You’ve heard of testosterone, the male hormone linked to energy, libido, and confidence. Testosterone is commonly discussed for its impact on muscle size in athletes and less frequently brought up by men concerned that low hormone levels might be impacting their life. But how much do you really know about testosterone?
Testosterone is a complicated hormone whose levels vary by the hour. The normal range is 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood and most men fluctuate in this range throughout the day. Concentration is highest in the morning around 8am and lowest in the evening around 8pm, but daily activities impact levels within this cycle. Resistance training, high intensity workouts, and watching your favorite sports team win a game can increase levels for 30 minutes or less while stress, obesity, and illness decrease levels for the same length of time. Starting around age 30 hormone levels decrease a little every year, but these decreases and daily fluctuations don’t make a big impact unless you fall below the normal range.
Many men consider testosterone supplementation as they age in hopes of restoring youthful energy and confidence. Supplements are generally recommended only for those who fall below the normal range due to diseases that impair production such as testicle damage or a pituitary tumor. In men who do not meet this criteria, the supplements only improve muscle size, not energy, confidence, or libido.