A blog to help you optimize your full-body and life performance

Introducing the New Kid on the Block: Testosterone

By Meghan Johnson Mar 14, 2012

There’s a new biomarker in town! InsideTracker’s Performance Panel now tests for blood levels of testosterone in addition to nineteen other biomarkers that are used to create your optimal performance plan. The Performance Panel measures the thirteen original markers in the Fitness Plus plan, but also tests your levels of testosterone, sodium, potassium, chromium, C-reactive protein, white blood cell count, and zinc.image

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is primarily secreted by men’s testes and women’s ovaries, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. Men produce about ten times more testosterone than women, which is why the hormone is typically associated with men; but ladies, don’t tune out yet! Women are actually more sensitive to fluctuations in testosterone due to their lower levels.What’s testosterone got to do with athletic performance?

Testosterone plays several influential roles in promoting your overall health and athletic performance. Having adequate levels of testosterone has been linked to the following positive health outcomes:

Increased muscle strength Decreased LDL and total cholesterol levels Maintenance of bone mineral density for strong bones Increased ability to build lean muscle mass and decrease body fat Increased VO2 max, delivering oxygen more efficiently to your muscles

How much testosterone is enough?

Click here to learn how InsideTracker can recommend personalized diet and exercise plans that will help optimize your testosterone levels!

Similar to other biomarkers, there seems to be a “sweet spot” for optimum levels of testosterone. Having too little isn’t beneficial, and having too much can be downright dangerous. This is where InsideTracker can help you by analyzing your blood to determine your current testosterone level. Below are the general guidelines for healthy testosterone levels:Male: 300 - 1,200 ng/dLFemale: 30 - 95 ng/dLInsideTracker will tell you your optimized level based on the demographic and lifestyle information that you provide.Low levels of the hormone have been associated with decreased bone density and heart health, as well as with increased blood pressure and fasting glucose levels. Physical symptoms of testosterone deficiency include increased body fat, reduced libido, breast soreness, very small or shrinking testes, infertility, height loss, low bone mineral density, reduced muscle bulk and strength, hot flashes, and sweats. Decreased testosterone is most common in overweight men, men in steady relationships, and beginning athletes who train more than two hours a day. As mentioned, too much of a good thing can also be bad. High levels of testosterone can lower your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. One cause of high testosterone is steroid usage, which has been linked to menstrual cycle cessation or irregularity in women. “Roid rage” is a phenomenon sometimes seen in athletes who take testosterone supplements that cause them to become overly aggressive. Athletes who abuse steroids containing testosterone are also at greater risk for coronary heart disease.How can you safely manage your testosterone levels?

If your InsideTracker analysis suggests that your levels are lower than your desirable range, there are several ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally, without the use of steroids. For example, regular exercise can help you increase your testosterone levels if you are already at an adequate level. Winning a sporting event or competition, and even watching your favorite team win elevates your testosterone levels, while losing decreases it. Men’s testosterone levels even rise as they succeed and fall when they fail. (For example, men who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 had higher testosterone levels than men who voted for McCain!)If your testosterone is low, changing your diet may help to raise your testosterone levels. Deficiencies in zinc, magnesium and calcium appear to lead to reduced testosterone levels. If your levels of these biomarkers are low, try consuming foods that are high in these minerals, such as almonds or hazelnuts; black beans, lima beans or black-eyed peas; lean poultry or beef; and dairy products such as skim milk. The Food Recommendations on your Nutrition Page and your Food Menu can help you find other foods that meet your unique taste preferences and dietary needs.The best way to start managing your testosterone is to order the InsideTracker Performance Panel and have your blood analyzed. InsideTracker’s unique algorithm will assess whether or not you should be concerned about your testosterone levels, and what you can do to improve them. So, what are you waiting for?