Getting Your Free T Checked: The Key That Opens the Door to TRT Benefits
The unpleasant symptoms associated with hypogonadism (the medical term for low testosterone) that generally grab men’s attention and motivate them to look into TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) are fatigue and diminished sex drive.
Beyond the restoration of these desirable life factors is a plethora of other benefits. Healthy testosterone levels, restored and maintained by a regimented TRT protocol, counter the sinister ways that chronic Low T has worn away at your holistic quality of life and general health.
Patients are often surprised by the potential TRT health benefits, which include the following:
Increased Lean Muscle Production and Strength
Working out breaks your muscles down. A healthy body would build itself back stronger, but it needs the right amount of testosterone to do so successfully. When your testosterone levels are chronically low, your body can’t produce lean muscle at the rate it should.
When your testosterone levels are restored and maintained in an optimal range through TRT, you’ll begin to notice a difference—your body finally is set up to respond dynamically to the stress you’re putting on it. You may find yourself seeing more benefits in the gym than ever before.
Reduced Fat Tissue Production
Low Testosterone is a common reason why men struggle as we age to maintain the lean, healthy body we kept with much less effort even just a few years prior.
This study finds free testosterone deficiency directly associated with abdominal obesity. To summarize:
When your testosterone levels are low, less lean muscle is produced by your body, and more fat tissue is produced in its place—the direct result of an estrogen-heavy hormone balance. The increased amount of fat tissue in turn functions as an estrogen-producing organ, which produces more fat tissue, further worsening the problem.
This cycle must be interrupted somehow in order for weight loss solutions to be effective. Restoring and maintaining a healthy hormone balance through TRT will tune men’s bodies to burn fat and produce lean muscle in its place, as they’re designed to do.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
We’ve continually provided reliable studies refuting the tired myth that TRT causes or drastically increases the risk of heart attacks or strokes. In fact, the preponderance of modern research suggests that these cardiovascular events occur more frequently in men with Low T.
See these posts which speak at length on this topic:
Improved Bone Density and Strength
Studies show that low testosterone levels and premature bone loss are often co-occurring conditions—men diagnosed with low testosterone often have lower bone density, and men diagnosed with low bone density often are found to have clinically low testosterone levels.
Research suggests that restoring testosterone to healthy levels through a closely-monitored TRT regimen for 1 year led to significant increases for test subjects in both volumetric bone mineral density and estimated bone strength, particularly in the spine.
Emotional Benefits for Those Suffering Clinically Diagnosed Low T
To be clear, the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and mild depression can be a tricky affair. Emotional difficulties frequently are misdiagnosed as isolated psychiatric issues which leads doctors to recommend a pharmaceutical treatment for depression/anxiety while the true underlying cause, commonly hormonal, goes unaddressed.
Consider this list of symptoms:
- Low mood
- Appetite changes and weight problems
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Weakness and loss of endurance
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Nervousness and irritability
- Feelings of impending danger or being “on edge”
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
This is both a list of symptoms commonly reported by men experiencing depression/anxiety and a list of symptoms associated with clinically low testosterone. These conditions can present in a quite similar manner.
Caused by or worsened by hormone imbalance, these symptoms have the potential to rob you of the joy you typically would feel while doing things you love. The good news is that normalizing your low testosterone levels could contribute to an improvement in symptoms and restore you to a condition that feels more like the you that you recognize.
Feeling more like yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is the overarching benefit of TRT.
Why Free T Testing Matters
What’s important is to determine if TRT is right for you, as it’s only recommended for me with clinically diagnosed low testosterone.
In order to arrive at that diagnosis prior to starting the highly beneficial treatment protocol, most doctors use the inferior measure of total testosterone levels as the basis for their diagnosis. They’ll often tell you your levels are normal, even though you’re clearly experiencing symptoms.
What even these trained medical professionals fail to grasp is the significance of your Free T count. Here’s why chronic, clinical Low T is often missed:
Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and albumin, which are proteins produced by your liver, bind to your sex hormones and render them useless to your body. Only about 2% to 3% of testosterone remains available to be utilized by the body’s tissues—the usable testosterone is known as Free Testosterone.
If you have too much SHBG, a healthy total testosterone level could be insufficient for your body—you have Low T.
The expert diagnosing and confirming low testosterone is a complicated process that involves more than a single number on a lab report. It requires specific lab testing and a provider knowledgeable of current testosterone research to interpret those results.
To make matters more complicated, not all Free Testosterone measurements are the same. In our opinion, the calculated free testosterone (cFT) is the best correlate for patient response. Analog tests like the Testosterone, Free, Direct assays often ordered have been rightly dubbed clinically useless in favor of equilibrium dialysis which is expensive, only done in a small number of laboratories, and can be significantly skewed by abnormal lipid shifts.
Free T Testing and Accessing the TRT Benefits
You need to find out the truth about your condition, and that means a thorough lab test measuring your free testosterone.
So many benefits could be yours—most of all feeling like yourself again—because Low T is treatable.
The most effective way to restore and then maintain healthy testosterone levels for men who are chronically deficient (regardless of the root cause) is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).