No matter your sex, there’s wide variation in testosterone levels by age.
Both men and women experience a gradual decline in both total and free testosterone levels as they age, but these declines should be very gradual.
For instance, the generally accepted normal range for a man’s total testosterone is 300-1000 ng/dl, and it’s considered normal to lose 1% of production per year after age 30.
Now, since T levels should peak in your 20’s, let’s assume someone has a level of 750 ng/dl when they turn 30.
If you subtract 1% of production every year from a starting level of 750, you would have to live until you are 122 before your total testosterone levels would dip below 300 ng/dl.
Normal Testosterone Decline is Not Going to Lead to Low Testosterone—Measuring Testosterone Levels by Age isn’t very Useful
While I could provide you with a chart of “normal” testosterone levels (and how they gradually decline with age), I’m not sure it’s helpful, and it would not be based on any hard data.
Those studies simply have not been done.
Yes, testosterone does decline over time, but consider this: the average amount of testosterone in a man’s body between the ages of 85 and 100 is around 350. The natural decline of testosterone over time in a man’s body cannot by definition lead to low testosterone.
You see, a confirmed clinical diagnosis of low testosterone is made when your levels fall below a particular threshold for men (300 ng/dl for total testosterone and 9 ng/dl for free testosterone).
This needs to take place before 10 AM on two separate days.
For women, researchers aren’t even sure how to define low testosterone.
Here’s the important bit — when we treat women, we’re mostly looking at their symptoms because the total testosterone numbers don’t tell us much.
Diagnosing deficiency and directing therapy by managing your calculated free testosterone levels is much more precise.
My point is this — though you can look at testosterone levels by age and try to see where you fall, it doesn’t really matter.
Age-related testosterone decline is not the same as low testosterone. People with “normal” total testosterone levels may still exhibit symptoms of low testosterone, and people with “low” levels may not have any symptoms.
Testosterone levels are nothing more than a marker—they tell us where to start.
It can be Misleading to Worry about Testosterone Levels by Age — Symptoms are What Really Matter
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is designed to bring your testosterone levels back to what is normal for your body.
It’s not a cure all, a fountain of youth, or a bastion against aging — TRT is a therapy designed to bring abnormally low levels of testosterone back to where they should be.
It’s normal to slow down a bit as you age—it’s normal to be less active at 60 than you were at 20. Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t going to give you your youth back.
However, it’s not normal to experience extreme fatigue, sexual dysfunction, depression, weight problems, or any of the other symptoms of low testosterone. Aging naturally is one thing—falling apart along the way is quite another.
Aging is not one of these causes—while we can debate “normal” testosterone levels by age until the end of time, all that matters is this:
If you’re suffering, if you’re experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone, then you need to find out where you stand.