
Testosterone then binds to the receptor to create the receptor complex.
The complex, which includes the hormone and bound receptor, travels toward the cell’s nucleus and stimulates certain DNA sequences.
These DNA sequences, called the hormone response element, are uniquely coded to bring about testosterone’s specific effects on the cell.
For instance when it exerts its action on a muscle cell, it precipitates a gene sequence that tells the cell to create myosin and actin, both important units to new muscle cell development.
The interaction of testosterone with the androgen receptors of other cell types will cause a different cellular response. Some of these have been detailed in our section about testosterone and bodybuilding.
As mentioned previously, the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, located in tissues in the scalp, skin and prostate, metabolizes testosterone into DHT.
Dihydrotestosterone is a metabolite of testosterone, and it is stronger and more potent than testosterone.
Like testosterone, DHT is an androgen and a male hormone. It has androgenic properties that influence male sex characteristics.
Elevated levels of dihydrotestosterone can have different effects on men as well as women.
The 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme then works to metabolize and convert DHT into two inactive metabolites:
Both of these hormones are not anabolic in the muscle tissue.
Thus, DHT isn’t anabolic in any amount in the muscle tissue. It is significantly more androgenic than testosterone, yet it does not yield muscle growth.
Biologists and chemists are in agreement that if these chain of enzymes were not in muscle tissue, the effects of DHT would be extreme compared with other anabolic steroids.
The main advantage often cited about this is that the majority of DHT derivatives have chemical changes that let the hormone overcome the inadequacy, allowing the hormone to avoid interacting with the 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme.
This lets the DHT analogue get into the kidney and muscle tissues un-metabolized and affect the cells with potent anabolic action.
Testosterone also affects the androgen receptors in other bodily tissues and cells, such as:
These areas and others like them are called androgen responsive tissues.
This means that these tissues are receptive to androgens in higher amounts compared with other tissues.
The interaction of testosterone in these tissues is what leads to secondary male sex characteristics in puberty, like facial hair and body hair.
The increase in skin oil production causes acne to appear during puberty.
Unwanted hair growth and acne can also occur during anabolic steroid cycles as this activity ushers in supraphysiological amounts of androgens.
The tissues that are androgen responsive are created to be more receptive to DHT, which by way of review is a steroid hormone that arises when testosterone is converted through the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.
In the scalp and skin, the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme is high.
DHT affixes to androgen receptors much more forcefully than testosterone. It’s regarded as a more powerful androgen.
Coarse body hair and enlarged sweat glands in the skin can produce excessive perspiration and offensive body odor.
A man who has the male pattern baldness genetic trait will often lose hair because of the higher androgen levels brought on by the use of steroids that are prone to cause heavy androgenic action.
Testosterone and its powerful metabolite DHT will both affix to the androgen receptors found in the scalp.
This will trigger hair loss in people who have the genetic trait, both men and women.
Bodybuilders claim that people without the gene will not experience any problems.
Reportedly, there are people who use highly androgenic anabolic steroids like Trenbolone on a regular basis who will never lose their hair.
The understanding in circles of physique builders is that testosterone is not the cause of hair loss — hereditary genetics are. The reasoning is that testosterone is only responsible for speeding up a process that exists already.
Following gene transcription, the hormone will disconnect from the receptor.
This causes the receptor complex to break apart. At this point, the testosterone hormone can do one of two things:
This process can take a bit of time, occurring over a period of several hours.
According to observations in various studies, it takes four to six hours for anabolic steroid hormones to distance itself from a cell’s receptor.
These studies have also shown new androgen receptors are developed after the hormone breaks away from the receptor.
It was previously thought that the androgen receptors saturate the body, but it’s now known that this isn’t true.
The research now suggests that the sites of the hormone’s action actually see a rise in androgen presence.
So far, we have detailed what Testosterone does behind the scenes.
We have also touched on how Testosterone impacts the body in ways that promote performance and physique building.
Now we are going to look at some of the other outward forms of testosterone function.
These are ways testosterone influences the body by initiating cell behaviour through the hormone-receptor cycle.
Testosterone, at its most basic function description, controls the development of male sex characteristics and the male reproductive system.
Testosterone also promotes growth during childhood and maintains male sex characteristics during adulthood, including maturation of sperm.
Levels of testosterone in males depends on age. Before puberty, levels are typically low but rise during adolescence.
This increase in testosterone is what encourages larger muscles, a deeper voice, and growth of facial and body hair.
We have already covered some of these, but the common testosterone effects on the body include:
By the time a man reaches 40 years of age, levels of testosterone are typically the highest. After that, levels decline.
The key medical application for synthetic testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and hormone replacement therapy.
Testosterone and its related derivatives are used in a variety of other medical treatments for an array of diseases and conditions.
There are so many uses for testosterone that all of it cannot be covered in a single article. Here is a quick overview of testosterone’s therapeutic applications.
The hormone is well-known for treating:
There’s little doubt that anabolic steroids have become an important fixture in the field of medicine.
Androgenic anabolic steroids have a system effect that may be applied in various ways. Testosterone and anabolic steroids have been used in medicine for more than 70 years.
TRT is a therapy given to people who have less than ideal testosterone production levels for any number of reasons.
This is commonly referred to as hypogonadism, a condition where the testes don’t produce enough testosterone in people for any number of reasons – genetics, disease, or physical injury, for example.
Andropause is the medical term that describes low testosterone levels due to aging.
The problem that men often encounter, is that, as they grow older, testosterone levels begin to decline quickly.
Testosterone levels peak when a man is in his mid-teens, but once he reaches 30, well, it can be all downhill from there in terms of testosterone.
While it is common knowledge that hormone levels do decrease as a body ages, other reasons for low testosterone levels should always be considered, such as illness, disease, or an imbalance of hormones.
Sometimes, this imbalance is caused by individuals injecting testosterone and other drugs into the body to maximize bodybuilding results.
At other times, it could be part of the natural aging process or damage or dysfunction of the pituitary, the hypothalamus, or the testes glands.
Treating both hypogonadism and andropause are the chief reasons for using testosterone in medicine.
This treatment method is simple. The patient supplements with testosterone to raise the level of testosterone in the body back to normal ranges. Most of the people engaging in TRT are andropause patients over 30 years of age.
Though they produce a much smaller amount then men, women too can experience insufficient levels of the hormone.
This can be precipitated by menopause. It can also be a side effect of taking exogenous Estrogen.
“Normal” levels of testosterone are dependent on age, health, and genetics.
Defining a normal range of testosterone for any given individual also takes other factors into consideration such as overall endocrine system health and contributing medical factors.
Before injecting testosterone into the body, especially for non-medical reasons such as bodybuilding, bigger muscles, or enhanced strength and endurance, be aware of averages when it comes to testosterone levels based on age.
For example, the Mayo Clinic defines average testosterone levels as:
The range of testosterone levels will vary from person to person.
Numerous studies have helped shape perceptions of the average testosterone levels for men in each age group. However, these are not “set in stone” numbers and will depend on each person.
Doctors will monitor blood levels, and they will then create a baseline personalized to the patient. Doctors will treat their patients based on their own assessments of the situation.
Still, the average testosterone range fall between 350ng/dl to 850ng/dl.
A person with a testosterone level of 750ng/dl is noted as having a high normal amount of testosterone in the body.
If a person has 430ng/dl of testosterone, they are said to have low normal testosterone levels.
A person with less than 350ng/dl is said to have insufficient testosterone, although some doctors will even go lower than that before they deem a person has low testosterone.
With such a significant range of testosterone, some believe that people with legitimate hypogonadism go undiagnosed as doctors are a bit reluctant to write a prescription for Testosterone.
To determine if the symptoms are the result of low testosterone levels, blood work is usually done.
Since TRT is meant to increase testosterone levels to the normal to high range, symptoms associated with the low testosterone levels can be quickly remedied.
For instance, if testosterone levels exceed 350ng/dl, then a person’s libido and sexual dysfunction are said to get better.
Testosterone levels are generally checked through blood tests and are typically higher in the morning and lower in the evening.
How can you tell if you have low testosterone levels?
A man with low testosterone levels may experience a variety of symptoms such as:
In addition to the physical side effects, a man with low testosterone levels may also experience psychological, mental, and emotional changes including a lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, a lack of motivation, and a decline in self-confidence and self-esteem.
Low testosterone can also lead to other complications.
Low testosterone levels can not only contribute to low sperm count, decreased sex drive, and erectile dysfunction, but have been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Men who have low testosterone are at risk for cardiovascular disease. Two studies, one in 1996 and one in 1999, have shown that TRT can positively alter the cholesterol profiles including decreasing the bad LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol but no changes in good HDL cholesterol.
With TRT, it’s normal for testosterone to attain supraphysiological dose ranges that positively affect cholesterol levels.
When testosterone levels are brought to normal levels, it decreases adipose tissue in the stomach, reduces symptoms of obesity, refines the body’s insulin sensitivity and better regulates the level of blood glucose.
If these recoveries do not occur, it is not uncommon for other complications to crop up like obesity and diabetes, both of which can increase the chances of CVD.
Supplementing testosterone is also held to decrease inflammation with the increase of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and decrease the inflammatory cytokines – IL-6, IL-1beta and TNFalpha.
This will decrease inflammation and protect arterial walls from inflammation’s damaging effects.
Low testosterone might not be the culprit of some of these conditions, but rather poor health contributing to low testosterone levels. Continued studies and analysis of such questions are being assessed through medical research.
Of course, the only way to be sure if you are suffering from low testosterone is to schedule a visit with a physician and get tested.
Men should always resist the urge to self-diagnose and attempt to treat on their own. Even in the best of circumstances — and with a doctor’s careful supervision and guidance — it can be difficult to balance hormone levels.
Stress, lifestyle, and diet may also affect the endocrine system because of its association with the metabolic system. Both of these can have an impact on sexual health and wellness.
In an ideal world, we’d simply be able to tell you that all testosterone is the same, and that you should have X amount of this hormone in your system. Unfortunately, testosterone is a little more complex than that.
Now, when people talk about testosterone, you’ll often hear them talking about: Free, bound, and total.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different technical terms:
Total testosterone — Total testosterone, or total T as is it sometimes called, is basically as the name implies — the total amount of testosterone making its way around your system.
Whether it is free, or bound, any form of testosterone in the body will fall under the ‘total’ category.
Bound testosterone — In the body, you will find that the vast majority of testosterone in your system is known as being ‘bound testosterone’.
Bound testosterone will primarily bind itself to what is known as SHBG, or Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, which you may hear being referred to simply as ‘testosterone-binding globulin’.
It is a protein that attaches to sex hormones and prevents them from doing their job.
Testosterone bound with SHBG becomes inactive. SHBG sticks to the hormone and the hormone then floats in the bloodstream unable to do anything.
Around 60 – 65% of testosterone in the body is bound to SHBG.
Less frequently, testosterone will also bind itself to albumin. In the body, around 30 – 35% of bound testosterone binds itself to albumin.
Free testosterone – Finally, we have free testosterone. Free testosterone is the lone wolf of the testosterone world. In fact, only around 2% of testosterone in your system is free.
Free testosterone and total testosterone are not the same. Free testosterone isn’t bound by sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
In the past, experts believed that free testosterone was the only true bio-active testosterone in the body, but studies have now found that testosterone bound to albumin is also bio-active, as, within the capillary bed, it can disassociate itself freely and can therefore be easily absorbed by various tissues and cells within the body.
Now, because of this, technically any testosterone that is not bound to SHBG, is considered to be readily bio-available.
Now that we understand the different forms of T, we’ll now look at what is considered a normal level of T, what is low, and what is considered to be high.
In men, age is a huge factor when it comes to testosterone, because in reality, once men reach 20, their T levels slowly decline with each passing year.
Generally speaking however, normal T levels are considered to be between 270 ng/dL and 1070 ng/dL.
So, anything below 270 ng/dL is considered to be low, and anything above 1070 – 1100 ng/dL is considered to be high.
What can be done to address low testosterone levels?
As you can see from the above, suffering with low testosterone levels is no joke.
It certainly does not make life particularly pleasant.
The good news is that there are things you can do to address a low testosterone level.
If an extreme deficit in testosterone is discovered by a medical professional, testosterone replacement therapy may be prescribed by your doctor.
TRT can help bring back normal physiological levels to improve the body’s functions on a cellular level. TRT is reported to improve energy through increases in red blood count, recover muscle mass, and improve feelings of overall well-being.
Testosterone also affects bone density.
Testosterone Enanthate injections taken at 250mg a day every 21 days has been shown to increase bone mineral density by five percent after six months in a 2003 study.
One form of TRT is basically an intramuscular injection of synthetic testosterone, which is simply injected via your doctor, into your buttocks, every 14 – 21 days.
There are also testosterone patches that can be applied to the skin in various parts of your body every day.
A number of testosterone treatment and therapy options are available: topical creams and ointments, oral tablets or pills, pellets, and injection forms.
Some doctors prescribe testosterone pellets to address low testosterone in men. This treatment comes in the form of pellets that are injected into the body.
They are an attractive option because they release a steady amount of hormone, helping the patient avoid complications and unpleasantness due to fluctuating levels.
Testosterone creams and gels like Testim Gel absorb through the skin into the fine capillaries underneath.
Axiron is a topical form of testosterone applied through swiping the underarm. Swiping each underarm is said to introduce 60 mg of testosterone to the body (30 mg per swipe).
There are often coupons out there for generic versions of Axiron and other testosterone products that are applied topically.
There are also prescription-strength creams on the market that are commonly applied to the upper arms, shoulders and thighs.
These topical treatments allow patients to forgo shots, but testosterone injections are thought to be the most effective because of the immediacy of their delivery into the bloodstream.
When deciding whether to buy testosterone supplements or injections, it’s recommended that you visit your health care provider first. A blood test can definitively analyze normal testosterone levels based on age, weight, and health status.
There are of course, risks associated with TRT, so it is always best to consult your doctor and discuss your options.
Too much testosterone in the bloodstream can lead to side effects and adverse reactions, so caution is always advised when it comes to hormonal supplements.
Ask your doctor what testosterone can do for you (or not) to determine whether you need a boost.
Safety considerations with each form of application should be observed.
TRT does carry the risk of certain side effects, the same side effects that are possible with performance-level doses of testosterone for physique enhancement and strength building.
Some potential side effects include:
The problem is believed to stem from genetics and age. In a 2001 study, men ages 18 to 35 years of age used supraphysiological testosterone at 600mg a week for 20 weeks and suffered no ill effects on the prostate-specific antigen.
Many people think DHT and related androgens cause prostate cancer.
While they can further its development, it is generally understood that this is true only if other conditions are present that lead to prostate cancer.
Men who have been diagnosed with or have prostate cancer are advised not to use testosterone or any anabolic steroid.
If levels are marginally low, there are herbal supplements such as Tribulus Terrestris that are taken to boost testosterone.
You can also increase your intake of Vitamin D, as this too has been observed to help.
Losing body fat can be beneficial as this will reduce levels of aromatase enzyme which convert testosterone into estrogen. Lifting weights and increasing muscle mass will help to boost T levels naturally as well.
A healthy lifestyle of regular, high-intensity compound exercise and a rich diet of healthy fats and proteins are regarded as the most effective route to naturally improving testosterone levels.
There are products on the market that are non-prescription and contain proprietary blends of ingredients that are thought to promote endogenous testosterone production.
To these products, we now turn.
Testosterone Boosters are products sold over-the-counter that promise to support moderate lifts in natural testosterone production.
So, if the body produces its own testosterone hormone, why would someone want to take a testosterone supplement?
Well for one, we have seen hormone production decreases and can have an impact on reproductive hormones as men age.
In certain cases, a man’s testosterone levels will not be deemed low enough to require TRT. These men may seek out a Testosterone Booster in the hopes of gaining a modest improvement in hormone levels.
Other men want to harness the benefits of testosterone to help them crush their workout goals without the legal risks and health dangers associated with black market testosterone injections.
Testosterone not only aids in the maturation of sperm and the development of reproductive organs, but also encourages muscle growth, strength, stamina, and endurance, among other functions.
Testosterone Boosters like Testoplex do not contain real testosterone. They contain legal, safe ingredients that are taken to raise testosterone levels.
Testosterone boosters or supplements available over-the-counter are designed to promote HPTA health and wellness.
The importance of the glands collected under the HPTA and their functions should not be underestimated when it comes to increasing levels of testosterone or maintaining the health of other hormones glands and hormone levels in the body.
A robust endocrine system can promote increased levels of testosterone production and secretion.
The best testosterone boosters will contain herbal and nutritional components that provide support to the pituitary gland and other glands of the endocrine system to help maintain optimal balances.
Ingredients to look for include amino acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and ginseng. Of course, milligram strength of ingredients and dosage recommendations can also have an influence on testosterone booster efficacy.
Testosterone boosters usually come on the form of pills or tablets, but they can also be found in the form of drops.
Not all testosterone supplements are created equal. The form of the testosterone in any testosterone booster/supplement is also an important consideration.
Some components of testosterone tablets may be broken down and left relatively ineffective following digestive processes.
Too much of a good thing can be detrimental to health.
Testosterone is a potent hormone that can affect and disrupt a number of organ and body system functions.
Such cases are especially true when individuals are diagnosed with metabolic conditions such as diabetes. Obesity, any form of heart disease, or a chronic illness can also have a negative influence in combination with testosterone in any form.
The side effect of suppressing or shutting down endogenous testosterone production is common to all anabolic steroids, including Testosterone.
This will virtually always occur when bodybuilders inject performance-level doses, which far exceed medical recommendations.
By doing this, performance users flood their bodies with androgens. The presence of excess androgens leads the HPTA to conclude that the body has enough testosterone.
When the HPTA senses that testosterone levels are adequate (as can occur with exogenous testosterone), it signals the testes to scale down or cease production of the hormone.
Abuse of testosterone, whether for performance or for self-medication, can cause a total and permanent shutdown of proper endocrine system function.
Negative effects arising from insufficient testosterone in the body can include:
After a steroid cycle ends, most bodybuilders take the precaution of running a thorough Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) protocol.
In a PCT protocol, ancillary compound like HCG and Nolvadex are used to expedite the stabilization of the HPTA and, by extension, the natural production of endogenous testosterone.
PCT programs typically last for 4-6 weeks. Bodybuilders warn that when a Testosterone Propionate user fails to run a thorough PCT program, his HPTA can be permanently damaged and lead to hypogonadism.
Use caution when considering use of testosterone for non-medical reasons. In most cases, the potential testosterone side effects and adverse reactions more than outweigh benefits.Alcohol TestosteroneAnabolic TestosteroneBenefits of TestosteroneBest Testosterone Boosting SupplementsBest Testosterone StackBest Testosterone SteroidBest Time Day Take TestosteroneBioavailable TestosteroneBioidentical TestosteroneDHT and TestosteroneEffects of TestosteroneExogenous TestosteroneFunction of TestosteroneIs Testosterone SafeSynthetic TestosteroneTestosteroneTestosterone AlternativesTestosterone BlendTestosterone DeficiencyTestosterone Detection TimeTestosterone DosageTestosterone DropsTestosterone Half LifeTestosterone Side EffectsTestosterone SuppressionTypes of Testosterone