Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in male health and well-being. Low testosterone levels can lead to infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression, and other serious conditions (7). Testosterone replacement therapy has also been shown to help with some of these conditions by increasing levels of this hormone in the blood. However, it should be noted that this type of treatment does have its drawbacks as well – for example, it may increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer or heart disease (7). In order to find out more about testosterone levels by age, we need to look at the importance of healthy testosterone levels, and what factors might influence variations in testosterone levels.
Why Do You Need Good Testosterone Levels?
Like most hormones, testosterone performs various functions.
For men, it (16):
- Helps maintain muscle mass and bone density
- Regulates mood and energy levels
- Helps maintain sex drive and fertility
- Plays a role in red blood cell production
- Promotes growth of body and facial hair
- Regulates sperm production
- Plays a role in fat distribution
For women it (10):
- Regulates mood and energy levels
- Helps maintain sex drive and fertility
- Plays a role in red blood cell production
- Promotes growth of body hair
- Regulates menstrual cycles
- Promotes normal fetal development during pregnancy
- Promotes bone health
There are a number of reasons why it is important for both men and women to have healthy testosterone levels.
As we can see, the hormone plays a role in a range of bodily functions, many of which are essential for overall health and well-being. Low testosterone levels can have a significant impact on quality of life, so it is important to do what we can to maintain healthy levels of this hormone.
What Are The Normal Testosterone Levels By Age?
A testosterone level of at least 300 ng/dL is considered healthy in males, according to American Urologist Association (AUA) recommendations. A man with a testosterone level under 300 ng/dL would be diagnosed as low testosterone (4).
According to Mayo Clinic Laboratories, average testosterone levels for women ages 19 and over range from 8 to 60 ng/dL (15).
According to one endocrinology study, the average testosterone levels by age for men are (9):
- 75-400 ng/dL: Testosterone levels for male babies in the first couple of months
- 7-130 ng/dL: Testosterone levels for boys at 10-11 years old
- 7-800 ng/dL: Testosterone levels for boys in their early teens
- 300-1,200 ng/dL: Testosterone levels for boys in their late teens
- 252–916 ng/dL: Testosterone levels of men in their 40s
- 215–878 ng/dL: Testosterone levels of men in their 50s
- 196–859 ng/dL: Testosterone levels of men in their 60s
- 156–819 ng/dL: Testosterone levels of men in their 70s
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Testosterone?
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lower muscle mass
- Moody and irritable behavior
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
Some of these symptoms, such as hair loss and fatigue, can also be caused by other health conditions (7). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor and get your testosterone levels checked and to rule out other causes.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Testosterone Levels?
A woman’s estrogen levels drop during menopause, which can in turn cause a relative increase in testosterone levels. This can lead to a number of symptoms, including (11):
- Changes in body hair distribution
- Increased muscle mass
- Difficulty losing weight
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
- Mood swings
What Factors Influence Testosterone Levels?
There are a number of factors that can influence testosterone levels in men and women. Some of these are:
Studies have shown that obese individuals tend to have lower testosterone levels than those who are a healthy weight. This may be because obesity can lead to inflammation, which interferes with normal hormone metabolism (12).
Stress can also have a negative impact on testosterone levels. When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol – a hormone that can interfere with testosterone production (12).
Smoking is also thought to lower testosterone levels in men and women. This is likely because smoking can damage the cells that produce testosterone (12).
Heavy drinking can also lower testosterone levels. Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to produce hormones, including testosterone (1).
Some medications can also interfere with testosterone production. For example, certain types of antidepressants can reduce testosterone levels (2).
Certain medical conditions can also influence testosterone levels. For example, thyroid disorders and diabetes can interfere with hormone production (12).
How Can You Maintain Healthy Testosterone Levels?
There are a number of things you can do to help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. This is because obesity and being overweight can lead to an increase in estrogen levels, which can suppress testosterone production (12).
Additionally, carrying too much body fat can also lead to an increase in aromatase enzyme activity.
Aromatase is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, so the more aromatase activity that takes place, the more estrogen that will be produced. This can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels and a host of negative health consequences (12).
There are a number of ways that you can maintain a healthy weight and keep your testosterone levels in check. One way is to make sure that you are getting enough exercise. Exercise helps to burn off excess body fat and helps keep your metabolism functioning optimally.
Additionally, make sure that you are eating a balanced diet that is rich in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Avoid eating ultra processed foods and sugary snacks, as these can lead to weight gain.
If you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight, you may want to seek the help of a nutritionist or dietitian. They can help you develop a healthy eating plan that is tailored to your specific needs and helps you reach your weight loss goals.
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Eat More Testosterone Boosting Foods
There are many foods which are believed to boost testosterone that you can add to your diet in order to potentially help increase your levels of the hormone. Most of these have little scientific evidence behind them, but as long as you don;t have an allergy or intolerance, it won’t hurt to give them a try. Some of these foods include (3):
- Oysters: Oysters are a great source of zinc, which is essential for testosterone production.
- Garlic: Garlic is a potent herb that has been shown to boost testosterone levels in animals.
- Pomegranates: Pomegranates are a rich source of antioxidants, which might help improve testosterone production.
- Bananas: Bananas are a good source of potassium, which is necessary for healthy testosterone levels.
- Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are high in selenium, which is important for testosterone production.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat that might help boost testosterone levels.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and magnesium, both of which are necessary for optimal testosterone production.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants and can help protect testosterone-producing cells.
- Grapes: Grapes are a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that has been shown to boost testosterone levels in animals.
Adding these testosterone boosting foods to your diet is an easy way to potentially improve your hormone levels and help optimize your health.
Manage Your Stress Levels
There is a strong correlation between stress and testosterone levels.
When you are feeling stressed, your body produces cortisol, which signals the body to produce less testosterone. This can have a negative impact on your overall health, including your weight, libido, energy levels, and mood (6).
Here are some tips for how to lower stress and manage testosterone levels:
Identify Your Stressors And Develop Strategies To Manage Them
The first step is to identify what is causing you stress. This can be anything from work-related pressure to family dynamics to financial concerns.
Once you know what your stressors are, you can start developing strategies to manage them. This may include things like setting aside time for yourself each day to relax, delegating tasks to others, or budgeting your money more carefully.
Exercise is a great way to manage stress and boost testosterone levels. Not only does it help you release pent-up energy and tension, but it also releases mood-boosting endorphins. In fact, research has shown that regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels (14).
Eat A Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential for maintaining your health and managing stress levels.
Eating nutrient-rich foods helps your body to function at its best, both physically and emotionally. In addition, avoiding ultra processed foods and sugary drinks can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is critical for managing stress and maintaining your health. When you are chronically tired, it can be difficult to manage stressors effectively. Aim to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night (5).
Practice Relaxation Techniques
There are many different relaxation techniques that can help you manage stress. Some popular methods include yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and aromatherapy. Choose the technique that works best for you and make time for it each day.
Connect With Loved Ones
Spending time with loved ones can help to reduce stress and promote positive emotions. Whether you stay in touch via text, social media, or in person, quality time spent with those you care about is crucial for maintaining your health and well-being.
Spend More Time In The Sun
There are a few reasons why spending time in the sun can help boost testosterone levels.
The sun helps the body to produce vitamin D, which is known to play a role in testosterone production. Additionally, exposure to sunlight may help to reduce stress levels, which can also impact testosterone production (13).
Finally, sun exposure may help to improve mood and overall well-being, both of which can contribute to higher testosterone levels (13).
There are a few ways that you can get more sun exposure and boost your testosterone levels.
One way is to spend time outdoors in nature, where you will be exposed to sunlight and other natural elements. Just make sure you are wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. You can also try using a sun lamp or spending time in a sauna, both of which will provide you with some sun exposure. Finally, you can also take a vitamin D supplement to help ensure that you are getting enough of this important nutrient.
Try Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone therapy is a type of hormone therapy that involves the use of testosterone to treat problems caused by low levels of testosterone in the body. It is used to help treat conditions such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and osteoporosis (7).
There are both pros and cons to using testosterone replacement therapy.
There are a number of pros to using testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy can help improve sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and infertility (7).
Testosterone replacement therapy can also help increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. Additionally, testosterone replacement therapy can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures (7).
There are also a number of cons to using testosterone replacement therapy.
It can cause acne, baldness, and increased body hair. Testosterone replacement therapy can also increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Additionally, testosterone replacement therapy can cause mood swings and irritability (7).
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Right For You?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Whether or not testosterone replacement therapy is right for you depends on your individual situation and health condition. It is important to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testosterone replacement therapy before making a decision.
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The Bottom Line
Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help boost your testosterone levels and improve your overall health and well-being.
Spending time in the sun, practicing relaxation techniques, and eating a healthy diet are all great ways to get started. Additionally, you may want to consider using testosterone replacement therapy if you have clinically low testosterone levels. Talk to your doctor about what is the best option for you.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Alcohol and the Male Reproductive System (n.d., nih.gov)
- Antidepressants’ effects on testosterone and estrogens: What do we know? (2021, pubmed.gov)
- A Review of foods and food supplements increasing testosterone levels (2020, jomh.org)
- Evaluation and Management of Testosterone Deficiency (2018) (2018, auanet.org)
- How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? (2021, sleepfoundation.org)
- Relationship between circulating cortisol and testosterone: influence of physical exercise (2005, pubmed.gov)
- Review of health risks of low testosterone and testosterone administration (2015, nih.gov)
- Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something? (2017, nih.gov)
- Testosterone, aging, and the mind (2008, harvard.edu)
- Testosterone in women–the clinical significance (2015, pubmed.gov)
- Testosterone – What It Does And Doesn’t Do (2019, harvard.edu)
- The many faces of testosterone (2007, nih.gov)
- The risks and benefits of sun exposure (2016, nih.gov)
- The Role of Exercise in Stress Management (2013, lww.com)
- TTFB – Overview: Testosterone, Total, Bioavailable, and Free, Serum (n.d., mayocliniclabs.com)
- Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men (2013, nih.gov)