T Nation

Does a Woman's Low Free T Level Affect Muscle Gain?


#1

I have some blood work 10 years ago where my Free T level was below range of 0.3-1.9, and my progesterone is 10x allowable. Then I start to workout a bit hard and harder and I noticed my Free T level has doubles in five years’ time (I think it was 0.23 and became 0.4 or so) and my progesterone was back to normal too. Everything else was and still is normal.

The only symptom I had when my Free T was low was craving protein and I still do crave protein (or my mood gets ruined if I do not grab this piece of chicken at times and I would eat tuna - I hate it but I eat it). So it affects me appetite (crave protein) and my mood stability (low and high cycles).

Since my hormones normalized, I no longer have access to blood work but I also wish to know if such thing as Low Free T can have affect on muscle gain or strength gain for a woman?

I have only been borderline overweight at 27% bf as a female, and at one point I became 29% but only for a month, then I return back to 27%. Most of my life I was between 23-25% bf. I know high bf % can affect this hormone and others.


Blood Work - How to Optimize for Muscle Gain?
#2

Any idea?

I supplement on zinc & vitamin D by doctor prescription for maintenance only, I learned that both aid in the production of T (I can go low on zinc, vitamin D and magnesium (s/t only), so it might explain why my T drops then go back to normal after treating those vitamin deficiencies).

I did a major deficiency course in vitamin D last year and now on my maintenance dosage. I have noticed my energy level dropped suddenly after my course ended, and while only on maintenance dosage therefore I might reconsider another vitamin D course.

I know my aim should not be treat deficiencies but maintain an optimum level for my lifestyle.

One more question: Will I benefit from DHEA?


#3

A lower free T absolutely affects your muscle, free T is what goes to work on your bodies tissues. Total T is just a reservoir for free T, nothing matters more for muscle than free T. After my sister had her child she became super low energy and developed weak bone do to low free T and had a back injury. If you’re having difficulty losing weight and gaining muscle, restoring your free T will change everything. If a man can be deficient in testosterone than so can a female even if we’re from two different planets.

Sometime when one hormone falls others can be affected as well, a lot of guys that have low T also have a vitamin D deficiency. Do to my low T I wasn’t converting enough Testosterone into estrogen which was undetectable for a year and had diarrhea for a year until my testosterone levels were restored. Testosterone has been found to also be linked to libido and pleasureable orgasims in women as well as men, women are much more sensitive to androgen than men which is why women can get by with lower testosterone.

You give DHEA to a women it increases testosterone, give it to a man it increases estrogen. Dr John Crisler gives women DHEA to increase there testosterone rather than testosterone cream.

It sounds like you’re on the right track.

DHEA or Testosterone for Women?
https://www.project-aware.org/Resource/articlearchives/dhea.shtml


#4

TMI alert.

Women who are cycling have vast changes in hormone levels day to day. So it is wrong to read too much into two lab results.

Oral birth control [OBC] has a large effect on LH/FSH levels from the pituitary and that affects ovarian production of your hormones. Fake progesterone, progestins, reduces ovarian progesterone, which is cardio protective. That is why such products carry warnings re heart attacks and strokes. Fortunately these effects only occur in a very few individuals.

OBC can reduce libido in some women, sometimes permanently. The effect may be from suppression of ovarian testosterone. OBC can increase SHBG which reduces free T [FT] by production of SHBG+T which is not bio-available, even as T production is reduced. OBC side effects are very individualistic.

DHEA: Is testing, test DHEA-S, never DHEA. In men and women, DHEA–>{testosterone, estrogens} inside the adrenals. Adrenal testosterone is not significant to men, but can be to women and all the more if there is a deficiency. DHEA might be helpful, but some women can get some unwanted hair on their upper lips.

T and GH are very important for muscle gain and retention. E2 is also somewhat anabolic in women, in men, T dominates.

Do not forget that thyroid hormones regulate body temperature by controlling mitochondrial production of ATP which provides cellular energy. Low thyroid function lowers energy and promotes fat gain and/or impedes fat loss. Biggest cause is not using iodized salt. See the thyroid basics sticky for more info.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steroid_hormone

As women age, progesterone levels fall starting in their 30’s, just like DHEA. With less progesterone, women become estrogen dominant and this can lead to painful breasts and periods. Also promotes fibroids to some degree and progesterone can be used to reduce symptoms. Low iodine intake is associated with fibrotic breast disease. While that can be partly addressed by avoiding caffeine, caffeine does not see to be causative. Women need more iodine than men, iodine is stored in breast tissue.

Note that Vit-D3 is very important and Vit_D3–>Vit_D25 conversion produces a true steroidal hormone that is needed for proper gene expression in cell nuclei.


#5

For sure women’s Test levels affect muscle. TC wrote The Female Low T Epidemic all about it.

Probably. Also covered in the article.


#6

Thanks guys! I actually agree that one cannot rely on test reports only. I did read the Female Low T articles which made me ask here only to make sure it is Free T and not Total T that would affect the muscle gain.

I have good reasons to supplement with DHEA (not only potentially low Free T) but I think my adrenal glands has suffered from severe stress, I want to watch how my body will respond to it maybe it will bring it to optimal function.

In regards to thyroid, that is one complicated thing, that I have read about over the years, if you know Dr. Rind research on Optimal Thyroid. I just don’t get it and I use his values for optimal. I know my TSH has became high from lack of exercise in past year (it always go back to optimal when I exercise).

After being treated using SNRI for depression, dropping weight became easier with strong will. It was impossible before but I think low serotonin makes hungry much more, therefore correcting this also made losing weight easier (it is more psychological since serotonin baseline going up curb the hunger factor and return sleep back to normal).

In regards to caffeine it is an issue for me because I am sensitive to it (it makes my heart race), I am moderate somehow (toward lower end), I use to drink diet coke every day 12 oz (34 ml of caffeine) now I switched to black tea at 6 oz (34 ml of caffeine), that is my minimal caffeine needs per day, sometimes it goes a bit more especially since I lost weight I appear to need caffeine more but I would say it would go up to 60-80 ml per day (still less than that cup of coffee as total daily intake which is 108 ml of caffeine). I sometimes drink decaff coffee for the taste of it only or drink low caffeine types of coffee now. It could be due to quit of smoking (I am not smoke free I only smoke hookah, I still sometimes do but no longer daily nor weekly). However whenever I smoke, I drop the caffeine completely. One cigarette has 1 mg of nicotine. A hookah head (20 gram or so) has 67 mg. So yes I probably will not need caffeine for few days. So smoking that hookah head probably stop my caffeine intake for two days.