How Testosterone Is Made
Believe it or not, our body doesn't break down all of the testosterone (T or Test) that it produces. Sure, we produce this special hormone every day--specifically men produce around 7mg, but the way in which it is broken down plays a huge role in how it is actually used. First, it's broken down into three subtypes: free T, SHGB Bound Testosterone, and Albumin Bound Testosterone. Each is very distinct.
Free T is free to move throughout your bloodstream because it travels alone. There are no proteins attached to it. So your mind and body are able to get the full effects of it. But this version does not come easy. In fact, it makes up only 2 to 3% of the total testosterone levels which means that it's not easy to experience it at scale unless you understand how vitamins, minerals and herbs work together to increase it.
SHBG Bound T, also known as sex hormone binding globulin, is invaluable because it helps to regulate the free T our bodies produce. However, when it comes to muscle growth and mood boosts, it's relatively useless. In fact, research suggests that SHBG T can actually have negative effects if the levels are too high. Why is this? Well, this liver produced hormone binds itself to testosterone and if they are too high in number, it does not leave too much room for the free T. This may be why you may suffer from a test deficiency even when your levels are high. The only way to avoid these dangerously high levels is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Albumin-bound T is produced in the liver. It's involved in the regulation of extra fluid volumes. It's also biologically inactive. It's almost identical to SHGB. However, what makes this particular category stand out from SHGB is that it does not get in the way of free T. Even though the Albumin-bound hormone binds to test, the bonds it creates are weak which means that it's quite easy for free T to break through them. Even when tested, you'll notice that T and Album-bound T are often lumped in together.
How and Where is Testosterone Made ?
If you have ever researched where the production of test takes place, then you know that is a process that is focused mostly on the testicles. In fact, though the adrenal glands have only a small part to play, over 90% of testosterone is produced in the testicles. A great visual representation of this process would be the Rube Goldberg Contraption. Let's take a condensed look at how it all works:
When the hypothalamus detects that our body needs more, it secretes the hormone gonadotropin. This hormone then makes its way to the back of our brains--specifically to the pituitary gland. Once it reaches the pituitary gland, it produces Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) hormones which then move through the bloodstream towards the testicles. After the FSH and LH finally get to the testicles, the FSH produces sperm and the LH stimulates Leydig cells which in turn makes more testosterone.
Here's where the process gets even more involved and complex. The Leydig cells then work to convert cholesterol into testosterone. In this way, it makes use of everything you have eaten during the day. And if you don't have enough cholesterol in your bloodstream, the testicles will work to produce more. However, it is important that you consume enough cholesterol as this could inhibit how much T can be produced by the Leydig cells.
And this brings us back full circle to the free T, the Albumin-binding test, and the SHBG. When test is released back into the bloodstream, only a small percentage remains free. And this is the percentage that works its magic on our minds and bodies. The rest binds itself to Albumin and SHBG. And once the hypothalamus detects that we have enough of the hormone, it tells the pituitary gland to stop secreting LH so that production can slow down.
Concluding How Testosterone Is Made
If you want to visually learn more about how testosterone is produced, there are several charts available online. It's a very involved process. And it is easy to see how even the small decision we make can have a significant impact on how efficiently our bodies are able to produce the hormone naturally.