T Nation

Young Guy, Low Test Levels


Hello all,

I am 24. I believe I have a low testosterone issue and would like to fix it. I know many people see the age 24 and testosterone and freak out saying "Relax, bro, you are young and your t-levels are fine. Wait until you are older, if you even need it then!"

Fair enough, but hear me out.

1) I have had low energy levels overall for several years now, despite working out consistently (yes, I do lots of compound lifts with proper form). My diet is also EXCELLENT and mostly natural. Lots of veggies, EFAs, fruits, natural proteins, you name it. I do not use caffeine or any supplements at all. This is not an option for me; please respect that and do not recommend caffeine.

2) I have always been skinny / weak for the most part. A disciplined lifting regime and good diet have brought me from 145 at 5?11? to 167 over the last 4 or 5 years. Not a huge deal, but not too bad. I feel like I?ve been stalling though and should be gaining more for the amount of work I put into this. I look normal for my age and height, maybe a bit skinny. But I should look a LOT better than normal given my work and diet.

3) My Test Levels are 340, which is on the very low range of normal (most labs say normal is ~280 - ~1100 or so). However, this normal range is for all males combined (including 80 year olds). I have found studies that claim a normal score for a young male is in the 600s. I am more than 1 standard deviation below this. It is worrying.

4) I don?t really have sexual issues. I can get it up with girls, I masturbate once a day or so. I don?t really have interest in sex after busting once for another few hours. But I can last a while. Not really too worried sexually. Maybe not ideal, but just fine. That being said I have noticed less urge to have sex with girls over the last year, whereas before I was a total horn-dog. No, I am not gay.

The point is: My low test-levels, along with struggles in the gym, and an overall fatigue/tiredness have really made me consider doing something about this.

My options:
1) OTC Supplements (such as ZMA or Tribulus). I have tried ZMA twice before. Both times have made me break out. I suppose on a simple logical level, this means my zinc levels were sub-optimal and the supplement actually did increase my T-levels. Of course I did not get blood tests done around that time and I?m not sure how much T-levels change with this supp. The acne is annoying, but I guess if I want to increase T-levels one way or another, this is something I will have to deal with. I understand ZMA does not increase T-levels in many people, but my acne suggests to me it did for me. It is DEFINITELY from the ZMA. I am positive.

2) More intense OTC supplements (e.g. DHEA). I am worried about taking this as I do not know that much about pro-hormones.

3) Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). I imagine it will be hard to find out that will treat a 24 year old. Money is not a concern. I am just worried about health side-effects or testicular shrinkage from this. I think I would benefit from very detailed blood work and more details on my T-levels. I just don?t know who to call or where to start. I certainly don?t want to fuck with my sperm count as I plan on having (lots of) kids.

Conclusion: I know that HRT is dangerous for younger people. I just don?t know if I want to go on living in a perpetual low-energy state and with snail-like progress at the gym. I?m not as happy as I was when I was a few years younger. My energy levels have declined and I am not as excited about life / going out and having fun. No, I am not depressed or suicidal. I still do things and have a good job, but I am just tired. I want this to change. Waiting it out will not work. Of course I would prefer to not use steroids ? I would never use it for just bodybuilding if the fatigue was not also a concern.

Please, anyone with advice, it is much appreciated.


If you're tired and lethargic, try eating more. Or Alpha Male?


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Ever thought about the anabolic diet?


Where u living? If your in the northeast , lack of sunlight could be part of the problem. Try purchasing a sunlight lamp, works well for me. Vitamin D and fish oil can't hurt either.


Maybe try a supplement stack... like ZMA, tribulus, and dhea together. If you want to be uber safe try taking the dhea by itself to see how you react to it since you've never tried it. Ever tried an adaptogen like Rhodiola Rosea, or ginseng. Might help, certainly couldn't hurt.

Dhea isn't really a prohormone. I guess technically it might be since it is a precursor to testosterone, but compared to some of the illegal and quasi-legal prohormones it's nothing. Taking dhea won't make your own body produce less test. or endogenous dhea. It won't cause testicular shrinkage. It's just wierd like that. The worst side effect from it might be hair loss if that's in your family tree somewhere and even that isn't for sure. From what i have read in some the forums here is that dhea won't work for young people... but with test scores like that it might...

Take this all with a grain of salt cause this is all off the top of my head.

p.s. eat more


I'm 22 and have exactly what you have Levels wise, and situation wise.

For over a year my T levels went from 500, 340, 310 and then down to 270 and I felt like a menopausal woman.

What I did:

  • Initially went to GNC to fix my levels, they gave me Halodrol. Made me feel better, didn't move my levels much. At least it stopped the "angry / crying" moods.

  • Went to an Endo, they gave me Testim 5g, only raised me 100 ng/dl, so they pushed me to two tubes, it moved me up 250 ng/dl.

  • My friend suggested dessicated liver. 30 days after doing 6 per day, my T levels went to 1,422 and I feel great (for the most part, still have unrelated T issues they are working on). My endo panic'd when she saw my levels that high and dropped the testim back to 5g, will see what my blood results say this week as to if i'm still high (and i hope so).

If anything, get to an endo, let them do some testing, get some hormone replacement, and then grab some dessicated liver, and monitor your levels often. Make them search for the cause of low T level (elevated estrogen in your body, cortisol issues, adrenal, hypopiputitarism, hypothyroidism, etc.)

As far as side effects, no shrinkage and from what i've read, if it does occur, it is reversable after you get off the T (See: Bigger, Stronger, Faster - Documentary).

Caffeine could harm your situation if your adrenals are causing a pituitary issue. Just FYI. Most people gain weight from lack of T (fat) so feel lucky if you haven't yet.

Good luck man! Low T levels are the scourge of evil!


Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement. I appreciate it. A few things:

1) I don't think this is diet-related. I eat plenty (that's why I have gained weight, specifically, 10 lbs in the last 4 months). Some muscle, some fat. The point is, if I am eating above maintenance and gaining weight, I doubt that gorging myself on piles of food way above maintenance will somehow jump my T-levels.

2) Numberonebg - I do think I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder to some extent; my mood is lower in the winter. It's not at depression levels or anything. Do you think that S.A.D. can actually affect T-levels? I am also indoors way too long because of my office job. You might be on to something.

3) Fletch - I will start slow with a better multi-vitamin and GABA as a mood enhancer. I'll see if this makes me feel better. And I'll check T-levels again. I don't want to go on ZMA until mid-Feb because I am on going on a beach vacation in early Feb and do not want to deal with bacne all over me. After that, it's fair game. I am still really worried about DHEA - if you do a search on this site or others like bb.com there is just so much info pro and con that I am concerned. I might take it if T-levels do not hit 500 after ZMA usage.

4) iampulse - Thanks, great response. Good to know I'm not in this all alone. I have not yet had severe fat gain (some, with muscle) but I am still skinny/lean. A few questions for you:

a) Are you serious that desiccated liver made your T-levels double? It almost sounds unbelievable. A thing that worries me about it is the iron content, an ingredient that is often omitted from men's vitamins because we can OD on it. Women release iron through menstruation each month, while us guys don't, so it may be bad to do too much of it.

b) On Endos: I never even heard of this kind of doctor. That's the one I have to see for more specific bloodwork? They didn't blink twice at the face that a young 20 year old was there with T-level issues? This sounds promising.

c) When you say the Testim boosted you 250ng, that means you were well above 500 at that point? What are the long-term side effects of this dosage, as told to you by your doctor? Thanks.

Again, thanks all. This is great info.


Hey Flask, no problem answering the additional questions.

a) I am serious. The Endo about fell over when she saw those levels. Whats unusual to me, is that to my knowledge dessicated liver is an antagonist against estrogen, and doesn't directly raise your T levels (I could be wrong, but thats from my research so far). I agree about the iron thing, however there are two forms of iron. Heme and Non-Heme. Non-Heme you can overdose on. Heme, you cannot (feel free to google this). Believe it or not, with low hormones at a younger age, chances are you are low on Zinc (white dots on nails are a good indicator of that), Iron or Vitamin D.

Personally, I had Iron Deficiency Anemia years ago, doctor's couldn't understand it and I know it was coming back, but the liver stopped it. (synthetic iron is crap).

Remember, dessicated liver is just liver. The same stuff you would eat. Just, in a pill.

b) Endocrinologist is the full name. They are responsible for checking Pituitary, Thyroid, Adrenals. Depending on the Endo, will depend on your results. Endo's don't do more specialist bloodwork really (sometimes they check more levels) but they tend to do CT Scans, MRI's, and other labratory testing to look for any causes (such as cancer). Mine is still unresolved, and they haven't found a cause. They were more concerned about someone in their 20's, who could still be in puberty being horribly low on T. My internal medicine (general doctor) saw my levels at 200 - 300 and said they were fine. I fought her, but she noticed something was wrong when I lost all control of emotions that same day in her office.

I'd get mad, then start crying. No energy. Nothing. She called a week later, told me to go an Endo and a Urologist. Urologist office said go to the Endo first, not them. My Endo wants me in the high 800 range for being a "healthy young male". Most Endo's who deal with sports medicine will br more likely to ensure your T is optimal (600 - 800) and not just "in range".

As a second notion to that, my body's natural T (according to bloodwork when I was much younger) was found to be in the 1,200 range. So my current "general" doctor wants to make sure I stay in that range.

I actually was getting a reaction from the 10g of testim, so I'm glad I was brought down and the dessicated took over.

The best suggestion I can tell you is tell the doctor you want to be in optimal condition. If the dessicated liver helps you out, use it to reduce your dependence on HRT. Don't take "no" for an answer though from any doctor. And don't be afraid to throw the "book of symptoms" at a doctor to make them understand.

c) My levels were at 270/ng before they started me on testim. At 5g I moved up to 340/ng if I remember correctly. at 10g I moved up to just under/over 500/ng, which was still not optimal. At the time the Endo was going off of "Until you have to shave every 2 - 3 days, we're going to keep raising you".

Based on that, the Dessicated Liver more than likely raised me (with 6 tablets) at about 1000/ng. While at the same time, handling my Iron, Zinc, and B all in one pill.

In terms of long-term side effects of a high T level, it honestly depends on your body. I know that when I had a reaction, I was excessively oily, skittish, hyper, and had trouble thinking. I'll call my doc tomorrow to see on my last test if I'm still high, as that would confirm whether that was "high T response" or "allergic response", which I think is the latter.

If your regarding long-term side effects of HRT, the problem is there isn't any research in it. Most people on HRT live for maybe 20 years then die, but that's because the age at which they obtain HRT. So there's not much info on that side, but for being on HRT for I think 6 months now, no roid rage, no shrunken testicles, no uber hairyness (well anymore than genetics created) and such.

My body is not back to normal yet unfortunately, but it was a step in the right direction. Low T can cause a lot of other things to go wrong, much like the thyroid can. As a twist in life, the Thyroid can cause low T levels as well or an overactive adrenal system (fight or flight response).

I'll be sure to update once I hear back from my doctor, but I'd love to hear what happens with yours, the cause, and if they get you back on the right track.


Also, what Numberonebg said, if you do have SAD or are on anti-depressants, chances are your pituitary may be having an issue. Serotonin and other hormones that help produce Testosterone come from the Pituitary.

I don't have SAD, but I have general depression which I've gotten somewhat under control with 5-HTP because I wont take SSRI's or anything to that extent.


Thanks, I doubt that's the problem though. I don't really get "depressed" and have never been on meds in my whole life. It's just a lower-energy level and more fatigue in the winter. Probably because I stay in all day. I'll talk about it with the endo, but again, never had an issue with this.


Crap, I didn't even see your previous long response. Great stuff, thanks. Yeah, my doc didn't even call me about my 340 test. He said it's totally normal. Some people just make me go nuts! You really have to take responsibility for your own well-being. All you young guys, if you have any similar symptoms, please get your blood work done. Do not trust your doctor if he says things are normal. Ask for specific figures.

Iampulse, you are a very lucky guy for having an endo who is trying to get you to optimal health. I will let you know how things go. What specific figures should I request in a blood test to get a complete view? On another forum I saw these listed, which I hope is not too specific for an endo:

Testosterone Total
Testosterone Free
T3 Uptake
Free Thyroxine Index

As for the liver, I won't use it until I get initial results back so it does not skew my natural levels.

Thanks again, please keep me updated on your progress. Your experience is valuable to all of us on the forums here.


There's your problem. You can't produce testosterone without an ample amount of cholesterol and fat. Cholesterol converts into the body into testosterone. I ate clean for years before seeing the light, and by light I mean the one over the McDonalds drive through.

If you think I'm full of it, try adding 2 eggs, including the yolks, every day.


Well good to hear you don't have any type of depression, in that case Vitamin D (my endo threw me on that first visit as well).

Absolutely, you do have to take responsibility for your well-being. Too many doctors want to ignore symptoms, or follow the "labs" and even the labs will say "ranges are only estimates, use your best judgement.

If you can get all those levels checked, do it. I'm battling both my Endo and my Internal Doctor to check beyond, TSH, T4, T3 and Testosterone Total. (They argue about all the other levels).

DHEA should also be checked with Cortisol, and I suggest saliva testing on that, more accurate.

And absolutely, get your natural results first before doing the liver. Make sure they get you on some form of HRT for the short-term to at least get you back on track.


He said he is eating EFA's, but then again how much is lots? The reason I said the anabolic diet is because it can give steriod like results (just not as potent obviously) because of the high fat content which equates to more test being produced. So many people eat like pro bodybuilders prepping for a contest. Fat is good.


If you feel in the 300s is bad, you should see my training partners test levels. He just got tested and it came back as total test 52 and free test 1.9. And hes not even 20 years old yet. I'm not lying.


Unfortunately, I wish this was it. I was at my parent's home for vacation for 2 weeks before getting my blood work done. For most days I had 5 eggs with yolks in the morning. So if the food can work within 2 weeks to up T-levels that would have been reflected. If this is true then my next test will be even lower. We'll see.


Is his performance in the gym alright?

Honestly, as long as I'm energetic, horny, and can work out right, I'm okay with low T-levels. I just need those three things.


Suprisingly...his perfomance hasn't been that bad, but he did an oral cycle and this could be the reason for his depressed HPTA..