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Testosterone is a powerful hormone, with the ability to control sex drive, regulate sperm production, promote muscle mass, increase energy, and even influence human behavior (such as aggression and competitiveness). It’s no wonder that a decrease in testosterone would cause quite a stir. However, it is a natural part of aging.
In the Womb
Testosterone plays an important role in shaping the developing fetus during pregnancy. It drives the development of the male reproductive system. Testosterone also masculinizes the brain.testosterone levels have to fall within a very narrow margin in order for the fetal brain to be healthy. High levels of fetal testosterone may be linked to autism.low levels of fetal testosterone may boost your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
Adolescence to Early Adulthood
Testosterone levels are at their highest during adolescence and early adulthood. The first physical signs of testosterone, or androgens, in the body are apparent during puberty. A boy’s voice changes, his shoulders broaden, and his facial structure becomes more masculine. But as men get older, their testosterone levels decline about 1 percent per year after age 30.
|Age:||T Level (ng/dL):||Age:||T Level (ng/dL):|
|0-5 months||75-400||0-5 months||20-80|
|6 mos.-9 yrs.||<7-20||6 mos.-9 yrs.||<7-20|
|10-11 yrs.||<7-130||10-11 yrs.||<7-44|
|12-13 yrs.||<7-800||12-16 yrs.||<7-75|
|14 yrs.||<7-1,200||17-18 yrs.||20-75|
|15-16 yrs.||100-1,200||19+ yrs.||8-60|
|Avg. Adult Male||270-1,070||Avg. Adult Female||15-70|
|30+ yrs.||-1% per year|
Testosterone and Aging
low testosterone levels can cause changes in sexual function, including:
- reduced sexual desire, or low libido
- fewer spontaneous erections
- impotence (erectile dysfunction)
Other signs of decreased testosterone levels include:
- changes in sleep patterns
- emotional changes, such as low self-confidence or lack of motivation
- physical changes, like increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density
The normal range of testosterone levels in healthy adult males is between 280 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
While the symptoms described here are considered a normal part of aging, they could also be signs of several underlying factors. These include:
- a reaction to certain medications
- thyroid gland disorders
- excessive alcohol use
- the best time of day to have a blood sample taken for a testosterone test is around 8 a.m.