How Testosterone is Made in Men

Testosterone is an important hormone for men. Low levels of testosterone can result in reduced sexual motivation, low sex drive and muscle mass. Testosterone also helps maintain bone health and influence body fat distribution between the abdominal cavity and hips.

Testosterone is made in men by the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone. The hormone has a variety of effects on the body, including increased energy and libido. Pregnenolone is then converted into DHEA, which is one of the most important hormones in the human body.

Vintage gym health teacher pointing out male anatomy on blackboard.

We highlighted the advantages of maintaining healthy testosterone levels in yesterday’s piece, as well as why you should be concerned about your T. Today, we’ll look at the many types of testosterone that exist, as well as how our bodies manufacture it. Understanding how testosterone works can assist us in determining why our own levels may be low and what we can do to increase testosterone levels in our bodies.

Let’s get this party started.

The Three Testosterone Subtypes

Testosterone is a 19-carbon steroid hormone derived from cholesterol that has a variety of health advantages, as we covered yesterday. A man’s body generates roughly 7 mg of testosterone every day on average, but our bodies can’t utilise all of that T floating about in our bloodstream. The three sub-types of testosterone that make up our total testosterone are as follows:

1. Testosterone in its natural state. This is testosterone in its most natural state. It’s testosterone’s crack, if you will. It’s termed “free” since it doesn’t have any proteins connected to it. Free T may enter cells and activate receptors without being bound by other molecules, allowing it to perform its virile magic on your body and mind. Despite its advantages, free testosterone accounts for just 2 to 3% of our total testosterone levels. To get the most out of T, we should do all we can to boost the quantity of free testosterone in our system. On Thursday, I’ll talk about what research says we can do to boost free T.

2. Testosterone linked to SHBG. A protein called sex hormone-binding-globulin binds around 40 to 50 percent of our total testosterone (SHBG). SHBG is a hormone generated in our livers that regulates the quantity of free testosterone in our systems. SHBG-bound T has the disadvantage of being physiologically inactive, which means our bodies can’t utilise it to help us develop muscles or improve our mood. SHBG isn’t horrible, but there’s a lot of it. Because too much SHBG binds to too much testosterone and leaves too little of the pure material, it’s conceivable to have high total testosterone levels and yet have symptoms of testosterone insufficiency. According to research, dietary and lifestyle adjustments may help lower the quantity of SHBG in our system, allowing us to have more free T.

3. Testosterone binds to albumin. The remaining testosterone is linked to albumin, a protein. Albumin is a protein generated in the liver that helps to maintain extracellular fluid volume stability. Albumin-bound testosterone is physiologically inactive, much as SHBG-bound testosterone. Unlike SHBG-bound T, however, the bind between albumin and testosterone is weak and quickly broken, allowing free testosterone to be produced as required. Because albumin-bound testosterone is rapidly converted to free testosterone, some laboratories combine it with free testosterone when testing you.

Where and How Is Testosterone Produced?

The adrenal glands on top of our kidneys produce a modest amount of testosterone. However, our testicles produce the majority of it (95 percent).


Our testicles make T in a way that mimics a Rube Goldberg machine, only instead of mice and desk fans, our bodies utilize hormones to speed up the process. The following is a simplified description of the complicated mechanism by which our testicles produce testosterone.

1. The entire process starts in our heads. Our hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone when it recognizes that our bodies need more testosterone. The gonadotropin-releasing hormone travels to the pituitary gland, which is located at the back of our brain.

2. When the gonadotropin-releasing hormone is detected, the pituitary gland produces two hormones: 1) follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and 2) luteinizing hormone (LH). On the motorway that is our bloodstream, the FSH and LH catch a trip down to our testicles.

3. When FSH and LH reach our testicles, they instruct them to perform two distinct functions. FSH encourages the Leydig cells in our testicles to produce more testosterone, whereas LH increases sperm production.

4. Our testicles’ Leydig cells turn cholesterol into testosterone via a complicated process that I won’t even bother to explain. Cholesterol, after all, is a component of testosterone. The cholesterol floating around in our blood from the bacon and eggs we ate in the morning provides the majority of what Leydig cells need to create T. Our testicles may make a little amount of cholesterol if there isn’t enough in our blood for the Leydig cells to convert it to testosterone. However, depending too much on cholesterol created by our non-almond nuts may prevent our Leydig cells from making T. Those eggs must be consumed!

5. T is generated and then returned to our circulation. The majority of it binds to SHBG and albumin and becomes physiologically inactive. The tiny fraction of us who are still free and untethered circulates and begins to man up our thoughts and bodies. When our hypothalamus detects a sufficient amount of T in our blood, it instructs the pituitary gland to stop secreting LH, causing our testicles to reduce T production.

And that, my friends, is how testosterone is produced (approximately). For those visual learners, here’s a flowchart of the process:

Flowchart how testosterone is made.

Wikipedia is the source of this information.

As you can see, our bodies’ production of T is a complicated process. Because of its intricacy, there are several ways for it to go awry and for our levels to decline. You’ve undoubtedly come up with several elements that impact T levels just from reading about how it’s created. On Thursday, we’ll go through it in further detail. Everything was completed on schedule.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what constitutes a “normal” testosterone level and the various methods for testing testosterone.

Stay macho till next time.

Series on Testosterone Week: Men’s Declining Virility and the Importance of T The Advantages of Having a Healthy Testosterone Level A Quick Overview of the Production of T How to Measure Your T and What Is a “Normal” Testosterone Level How I Naturally Doubled My Testosterone Levels and How You Can Too




Testosterone is produced by the testes in men. The testes produce testosterone, which then travels to the bloodstream and is carried around the body. Reference: testosterone is produced by which gland.

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