Maintaining normal testosterone levels in the body is crucial to men’s health. As the primary male sex hormone, testosterone has several important functions, including:
- Regulation of sex drive or libido
- Development of the penis, testicles, and other sexual and reproductive parts
- Growth and development of bones and muscles
- Production of new red blood cells
- Distribution of body fat
- Production of sperm
It also plays a vital role in the various physical changes that a boy entering the puberty stage experiences, such as:
- Deepening of the voice
- Increase in height
- Growth of facial hair, pubic hair, and other body hair
What are the normal testosterone levels in men?
The amount of testosterone that a man produces naturally declines with age. It generally peaks during puberty and early adulthood and slowly decreases by about 1% each year after the age of 30 or 40.
Measured in nanograms per deciliter or ng/dL, below are the normal testosterone levels in men per age group:
- 0 to 5 months: 75–400 ng/dL
- 6 months to 9 years: <7-20 ng/dL
- 10 years to 11 years: <7-130 ng/dL
- 12 years to 13 years: <7-800 ng/dL
- 14 years: <7-1,200 ng/dL
- 15 years to 16 years: 100-1,200 ng/dL
- 17 years to 18 years: 300-1,200 ng/dL
- 19+ years: 240-950 ng/dL
What are the common signs and symptoms of low testosterone in men?
Men who have lower than normal testosterone levels may encounter signs and symptoms that can negatively impact their sexual and overall health. The following are some examples:
Reduced sex drive or libido
One of the primary functions of testosterone is the regulation of sex drive or libido. So, if there is not enough testosterone in the body, whether because of old age or some underlying condition, it may cause a decrease in sex drive or loss of interest in sex.
Testosterone is key not only to a high sex drive but also to getting and sustaining quality erections. It helps stimulate the brain receptors that produce nitric oxide, which is a compound that facilitates the chemical reactions needed to make erections happen. If your testosterone levels are low, you may have a hard time achieving an erection even after some sexual stimulation or maintaining an erection that is firm and long-lasting for pleasure and satisfaction.
Various studies have found that men who suffer from low testosterone levels in the body show significantly reduced muscle mass in comparison to men who have normal testosterone. This may increase the risk of muscle wasting or muscle atrophy, which is a condition that arises from a lack of physical activity.
To grow and develop strong and healthy bones, you should have enough testosterone in your body. But, if your testosterone levels are low, you may become at risk of decreased bone mass, making you more prone to bone fractures and other bone injuries. In addition, low testosterone may increase your risk of osteoporosis, which is a medical condition characterized by the decrease in the density and quality of bone, rendering it highly fragile and porous.
Low sperm count
A healthy adult man releases about 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen during ejaculation. However, this number may decrease if there is not enough testosterone produced in the body. Because testosterone is essential in sperm production, a shortage of it may leave you unable to produce enough sperm, resulting in low sperm count. If not addressed as soon as possible, this problem may profoundly impact your fertility, and make conceiving difficult or even leave you infertile.
Decrease in energy levels
Low testosterone levels may also impact energy levels in men. In one study, men with low testosterone were found to be less motivated to engage in physical activities and slept more. They also reported extreme fatigue and a higher desire for a sedentary lifestyle. If this happens to you, you may increase your risk of muscle loss, bone loss, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and other health problems due to the lack of exercise.
Men who have low testosterone may experience mood changes. This is because of how important testosterone is in managing the different bodily processes that can influence a person’s mood, feelings, and emotions. According to a number of research studies, men with low testosterone are more prone to losing focus or concentration, becoming irritable, or suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.
Testosterone is vital to the proper development of the penis and the testicles from the fetal stage to adulthood, so low testosterone levels can lead to small or underdeveloped genitals. This puts men with low testosterone at great risk of various sexual and reproductive dysfunctions, such as low libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and infertility, as well as many embarrassing moments that can be detrimental to self-esteem and self-worth.
Reduced blood count
Certain studies have found that there is a link that exists between testosterone and anemia in men. According to the findings, low testosterone can increase a man’s risk for anemia, a condition characterized by not having enough amounts of healthy red blood cells in the body to make oxygen transport to the body tissues possible. The researchers applied testosterone gel to men with anemia and low testosterone, and saw positive changes in their blood counts, in comparison to the other group that was administered a placebo gel.
What are some safe and natural testosterone boosting methods?
To avoid the harmful and dangerous side effects of low testosterone and keep your testosterone levels up, the following are examples of healthy lifestyle changes that you should make:
Make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to promote testosterone production in your body.
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
Include more fruits and vegetables rich in essential vitamins and minerals in your day-to-day meals, and limit your intake of sugar, sodium, and fat.
Get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week to boost your body’s testosterone levels, and also build strength, stamina, endurance, and flexibility.