ContentsWhat is Testosterone?
Benefits of testosterone
Should you test your testosterone?
Testosterone Home Test Kit Options
ZRT Lab Saliva Test Kit
ZRT Free and Total kit
Progene Test kit
If you’re a man in your thirties (or beyond), and you’re trying to lose weight, or get fit, or increase strength, or improve your sex life, or just generally feel better, it’s likely that you’re thinking about testosterone and maybe wondering how your levels are affecting your progress.
If you’re not, you probably should be.
Testosterone is the KEY male hormone.
It’s essentially what makes a man a man.
So it makes sense that if a you’re trying to improve any or all aspects of your manhood, you’ll look to testosterone as an important piece of the puzzle.
What Exactly Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the predominant male sex hormone.Produced in the testes, it’s primarily responsible for keeping the male reproductive system functioning properly, and it’s secondarily responsible for many other traditionally male characteristics such as muscle mass, bone density, body and facial hair, and aggression.
The physiological effects of testosterone can actually be divided into two separate categories:
- Anabolic Effects – which revolve around muscle mass and strength, and
- Androgenic Effects – which center on the sexual maturation parts of the equation, including development of reproductive organs, facial and body hair and the deepening of your voice.
Female bodies produce and use testosterone as well, but in much smaller amounts, produced in the ovaries.
On average, the male body produces about 20 times more testosterone than the female body.
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What Are the Benefits?
Once the sexual maturation process is complete, the role of testosterone in the adult male settles into its permanent state, which still covers a broad range of benefits, including:
- Increasing and maintaining muscle mass.
- Decreasing body fat.
- Improving overall mood and alleviating symptoms of depression and sadness.
- Strengthening bones
- Increasing sex drive and erectile function.
- Improving cognitive ability, possibly even to the point of mitigating the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Boosting your tendency toward competitiveness and the desire for power.
- Making you more attractive to women.
To be fair, the correlation of many of these benefits to increased testosterone is clearly known, but the causality is far less understood.
In other words, there may be some cases of virtuous and/or vicious cycles.
For example, a healthier, fitter body with a higher muscle to fat ratio produces more testosterone, and a body that produces more testosterone becomes more healthy and fit with a higher muscle to fat ratio.
Conversely, a weak and fat body produces less testosterone, then armed with less testosterone, this weak fat body becomes even weaker and fatter.
However, whether the cause or the result in any given circumstance or moment, healthy testosterone levels are needed to maintain optimal health and happiness.
There are two important aspects to the “How It Works” question.
There’s “How is it made?
” and there’s “How does it work in the body?
” There are volumes of research on both aspects, but we’ll just touch on them briefly here, keeping it to simple layman’s terms.
How is Testoterone Made?
Most male testosterone is made in the testicles (about 95%), with the remainder made in the adrenal glands.
Focusing on what’s made in the testicles:
- The brain (specifically the hypothalmus) notices more testosterone is needed and secretes Gonadatropin-Releasing Hormone to the pituitary gland.
- The pituitary gland is then signaled to produce and release Luteinizing Hormone.
- The Luteinizing Hormone makes its way to the testicles where it signals the Leydig Cells to create and release testosterone.
- The Leydig cells convert cholesterol to testosterone, which they then send out into the bloodstream.
How Does It Work In the Body?
Once testosterone is release into the bloodstream, most of it is almost immediately rendered effectively useless.
It becomes bound to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
This is why testosterone tests done in labs test both total testosterone and free testosterone.
A good total testosterone level is great, but doesn’t really do much unless there is a correspondingly high level of free testosterone as well.
Free testosterone is what you really need to gain the benefits we rely on for virility and good health.
Should You Get Your Levels Tested?
Now that we have a basic understanding of what testosterone does and why we need it, lets talk a bit about finding out where our own levels stand.
Leaving aside the hassle and expense of testosterone replacement therapy, there are plenty of ways to increase levels naturally.
- Resistance training.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Getting enough REM sleep.
- Losing excess body fat.
- Eating certain foods
- Take natural testosterone boosting supplements like Fenugreek, Magnesium, and D Aspartic Acid.
- Avoid drugs like Marijuana.
These are all ways you can safely increase your testosterone without involving expensive doctor visits and potentially negative side effects.
But how do you know that it’s low in the first place?
Should You Test Your Testosterone Levels At Home?
There are definitely some signs and symptoms you’re probably familiar with that could indicate low testosterone levels, including:
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Lower libido.
- A decrease in muscle mass.
- Diminished growth of body hair.
- Trouble focusing,
- Even hot flashes.
Of course, it’s tough to know what’s normal and what might be indicative of a problem.
Everyone’s testosterone levels decrease with age – it’s just an unfortunate part of the process.
This makes it difficult to determine whether or not your particular issue constitutes an actual low testosterone problem.
And this is where checking your testosterone levels at home comes in.
You could go to the doctor and get a blood test.
If you’re very concerned about your symptoms, this is probably your best course of action for a couple reasons.
First because it’s the most accurate, and second because your doctor will most likely give you a comprehensive exam to go along with the blood test.
But if you’ve just started to notice the symptoms, and/or you want start with a simpler diagnostic test on your own before heading to your doctor for the big workup, a home testosterone test kit might just be the best place to start.
Testosterone Home Test Kit Options
Once you decide you want to use a home kit and you start looking for one, you’ll see that there are more than a few options to choose from.
I’m going to the lab for a testosterone blood test in the next week or so, and I asked my doctor if she could have my testosterone levels tested.
Once I get the results back, I plan to try out a few of the home tests to see how accurately they correlate with these home testosterone test kits.
I’ve chosen the following so far.
I may add to the list as time goes on, but let’s start with these.
As a side note, other than Progene, they do not sell any of these testosterone test kits in stores like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, or GNC.
They’re only available online.
1.) Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit from ZRT Laboratory
Available at Amazon (www.Amazon.com, not an affiliate link) as well as ZRT Laboratory’s chosen online retailer Live Well Testing, this test kit is offered by a recognized leader in the hormone and well being testing kit market.
ZRT’s credo is “our results are complex, our tests are not”.
The results of a test can only be as effective as the collection process, which is why the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit comes with clear and simple instructions for collecting your saliva and sending it to the lab for testing your testosterone levels.
Using saliva collected over several collection times throughout the day, the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit is able to measure free (usable) testosterone, rather than simply total testosterone.
Free test is really the number you need to know in determining whether or not you have a deficiency, and is generally the kind that counts towards the above mentioned benefits.
As one of the first companies to use saliva for measuring hormones, ZRT has developed the protocol for effective home collection, so when it comes to Saliva-only tests, this one has a good chance of outperforming its competitors.
That said, I checked out the Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit reviews on Amazon, and the news here is not very good.
Granted, there are only 2 reviews posted, but they both are only 1-Star reviews:
In both cases, the issue is more about the company than the product itself, but if it’s true that they’re not responsive to your needs, then they could have the best product in the world and I’d still have a difficult time recommending them.
On the other hand, it is reassuring that they developed and have been using these collection and test methods for years.
But still, if they don’t provide the information or feedback you really need, all the experience in the world won’t help.
Saliva Hormone Level Imbalance Testing Kit sells at Amazon for $63.99 with free shipping, and there are no further costs for lab work or shipping.
2.) Everly Well Testosterone Test
Another homes testosterone test kit is the Everly Well Testosterone Test available through the official Everly Well website.
The big draw for this product, of course, is the convenience of checking your testosterone levels without ever having to visit a lab.
Everly Well actually provides a number of at home tests for thyroid hormone levels, metabolism, food allergies, STDs, and many others.
Here’s how they lay out the simplicity of the process:
It measures free testosterone as opposed to total, which again, is the number you want, the one that gives you the most useful information.
Also provided are detailed instructions and results you can use to interpret how your testosterone profile may or may not be contributing to your symptoms.
Everly Well is a new company, founded in 2015 by Julia Cheek, and currently headquartered in Austin, TX.
As a new company, it’s been tough to find feedback on their testing products, so we’ll have to wait a while before that starts trickling in.
If you look hard enough, you can find some user feedback for their “Food Sensitivity Test” (most of which is favorable in terms of convenience and results), but nothing regarding the Testosterone Test.
You can pick it up through their official website for $69.
3.) ZRT Free Testosterone and Total Testosterone Home Test Kit
The total kit from ZRT uses saliva to test for free testosterone and blood to test for total testosterone.
So if you’re looking for something to cover all your bases, like what you’d get if you went to the lab yourself for a blood draw and complete workup, this is your test.
You collect saliva the same way as in the saliva-only kit – in the collection tubes several times throughout the day so you can get the best overall true read.
The blood spot collection is done with a finger prick lancet and dropping blood spots on the circles of the blood spot card.
If you’re concerned that the process might be too difficult or complicated, it comes with detailed instructions as well as links to video demonstrations to help you out.
Like the other ZRT test we talked about, the ZRT Free Testosterone and Total Testosterone Home Test Kit is available through the Live Well Testing website as well as Amazon.com.At either location, the price for the kit comes to $109.99, with no further lab or shipping costs.
There’s only one review posted to Amazon.com.
Like the other reviews, it doesn’t talk about the test accuracy, so much as the customer service involved in using the test.
In this case, the customer was pleased:
4.) Progene At Home Testosterone Test Kit
The last kit we’ll talk about today is Progene at Home Testosterone Test Kit.
Progene Labs offers this saliva test as the cheapest one we’ve come across.You can buy it the Progene website for $59.96.At Walmart, however, they’re currently selling single kits for just over $31 each, so that would be your better angle if you choose to go with this one.
Related Article: Read my comprehensive review of Progene daily complex.
This is a saliva-only kit, testing for free testosterone.
Once you buy your kit, you go online to activate it, you spit in the cup up to 4 times throughout the day for a balanced sample, and you mail in your samples.
5-7 days later, your results will be available online and/or over the phone.
Progene is marketed in conjunction with their testosterone boosting supplement of the same name.
It’s a smart marketing idea, one that I’m surprised more companies don’t use actually.
Unfortunately, I found absolutely no customer feedback regarding the Progene at Home Testosterone Test Kit, which is a shame.
With a test this cheap, it would be great to know if it’s at least as effective as the other, more expensive saliva tests.
Testosterone Home Test Kits – The Bottom Line
These days, the healthcare community continues to move toward more lifestyle and holistic solutions to the issues and maladies that ail us.
This is one reason why the online supplement industry has positively exploded.
If there’s a natural way to improve our health, it’s preferred over the more synthetic solutions.
The use of Testosterone Home Test Kits fits right into this paradigm.
If you’re showing some of the signs and symptoms of low testosterone, why not check into the possibility that your hormone levels may be the culprit?
The only caveat is that these tests have just not proven to be as accurate as the serum tests your doctor will prescribe.
They may offer you a good measure of your basic testosterone levels – providing you with a clue as to whether or not your testosterone may be the problem.
But the results are not reliable enough at this point to be conclusive.
So if you get your home test results and you’re still concerned about your situation, contact your doctor about following up with some more conclusive tests.
I’ll be updating this review over the next few weeks once I get my results back, so stay tuned.
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