Testosterone is widely known for its role as the male sex hormone. It plays many essential roles in the male body, especially sexual health and reproductive development. Testosterone is actually such a crucial hormone that the National Institutes of Health considers it the most necessary hormone in the male body.
Though a man’s testosterone levels peak during puberty and early adulthood, levels fall again with age. When testosterone levels fall too low, important body functions become less efficient, including the functions that control libido, bone mass, muscle mass, red blood cell production, fat distribution, and sperm production.
If you are experiencing symptoms that make you question your vitality and wellness, low testosterone could be to blame. Fortunately, a simple test can help you evaluate your testosterone levels and identify the best ways to boost your testosterone production. Before you undergo your testosterone testing, it’s important to understand the differences between free testosterone and total testosterone in the body.
What Is the Difference Between Free and Total Testosterone?
Not all testosterone functions the same within the body. Free testosterone travels through the blood unattached to any proteins. Only 2% of all testosterone is considered free testosterone. This small portion can move immediately into cells that need more testosterone to maintain proper body functions.
Total testosterone is the sum of the body’s free, bioavailable, and unavailable testosterone. Bioavailable testosterone includes all testosterone loosely bound to albumin and the carrier protein known as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). About 54% of all testosterone in the body binds to these proteins. Continue reading “Testosterone Free vs. Total: What’s the Difference?”