T Nation

26 Years Old with Low Test Levels?


I'm a 26 year old male who just got a blood test done because of symptoms related to stress/anxiety (I've had panic disorder for five years and depression on and off - currently take 37.5 mg of Effexor)

I think the blood test was ordered because of how strange my symptoms seemed. I had sweating (hyperhydrosis) chills, hot flashes, etc. that would just come out of nowhere. The doc I think suspected low test and high estrogen or maybe a thyroid issue...

In any case, the test came back "normal". They tested a few different hormones (I don't remember all of them -I was in a hurry so I didn't get much info from the nurse who called) but I was most curious about my T-levels.

Test levels (total): 519ng/dl (range 200-800)

How "healthy" is this level really? (note: the test was done in the afternoon and I felt like crap physically when I got the blood draw)

I hear a lot that 800-900ng/dl is more ideal for someone my age?

(Sidenote: I had a full endocrine panel done this past February because of similar symptoms:
Total test was 751 ng/dl (range 300-1000ng/dl)
Free test was 153 (don't remember the measurement units but the ceiling for this was 155 so it was quite high)
Everything else was normal, although vitamin D was a little low (29)

Are my levels lower than they were before or not really because of the differing ranges for each test?

Other stats:
5'8" 185# probably around 10% bf, maybe leaner...
I would say my strength levels are respectable even by T-Nation standards...
Energy is OK. Sex drive is Ok (normally I am VERY horny 24/7 but the dose of effexor I am taking is affecting my libido a bit I would say)
Diet is moderately healthy, never super strict..

My concern may be unnecessary, but I appreciate any feedback as the docs tend not to really divulge too much info that is actually USEFUL (not to mention pdocs don't ever seem too think of HRT as a viable option)


How often do you have sexual activity? I don't think adding exogenous testosterone is the solution considering your labs are normal. Testosterone levels are best measured first thing in the morning when levels are highest. How is digestion? I have a very low opinion of anti-stress drugs as half will just lower testosterone.


1) read the stickies

2) get all of your blood test results in your own hands (call you doctor and insist - you are the customer, right?)

3) post your results here. NEVER accept "well your tests came back NORMAL"... #$%#$!@ doctor's and their "normal" results.

4) was the test for Vitamin D25OH?? if so, 29 is VERY low, not just a little. You want 60-90.

5) Total T and Free T don't look bad, but we need to see what your Estradiol, Thyroid, Cortisol, SHBG, etc. look like.


Hey, thanks for the reply.

  1. Sexual activity is currently probably 2-4 times per week. The libido is definitely diminished (I'm pretty sure Effexor is the culprit) as over the past year during the times when I was single I would (sorry if TMI) masturbate 1-3 times per day. Don't have that same "drive" is the way I would put it. Still interested in sex but I don't have the same acute lust feelings (seeing a women and automatically undressing her in my head, etc). My experience as been similar with other antidepressants in term of diminished drive which is why I'm calling out Effexor...

  2. Figured the morning might have been better. Also, I was not fasting for the test (which could probably actually HELP T-levels I would think?)

  3. The digestion inquiry is a good one...haven't really thought about it...not sure how to tell? I do know that along with all of the other nightmarish physical symptoms that I've gotten over the past year (chills, sweating, fatigue, faint feeling, low blood sugar feeling, the list goes on and on) - that have all apparently been tied to anxiety/depression - IBS type stuff comes and goes quite frequently...assuming this would screw with digestion (never formally diagnosed IBS...)

I don't know that I'm super set on the idea of HRT or anything like that. I know very little about it and I think there is a lot of stress-type stuff going on here that (as I have been attempting to) needs to be addressed. It's just been a continuous nightmare dealing with the panic/anxiety/depression constantly over the past 5 years and I'm pretty much open to anything that could improve my life as far as that crap goes...


Pure -

1) I'll get to reading the stickies. Been on Tmuscle for a while but rarely on the forums.

2) Going to call the doc today to get the results of this latest test - thanx for the suggest

3) I agree! That's why I'm here...trying to get more subjective info about my OWN freakin' body, not some generic range.

4) Yes. The test WAS for Vitamin D25-OH. 29 was shown on my report to fall in the reference range of 20-100 ng/ml but the endo (last Feb) emphasized that this was low. She said to get it above 60.

5) Since you mention Free T, I'm assuming you are talking about the labs done last February. I didn't get the full test results yet as I said for last weeks pdoc labs but am requesting them (just asked for T) I know they're from February but I've got 'em so I figured what the hell. Here are all of the results from the beginning of the year:

(everything under this heading was in range)

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
Glucose 97 ref range (fasting) 65-99mg/dl
Urea Nitrogen Bun 19 ref range 8-25
Creatinine 1.17 ref range .6-1.5 mg/dl
GFR Estimated >60

there is a LOT more under this heading but I don't think it's relevant?...


Methylmalonic acid and homocysteine
Methlymalonic acid 133 ref range 87-318nmol/L
TSH 2.63 ref range .45-4.5 mU/L
T4 Free Non Dialysis 1.5 ref range .8-1.7ng/dl
FSH 5.5 ref range 1.5-12.4mIU/ml
LH 6.1 ref range 1.7-8.6 mIU/ml
Prolactin 11.9 ref range 2.5-22.5 ng/ml
Vitamin B12 875 ref range 243-894pg/ml
Folate >20.0 (out of range) ref range 3.1-17.5 ng/ml
PSA total 1.2 ref range <4.1ng/ml

Microsomal TPO-Ab <10 ref range <35 IU/ml
DHEA sulfate 335 ref range 280-640 ug/dl
Estradiol 23 ref range 8-43pg/ml
Thyroglobulin <20 ref range <41 IU/ml

Testosterone total 751 ref range 250-1100 ng/dl (I said 300-1000 in the OP but i was mistaken)
Testosterone free 153.0 ref range 35.0-155.0pg/ml
%Free Testosterone 2.04 ref range 1.5-2.2%

Vitamin D25-OH, D3 was 29
Vitamin D25-OH, D2 was <4

That's pretty much it. As a side note, the idea kept going through my mind that when I had that test done my Testosterone (and perhaps other) levels were depleted because I did a heavy leg workout the night before the test. Is this even worth thinking about?

I'll get the latest labs from the pdoc (don't think they were as comprehensive but we'll see) and post them.


You do not have low testosterone. I would focus on IBS type issues and other things. There can be situations where the gut over reacts and releases hystamines that can create a panic type event. These events can be triggered by food allergies or eating too much etc. Note if events follow larger meals.

Next time this starts to happen try taking: 5 mg benadryl plus zantac.

If this seems helpful, you have confirmed that the problem has a histamine component. You would then want to carry these items, keep some at home and work and in vehicles and take at the first manifestations.

Then you could try taking zantac as a preventative and see is that works. You would still want to find the root cause. Do you get itching with cold sweats? Become disoriented?

Note that benadryl could make you sleepy.

Take probiotics to engineer the bacterial fora in your gut. Adverse bacteria can promote such problems for some.

TSH suggests hypothyroidism, fT4 says not. We do not have fT3 data. You can measure your waking body temp before you get feet on the floor. 97.8F would be ideal, 97F is a problem. Write down the numbers for a few mornings. Low iron can cause thyroid problems or make them worse.

Do you use iodized salt or have other sources of iodine [supplements]?

Get copies of your labs.
Post hematocrit [HTC], serum iron, RBC data with ranges. If low in males, one needs to consider blood lost from the gut. Some intestinal disorders involve such blood loss.

Take fish oil caps and 4000-6000iu vit-D per day, or 7 times that amount once a week. Get oil based caps. Walmart has 5000iu caps.

You could have adrenal fatigue, read Wilson's book 'adrenal fatigue', test cortisol levels with a four sample saliva cortisol test.


Describe how you react to major stress events.

Effexor can give some the shits. Perhaps this is making things worse. Effexor is a stimulant and may not be good for your panic disorder. Did the IBS type events become established prior to such drugs, or after starting them. Effexor could be very wrong for adrenal fatigue.

Is your thyroid enlarged or lumpy?

Describe diet and supplements? Spicy foods?

Test for food allergies and sensitivities. Gluten sensitivity can make a mess of things. http://www.celiaccentral.org/Celiac-Disease/21/