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What Is Average Testosterone Level by Age? (Science-Based)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 24, 2022

Testosterone, primarily a male sex hormone, plays a vital role in both men and women for producing energy, generating muscle mass, controlling and regulating sex drive, and for men, regulating sperm production.

Throughout my career as a fitness trainer, I’ve had my clients test their T levels occasionally, and I’ve noticed that their levels closely correlate with their respective age groups as well as their ability to perform.

In this article, we’re going to look at what those levels are, their implications, and what you can do to boost your testosterone levels.

Summary of Key Findings

  • Testosterone levels for men and women reach their peak between the ages of 17 to 19 and then slowly decline through adulthood.
  • Normal testosterone levels can be maintained or boosted by a healthy lifestyle: good sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise.
  • Abnormally high T-levels can cause various health issues.

Average Testosterone Levels by Age

men in different races

Average T-levels differ between the sexes and the ages. Females usually have lower levels of testosterone than their male counterparts, and elderly folks tend to have lower testosterone levels than young adults and middle-aged people.

T-levels measured are of two kinds: bound testosterone and free (unbound) testosterone. About 98% of what your body produces is bound to either albumin or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which is why it's called “bound” testosterone.

Free testosterone is the remaining 2%, and it connects with the testosterone receptors of the body's cells. It's responsible for secondary male sexual characteristics such as facial hair and a deeper voice [1].

T-level measurements are either free or total, where the latter measures the cumulative amount of both bound and unbound testosterone in the body.

The information given below is regarding total testosterone.

Male Testosterone Levels by Age

Below are the typical testosterone levels for men in different age groups [2]. The total testosterone level for males reaches its peak at the age of 20.

Children

  • 7–9 years: 0–8 nanograms per deciliter

Adolescents Age Male

  • 10–15 years: 1–320 ng/dL
  • 16–19 years: 200–1080 ng/dL

Adult Males

  • 20–39 years: 400–1080 ng/dL
  • 40–59 years: 350–890 ng/dL
  • Over 60: 350–720 ng/dL

Female Testosterone Levels

  • 7–9 years: 1–12 ng/dL
  • 10–premenopausal years: 2–53 ng/dL
  • Postmenopausal: 7–40 ng/dL

High Testosterone Levels in Men and Women

man looking at his cheeks and a woman holding up pads

Usually, high levels of testosterone in both men and women are found in those who maintain a healthy lifestyle.

However, in my research, I’ve found that there is such a thing as too much testosterone. This is seen in athletes who abuse steroids for extra strength.

Men High T-Levels

Men with abnormally high T-levels can experience the following symptoms: headaches, acne, high libido, infertility, high blood pressure, excessive body hair, heart disease, and metabolic disorders, among many others [3].

High testosterone levels in men can also signify a tumor in the adrenal glands or testicles [4].

Women High T-Levels

In women, ovaries produce testosterone, and most testosterone is converted to the sex hormone estradiol [5].

Abnormally high T-levels in women can cause:

  • Irregular periods
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • A deeper voice and excessive hair growth
  • Abnormal sexual function
  • Weight gain

High T-levels in women can also affect their fertility, whereas maintaining regular levels help enhance it [6].

Low Testosterone Levels in Men and Women

woman with hair loss and a shirtless man showing his back

As overall hormone levels usually decline with age, average testosterone levels decrease as well - both for men and women.

Men

Men may experience an increased risk of fractures, weak bones, low libido, loss of body hair, hot flashes, increased breast size, and reduced muscle mass, among many other symptoms of low testosterone [7].

Also, low T-levels in men may mean a genetic or chronic disease or a problem with the pituitary gland [8].

“Testosterone to me is so important for a sense of well-being when you get older.”

-  Sylvester Stallone, Celebrated American Actor 

Women

Although testosterone is primarily considered a male hormone, women who suffer from testosterone deficiency experience the following negative effects:

  • fatigue
  • fertility issues
  • obesity 
  • drying skin
  • hair loss
  • decrease in bone density
  • low libido
  • mood changes
  • irregular menstrual cycle
  • sleep problems
  • reduced muscle tone

Testing and Diagnosis

T-Levels can be assessed with a blood test.

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should consider checking your testosterone level.

To diagnose low testosterone, visit your doctor for a blood test and assess what you need to do to boost your T-levels to normal.

You may even have to consider hormone therapy in certain circumstances.

How To Increase Testosterone Levels?

man in a deep sleep and another working out at home

To increase low testosterone, you need to make a few healthy lifestyle changes.

Good Night’s Rest

A good portion of testosterone release in men happens during sleep [9].

Every additional hour of quality sleep increases your T-levels.

I suggest getting between 8–10 hours of quality sleep.

Regular Exercise

Peer-reviewed studies indicate that regular exercise increases T-levels [10].

Some of the best types of workouts are HIIT Training, resistance training, and weight training.

Balanced Diet

After compiling the lab results of many people I've coached over the years, I’ve noticed that a diet rich in protein, moderate complex carbs, and good fats showed to be beneficial for their overall serum testosterone concentrations.

Foods such as avocados, eggs, berries, shellfish, fish, and green leafy vegetables also correlated with the maintenance or an increase in T-levels in some of my clients.

Related Article: Testosterone Boosting Diet Plan

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) may be a solution for those suffering from the symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone therapy involves the delivery of extra testosterone in the body to raise and keep the levels within the normal range.

I highly recommend that you consult your doctor before doing any hormone replacement therapy — especially testosterone therapy.

A great natural way of raising T levels is with the help of testosterone boosters.

Takeaway On Average Testosterone Level By Age

T-levels reach their peak between the ages of 17 and 19 and then gradually start to decline as you get older. However, it’s crucial that you maintain average T-levels appropriate for your age group to avoid any negative consequences mentioned above.

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and maintain a certain level of physical activity every day. You can also look into some testosterone boosters that may accelerate your results without taking a toll on your health.

For most cases out there, though, a healthy lifestyle is usually enough to keep your T-levels firmly in check.


References:

  1. https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-catalog/overview/83686#Clinical-and-Interpretive
  2. Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (31 October 2012). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures – E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences. pp. 1059–1062. ISBN 978-1-4557-4502-9.
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/drugs-and-medications/testosterone--what-it-does-and-doesnt-do
  4. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/282841
  5. https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/symptoms-and-diseases/high-testosterone-in-women
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6486327/
  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/drugs-and-medications/testosterone--what-it-does-and-doesnt-do
  8. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/testosterone-levels-test/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22234399/

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