I want to get my hormones tested, which option do you recommend?
For blood testing, I use and recommend Direct labs The basic male hormone panel is a good initial option for men and the basic female hormone panel for women. Make sure to sign-up for their newsletter as they often send out discount codes up to 20% off.
After you buy the test, you get a requisition form that you take to your local quest diagnostics to have the blood drawn. Results are emailed to you directly in around a week. No free consulting or advice is offered with the testing so you’re on your own to interpret the results or you can hire an expert such as Dr. Thomas Incledon, Dr. Mark Gordon, or Dr. Nick Delgado.
Saliva testing and 24 urine testing are also options. Many experts such as Dr. Nick Delgado feel 24 urine testing is the most comprehensive. Some experts prefer saliva testing over blood work as they feel saliva testing reveals what is going on at the tissue level while blood testing just covers hormones floating around your bloodstream at the precise moment the testing was completed.
Regardless of all the controversy, just pick an option that works for you. If you have a fear of needles then no need to torture yourself with blood testing. If spitting in a tube grosses you out, then saliva testing is probably not a fit for you. If collecting your urine for twenty-four hours straight sounds totally impractical then it is not the ideal option.
While testing is important, the results are not always clear. For example, you may have a total testosterone of 600 ng/dl and a free level of 100 pg/ml which many consider great numbers. However, you may need to be at 800 total and 150+ free to experience a high sex drive and all the other benefits that come with optimal testosterone levels. On the other hand, some men may have a total of 500 ng/dl and a free of 90 pg/ml and feel great. Keep in mind the results simply show where you land on a statistical range. Just because you’re in the normal range does not mean you’re in the optimal range. This is why experts such as Dr. Gordon take patient symptoms into account and want a clear idea of how one is feeling.
In my experience, however, when I feel optimal my results usually confirm what I am feeling. On a blood test, I took last year my total testosterone was over 900 ng/dl, and my free levels were 125 pg/ml which are both excellent numbers. I felt great going in for testing and expected my numbers to be good and they were. However, at times in the past, I have felt fantastic going in for lab work and my total testosterone was only 580 ng/dl and free 90 pg/ml. Not bad numbers at all, but I was expecting higher levels based on how I was feeling at the time. Regardless, who cares what the numbers are if you feel great. if your sex drive is high, your mood is on point, and you are killing it with training then all is good and you are experiencing the whole point of optimizing hormones.