Although they vary greatly between men and women, normal free testosterone levels are important starting points for anyone considering testosterone replacement therapy.
When getting your testosterone levels tested, I can’t stress enough the importance testing free testosterone (and not simply total testosterone).
And no, I’m not talking about analog or “direct” free testosterone tests — I mean a calculated free testosterone test.
For both men and women, free testosterone is one of the most important measures of hormonal health. The medical community has come up with some benchmarks to compare your levels with — here is what most would consider “normal” free testosterone levels.
Actually, before we hop into the numbers, I want to discuss one point.
These numbers I’m about to give you are just that — numbers. They’re averages based on tests of many, many different people.
They’re not one size fits all. If you’re experiencing symptoms, it really doesn’t matter what your levels are. You might not technically have low free testosterone, but you might still have testosterone levels that are too low for your body.
Everyone is different, and what works in your body might not work in someone else’s — that’s why we change dosing based on your body’s response (using numbers as a guideline) and recommend injections (which allow us to precisely measure and change your dose).
We do this for both men and women — and this is especially important for women, where the amounts involved are much smaller (making precision that much more important).
Now, let’s talk about normal free testosterone levels (and what exactly constitutes normal free testosterone levels in each sex).
Normal Free Testosterone Levels for Men and Women
Here are the normal free testosterone levels for both men and women. If you’d like to take a look at much more specific levels by age, check out the results of studies by the Mayo Clinic.
9 – 30 ng/dl
0.3 – 1.9 ng/dl
Of course, these numbers mean nothing if your levels are being checked inappropriately — that’s why it’s so critical to get the right test at the right time.
There are also other factors at play…
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Affects Your Body’s Normal Free Testosterone Levels
Men are often told that their levels are “perfectly normal”, but unfortunately, they haven’t been thoroughly evaluated. Their free testosterone levels have not been measured correctly, and the role of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) has not been assessed properly.
SHBG has a perfectly descriptive name — it binds to your sex hormones, and, along with albumin, renders them effectively inert.
Your hormones can no longer act in your tissues the way they need to.
And if you have too much SHBG in your body, even if your total testosterone is normal (or even high!), you may effectively have low testosterone because your normal free testosterone levels are too low.
This is why proper testing is so critical, and why we focus on it in our practice.