4 Clear Cut Signs You Have Low Testosterone

man with low testosterone

Testosterone levels have been steadily dropping over the past few decades. Even young, fit guys often have lower T than they should.

But how can you know if your testosterone is suboptimal? Here are the most clear-cut signs to watch out for.

What is Considered a Low Testosterone Level?

First, let’s define the normal range for total testosterone:

  • Normal range: 300 – 900 ng/dL
  • Optimal: 600 – 700 ng/dL
Under 300 ng/dL is low T. Even levels under 500 ng/dL in your 20s-40s may be underwhelming. You won’t necessarily feel or function better above 700-800 ng/dL.

The key is getting out of the low zone up into the healthy range.

Clear Sign #1: No Morning Wood

low t no morning wood

Waking up most days without morning wood is one of the clearest signs your testosterone is low.

When testosterone is optimal, you should wake up with regular erections. Morning wood results from your body’s testosterone spike during REM sleep.

If you rarely wake up with an erection, it suggests your T production is lagging.

One study found the threshold for impaired sleep erections was a testosterone level below 200 ng/dL. Men under 99 ng/dL showed far worse erectile health than those with over 200 ng/dL[1].

Even men with testosterone from 100-199 ng/dL had poorer erection quality than those above 200 ng/dL.

So, if you’re not waking up with strong morning erections, get your T tested. Levels below 200 ng/dL likely explain the missing morning wood.

Clear Sign #2: Low Sex Drive

low sex drive

Do you rarely think about sex or lack the motivation to pursue it? Low libido correlates with low testosterone.

High T equals a charged-up sex drive. If your sex drive is consistently low, get your levels checked.

One study found testosterone therapy significantly improved sexual desire in men with low baseline testosterone[2]. Benefits plateaued after 3 months of treatment.

Additionally, men with lower starting testosterone levels and higher resulting levels saw greater libido improvements. This suggests there is a threshold where low T impairs libido.

So minimal interest in sex, especially if it represents a change from your normal drive, can signal testosterone deficiency. Don’t ignore chronically low libido – take action to identify potential causes.

Clear Sign #3: Lack of Competitive Drive

lack of competitive drive

Testosterone fuels competitiveness and ambition. High levels make effort feel rewarding.

Low T saps your competitive fire. You become passive and avoid intense challenges.

Striving to win and seeking out physical/mental challenges are signs T is robust.

New research shows narrow wins decrease testosterone levels in some guys[3]. After a close contest, your body may see the win as uncertain. So your T drops to avoid further risky competition.

But normal T men get fired up to defend a narrow win.

They keep pushing hard after a photo finish victory.

So if you shy away from defending a narrow win, it could signal low T. Your body is not pumped up to fight for your status.

Overall, a lack of drive to compete intensely points to low testosterone.

Get your levels checked if you’ve lost your competitive edge.

Clear Sign #4: Gaining Muscle is a Struggle

hard to gain muscle low testosterone

Men with optimal testosterone tend to build muscle easily, especially in the upper body.

Low T makes gaining mass an uphill battle. Even leaning out shrinks your muscles.

A thick, muscular neck also signals higher free testosterone. The neck has many androgen receptors that soak up testosterone to spur growth.

New research shows men with total T levels in the highest 25% have 22% more lower body muscle and 6% more upper body muscle than men with low T levels[4].

They also have 10% less lower body fat and 6% less upper body fat.

Men in the middle T range still have 14% more lower body muscle and 6% more upper body muscle than low T men.

So, higher T within the normal range is linked to more favorable muscle and fat levels.

If you’re struggling to gain muscle or get lean despite diet and exercise, low T could be the culprit.

Don’t settle for subpar results. Get tested to see if low T is holding back your gains.

Take Action if You Suspect Low T

If several of these signs apply to you, get your total and free T tested. Find a doctor who will order the proper blood work.

Don’t settle for less than your biological potential. Identify deficient T levels early so you can take action and get your vitality back.

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