T Nation

Total T vs Free T

I am a 39 year old active male. I have noticed over the past few years my performance in life has slipped. Most noticeable in bed, gym and just lack of energy or enthusiasm to do what I used to do.

I had testosterone bloodwork pulled in 2016 it was up and down. I do not have specifics right now but, I have had low Free T for a few years now. My Total T is barely above the minimum low 400s to upper 300s. My Free T ranges from 5.2 to 6.2.

I had my blood work checked again and guess what, same thing low Free T and I am barely hanging on with Total T.

Has anyone had experiences like this? What did the Dr. do to help low T symptoms? Right now, I am on viagra to help with quality but, I still have other issues.

Thank you all for reading and I appreciate any feedback!


Sounds like SHBG is elevated which will lower Free T and actually overstate your Total T since you have so little bioavailable testosterone circulating in the blood.

Most men start to have problems when Free T hits 10.0.

Thank you for the reply. Do you think a Dr. would notice this and prescribe treatment?

I am waiting on my 3rd test to come back. All testing was done 3 days in a row during a 0800 to 1100 window…

I am not an expert but, what you say makes sense.

Thank you!,


You’re probably going to have to go private to a place like Defy Medical.

Insurance accepting practices won’t do anything for you if you are not “clinically” low on total T and Free T. They go by the numbers which is very sad. It is true that we naturally raise SHBG as we age and T production starts going downhill, but they also know that low T leads to a host of other health problems like heart disease and muscle deterioration.

It’s almost like these quacks don’t care that people are dying everyday because they refuse to treat low T. They believe that it’s the natural progression and don’t seem to care at all that this is ACCELERATED progression due to the host of chemicals and daily bullshit that we are exposed to in this age.

Sadly I agree,

I am military so it is tough, I always get the quick response “you are getting older”… That excuse doesn’t help the quality of MY life. To be the best husband and father. I will wait on this third test and engage my PCM. I can always ask for a second opinion. Or pay for my own Dr.

I noticed a few medical studies that note and correlate low Free T with overall Low T symptoms…

Thanks for the reply,


What is your status in the military? Active? Retired?

I am a vet also and the VA has been amazing for my TrT. I pin at home and they ship me all the supplies. You have to be assertive and really describe all the details/symptoms you are experiencing. There are also ways to lower or tank your Test in order to help if the Dr is only evaluating you by the numbers.

I am still Active, this is my 2nd go round I did this 2 years ago, first test came back normal both levels 2nd test 2 months later came back low on both Total and Free T. Third test was a totally different measurement of total T.

At that point, I was like wtf. I work a staff job so, I am not as active as I was a few years ago. I still PT 6 days a week run about 8 miles a week and lift weights. I am 6’2 225.

I am waiting on my 3rd test to come back, the first 2 are both very low but normal Total T and low Free T. Once I get the results from the 3rd I will schedule with my PCM.

I am POL by trade, every shop I have been in there are about 10% that have low T.

I am 39 feel like I am 49, I have to take viagra to have a good quality erection and paxil to keep from being a 2 pump chump…

It sucks but, I am going to tie this to deployments, stress, and exposure to jet fuel additives.

Did you try T gel before injecting?


No. I produced 2 consecutive blood labs with Low T. I was offered cream but declined. I had studied up on Low T and remedies prior to. I went straight to the needle.

Are you seeing Base medical or civilian side/private? There are ways to make your T lower to meet the threshold for these Dr.'s that only treat the numbers and not the symptoms.

Fatigue/No energy
Lack of motivation / Desire
Gaining weight around the chest and mid-section even while working out
Not retaining muscle mass/ Losing muscle mass
No morning wood —This is a huge indicator to VA Dr.'s
I was having bad night sweats, I would be drenched
I had the No Fucks given attitude-- Dr tried to say Depression, but I had hope, just lacked any follow through
Libido was low

My second lab word showed a Test level of 253.

Awesome article!

You may like this one too

I am seeing a base dr. He seems progressive, I have had the whole work up as far as bloodwork. I read the article posted earlier and that is exactly how I feel: empty, every day My workouts used to be great 3 years ago could rep 225 on bench 27 reps at 220 lbs. Now, I do 185 for like 20 reps 15, then 10. I don’t have the intensity, recovery or power I used to just 3 years earlier.

In bed, 3 years ago, no issues, now weak erection and 2 pump chump.

We will see how things go. I am glad I found somewhere I could get answers and just vent my concerns.


Once again, thank you all for the information! I have an appointment to see my PCM on 13 Nov to discuss options. All three tests came back low Free T and “normal” Total T. We will see how it goes, 2 years and 6 different tests and guess what, 5 tests with low reading in either type of T.