Free Testosterone Test: How Are Testosterone Levels Checked?

Medically reviewed by — Research analysis by Alex Eriksson

​Doctors often recommend getting a free testosterone test to determine the cause of hormonal imbalance—and for the sake of monitoring men’s health. Should you simply follow their advice and consider taking this test?

Measuring one’s general testosterone levels (or total testosterone) is not enough, and this doesn’t apply only to middle-aged men. After all, it’s not just the older men who have blood containing free, albumin-bound, and sex-hormone-binding globulin-bound testosterone.

​Out of these three, your free testosterone levels indicate how much testosterone your body can freely utilize. This is because SHBG and albumin can be over-produced by the body, causing hormonal imbalance (often due to the lifestyle-related factors).

​Getting a free testosterone test is an essential way of tracking your anabolic health.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

​Who Should Get a Test

​If you’re experiencing fatigue, depression, trouble concentrating, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, decreased sex drive, swollen breasts, and erectile dysfunction, you may be suffering from testosterone deficiency or even hypogonadism (caused by problems in the adrenal glands).

​On the other hand, if you’re exhibiting uncharacteristic aggressive and risky behavior, mood swings, acne, hair loss, oily skin, or smaller testicles, your free testosterone levels (or your testosterone production in general) might be too high.

But, there’s no way to confirm any of this (and the need for testosterone treatment) without a proper test done on you.

​You have no way of knowing if your hormones are balanced and if your efforts on keeping your hormones balanced are having the right effect on your body.

​This is even more important if you’re thinking of supplementing with exogenous testosterone or any other products that will increase the male sex hormone.

​Proper monitoring of the level of testosterone in the blood is necessary for any testosterone replacement therapy or supplementation (even in the case of hypogonadal menor those with androgen deficiency).

​Before Testing

Your testosterone levels can be affected by a variety of prescription medicines. Steroids, barbiturates, anticonvulsants, testosterone therapy, and natural testosterone boosters can artificially increase the male hormone’s ratio.

In contrast, it can be artificially decreased by opiates, certain hair-loss drugs, statins, long-term NSAID use, beta-blockers, sulfonylurea, and spironolactone. Before testing, it’s advised to seek advice from your doctor on the best way to ensure the accuracy of a testosterone blood test.

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​The Best Method for Testing

Hormone testing methods include serum, saliva, and urine. Out of all of these, methods using serum (blood) and saliva are the ones you would want as these are often used in the clinical setting.

Although testing through saliva has been proven dependable, there are instances wherein saliva and serum hormone levels would not be the same. This is why both methods are recommended for initial and periodic testing.

There are also blood spot and saliva strip kits available that allow you to test levels of testosterone by yourself—this would do for occasional home testing. However, if you want a better picture of your hormonal balance, a test done by a laboratory is more dependable as it would provide actual values.

Unfortunately, some locations might not have laboratories that can accommodate these tests.

In such cases, we recommend using home-use free testosterone test kits like ZRT Laboratory’s Saliva + Blood Multi-test Kit. You can collect samples at home, send them for testing, and receive the results in a matter of days, saving you from the hassles of having your hormone levels tested at an actual clinic.

Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

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