As we get older, we expect things in our bodies to change. But, it doesn't make this process any easier, especially when the change is happening in your hairline, in the bedroom or in your energy levels.
In some cases, these changes can be put down to decreasing testosterone levels, which naturally reduce as you get older . While this is a normal part of the ageing process, the physical and mental ramifications of lower testosterone levels aren't often welcomed.
But, there are things you can do to support testosterone production as you get older. Ready to dive into all things testosterone? Let's go.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a very important hormone, found in men, women (ovaries produce testosterone!) and other animals. It's typically associated with sexual function and sex drive but it also affects:
- Bone mass
- Muscle mass
- Fat storage in the body
- Red blood cell production
- Sperm production
You can blame testosterone for all those dramatic changes during puberty such as facial hair, a growth spurt and a deeper voice .
Is there such thing as 'normal' testosterone levels?
We don't like to use the word 'normal', really, but a guide for typical and normal testosterone levels can be helpful.
Just remember, everyone's different, so checking in with your doctor for an accurate test can be beneficial if you're at all concerned about a testosterone deficiency.
Using guidelines from the AUA (American Urological Association), a normal range with testosterone levels of around 300 nanograms per decilitre is 'normal' for a man. Anything lower than this would be diagnosed as low testosterone levels .
Is testosterone related to age?
As you get older, things change. That's life. Your testosterone levels will change too, but it's completely natural. The number of men who are diagnosed with hypogonadism (when your sex glands produce little to no sex hormones) increases with age.
Around twenty percent of men over 60 have testosterone levels below the typical range and for men over 80, it increases to 50 per cent .
While this might feel disheartening, know that it's a normal function of the body to reduce testosterone levels as you get older. But, this doesn't mean you can't take steps to help keep your testosterone at a healthy level.
At what age are testosterone levels highest?
Testosterone levels dramatically increase during puberty. In fact, research shows that there is roughly a 30-fold increase in testosterone production in boys at this time. This uptake in testosterone during puberty can lead to changes in mood and increase risk-taking behaviours, aggression and depression .
Keep in mind that everyone goes through puberty at different times so your testosterone levels may have peaked before or after your friends.
Generally speaking though, your testosterone hormone levels are at their highest around age 19 or 20 years old.
At what age does testosterone decline?
Your testosterone levels start to decrease from the age of 30 . Most men experience a gradual decrease in testosterone of around one per cent each year.
While this might sound like a small decrease, it actually translates into a 20 per cent decrease in testosterone from the age of 30 to 50.
At what age do you stop producing testosterone?
Unless diagnosed with hypogonadism, you won't fully stop producing testosterone. Your testes will continue to produce testosterone but in a smaller amount.
As you get older, your serum testosterone concentrations reduce. While your testosterone levels are at their highest post-puberty, the decrease begins pretty soon from your 30s .
What is a good testosterone level for a 30-year-old male?
Looking at 'average' amounts of testosterone levels by age, men in their early 30s will have a range anywhere from 223-1009 ng/dL.
Normal testosterone levels are deciphered by the majority of men; it's an average range, which presents a guideline to figure out whether you have low testosterone or not. As you can see, it is quite a large range so if you are lower than this, there might be something else going on.
What should testosterone levels be at age 50?
Again, looking at the majority of men, the average testosterone level range for men in their 50s is 170-918 ng/dL.
Everyone is different, though, so chat with your doctor about your testosterone levels if you're worried.
What other factors influence testosterone levels?
Your testosterone levels can vary depending on:
- Protein status
- Your thyroid function
- Alcohol or drug use
If your doctor confirms that you have lower testosterone levels than the average range for your age group, they might recommend reviewing your lifestyle habits. This is especially important if you're trying to conceive.
What are the side effects of low testosterone?
Average testosterone levels depict a range for your body to work at its best.
And, as testosterone levels in men are closely linked to sperm production (it's a male sex hormone after all), the inability, or difficulty, to reproduce is a side effect of low testosterone.
There are other symptoms, though, that you may experience. These can include:
- Lower sex drive
- Reduction in muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
If you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, we recommend checking in with your doctor. Diagnosing low testosterone levels can usually be done via a blood test and it'll give you peace of mind going forward .
Ways to naturally support testosterone levels
If your doctor confirms your sex hormone levels are lower than they should be at your age, then there are ways to help naturally increase your testosterone levels .
Your doctor will begin by running a simple blood test and if you're experiencing a testosterone deficiency, which is also known as hypogonadism, may recommend hormone replacement therapy treatment.
You can also try making a few lifestyle changes to support your testosterone production. This includes:
- Getting enough sleep each night (quality sleep is vital for testosterone production)
- Maintaining a balanced and varied diet
- Staying active (lifting weights is one of the best ways to increase testosterone levels!)
- Getting to the optimum body weight for you (this might mean a weight gain or weight loss for you)
- Limiting the stress in your life, where possible.
You might also consider trying a supplement to help maintain your testosterone. Pilot's Testosterone Support is a daily supplement that aids testosterone synthesis while also supporting your immune system and skin health.
This supplement is formulated with zinc, which enables testosterone development, vitamin B6 for blow flow and energy, magnesium for muscle growth and function, vitamin A for white blood cell production and manganese, which helps protect against free radicals and may improve blood flow and brain function.
Looking after yourself internally and externally is the best way to help maintain testosterone levels in men .
But, there could be other health conditions affecting your testosterone levels, so if you're healthy and experiencing any of the side effects of low testosterone, seek medical advice.
Testosterone replacement therapy is available for those with hypogonadism, while others may find simple lifestyle changes enough to help maintain their testosterone levels as they age.