Also called androgen, testosterone is a powerful hormone naturally occurring in both men and women. It plays a major role in varied functions like sperm production regulation, controlling sex drive, enhancing energy levels and muscle mass, and influencing human behavior like competitiveness, aggression, etc. Androgen levels tend to decrease with age.
Men have high testosterone levels while women have high progesterone and estrogen levels. Even though androgen is primarily a male hormone, women also have it albeit in small amounts. The adrenal glands and ovaries secrete testosterone in women, while the testes produce it in men. The pituitary gland controls testosterone production by releasing LH or luteinizing hormone.
Normal testosterone levels by age
Normal level readings of testosterone may differ slightly from one lab to another. It can also differ from one individual to another as per the health and age of the person.
Presented below is a table with normal testosterone levels by age and gender. The unit of measurement for testosterone is nanograms per deciliter of blood (ng/dL).
|Age||Normal testosterone levels (ng/dL)||Age||Normal testosterone levels (ng/dL)|
|6 months to 9 years||Less than 7 to 20||6 months to 9 years||Less than 7 to 20|
|10 to 11 years||Less than 7 to 130||10 to 11 years||Less than 7 to 45|
|12 to 13 years||Less than 7 to 800||12 to 16 years||Less than 7 to 75|
|14 years||Less than 7 to 1,200|
|15 to 16 years||100 to 1,200|
|17 to 18 years||300 to 1,200||17 to 18 years||20 to 75|
|Over 19 years||240 to 950||Over 19 years||8 to 60|
|Average Adult||270 to 1,070||Average Adult||15 to 70|
|Over 60 years||350 to 720||Over 60 years||35|
It may be noted that the normal levels of testosterone in men tend to decrease naturally at a rate of 1 percent per year after they are 30 years old.
Benefits of testosterone in men and women
Some of the benefits or uses of testosterone in men and women are listed below:
- It promotes the occurrence of male features like muscle mass, deeper voice, facial hair, and bigger Adam’s apple.
- It plays a role in gender development of the embryo
- It promotes sex organs development in males during puberty
- It helps enhance the sex drive or libido in men as well as women
- Normal levels of testosterone are necessary for the maturity and health of sperms
- It helps develop stronger muscles, thereby helping improve physical health
- It helps metabolize proteins, fats, and carbs
- It reduces osteoporosis risk in women and enhances bone density in both genders
- It enhances easy sexual arousal as well as orgasms with greater frequency and durations in women
Effects of higher than normal testosterone levels in men
Higher than normal levels of testosterone in men may result in the below listed health problems:
- Early onset of puberty in boys
- Increased risk to development of adrenal glands cancer or prostate cancer
- Over activity of the sebaceous glands, which in turn can cause acne and other skin problems.
Effects and causes of lower than normal levels of testosterone in men
- The most common cause of a sudden reduction in testosterone levels in the body is aging.
- Development of a tumor in the pituitary gland or testicular cancer can also lower testosterone production.
- Lower than normal levels of testosterone can reduce the sex drive, i.e., loss of libido as well as infertility issues.
Effects of higher and lower than normal testosterone levels in women
High levels of testosterone in women can cause the following health problems:
- Emergence of masculine characteristics like hair on chest, face, arms, and legs and a more deep voice.
- Development of rough skin, aggression and other behavioral changes, and irregular periods.
- Occurrence of male-pattern balding and increase on muscle mass.
- Increased susceptibility to conditions like ovarian tumors, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and Conn’s syndrome.
Lower than normal testosterone levels can cause weaker or diminished orgasms, reduced sexual wants, and reduced muscle mass and bone density which may then lead to a decrease in overall strength.
Eating a balanced meal, exercising daily, and living a healthy lifestyle can help maintain normal levels of testosterone.
Natural methods to increase testosterone levels
Some of the ways in which one can naturally increase testosterone levels in the body, if it is lower than normal, are as follows:
- Vigorous exercising in the 20s and getting sufficient sleep
- Compound weightlifting workouts such as bench press, squats, lunges, etc., on a regular basis
Interval training and heavy weightlifting from a young age. It can also help prevent obesity which is detrimental to maintenance of normal testosterone levels. Body fat causes reduction of testosterone and increases estrogen levels.
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet with proteins and carbs. Limit the intake of alcohol
- Massages to alleviate muscle stress and yoga and meditation for get rid of mental stress