Testosterone is a human hormone most commonly associated with male sexual characteristics. Both genders actually produce this hormone, but how much is enough? A new study may have a way of measuring the normal range for testosterone levels in men.

For the study, now published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers determined that the normal range for testosterone in a non-obese population of European and American Men who are 19 to 39 years old is 264 to 916 ng/dL. While this figure may not mean much to the layperson, it's an important achievement for the medical community, because the correct diagnosis and effective treatment and prevention of hormone imbalances, as well as many other diseases, depends on accurate hormone measurements.

Until now, the lack of both defined reference ranges of testosterone, as well as other factors, has made it difficult to diagnose hypogonadism, a condition where the gonads and testes don't function properly.

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“Our data establish a reference range for testosterone. These data also show that variations in [measurements] is an important contributor to variation in testosterone levels in cohorts from different geographic regions. Clearly we need standardization in all hormone [measurements],” said Shalender Bhasin, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA and lead author of the study, in a recent statement.

Knowing a man’s testosterone levels is a critical part of both diagnosing and treating hypogonadism. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a condition that only affects men, and occurs when the body doesn't produce enough testosterone. The condition is either present from birth of can develop later in life. Some common signs of the condition can include lack of muscle mass, lack of voice deepening, and impaired growth of body hair. However, the condition must be diagnosed based on a measure of testosterone levels.

Source: Travison TG, Vesper HW, Orwoll E, et al. Harmonized Reference Ranges for Circulating Testosterone Levels in Men of Four Cohort Studies in the USA and Europe. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism . 2017

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