Testosterone is routinely associated with "manliness", strength, muscles, aggressiveness, and even roaring V8 engines sometimes. This is the main male sex hormone and women have a little bit of it too.
However, the story behind testosterone is a little bit more complex and worth discovering. Free testosterone is usually the one that provides all the benefits when it comes to sex drive, muscle gains, and better cognition.
Dive into this article to learn more about testosterone fractions, how to test your testosterone levels, and boost your free T.
What Is Free Testosterone?
If you do a testosterone blood test, you're usually getting the total testosterone levels circulating through your bloodstream. Total testosterone is the sum of protein-bound testosterone and free testosterone.
Believe it or not, free testosterone only makes up about 1-2% of your total testosterone levels. This substance is freely circulating through your body and it can be easily absorbed by tissues to produce chemical reactions.
Protein-bound testosterone makes up about 98% of your total testosterone. It splits into two categories: albumin-bound testosterone and SHBG-testosterone. SHBG stands for sex hormone-binding globulin. It's a substance that attaches to testosterone, making it unavailable for organs and tissues to absorb.
Albumin is one of the most prevalent protein types in the human body. Approximately 38% of your total testosterone is bound to albumin. This binding is weak, meaning that some organs and tissues can still absorb the albumin-bound testosterone and use it for various purposes.
Since 1-2% of your testosterone is free, the remaining 60% of your total testosterone is SHBG-bound. The sum of free and albumin-bound testosterone is also known as bioavailable testosterone.
How To Increase Free Testosterone?
Remember that free testosterone is the one readily available for grabbing by tissues and organs. This is the one usually associated with muscle gains, male attraction, and libido. If you want to increase it, check out these science-based methods.
Get More Sleep
Believe it or not, sleep is closely related to the production of testosterone in your body. If you don't get enough sleep, your body doesn't produce as much testosterone as it should. This refers to the total level of T and consequently, your free T is also affected.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can dramatically reduce your total testosterone levels and implicitly, your free testosterone levels. This is true for both young males and seniors. Therefore, make sure that you lose the extra weight if necessary and this will naturally boost your free testosterone levels.
Eat a Balanced Diet
This is probably one of the most common pieces of advice you hear daily, but it's worth repeating. A diet filled with junk and processed foods, sodas, too much caffeine, and alcohol will ruin your testosterone levels over time.
On the other hand, if you eat more vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and light meat such as fish and chicken, you'll be on the safe side. Normal and high levels of testosterone are commonly associated with a healthier diet. If you want to increase your free testosterone, you might need to make sensible diet adjustments such as the ones mentioned above.
Get Rid of Stress
Just like lack of sleep, too much stress is also bad for your testosterone levels. It will basically slow down the production of testosterone and make you feel tired, lethargic, and confused. Stress is inevitable, so you cannot eliminate it. But you can do something to reduce it.
Learn what works for you. For example, you can go to a yoga class. You can practice breathing exercises. You might want to give meditating a shot. You could just watch your favorite series online and relax in your bed for an entire afternoon.
All these activities will reduce your stress hormones and let your body naturally increase testosterone levels.
Do Resistance Exercises
Lifting weights has a lot of benefits. You don't need to become a professional bodybuilder and sweat for hours in the gym every week. A few resistance exercises several times per week is usually enough to reap the benefits of this activity.
Compounded exercises such as bench-press, deadlifts, and weighted squats are difficult, but they engage most of the muscle groups in your body. This will force your body to produce more testosterone to repair and rebuild stronger muscle fibers.
You are not alone in your fitness journey either. Hire a fitness instructor and follow his/her advice. This will keep you motivated and safe while performing weighted exercises.
Get More Vitamin D and Zinc
Vitamin D is metabolized by your body as a result of direct sun exposure. However, most people around the world are deficient in vitamin D. You need to take it as a supplement to achieve normal vitamin D levels and correct deficiencies.
Some studies show that vitamin D is commonly associated with normal and high levels of testosterone. If you take enough vitamin D, you're helping your normal production of testosterone and even increase it slightly.
Zinc is another mineral essential for testosterone production. A zinc deficiency is correlated with a drop in testosterone levels. Men usually need about 11 mg of zinc per day and you can easily get that from a supplement. Zinc also boosts muscle gain and libido, so you get additional benefits too.
Increase Your Testosterone Dose if on TRT
If you are on TRT, increasing the dose can decrease SHBG and increase free testosterone. However, be aware that increasing T dose may also increase hematocrit (blood viscosity) and decrease good HDL cholesterol, so talk to your doctor first.
Check Out These Affordable and Accurate Testosterone Tests!
Today you can test your testosterone levels and other hormones associated with them with a simple blood test. The liquid chromatography/ mass spectrometry (LC/MS) testing technology has become very advanced and the results are increasingly accurate, so why not try it for yourself?
For example, you can order this highly sensitive LC/MS total and free testosterone test plus bioavailable T and SHBG. This group of tests checks your total, free, bioavailable, albumin-bound, and SHBG-bound testosterone levels. There are no limits applied to this test panel, so you get a realistic result using the latest medical technology available.
If you're on TRT, you can also order the Basic TRT Monitoring Panel. This comprehensive test helps people who are on testosterone replacement therapy monitor their hormones. It includes a metabolic panel, blood count panel, sensitive estradiol, testosterone tests, and more.
For more testosterone tests, check these testosterone test panels from DiscountedLabs.com
Here you will find the most affordable testosterone blood tests in the United States!