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Optimize Your Testosterone



Table of Contents What Is Testosterone and How Does It Work


What Is Testosterone and How Does It Work

? (Excerpts from: Testosterone: A Man’s Guide)

estosterone is synthesized from cholesterol,

in spite of its bad reputation,

is an essential biochemical building block for many hormones and nervous-system molecules

It is the hormone responsible for normal growth and development and maintenance of male sex characteristics

It also affects lean body mass,

mood and sexual function in both males and females

It is the primary androgenic (responsible for masculine characteristics) and anabolic (muscle building) hormone

Testosterone is produced by the testicles in males and by the ovaries in females,

with small amounts also produced by the adrenal glands in both genders

Its production and secretion are regulated by other hormones in a hormonal cascade

The hormonal and reproductive function of the testicles (gonads) is regulated through interactions among the hypothalamus,

and the gonads (commonly known as the hypothalamic- pituitary-gonadal axis [HPGA])

The three glands communicate through a cascade of hormones and a self-regulating feedback loop that controls the generation of each hormone

Release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus regulates secretion of other hormones (gonadotropins) that influence the testicles by way of the pituitary

GnRH controls the secretion of two gonadotropin hormones- luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)- by the anterior pituitary

Luteinizing hormone regulates the production and secretion of testosterone through the Leydig cells of the testes,

while FSH stimulates the production of sperm


When someone is found to have low testosterone blood levels this is known as “hypogonadism” There are several types of hypogonadism: •

Primary hypogonadism is a hypergonadotropic condition (higher than normal levels of LH and FSH)

This occurs when the testicles fail to produce sufficient levels of testosterone to suppress produc- tion of LH and FSH

As a result,

LH and FSH levels are elevated while testosterone levels are decreased

The pituitary gland tries to increase testosterone at no avail even after increasing LH and FSH

Secondary hypogonadism results from hypothalamic or pituitary dysfunction

It is characterized by disruption of central components of the HPGA resulting in decreased levels of GnRH,

In this type of hypogonadism,

low levels of LH do not allow for the proper stimulation of the production of testosterone by the testes


Mixed hypogonadism results from a combination of primary and secondary causes

The most common cause of mixed hypogonadism is late-onset hypogonadism,

This is associated with osteoporosis,

fatigue and impairment of libido and erectile function

Other causes of mixed hypogonadism include alcoholism,

and medications like corticosteroid steroids used for inflammatory conditions

It should be noted that high levels of cortisol (hypercortisolism),

resulting from either the use of anti-inflammatory steroids or physical causes,

For more information on testosterone basics,



Testosterone Metabolites

estosterone can convert into other hormones and metabolites

The process in which testosterone is converted into estrogen (a female hormone) by the aromatase enzyme is known as “aromatization”

Males with high body fat,

males taking certain medications,

males with sex chromosome genetic conditions such as Klinefelters Syndrome or males with a genetic disposition to having higher than normal amounts of aromatase may experience higher con- version of testosterone into estrogen

Estrogen blood levels are usually measured by detecting estradiol,

Estrogen is a very important hormone for men at the right concentration

It plays an important role in bone,

and brain health as well as other functions in men

Large amounts of estrogen can cause mood swings,

enlarged breasts (gynecomastia),

Another metabolite of testosterone is dihydrotestosterone (DHT)

DHT has a positive effect on sexual desire but increases the production of excess skin oil,

it is important to monitor and determine the proper dosage of testosterone so that estradiol and DHT are kept within reference ranges needed for healthy body function as well as to prevent unwanted side effects of TRT

Testosterone Metabolites and Their Functions


Testosterone Fractions

bout 2 to 4 percent of the testosterone in the body is active

This “free testosterone” is not attached to binding proteins that would prevent it from interacting with its receptor

About 40 percent of the body’s testosterone is attached to albumin

This is a protein that can release the hormone as the need for it arises in the body

Free testosterone and testosterone attached to albumin are referred to as “bioavailable testosterone”

Testosterone Fractions in the Blood

In a healthy young male,

about 60 percent of his testosterone is attached to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)

Hormones bound to SHBG can’t be used by the body and lose their anabolic effect

As males grow older or if illness is present,

SHBG sweeps up more and more testosterone,

lowering free testosterone and its benefits

Total testosterone is the sum of bioavailable testosterone and testosterone bound to SHBG

Measuring just the total testosterone in the blood may not provide the whole picture and let you know how much “active” or usable testosterone you have


Normal Level of Testosterone

he normal levels of combined bound and free testosterones in male bodies can range anywhere from 300 to 1,100 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter)

Levels will vary with age and individual factors

It is useful to also measure the level of free testosterone as this may be more indicative of how hormone therapy is progressing

Levels of free testosterone can range between 0

with above 2 percent considered an optimal level

Higher than normal testosterone (i

above 1,100 ng/dL of total testosterone) can cause hair loss,

mania in those with bipolar disorder,

increased aggression and hypersexual behavior,

potential prostatic inflammation in older men,

increases in the bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein [LDL]),

and decreases in the good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein [HDL])

Like everything in life,

Too much of a good thing can be detrimental

Proper monitoring by an experienced physician is extremely important to ensure optimal levels of testosterone,

to maximize benefits and to minimize side effects

What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone (Deficiency)

hypogonadism is the medical term for the con- dition in males that is caused when the body is not producing sufficient amounts of testosterone

What most people don’t realize is that in addition to sexual desire,

testosterone also affects lean body mass,

and other important factors in both males and females

Common complaints for men with hypogonadism include: lower sexual desire (libido),

erectile dysfunction (softer erections or lack of erections),

changes in body composition (lower lean body mass and higher abdominal fat),


reductions in body and facial hair,

less mental focus and decreased height and osteoporosis (decrease in bone density)

Normalizing testosterone in people who have lower than normal levels has dramatic benefits,

among which are increased sexual desire,


these benefits can be erased if proper monitoring,

and appropriate choice of testosterone replacement option are not accomplished

Restored sexual desire

Improved erectile function

Improved mood/ sense of wellbeing

Increased lean body mass,

Improved bone density

Decreased fat mass

Determining If You Have Testosterone Deficiency In addition to blood tests and physical examination,

a brief screening instru- ment has also been developed by researchers at St

Louis University to aid in the diagnosis of hypogonadism

Known as the Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (ADAM) questionnaire:  Do you have a decrease in sex drive

?  Have you experienced a decrease in strength and/or endurance

? (Lower bone density can decrease height

)  Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment of life

?  Are you sad and/or grumpy

?  Are your erections less strong or gone

?  Has it been more difficult to maintain your erection throughout sexual intercourse


 Are you falling asleep after dinner

?  Has your work performance deteriorated recently

? If you answered Yes to number 1 or 7 or if you answer Yes to more than 3 questions,

Other questions that are usually not asked by doctors,

but which I’ve found to be important are the following: •

Are you relating well with people around you

Are you loving to your lover or life partner

Are you able to pay attention when someone talks to you

In my life low testosterone caused problems that went far beyond sex and my body

It affected the way that I related to people and my ability to handle stress at work and in life

Note that several of the above-mentioned problems can be caused by many other issues unrelated to low testosterone


medications and/or sleep disorders can cause nine of those 10 symptoms (decrease in height would be the only item unrelated to anything but bone loss or back surgery)

This questionnaire is not a perfect predictor of low testosterone and should not replace tests for testosterone blood levels

The benefit of this questionnaire is that it may encourage some men to seek medical advice

Then they can get their testosterone checked and have a physical examination to help determine whether they are indeed hypogonadal

Causes of Testosterone Deficiency As discussed before,

hypogonadism is caused when the testicles fail to pro- duce normal levels of testosterone

In one type of hypogonadism,

In another,

there is not enough secretion of LH and FSH needed to tell the testicles to produce needed testosterone


Some commonly used medications such as Megace (an appetite stimulant),

Nizoral (an antifungal agent),

Prednisone (an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid) and Tagamet (an antacid) can also lower testosterone production

Illness and aging can cause a decrease in testosterone and/ or an increase in sex hormone biding globulin (SHBG)

Furthermore,high prolactin hormone levels may suggest a pituitary tumor that may be causing a decrease in testosterone production

It is important that your doctor measure hormones in the HPGA cascade to diagnose what kind of hypogonadism you have

The most common kind of hypogonadism presents low testosterone with normal or elevated FSH and LH levels,

which indicates that your testicles are not responding to the signals of both LH and FSH

This is what is called primary hypogonadism

There are several reasons that testosterone levels may be low: •

Too much testosterone is being converted into estrogen through the activity of the aromatase enzyme,

and/or the liver is failing to remove excess estrogen

This could be caused by heavy alcohol intake or the effect of some medications on estrogen clearance in the liver

Too much free testosterone is being bound by SHBG

This would be especially apparent if a male’s total testosterone level is in the high reference range but his free testosterone (unbound) level is low

As previously mentioned,

aging and illness increase SHBG

The pituitary gland,

which controls testosterone production through the production of LH,

is not secreting enough LH to stimulate production of testosterone by the testicles

In this case,

total testosterone would be low

The hypothalamus is not functioning properly

LH levels of less than 2 ng/mL suggest a lesion in this part of the HPGA

The testicles have lost their ability to produce testosterone,

despite adequate amounts of LH

In this case,

the level of LH would be high (greater than 10 ng/mL) despite a low testosterone level

Disease or infections

Street drugs,

prescription or over-the-counter medications (more on this later)


Lab error

High prolactin levels,

which may indicate the presence of a pituitary tumor that impairs production of hormones that tell your testicles to produce testosterone (rare condition but worth mentioning

Defects in genes that affect LH and FSH production (caused by genetic mutations)

Low or high thyroid hormones

Obesity and sleep apnea

Diagnosis of Testosterone Deficiency Lab work will play an important role in diagnosing hypogonadism

Your doctor will likely check your total testosterone and your free testosterone levels

There are some things you should know about these tests,

including what they represent and when they should be done

For more information on required blood work,

A “normal” total testosterone scale from most laboratories is generally between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL for men and between 25 and 90 ng/dL for women

The normal range from most laboratories for free testosterone usually is between 3

09 and 1

Table 2 shows the reference ranges for free testosterone according to age in men

As mentioned earlier,

free testosterone is not bound to blood carrier proteins,

so it is “free” to diffuse readily into cells where it signals them to adjust their activity

Some studies report that free testosterone may be a better indicator for quality of life and lean body mass,

but there are some conflicting studies on this issue

Since aging and illness can increase SHBG,

which can attach to testosterone to impair its effectiveness,

it becomes more important to test for free testosterone if you are older or being challenged by illness

Measures of free testosterone are controversial

The only standardized and validated method is equilibrium dialysis or by calculating free testosterone levels based on separate


measurements of testosterone and SHBG

Other measures of free testosterone are less accurate

make sure your doctor is using either one of these methods

Testosterone decreases as we age

This decline is due to many factors that get in the way of retaining a healthy testosterone blood level

Among them are inflammatory states caused by being overweight,

alcohol and street drug abuse,

and problems with how the body uses carbohydrates for energy (due to impaired function of the blood sugar controlling hormone insulin)

Some experts also think that our own bodies are slowly turning down their engines to get ready for a slower pace and eventual death


many physicians in the aging field have now begun to believe that we can grow older while keeping our strength,

and cognitive function so that we have more “disability-free” years

Testosterone levels can vary throughout the day

Young and adult men tend to have higher testosterone levels in the morning than in the evening

This variation is less evident as men age,

This fact may explain why it’s not uncommon for men to have morning erections

Some physicians recommend doing hormone testing in the morning on an empty stomach,

as many things can affect free testosterone measurements,

Elevated insulin caused by eating carbohydrates,

can increase free testosterone levels by reducing plasma levels of SHBG

Some doctors tend to test this hormone in the late afternoon since the levels may be lower then

In my opinion,

it is not practical to restrict testing of this hormone to early morning times and in a fasting state since intraday fluctuations are not that great in men over 30 and it may be equal to laboratory variability

Normal values may vary from lab to lab depending on what reference range they use

Your doctor will have your test results in one to two days

Depending on the country,

ranges are in nanograms per deciliter (usually in the United States) or nanomoles per liter (Europe and other countries)

The conversion factor is: Testosterone in ng/dL × 0


Normal values may vary from lab to lab depending on what reference range they use

Your doctor will have your test results in one to two days

Depending on the country,

ranges are in nanograms per deciliter (usually in the United States) or nanomoles per liter (Europe and other countries)

The conversion factor is:

Total Testosterone for Males Age 7 months to 9 years

Less than 30 ng/dL (< 1

04 nmol/L)


48 nmol/L)


74 nmol/L)


66 nmol/L)


48 nmol/L)



98 nmol/L)

Reference Intervals for Free Testosterone (free is about 2-4 percent of total) Age 20–29 years old

1 pg/mL

5 pg/mL

0 pg/mL


How To Increase Testosterone Naturally

nutritional and other factors that can increase testosterone production by testicles in men

The degree of this increase has not been clearly quantified,

but there is evidence that the following can help

Some men may require additional testosterone replacement therapy to increase blood levels of total testosterone above the 500 ng/dL that usually enables a man to feel testosterone's benefits (improved sex drive,

Sleep well

At least 7


Moderate alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks a day


Exercise for an hour,

Do not over train since this can decrease testosterone


Lower stress

Learn breathing exercises and set your phone up for alerts every 2 hours to remind you to take a deep breath


Some men may be deficient in zinc

Zinc is needed for proper testosterone production


Do not wear tight underwear

Let your testicles hang and cool off since high temperatures can affect sperm quality

Sleep in boxers or naked if you can to allow nocturnal blood flow and erections to your penis

It is nature's way to feed and regenerate your penis' tissues


Lose weight if overweight

Probably the most effective way to increase testosterone


Avoid pesticide exposure and do not heat up your food in plastic containers

Toxins can increase the conversion of testosterone to estradiol,


Have sex or masturbate

People who do tend to have higher testosterone

Even the use of Viagra has been associated with increased testosterone


Be aware that certain medications can decrease testosterone

These drugs include Ketoconazole,

prednisone and corticoid steroids,






and other street drugs can also decrease testosterone





If after all these changes your blood level of total testosterone is not above 400-500 ng/dL and you have symptoms of testosterone deficiency (lack of sex drive,

you may need to talk to your doctor about prescription options to increase your testosterone

For a review of options,

read Testosterone: A Man's Guide


Testosterone Replacement Treatment Options

or men who have tried to increase their testosterone naturally and still cannot get their testosterone over 450 ng/mL,

this information may be useful:

How Long Does Testosterone Take To Show Effects

? A published review of studies attempted to determine,

the timecourse of the effects induced by testosterone replacement therapy from their first manifestation until maximum effects are attained

This review found that: •

Effects on sexual interest appear after 3 weeks plateauing at 6 weeks,

Changes in erections/ejaculations may require up to 6 months

Effects on quality of life manifest within 3-4 weeks,

but maximum benefits take longer

Effects on depressive mood appear after 3-6 weeks with a maximum after 18-30 weeks

First effects on erythropoiesis (increased red blood cells) after 3 months,

Prostate specific antigen and volume rise,

further increase related to aging rather than therapy

Effects on lipids appear after 4 weeks,

Insulin sensitivity may improve within few days,

but effects on glycemic control become evident only after 3-12 months


Changes in fat mass,

lean body mass and muscle strength occur within 12-16 weeks,

but marginally continue to improve over years

Effects on inflammation occur within 3 to 12 weeks

Effects on bone detectable after 6 months but continue at least for 3 years


Blood Tests Required In TRT After ensuring PSA is under 4,

then these tests can be performed before starting testosterone

Optimum Required Lab Work 1

CAH Panel 6B (Comprehensive Screen) (10299X) 2

Estradiol [4021X](13- 54 pg/mL) (ultrasensitive)\ 3


Bio/Total (LC/MS/MS) Code: 14966X 4


Comprehensive Metabolic Panel w/EGFR 6

CBC w/ diff/PLT 7

Lipid profile 8

Free 10

Ultrasensitive TSH 11

LH & FSH For follow up,

LH and FSH can be dropped

Lipids and thyroid tests only once or twice a year depending on patient metabolic issues

CBC includes hematocrit,


watch for on TRT at least for the first 6 months to a year

PSA could be added to 6 month follow up specially if over 2 at baseline


Testosterone Basic Information 1

How long does testosterone take to show effects

Testosterone Replacement Treatment Options 3

How should doctors monitor men receiving testosterone replacement therapy

Download Nelson Vergel's Testosterone and Erectile Function Lecture Handout 5

How to Find a Good Doctor that Prescribes Testosterone

What is a Normal Blood Level of Testosterone

How to Inject Testosterone Safely 8

HCG Information- A MUST READ 9

Excel Male

How to Increase Testosterone Naturally 11

Top Mistakes Men Make When Using Testosterone Replacement Therapy

How to Manage Side Effects 1

Testosterone Side Effect Management Table 2

The Use of HCG to Prevent / Reverse Testicular Shrinkage and Improve Sex Drive 3

Estradiol and Anastrozole (Arimidex)- What Every Man Should Know 4

How to Manage Polycythemia Caused by Testosterone Replacement Therapy

When Testosterone is Not Enough 1

Fatigue- When Testosterone Is Not Enough 2

Penis Injections for Hard Erections: TRIMIX 3

Erectile Dysfunction Risk Linked To How Many Medications Are Taken 4

When Testosterone Replacement Doesn’t Lead to Better Erections

For information of optimum nutrition and supplementation: www


For Exercise suggestions: www