T Nation

30 Y/O. Total Test 480 ng/dl, But Don't Feel How I Used To

Hi All,

First post. Read a few of the stickies so far.

Anyways… I am 30 years old, and have been feeling not how I used to feel when I was mid 20s. Decided to get a quick total test / free test blood test done. Test came back as total test of 480 ng/dL and free test came back as 14.6 pg/mL. From what I see this is low, but not super low.

Some background on me…
-Very little body hair or facial hair
-I seem to gain weight on my midsection easily
-I train for strength (S=440, B=320, D=485 lbs), and I thought this training would lead to above average levels.
-I weigh ~225 lbs @ ~25% bf
-sleep: I try for 8 hours every night, but sometimes I find it very hard to fall / stay asleep. It is not uncommon for me to be up 1 night per week because I can’t fall asleep. I have cut caffeine way back, but sometimes I think the evening strength training keeps me up.
-diet: high in protein and fat, and slightly lower on carbs (currently in calorie surplus)
-libido: not what it used to be, but still there.
-morning wood: maybe once per week.
-find it hard to be motivated to start projects, or being productive at work.

I am sure I am still missing some info here, but looking for suggestions for what I should do next (more complete blood work, supplements, weight loss?).

You have a right to be concerned if the study below has anything to add, having low T means sleep can be troublesome to stay asleep. It will be difficult for you to get your insurance to pay for TRT with your numbers, they make it difficult to get TRT and put roadblocks in your way.

Your at those levels where the first symptoms are poor sleep and low libido do to the poor sleep. It’s a negative feedback loop, poor sleep causes low T, low T causes poor sleep.

The moment you pull out your wallet, TRT is within your grasp.

Do you think a product like ZMA may be able to help me get my test up through better sleep? I am thinking I should try a few things (reduce caffeine further, maybe fish oil, ZMA, increase iodine as it seems like a hot topic here).

Then I would get another simple test just to see if those items lead to increased T level. My current test numbers left me puzzled (not low enough to be a for sure TRT candidate, but lower than I would like).

I believe 480 is about average for a 75 y/o man (not really what I am going for), but I don’t want to start a life long commitment if I can raise my level without TRT. Is it plausible at this point to get to a test level of 600-700?

You only have those two labs to report?
Please post all available in list format with ranges.

Age=30
Weight=
Waist size=
Height=
Location=

Location can affect diagnostic and treatment options as well as your ability to order lab work on your own. And perhaps someone would be able to recommend a TRT doc in your area.

Fat gain is related to T, but can also be from low-thyroid function and often that is from not using iodized salt. Iodine deficiency often can affect everyone in a household. See “oral body temperatures” below and report both sets of temperatures.

Sleep: In USA find time-release 5-6mg melatonin on vitamin display shelves. It can be difficult to pick out the time release versions. Also 1000mg Vit-C and magnesium supplement at bed time. See “ZMA” in this site’s Biotest store. If you ever get foot/leg cramps or can tighten a muscle and have it lock up - you are magnesium deficient and a supplement will resolve that.

Training does not increase T, over training can reduce T. Training with low T and low thyroid function is sort of the worst that can also affect the adrenals and increase rT3 that opposes fT3.


Please read the stickies found here: About the T Replacement Category

  • advice for new guys - need more info about you
  • things that damage your hormones
  • protocol for injections
  • finding a TRT doc

Evaluate your overall thyroid function by checking oral body temperatures as per the thyroid basics sticky. Thyroid hormone fT3 is what gets the job done and it regulates mitochondrial activity, the source of ATP which is the universal currency of cellular energy. This is part of the body’s temperature control loop. This can get messed up if you are iodine deficient. In many countries, you need to be using iodized salt. Other countries add iodine to dairy or bread.

KSman is simply a regular member on this site. Nothing more other than highly active.

I can be a bit abrupt in my replies and recommendations. I have a lot of ground to cover as this forum has become much more active in the last two years. I can’t follow threads that go deep over time. You need to respond to all of my points and requests as soon as possible before you fall off of my radar. The worse problems are guys who ignore issues re thyroid, body temperatures, history of iodized salt. Please do not piss people off saying that lab results are normal, we need lab number and ranges.

The value that you get out of this process and forum depends on your effort and performance. The bulk of your learning is reading/studying the suggested stickies.

Here are some more of my specs:
Age=30
Weight=225 @ 25% bf
Waist size=40" at the navel
Height=5’10"
Location=USA (Minnesota)

At your location and climate you could easily be Vit-D3 deficient.

You can order labs via WWW but your selection of lab locations might be limited there. This page wants your zip code: https://www.labcorp.com/#

In your body Vit-D3 converts -->Vit-D25 a hormone essential for proper gene expression. Most need 5,000iu per day, that is not a typo. Find tiny oil 5,000 based gel caps.

Get those body temperatures and history of using iodized salt ASAP.

Thanks for the reply ksman! Will pick up some strong vitamin d3 and dose at 5000 iu per day.

Checked my salt, and it is not the iodine salt, so I will switch to that. Normally I use a good amount of salt, so that should get my iodine up!

Is there a blood test that will get everything I need measured? I followed your link, but did not see anything that jumped out at me as what I need.

How long after making these changes should I wait to get the next test?

I also plan on trying to improve sleep with zma and maybe some breath right strips. Anything else worth trying?

Any others in your home who have also not been getting iodine.

You must have selenium when adding iodine to prevent possible autoimmune disease from selenium deficiency in this situation. You best guide is your oral body temperatures. Read the stickies, we cannot possibly cover what you might need in this manner.

Ordered a multi vitamin with selenium (200 mcg), so I will have that covered too.

Will get a few measurements of body temperature to see if that is out of order. Will post those when I get a few. Historically I have been really close to the 98.6 F normal temp.

Will continue to learn by reading stickies. So far the plan is:

Diet - switch to iodine enriched salt, starting a fish oil supp, starting a multi vitamin, and ZMA at night. As well, I feel the BF% may need to come down to optimize test. I will try to get that down with a ratio of 33% of calories for each of the macros.

Sleep - reduce caffeine further, the aforementioned ZMA supplement, adjust training so I am not missing sleep. I am also going to move my shower before bed (I think a break from the screen, and the warm water should help).

I will try do keep these changes going for a while (maybe a month or so), then get a more comprehensive blood test. I know a month might not be quite enough to fully get where I want, but I should be able to see a change from the first test.

Fat loss requires good T levels, good E2 levels and good thyroid function.

Some have lower body temperatures in the AM but still manage to get 98.6F mid-afternoon, which is better than low temps AM and PM.

Do not forget that others in your home could be iodine deficient as well.

Should I hold back on the fat loss part then? Is there a way to cut fat without dropping my levels further?

I have heard body fat can be a big deal due to higher amounts of test being converted into E2, so I wanted to address that.

Was not planning on running a huge deficit for the diet. More slow and consistent. Or should I wait till my test numbers are better and then diet down?

With TRT and thyroid OK, some find that they loose fat with no effort at all. Depends on your genetics.

Somehow I think that you had something else on your mind.

Not quite sure I am following? Are you suggesting it may be hard for me to get to ideal numbers with lifestyle change?

BTW I did sign up to get the thyroid checked through a labcorp test, so I should have that soon. I want to make sure I look at all things, and understand all the details before moving forward with something like TRT. I do believe TRT is safe, but also a commitment (and also probably not covered by insurance at my level, even though I do feel symptoms).

I will plan not to lose weight, but I will clean up the diet, and get some follow up labs for test level and thyroid. I think that should give me some direction.

I tried to find what I said that triggered that response.

Still need up-to-date oral body temps at the specified times of day. This can often be more informative than thyroid labs.

Diet: You mentioned that there was ?? fat in your diet. Perhaps you need less and need to review the quality of fats as well.

Still working on the body temps. I eat a lot of eggs and meat. Meat with almost all meals (sometimes bfast is just a protein shake).

I also eat a lot of nuts, and I would guess I get quite a bit of fat through butter (I love butter, and cook with it in the pan a lot).

Some olive oil would be good.
Fish oil for more EFA’s, nuts may not be sufficient. EFAs are very important for structure of nerves and brain as well as cell wall permeability.

Will use a little more olive oil in the pan (don’t like the taste as much). Started taking fish oil (burps are terrible).

I really appreciate the help you have been giving me!

As a side question, when (at what level) do you think low T symptoms start to appear. I really feel like when I read the symptom list almost all apply to me (except the hair loss, very blessed with good head hair). 480 TT and 14.6 FT don’t seem that low, but still significantly lower than they should be at 30 (I read that would be average at age 75-84). I am starting to think a lot of men would feel better on it even though they may not be at 300 ng/mL level or lower.

Not all men are the same. If a guy had high levels of T, strong masculine facial bones, full beard pattern and he drops to where you are he might be quite miserable. A guy who has always had lower T levels might do quite well where you are now.

Thyroid issues can compound these effects too.

Fish oil caps on an empty stomach may be a problem. You have issues when taken will a meal? Perhaps the brand is also a factor. I do not have this issue so can’t speak from experience. Do you get burps with any meals or other meals with more fat?

Talked to wife and she has had problems with some fish oil caps. Currently she is using my Biotest Flameout with no burp issues. So there may be a product specific thing going on. I really do not have any vested interest in Biotest products even though I suggest them sometimes. But it can’t hurt to support these forums…

I am a mixed bag when it comes to testosterone influenced traits. Patchy beard would be generous (can grow a terrible goatee). However, facial bones are fairly masculine, and I am quite a lot wider in the shoulders than most men my height (XL shirts still have the seams to far up on my shoulders). I always thought facial hair had more to do with % of test being converted to DHT? I also only have body hair on my legs, with maybe 10 hairs total on chest and back, and very little on the arms as well.

Seems eating helps with the fish oil burps. Just ordered some more fish oil online, but if I don’t like it I will give the flame out product a try.

Maybe thyroid needs some attention (have a thyroid lab purchased), and will temperature in morning and afternoon.