Even if my T levels were low, I didn’t plan to take supplemental testosterone. That’s a dangerous path to follow. Relying on an external supply of any hormone is guaranteed to lower your body’s sensitivity to that hormone, boosting your need for the hormone even more. I didn’t want to start that endless negative cycle.
Instead, if my testosterone levels were low, I wanted to identify the weaknesses in my testosterone metabolism and address them through natural means. Because of all the overlapping metabolic pathways, perhaps I’d enjoy better blood pressure regulation as a result.
Testosterone and other sex hormones can be measured in blood, but some believe a better alternative is saliva testing. Saliva and serum levels correlate strongly, and moreover, the testosterone in saliva is “free” testosterone, the chemically active version. Saliva is also simple to test.
Here’s a copy of my initial test results.
As you can see, my testosterone level of 23 pg/ml (that’s picograms per milliliter) is below the age-adjusted reference range of 30-118. But there’s more specific information available from these results.
I didn’t test testosterone only, but also the levels of its chemical precursors, plus the pathways by which testosterone is broken down. Then I could learn where in the metabolic machinery the problems are happening.
There are four basic scenarios that can lead to low T:
1. too little of the precursor molecules
2. too much diversion of precursor molecules into the production of cortisol, the main stress-response hormone, via progesterone
3. too much conversion of testosterone into the estrogen molecules estradiol and estrone
4. too much breakdown of testosterone into DHT (di-hydroxy-testosterone.)
Since my DHT, progesterone, estradiol and estrone levels were all normal, it seems most logical that my problem was #1: an inadequate production of the precursor molecules, including pregnenolone and DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.)
Next I had to design a nutrition protocol to address this imbalance….