Hint: Depends On How You Feel
This is a widely argued topic and I am just a dumb person who reads what smart people say as well as what other smart people say about the smart people who’s writing I’m reading. Then I take my best guess.
So take this with a grain of salt.
However, I can confidently say I have gone down the rabbit hole of testosterone much farther than your average man and would wager this article will serve you some good at the very least.
Anyway, here we go!
Testosterone is one of the most important substances, if not THE most important part of a male’s chemical make-up. It is central to the male body running how evolved to run. Adequate levels of testosterone are heavily linked to happiness, health, positivity and success in males. And thus, these are some of the criteria you should be observing in your self to determine what your optimal level of testosterone at your age is.
This stuff is chemical gold for the male body.
Which makes total sense why we are constantly asked the same question over and over by males all over the world.
This may not be the simple hard fast answer you want, but it’s extremely hard to tell and most likely the true optimal level for each individual varies significantly.
Experts and hormone specialist are not completely harmonious in their recommendations which makes nailing down an exact number problematic.
For now I will draw from my own personal experiences, the experiences of the other writers here at Untroubled & Strong as well as what you our readers tell me via email. I feel pretty damn confident on what I consider optimal and don’t foresee future data drastically changing my opinion. For the record these numbers may and should change in light of future evidence.
Use the numbers and recommendations for optimal testosterone levels below as your starting point, but pay attention to how you feel and tweak your target levels from there.
Now I just mentioned above that experts don’t totally agree on a normal range, but the most common and widely used range by doctors and hormone specialist is anywhere between 250 – 1200 ng/dl
Ng/dl is an abbreviation for nanograms per decilitre. Essentially measuring how many nanograms of testosterone are in a decilitre of your blood.
The reason the range of “normal” T is so wide because you can find men that have lower levels around ~ 250 and feel great. Conversely you can find freaks of nature sitting around ~ 1200 like a beast naturally.
The issue is there is literally hundreds of factors that influence T levels. Some of the biggest influences being your diet, exercise habits and your sleep habits. In order to really nail down what’s “normal” would require a massive study group of individuals with healthy lifestyles and diets compared against their identical twins with shitty lifestyles.
Again, it is really hard to say. Technically you can’t get TRT from a hormone specialist unless you’re below 250 ng/dl (350 in some states). That is the amount where the medical community is currently drawing a line to diagnose “low T”. However, I think that is a mistake. Some men may still experience the side effects of low T even at higher levels than 250 ng/gl.
To slam dunk this point home again before we start talking hard numbers is that your experience and the way you feel is much more telling than that of your numbers. Get your T tested and correlate that with how you feel to find out your own personal optimal testosterone levels.
Currently the medical community and people in general believe that after you hit 30 years old your testosterone levels start “naturally” declining as a normal effect of “old age”
The problem with this sentiment it is not totally backed up by evidence, in fact I think evidence alludes to the idea that men DO NOT naturally have declining testosterone levels as a part of old age and it’s “healthy & normal”
I think, and my partners in crime here on the site agree that levels start declining because in general men’s lifestyles drastically change after 30yrs old. They settle down, exercise less, socialize less, have less sex, and even having kids may influence declining T levels. This may be due to kids causing irregular sleep patterns and changes in diets.
Why do we have this opinion? Well I will layout some of the clues that have led me to this conclusion.
Studies have shown that older men in rural and poor areas have just as much testosterone as the younger men in their community. Why is that? Probably because the men in these areas don’t “settle” down in the same way as other men.
Even in non – rural areas, studies have found men that are 70+ years old and have the testosterone levels of a hormonal raging 17 year old and still getting morning wood so hard it cuts diamonds.
As with many medical opinions, not all the experts in this area are convinced aging causes lower testosterone levels and should be considered normal. Why do some professionals disagree with this idea? Because fucking science.
Putting this all together continues to prove my point that it is hard to tell what the “optimal” level is for your age because I think we should outright take age out of the equation. Your birthday isn’t lowering your testosterone it’s your lifestyle.
Plain and fucking simple.
The good news is you can change your lifestyle which is what we talk about on this site all the time. You can augment your diet, supplement, exercise, work on your posture, get better sleep along with tons of other ways and significantly boost your testosterone. Even better these lifestyle changes and testosterone boosters have no side effects (internal link). Unless your competing for Mr. Olympia you don’t need steroids to enjoy high testosterone.
You can also expedite and amplify your T levels with TRT, and we discuss the benefits and drawbacks with TRT vs Natural testosterone boosting in another post.(internal link)
My opinion is disregard your age and target a level that brings the experience you are after. Below I have outlined a quick summary of what you can probably expect to feel at various levels of testosterone. This breakdown is compiled from my own personal experiences, those of my peers and how you the readers tell me how you feel at certain levels.
I found that a vast majority people report the same experiences at the same levels.
NOTE: The following numbers are based on your “total testosterone levels” There are other measurements you can look into like: amount of free testosterone, total estrogen, free estrogen, DHT, prolactin, cortisol, etc. You can find more info on these factors and why they are important here. (internal link)
0-400 ng/dl –
I view this range of testosterone levels as “low T”.The medical community usually sets the line ~ 250 ng/dl but I experience the side effects of low testosterone (internal link) if I am under 400 ng/dl. I may set this threshold even higher to 500 ng/dl because some men I know and readers, especially younger ones report feeling the effects of low T even below the 500 ng/dl threshold.
My opinion is if you get tested and your levels are under 400-500 ng/dl you’re body is not performing at its full potential and you are also most definitely missing out on some serious benefits that come from higher levels.
You also are very likely struggling with energy, motivation, depression, and “keeping your shit” together in general. You may be feeling like you’re a loser, can’t get shit done, blaming other things and people for your struggles when the problem is super simple.
Your body is probably not looking how you would like it to and maybe your even coming down with a case of the man boobs.
Your body is literally running on 2 – cylinders when your equipped with a v8. No wonder things are not going optimal.
You should do something about it (internal link to the “start here” page)
I would define this range as “normal & healthy” Your body has enough man juice to run efficiently, build muscle, heal, think clearly, maintain hard erections and you’re not experiencing many side effects of low T
I would define this range for the modern 21st century man as “high testosterone” Compared to our hunter / gatherer ancestors it’s probably still freakishly low but if you’re at these levels, you are definitely experiencing a better quality of life than most of your peers and have an advantage in this rat race that most people do not have.
I hope this changes over time and this range is later re-defined as “normal & healthy” as I feel pretty good at these levels as well as most men.
Above 1k ng/dl is where I feel the absolute best. There is evidence that our ancestors had even higher levels, but I would recommend staying around 1000 ng/dl threshold whether you’re using TRT or using natural testosterone boosters. Which for the record it is totally possible to get levels this high with a regimented lifestyle, but it does take an incredible amount of discipline and focus. This is the level you have to be to craft elite level physiques like giant broad shoulders.
The reason I recommend maxing out ~ 1000 ng/dl is that as you climb higher towards 2k and above you will start to experience some negative side effects of having such high levels of testosterone.
If you are aware of the side effects, and educate yourself on how to mitigate them you can safely increase levels much higher, but for a solid long – term lifestyle you can get 99% of all the benefits of high T without any side effects if you stay around the 1k mark.
The only real reason a person would need to increase their levels above 1k is for athletic competitions or body building.
For day to day life, you don’t need levels any higher than this.
I realize that my opinion is some areas is congruent with the medical community’s standards and also in some areas completely different. This doesn’t bother me as these opinions are derived from due diligence.
If my opinion changes, which it will as I gather more information and experience more I will update this post accordingly.