T Nation

Low Testosterone and the Doctor

I’m posting this here b/c I’m assuming you guys have an excellent understanding of how hormones work in the body.

I got blood work done (I sweat excessively, and my doctor wanted to humor me by telling me that my high testosterone causes it), and my doc leaves me a message saying that while I’m in the “normal” range, my testosterone is much lower then expected for my age (20). I’ve been lifting for 2.5 years, seriously for 1.5, and have been sticking to a Westside template. I’m putting up some nice weight (475 DL raw, 250 raw bench, 385 raw squat), eat plenty of fat (at least 3 whole eggs a day, not to mention handful of almonds and 2-4 tsp of fish oil, steaks…) and have some muscle. How I have low test is beyond me.

Anyway, I’m going to see an endocrinologist, but want to ask several questions here before I go.

1)What numbers should I look for specifically? Do I want to be around 800-1000 for Test?

  1. What other parts of the hormone profile could inhibit testosterone? Too much estrogen?

  2. What about SBHG levels?

  3. They told me that taking tribulus may not work b/c nobody knows if my lack of testosterone is from, wait for it…a lack of testosterone. Their rationale (My doctor’s) is that something else may be blocking it. I wanted to call BS, but held my tongue. Any truth to this?

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[quote]AlteredState wrote:
Wait, do you actually have any symptoms of low T?

If not, then what’s the problem?

If so, then really it’s not so much numbers you should be looking at but achieving a comfortable zone where life is good, hormonally speaking.[/quote]

I guess I did forget to address symptoms, didn’t I? I don’t have that much of a Libido, and after reading a little bit about signs of low testosterone I do tend to accumulate fat in the thighs, and have mood swings from feeling like crap to feeling just fine from time to time.

Hey guys, I’m ressurecting this thread for some opinions. I’m holding my blood work in my hands, just got back from another doctor (this is at my University’s Health Center).

Test is at 308 ng/dL and Free Test is at “6.8L pg/ml”.

The doctor told me that my test levels are normal, and to my inquiry of whether or not they should be on the low end of the spectrum, she replied it was still fine. Also, she told me that these tests are, “notoriously inaccurate” and is having me take another blood test 10 days from now at 8 a.m.

I was told by her to stop using creatine (I was real tempted to call B.S.) as that may be causing problems with me sweating (my original concern for seeing the doctor), and was told by the nurse that fish oil is bad b/c her friend, “thought if she took 1 pill, 3 would be okay” and ended up with severe Pancreatis (sp?). I’m considering going to an actual hospital after I get the results of the next test and going to somebody that’s a certified Endocrinologist.

Thoughts?

Btw, they did not measure my estrogen levels.

Do you have the ref ranges for your total test and free test. Normally it is desireable to be in the upper third ref range of free test although everyone is different. Even though you did not get tested for estrogen, you should have a pretty good idea about whether your estrogen level or SHBG level or both are elevated by comparing the total and free results. If the total is high and the free is low, then there is an estrogen or SHBG (or both) issue. If the two results are in line with each other, then estrogen and SHBG are probably not a problem.

As for supplements being a contributing factor to your excessive sweating, is this a recent development? I have not experienced this with creatine however it does happen to me when I use Christian Thibaudeau’s PWO protocol of 2 scoops protein powder, 25g glutamine, 10+g glycine. I think it is the glycine. He recommends this PWO mix for low carb diets to replace glycogen stores instead of using carbs. Glycine also combats cortisol.

BTW, if anyone decides to use this protocol, I strongly advise tapering up the dosage of glutamine and glycine incrementally over a couple of weeks or you’ll very likely experience gastro-intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.

[quote]Dynamo Hum wrote:
Do you have the ref ranges for your total test and free test. Normally it is desireable to be in the upper third ref range of free test although everyone is different. Even though you did not get tested for estrogen, you should have a pretty good idea about whether your estrogen level or SHBG level or both are elevated by comparing the total and free results. If the total is high and the free is low, then there is an estrogen or SHBG (or both) issue. If the two results are in line with each other, then estrogen and SHBG are probably not a problem.

As for supplements being a contributing factor to your excessive sweating, is this a recent development? I have not experienced this with creatine however it does happen to me when I use Christian Thibaudeau’s PWO protocol of 2 scoops protein powder, 25g glutamine, 10+g glycine. I think it is the glycine. He recommends this PWO mix for low carb diets to replace glycogen stores instead of using carbs. Glycine also combats cortisol.

BTW, if anyone decides to use this protocol, I strongly advise tapering up the dosage of glutamine and glycine incrementally over a couple of weeks or you’ll very likely experience gastro-intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.[/quote]

No, I’ve always had the sweating issue, it’s just that I never went to a doctor for it b/c my parents would never let that be a justifiable reason to go (I was under 18 as well). But now that I sweat balls just walking across campus or when entering an room any hotter then 76 degrees, it’s causing a concern. If my free test (Direct) is at 6.8L pg/mL and my Serum Test is at 308 ng/L, do I have an SHBG issue? Just want to make sure. And if so, what would be in my best interest to take/ask for?

[quote]dreads989 wrote:
No, I’ve always had the sweating issue, it’s just that I never went to a doctor for it b/c my parents would never let that be a justifiable reason to go (I was under 18 as well). But now that I sweat balls just walking across campus or when entering an room any hotter then 76 degrees, it’s causing a concern. If my free test (Direct) is at 6.8L pg/mL and my Serum Test is at 308 ng/L, do I have an SHBG issue? Just want to make sure. And if so, what would be in my best interest to take/ask for?[/quote]

If you’ve always had the sweating issue, then I highly doubt creatine is a factor. I am not familiar with the ref range for your total and free testosterone readings so I cannot say whether they are in line or not. You are entitled to get a copy of the lab report where the ref ranges will be indicated, making the results much more meaningful.

In any case, I do not know of any relation between testosterone, estrogen (in males) and SHBG and sweating. The hormone that comes to mind for body temperature and sensitivity to heat and cold is Thyroid. Lots of people are hypothyroid and some are hyperthyroid. That is too say hypo - underactive thyroid production | Hyper - overactive thyroid production.

Hypo (underactive) usually causes sensitivity to cold, but good tolerence of heat. Hyper (overactive) will often cause sensitivity to heat, but good tolerence of cold. Those who are hyper will often love the fall & winter and hate the summer. The opposite is true for hypo. I am sure they ran a thyroid panel on you. You will want to know your TSH level, your free T4 level, and your free T3 level. T3 is the active form sort of like free Testosterone as a subset of total testosterone. Ask you doc if you are hyperthyroid. There are medications to counter this affliction if it interferes with your quality of life.

If by chance you are hyperthyroid, there are many other symptoms besides sensitivity to heat. Google for info if you suspect that may be the case.

Palpitations
Heat intolerance
Nervousness
Insomnia
Breathlessness
Increased bowel movements
Light or absent menstrual periods
Fatigue
Fast heart rate
Trembling hands
Weight loss
Muscle weakness
Warm moist skin
Hair loss
Staring gaze

Well my TSH levels are: 0.96, with the “reference range” that they have being .34-5.6. If anything, this would indicate that I should be fine with heat! I’m overly just confused about this. I also avoid coffee, and drink green tea now (has 30mg of caffeine. I use Insta-Green). I’ll ask about my Thyroid condition, thanks for the info.

To anyone that does know the appropriate rep ranges for Test and Free Test, are my levels adequate, or should I look into Trib, ZMA, etc.? BTW: Cy Willson in his article mentioned rep range for Test is 300-950.

I’m not an expert on interpreting TSH levels. Free T4 & Free T3 tend to be more meaningful and the three together (TSH, Free T4, Free T3) provide more information. Here is an exerpt from a google search indicating that the lower the TSH value, the more likely one is hyperthyroid:

When blood levels of thyroid hormone are low (in hypothyroidism), the pituitary produces and releases excess TSH, and blood levels of TSH rise above the normal range. In hyperthyroidism, a condition of excess blood thyroid hormone, the hypothalamus orders the pituitary to stop releasing TSH, and blood TSH levels are low, often suppressed to levels < 0.01 mIU/L.

http://www.ithyroid.com/thyroid_test_interpretation.htm

Again, ask your doctor. TSH alone does not paint a full picture.

As for testosterone, wait for the results of your next test to confirm the results as they can vary. Go over the ref range with your doc. You should definitely not be hovering around the low ref range for either total or free testosterone. Tribulus and ZMA help those with decent levels max them; they are rather mild for an individual who is around the low ref range however. The key is working with your doctor to see what is causing the lack of production.

[quote]Dynamo Hum wrote:
I’m not an expert on interpreting TSH levels. Free T4 & Free T3 tend to be more meaningful and the three together (TSH, Free T4, Free T3) provide more information. Here is an exerpt from a google search indicating that the lower the TSH value, the more likely one is hyperthyroid:

When blood levels of thyroid hormone are low (in hypothyroidism), the pituitary produces and releases excess TSH, and blood levels of TSH rise above the normal range. In hyperthyroidism, a condition of excess blood thyroid hormone, the hypothalamus orders the pituitary to stop releasing TSH, and blood TSH levels are low, often suppressed to levels < 0.01 mIU/L.

http://www.ithyroid.com/thyroid_test_interpretation.htm

Again, ask your doctor. TSH alone does not paint a full picture.

As for testosterone, wait for the results of your next test to confirm the results as they can vary. Go over the ref range with your doc. You should definitely not be hovering around the low ref range for either total or free testosterone. Tribulus and ZMA help those with decent levels max them; they are rather mild for an individual who is around the low ref range however. The key is working with your doctor to see what is causing the lack of production.[/quote]

Good deal. I appreciate your help!