Maintaining High Testosterone at the Age of 71: My Latest Test Results

  • by Nils Osmar. Updated 5/1/2024. Copyright 2024.
  • This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. 
  • See full Medical Disclaimer

As men age, our testosterone level begin dropping. The decrease in testosterone is a measurable indication that aging is occurring in the body.

For the past few years, I’ve been using a combination of exercise, changes to my diet, and nutritional supplements to adjust my T levels. You’ll find a list of everything I’ve been doing, and the results, below.

Testosterone and longevity

A recent Science Daily article, “Low Testosterone Levels Associated With Increased Risk Of Death In Men”, summed up a review published in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals:

…About 19 percent (166) of the men had a low testosterone level; 28 percent (240) had an equivocal testosterone level… and 53 percent (452) had normal testosterone levels. One-fifth (20.1 percent) of the men with normal testosterone levels died during the course of the study, compared with 24.6 percent of men with equivocal levels and 34.9 percent of those with low levels.

Men with low testosterone levels had an 88 percent increase in risk of death compared with those who had normal levels. When the researchers considered other variables that may influence risk of death, such as age, other illnesses and body mass index, the association between low testosterone levels and death persisted.

Risks and benefits

The study noted that there were both risks and benefits to increasing testosterone. The risks may be partly because most men who decide to increase their levels use injections, which can have negative side effects such as shutting down their own bodies’ production of it.

The authors concluded, though, that low levels of testosterone were clearly associated with the highest death rates. Extremely high levels came in second. Men with free (circulating) testosterone levels between 9.8 to 15.8 nmol/L range tended to live the longest.

In my own case, I’ve decided not to get injections, but to use natural means of increasing my levels as long as they’re working.

June 2013 test – 60 years old: 803 ng/dL

  • I often wish, looking back, that I’d started testing all of my biomarkers when I was younger, so that I could have a better baseline for comparison. But my first test did not take place until 2013, when I was 60 years old.
  • My testosterone in the June 2013 test was 803 ng/dL.
  • As the years went by, I started getting the feeling my testosterone might be sinking, so I started testing regularly.

June 202o test – 67 years old: 579 ng/dL

  • The next time I tested was seven years later, at the age of 67.
  • My testosterone was 579 ng/dL.
  • My doctor said this was “impressive for my age” (whatever that means), but I didn’t like the direction things were going. So I decided to try raising it by making changes in my protocol, including doing resistance training and taking several supplements which have been found to increase testosterone in males. The supplements I’m taking, and their sources and doses, are listed at the bottom of this article.

July 2021 test – 68 years old: 972 ng/dL

  • In September 2021, at the age of 69, my testosterone had reached 972 ng/dL.
  • So I had been able to raise it significantly.

July 2022 test – 69 years old: 425 ng/dL

  • I then phased out the supplements, cutting back to taking them twice a week instead of every day and completely stopping one of them (DHEA).
  • I was tested again in July of 2022, at the age of 69. In that test, it was 425 ng/dL.
  • This suggested that the supplements had been working.

July 2023 test – 70 years old: 947 ng/dL

  • I restarted the supplements (including DHEA), and went back to taking them five days a week.
  • I also made some more changes to my diet, increasing my consumption of grass-fed red meat, fish, eggs and other animal-based foods.
  • My next blood draw was in July 2023, at the age 0f 70.
  • In that test, my total testosterone had reached 947 ng/dL.
  • For comparison, most men in my age group come in around 300-450 ng/dL.

My DHEA-S was high…

  • I noticed one problem in the 2023 test, which was that my DHEA-S was high (363 ug/dL). (Anything above 295.6 is considered high.) (I had not tested it prior to this test.)
  • High DHEA-S can sometimes suggest a medical problem, but in my case it was likely because I’d been supplementing with DHEA. I had started at 100 mg of DHEA, but cut back to 50 mg. After this test, I cut my dose of DHEA further, from 50 mg to 25 mg.
  • For those taking DHEA, it does have some side effects to be aware of. One is that it can increase estrogen. There is also evidence that, while having a “healthy” level can be anti-cancer, very high levels can make some types of cancer grow faster. See study.
  • ADDENDUM: After writing the above information, I spoke with a rep at LifeExtension (where I ordered the tests) about my DHEA-S level. He said that the reason it was marked ‘high’ on my lab report was because of my age; 363 ug/dL is actually considered within the optimal range in a younger man. As long as I don’t have any other health issues, he does not see its being high as a concern, but rather an indication that the DHEA supplement I’m taking is having the desired result. So I’ll actually be keeping my dose at 50 mg.

April 2024 test – 71 years old: 741 ng/dL

  • My most recent test, about ten days ago, was on April 2, 2024, at the age of 71.
  • In it, my testosterone was 741 ng/dL. So it had dropped a bit this time.
  • This may be because of my (gradually) lowering the DHEA from 100 mg, t0 50 mg, then down to 25 mg.
  • It may also be related to the fact that I stopped taking Gaia Male Libido (see supplements list below.)
  • I’ve also been doing less HIIT exercise than I used to. (HIIT is one of the most effective exercises for increasing T levels). (See study)
  • In some good news, my DHEA-S has dropped from 363 to 322 ug/dL in the most recent test, which is what I was aiming for when I cut back on my dose of DHEA.

Why the recent drop from 947 to 741 ng/dL?

I asked my doctor what he thought about the recent drop from 947 to 741 ng/dL. In his opinion:

  1. It had most likely occurred because I had lowered my dose of DHEA, and was doing less HIIT. (I had cut my dose from 50 mg to 25 mg.)
  2. I had also stopped taking one of my regular supplements (Gaia Male Libido, a combination of several herbs).
  3. It could also just be a normal fluctuation because of my testing time. The 947 ng/dL was done at 8 a.m.; the most recent test, at 10:30 a.m. If I’d tested earlier in the day, my T would likely have been higher. So my somewhat lower score may be an outlier. My next test, in two months, should help answer this.
  4. It’s also possible, of course, that I in spite of my anti-aging protocol, I may be experiencing an age-related drop; there’s no guarantee that the things I’m doing will keep my levels high forever. But I’m hoping to be able to increase it to over 900 ng/dL again. I’ll be testing my levels several times this year so I can get a better idea of how my changes to my protocol may be impacting things.

My free testosterone levels

  • I began testing my free (circulating) testosterone last year. (I had not done so before.) In 2023, was 17.2 pg/mL
  • In my 2024 test, it had dropped to 11.5 pg/mL.
  • I’m not sure if the drop is a good thing or a bad thing. As noted above, men with free testosterone levels between 9.8 to 15.8 nmol/L range tend to live the longest. I would like to raise it a little though, so I’ll be increasing my dose of boron. See this study. I had recently cut back from 10 mg/day to 2 mg. I’ll be increasing it again to see if I can get it. up to around 15 pg/mL.

Testicle size

  • Some of the supplements I’m taking, including L. reuteri 6475 and fish oil, cause men’s testicles to increase in size. (instead of shrinking as they normally do with age). I have noticed this effect, though I’m not sure which supplement is responsible.

My estradiol levels

  • A healthy level of estradiol is also important for maintaining a healthy libido, for erectile function, and spermatogenesis.
  • I’ve started testing mine to make sure none of my supplements (such as DHEA) were also raising estrogen.
  • The first time I tested it (in 2023), my estradiol came in at 33 pg/mL.
  • In the 2024 test, it was a little higher, i.e., 37.6.
  • 10-50 pg/mL is a normal range for men.

“Some guys are bigger”

  • The photo below is me a few months ago (I was then 70). When I’ve posted photos like it in Facebook groups (with notes about my protocol), now and then someone will comment that “some guys your age have bigger muscles.”
  • I can’t argue with that. Some do.
  • My goal is to optimize my testosterone and do what I can to increase my muscle size, in part for vanity, but in part because I want to build up a reserve in the event that I should ever start losing muscle again due to the aging process (as happened a few years ago). We need muscle for everyday activities. If I had it to do over, I’d go back in time and start working out when I was in my twenties. Till time travel comes along, that won’t be an option.
  • I would probably be bigger (in that regard) if I were on testosterone injections. But there are reasons I’ve gone in other articles that for me, supplements appear to be a better choice at this time.

Me a few years ago

I was actually slipping into sarcopenia a few years ago; see the image below. The one on the left is me when I was 67; the one on the right is me a year later, after improving my diet, starting supplements, and beginning an exercise program. I’m glad to have been able to reverse it. I want to protect against it happening again.

Were my highest testosterone levels “too high” when they were in the 900s?

  • Some medical conditions (i.e., problems) can cause high testosterone. So when mine went up, I asked my doctor to check to make sure my high T wasn’t being caused by an underlying medical condition.
  • He ran some tests and verified that it was not; there was nothing problematic going on. My T was high because my testes are working well, not because of any underlying medical condition.
  • In Europe and the UK, testosterone is measured in nmol/L; here in the U.S. it’s measured in ng/dL. The official recommendations as to what’s an ideal level vary greatly between different countries. Here in the U.S. while recommendations vary between medical facilities, there’s a general consensus that it’s good to keep it between 264-916 or thereabout. By that standard, mine is a little high but, according to my doctor, is still fine; if it were 1100 ng/dL, my doctor would be concerned.
  • So I would say, no. Somewhere in the mid-900’s probably is an optimal testosterone level for me.
  • If I were getting testosterone injections, it would be easy to calibrate and raise or lower it by adjusting my dosage; but when taking supplements, it’s more difficult to raise it or lower it by precise amounts.
  • To put the “recommended levels” in context, it’s important to remember that due to various factors including environmental pollutants, T levels in males are dropping worldwide. So the current average range of 246-916 may be inherently skewed, because it’s based on a population suffering from low testosterone. I suspect that most men would be far better off if they were around or above 900 ng/dL. Related article.

Would injections be better?

I can understand why some men opt for a medical solution. So far, I have not needed to go in that direction. I prefer supplements because they don’t shut down our own production of testosterone. But if the supplements ever stop working, I’ll consider raising my T levels medically.

How I’m feeling

  • I have good physical and mental energy.
  • My sex drive is around the same as it was when I was in my 30s (and higher than it was when I was in my 50s). (Then again, I was vegan when I was in my 50s, and my health was falling apart in numerous ways as a result; there was a great boost to my mood, libido, physical and mental energy when I started eating meat again.)
  • I have good energy these days for working out, and still love doing so.

Diet and exercise

  • Exercise matters. I’m doing resistance training four days a week: upper body on Monday and Thursday, lower body on Tuesday and Friday. I do HIIT and Zone 2 on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Re: diet, I was eating a mostly-animal-based diet during the period when I raised my level back over 900. (I’m not carnivore; I do eat some plants; but I’ve found benefits from eating a “carnivore=ish” diet). I’m still eating lots of meat, fish, eggs and raw dairy (particularly goat’s milk); in my experience, all support high T levels. When I was vegan, my libido sank, then went away; when I started eating animal products again, it returned full force almost overnight.
  • With that said, though, I have also recently added in a few more vegetables, focusing on foods like carrots, purple potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic. For the time being I’m avoiding greens such as lettuce and kale.
  • I’m familiar with the arguments for both vegan and carnivore diets, but am not opting to do either at this time. I do, though, have occasional vegan days (when I’m doing a fasting-mimicking diet, which I do now and then) and occasional strictly-carnivore days (eating only animal products such as eggs, fish and meat).

My current supplements

I’ve been taking several supplements aimed at increasing testosterone, including those below. Note that I usually take weekends off. If you’re taking them, be sure to read up on possible side effects first.

Note that I’m not recommending that anyone else take these supplements, just reporting on my approach and results. Like medications, supplements can have both benefits and side effects. So far they seem beneficial and give me a noticeable boost, but don’t know the long term effects of taking them. I get blood tests regularly to make sure the supplements I’m taking are not having negative side effects. I recommend that others do the same.

  1. LIFE EXTENSION DHEA (a pro-hormone). 50 mg.

    April 2024 note: I had been taking 50 mg/day but my DHEA-sulfate level went up to 363 ng/dL; the reference range is 30.9-295.6. So I cut my dose back to 25 mg/day. My DHEA-S is still a little high so I’ll be reducing my dose to 10 mg/day.

    May 2024 note: When I cut my DHEA to 25 mg a day, my DHEA-S did drop; so did my testosterone. But I’ve come to view my earlier test results differently. From my current perspective, 363 ng/dL was ideal because it has not been “adjusted for age”. I want to have a young man’s DHEA-S and testosterone levels, not an old man’s; the “reference range” which said mine was too high was based on the DHEA-S of a typical 71 year old man. So I’ve resumed taking 50 mg/day.
  2. DONOTAGE TMG (betaine) (2000 mg). TMG is a potent stimulator of testosterone and, according to some studies, also supports muscle hypertrophy. See study.
  3. Nutricost Horny Goat Weed (600 mg/day). HGW is (in my opinion) an effective aphrodisiac, and is also rich in icariin, a natural activator of the sirtuin 6 gene, which is associated with improved longevity in animal studies.
  4. Astragalus Supreme from Gaia Herbs (1 capsule/day) (I sometimes take ashwagandha instead.)
  5. Male Libido from Gaia Herbs 1 capsule per day. Contains Tribulus, Saw Palmetto, Horny Goat Weed, Maca and Oats and some other herbal compounds. I had stopped taking this for a few months before the latest test, but have since then added it back in.
  6. Nutricost Tongkat Ali. 1 capsule per day (500 mg)
  7. Double Wood Cistanche. (500 mg/day)
  8. BioGaia L. Reuteri 6475 (This strain of L. Reuteria has been found to increase testosterone, increase testicle size and social dominance in male mice, In women it increases bone density.) (I make a yogurt from it and eat it several times a week.)
  9. DoNotAge fish oil (2-4 grams/day). (I also get some fish oil from eating sardines and mackerel.) (In young men, fish oil significantly increased the size of their testicles and increase testosterone and the quality of the men’s semen.) (See article)
  10. Nutricost Boron: increases free testosterone. When I was taking 5 mg a day, my free T was 17,2 ug/dL. I cut back to 3 mg/day and it dropped to 11.5 pg/mL. The World Health Organization has stated that a safe level for men is up to 13 mg/day. I’ll be increasing my dose to 10 mg/day.

Why these supplements?

  1. I like the “supplement cocktail” approach. It works well for me.
  2. When I’ve stopped the supplements above, my T has tended to drop. When I started taking them again, it went up again.
  3. It’s possible I could drop some of the above supplements, but as the saying goes, “if it works, d0n’t fix it.”

When to take them

For a while I was taking NAD boosters in the morning, then testosterone boosters in the afternoon. I’m currently experimenting with taking the T boosters shortly after I get up and NAD boosters at night. I’ve noticed a better energy boost since making this change.

I’ve stopped taking Fadogia Agrestis (for now)

For the past few months, I was taking 600 mg three days a week and take a week off every month. It did give me a libido boost for a while. After my April 2024 test I stopped taking it because of the side effects, which, in animals, sometimes include damage to the testes.

“That’s a lot of supplements. Do we have to take them all?”

I’ve found them all useful, but it’s possible I could get the same benefit without taking all of them.

Some of them, like ashwagandha and Horny Goat Weed, also have general anti-aging benefits. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I need all of them every day. I usually, for example, take weekends off from supplements. I sometimes also take a couple of days off during the week. I notice the effect more powerfully when I restart.

“Is that your full list of supplements?’

  1. No; I also DoNotAge’s AKG, NMN, SIRT6 activator, taurine, GlyNAC, several supplements to increase hGH, and many other supplements.
  2. I like taking days or weekends off from supplements once in a while.

Low testosterone symptoms

According to the ProMD Health website, symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Decreased sex drive; while libido will naturally decrease below peak levels as a man ages, a complete lack of interest in sex is cause for concern
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Broken bones and fragility, as low testosterone can lead to low bone density
  • Inability to conceive
  • Increased body fat
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased body hair
  • Swollen breast tissue (gynecomastia)
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low iron

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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