It’s a question on most men’s minds—especially the older we get—and it’s an important one. Low T can have more than a few unpleasant consequences such as low libido, muscle loss, mood changes and a bulging gut. However, the tricky part is that there’s no universally accepted threshold to define low testosterone for every guy. In many cases, anything below 300 nanongrams per deciliter (ng/dL) is considered low, but different labs have different ranges. That means if your sample is tested at one lab, you could come up low, but if you’re tested at another lab, the same reading might be considered normal.
And that can be a problem: If your levels are considered normal, you might not be considered a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy, a treatment that seeks to normalise your testosterone levels. Boosting your testosterone levels can alleviate a lot of the symptoms associated with low T and make you feel a lot better.
The New Science
Now, a new study of over 9,000 men published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is looking to provide more clarity to what should be considered normal testosterone levels. After analysing blood samples of testosterone, the researchers determined that anything between 264 to 916 ng/dL is considered normal for healthy-weight men between the ages of 19 and 39. (Testosterone levels are generally lower in older guys, or those who are overweight or obese.)
And because the levels remained constant among men from different geographical regions, the researchers believe this shows that it’s possible to come up with a standard range of normal testosterone levels that can be used in all labs—which can potentially improve the diagnosis of hypogonadism. But before this range can be considered standard, longer-term research needs to be done to confirm the findings, they say.
In the meantime, if you are having symptoms of low testosterone—like low libido, fatigue, depression, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty concentrating—talk to your doctor about getting your testosterone levels checked. If your testosterone levels come back low on two or more tests and you experience symptoms of low testosterone, you may be a candidate for testosterone therapy.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US.