Testosterone and Men: Understanding the Age-Dependant Ranges

It’s natural for testosterone levels to decline as men age, but working to identify the ideal ranges for one’s age is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Carrie Jones highlights the difference between ‘optimal ranges’ and ‘age ranges’ in determining the body’s proper hormone levels.


While women are classically defined by their oestrogen and progesterone levels, men are defined by their androgen levels, namely testosterone. It is the differences in these hormones that help with secondary sex characteristics by gender; however, the extra testosterone produced by the gonads in men is what increases their body mass, muscle strength, alters fat distribution, and generally improves energy, mood, and sex drive. Through each stage in a man’s life, proper understanding of testosterone and age-dependent ranges become an absolute must in working to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Testosterone levels are the highest at puberty (as the male body develops) and continue to fall through the years with experts saying it declines 1-2% every year after 30 years old. Unfortunately, this process can be sped up through poor lifestyle habits, dietary choices, exposures to harmful compounds, lack of exercise, and increased stress resulting in men in their 20’s and 30’s experiencing the fallout of a low testosterone level.

The DUTCH Test

The DUTCH test gives a comprehensive evaluation of all androgen hormones and oestrogen. While we already stated oestrogen is what defines a woman, testosterone can be converted into oestrogen in fat tissue (and elsewhere) through a process known as aromatisation. Increased oestrogen levels result in fatigue, depression, low libido, erectile issues, weight gain, and breast development. Therefore, the more fat a man has on his frame, the likelihood of having elevated oestrogen and low testosterone is much higher. It is also important to understand which pathway the androgens are taking as some pathways result in male pattern baldness, anger, irritation, acne, and increased prostate problems.

Age ranges are set for men to see where they are compared to their peers and to determine if their “age range” and “optimal range” is the same range (ranges do not account for weight, health habits, or genetics). For example, a man might have an appropriate level for his age, but his symptoms of lean muscle loss, fatigue, mood swings, and lower libido may suggest he should be in a younger category. Age ranges also help for those on testosterone supplementation as many healthcare practitioners have an ideal testosterone level for their patient to achieve in order to know if the replacement is working. As a side note, it is helpful to evaluate the epi-testosterone level compared to the testosterone level when supplementing with testosterone. Epi-testosterone does not increase with replacement and acts more of a “baseline” level. The difference can indicate whether the replacement is increasing levels or not; see video.

Currently the DUTCH testosterone age ranges are as follows: 18-25y/o, 26-40y/o, 40-60y/o, and older than 60y/o. DUTCH also gives age ranges for the other androgens such as DHEA-s, etiocholanolone, and androsterone.

It is important to understand that “age range” and “optimal range” may not be the same range for every male. Symptom history and lifestyle play a big role in determining this decision. Becoming more aware of proper hormone levels and the effects of HRT treatments are key in sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

*This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided on this site is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional. Please consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, supplements, medications, lifestyle, or if you suspect you might have a health problem.

About the Author

Carrie Jones, ND, MPH is a naturopathic doctor whose passion and expertise lies in the areas of hormonal, adrenal, and thyroid health. She recognizes that imbalance can occur at any age and believes it is important to look at the big picture such as the appropriate use of lab testing. Dr. Jones graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, Oregon then went on to complete her residency in women’s health, endocrinology and hormones. Later she graduated from Grand Canyon University’s Master of Public Health program with a goal of doing more international work and health empowerment. Dr. Jones is an adjunct professor at NUNM and regularly consults, lectures, and writes on the topic of hormones, thyroid, adrenals, digestive issues, autoimmune and more both nationally and internationally. As the Medical Director for Precision Analytical Inc., her goals are to provide ongoing cutting edge integrative clinical education to the large network of providers paving the way of healthcare with functional medicine.

S QLD / N NSW Area Manager

Jessica Morland

Jess is a qualified Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine. She believes that there is no one size fits all approach and is passionate about educating, inspiring and supporting clients and practitioners with a customised approach to healthcare. Specialties include preconception, pregnancy, post-natal and infant care. 

Jess is excited to build relationships, educate and share her knowledge with both retail and practitioners in South Queensland and Northern NSW.

Lauren Matich, BHSc (Nat.)

Lauren Matich

BHSc (Nat.)

Lauren is an NHAA accredited Clinical Naturopath with a Bachelor of Health Science. She is incredibly passionate about natural health and educating clients on the foundational importance of nutrition, lifestyle and stress management and believes complimenting these building blocks with nutraceutical support and functional testing often holds the key to optimal health and vitality. Lauren looks forward to supporting practitioners and clients in these key areas.

Specialties include supporting thyroid health, digestive disorders and mental health.