Testosterone is undeniably the most influential hormone in the male body. It is popularly recognized for its effect on libidos and muscles, benefits which send me straight into investigation mode every time. After taking a deeper look at the hormone's function, I found that it actually comes in varying forms. These forms are in charge of different body processes which set the stage for optimal body functioning.
Let's find out more about them below:
Free Testosterone vs. Total Testosterone
Testosterone is divided into different forms according to its function. This might sound confusing but bear with me while I explain. First up is bound testosterone which attaches itself to receptors, making it stationary and incapable of much.
Next is free testosterone, which roams around the body without attaching to anything (no protein attachments). This allows it to combine with any receptor, allowing it to influence the body in beneficial ways, like regulating metabolisms. Then there is total testosterone which is a combination of free and bound testosterone.
The body's total testosterone volume is typically way higher than free testosterone. However, free testosterone has more responsibilities, like being in charge of key cellular functions. Like bound testosterone, total testosterone has two receptors called albumin or sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) attached to it, which prevents it from fully affecting different body processes.
So, when we look at boosting testosterone levels, it's best to look at free testosterone elevation rather than a total testosterone boost. Of course, this depends on underlying conditions. You can get a good look at your testosterone levels by doing blood tests called:
The Role of Free Testosterone
After doing some intensive research on free testosterone, I found that it affects things like muscle growth and bone mass, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Free testosterone can react to any testosterone receptor inside cells, which helps it carry out widespread changes in the body. This makes it the more beneficial form of testosterone.
Some other functions of free testosterone include libido, mood, muscle growth, metabolism, and energy regulation. These functions cannot be performed when testosterone is bound to a protein, so it makes sense why bound or total testosterone doesn't significantly affect the body.
As I mentioned earlier, free testosterone is present in low levels in the body. In fact, research shows that we only have about 1 to 2% free testosterone circulating in the body. In contrast, an average of 80% of testosterone in the body is bound.
What Benefits Does Free Testosterone Bring?
We've established that free testosterone, although limited, affects our body in a much more noticeable way than total testosterone. This means that the list of benefits that free testosterone provides can improve how the male body and mind function. Let's look at some of the benefits below:
These benefits are quite unique as they can lead to achieving and maintaining great overall health and reducing long-term health risks.
How Do I Increase Free Testosterone?
Since free testosterone can provide the body with such an extensive list of benefits, it's only natural to want to know how to increase free testosterone levels. Below I give you the full low down on how to do this:
Diet and exercise
Diets rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are excellent for testosterone elevation. Think of balanced amounts of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Pair that with exercises like weight lifting and HIIT, and the elevation's benefits will definitely be noticed.
Stressed people are prone to weight gain and less likely to eat a healthy diet—factors that negatively affect testosterone. If you are stressed, try relaxation techniques and work on removing stressors from your life to boost testosterone levels.
Testosterone boosters are one of the most effective ways to naturally and safely elevate testosterone levels. The formulas typically contain several testosterone-boosting ingredients which help boost and maintain ideal testosterone levels.
The Downside Of Low Free Testosterone
We all know that testosterone is a major player in sexual functionality, so one of the downsides that come with low free testosterone is low libidos, shrinking testicles, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. Men with low free testosterone levels will also experience a decrease in masculine features—loss of pubic, facial, and armpit hair.
Other downsides include:
Free testosterone is a form of testosterone that is not discussed very often. However, it is important to keep its levels in check. I urge you to look out for symptoms of low free testosterone and get a test done when you feel your levels are not in sync. You can also avoid the dreaded lows altogether by maintaining ideal testosterone levels. You can do this by investing in a testosterone booster and implementing the lifestyle changes I mentioned above.