STEP 1. Pull Your Testosterone. The first step in evaluating your testosterone status should start with pulling your total testosterone. In my opinion, evey guy should just pull this number periodically, symptoms or not, in order to have a good baseline. As you'll see below, it's about $25 now here in the U.S. It is fast, cheap and very important to your health.
One of the things that I have discovered as I have begun to research and monitor my own health is that my physicians - God love 'em - do
not always test everything they should test nor monitor as frequently as is necessary. This is nothing against them, of course, as they
have limited time and are under obligation to insurance companies and fellow physicians to minimize costs as much as reasonably possible. I know that in my own life I
was low testosterone for years before I convinced my PCP to finally pull my T. And it was years after that that anyone pulled my prolactin, estradiol and TSH. These all should have been looked at, but it
simply never happened. And I could have probably avoided a great deal of heartache and suffering if I had simply had done these tests myself and shown
them the results.
I am NOT suggesting that you become your own doctor, but in the U.S. and many other countries, there is considerable medical freedom and one has the right to monitor one's health. Think of this: your body and mind are an incredibly complex and highly
tuned machine. It makes a combustion engine look like a play toy. Does your doctor really have the time to see if you need a tune up? 99% of the time your doctor is too busy just trying to keep patients alive and semi-functional.
This is the reason that I compiled a list of testosterone labs that pull various hormones for men based on Peak
Testosterone Forum posts that I have received over the years. I have also
included some commentary about what some of these specialize in and what they
can and can/cannot be used for.
I am NOT suggesting that you become your own doctor, but in the U.S. and many other countries, there is considerable medical freedom and one has the right to monitor one's health.
NOTE: There are four states that will not let you pull your own labs. Yes, you read that right. Even if you PAY CASH, you cannot pull your own labs. Now please tell me that America is a free country when many of its citizens cannot even monitor their OWN health when they pay for service with their OWN money.
Think of this: your body and mind is an incredibly complex and highly tuned machine. It makes a combustion engine look like a play toy. Does your doctor really have the time to see if you need a tune up? 99% of the time your doctor is too busy just trying to keep patients alive and semi-functional? Consider my situation:
--I have never had homocysteine pulled by any doctor.
--I have had ferritin pulled only once.
--I have never had any thyroid hormones pulled except TSH and total T4.
--I have had CRP pulled maybe twice.
--I never had LH, FSH or prolactin pulled in my hypogonadal days.
Is my situation unusual? Certainly not. There just aren’t the financial and time resources available for decent testing in the great majority of insurance-backed systems. The bottom line is that you are probably going to have to do some yourself, or perhaps find a doctor or naturopath on a cash basis that can help you do the same.
For all these reasons I compiled a list of testosterone labs that pull various hormones for men based on
posts that I have received over the years. I have also included some commentary about what some of these specialize in and what they can/cannot be used for. Almost all of these labs are U.S. only, but there are a couple of exceptions as you will see:
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CAUTION: I do not have any personal knowledge or affiliation with any of these labs. You must do your own research, i.e. "caveat emptor".
1. DiscountedLabs.com. This is Nelson Vergel's new lab and it uses LabCorp. Nelson and has been doing HRT just about forever and has become
one of the foremost lay experts. You will hear his name pop up from time to time as you study
HRT and men's health issues. He sent me an email where he promised to beat anyone else's prices.
And it sure seems to be the case! NOTE: I have used them and had a good experience.
2 Health Tests Direct. I first found out about this lab company, because one of our longtime posters used them with great success. They were unique for a long time, because they offered not only LabCorp pricing but also Sonora Quest.
NOTE: I have used them and had a good experience.
3. Life Extension Foundation. One of the older and more respected
supplement companies, LEF is known for its in depth articles and good support
staff. One very interesting thing that you can get, through them, a wide
variety of lab panels at some of the big labs. They have for example an
Inflammation Panel and a Cardiac Panel that I have wanted to get myself that
includes many of the key heart disease risk factors such as "Chemistry Profile
(Complete metabolic panel with lipids) Complete Blood Count (CBC), C-Reactive
Protein (high sensitivity), Fibrinogen, Homocysteine Vitamin D 25-OH."
They also have some more specific blood draws for things like CoQ10, anemia and
cortisol. The prices are quite reasonable and, of course, it's nice to deal with
a well-established company.NOTE: I have used them and had a good experience.
One of the panels many men would be interested in is the Male Panel, which
includes the "Chemistry panel (complete metabolic panel with lipids), CBC,
DHEA-S, DHT, Estradiol, PSA, Pregnenolone, Total and Free Testosterone, Sex
Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), TSH, Free T3." So in one shot you've got
a lot of questions answered dealing with male hormones, especially the ones that
can directly impact your sexual health. The cost as of this writing was
about $224 for members and $399 for non and membership where a one year
membership cost $75.
NOTE: You'll want to check out that the above test uses the correct estradiol test for males.
If you happen to be low estradiol, then the standard test will often not give you correct results based on what
I have seen. Talk to the lab and make sure you are getting the correct test.
Also, they use LabCorp, which is I believe the biggest general lab in the U.S.
and most states are available to LEF members. For general information, see
these LEF FAQ's
and LEF Blood Test Descriptions.
NOTE: I have purchased a number of items from LEF with good success and
been quite impressed with their support staff. However, I have never
ordered lab work through them.
4. ZRT Labs. This is another reasonably priced lab. The offer both
saliva and blood spot testing. One of our senior posters used them several times
to examine some standard male hormones as well as adrenal and thyroid function.
One intriguing panel is called the Female/Male Saliva Profile I and includes the
following: "five (5) tests: Estradiol (E2), Progesterone (Pg), Testosterone (T),
DHEA-S, and morning Cortisol (C1)" for $170 as of this writing.  Blood spot
testing tends to be a little more but is still (relatively) inexpensive.
5. SaveOnLabs. This lab was brought up on the Peak Testosterone Forum
another company that has arrangements with LabCorp at a discounted price for a
wide variety of hormone panels.  One of our regular forum posters mentioned
them and they also have been mentioned by Drs. Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen, both best
selling celebrity physicians.  Their panels are a little more expenisve
that those of the saliva testing labs but still quite reasonable. For example,
they have a Male Hormone Panel that includes "Estradiol, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (Serum), Dehydroepiandroster Sulfate (DHEA), Testosterone (Free, Direct)"
for $260 as of this writing. 
NOTE: One thing I love about LabCorp is that they have moved their
hypogonadal threshold up to about 350 ng/dl, a little above the ridiculoulsy
low values seen on virtually all other labs that lie between 260 and 280 ng/dl
6 Canary Club. The same poster mentioned in #3 above wrote that "If
you can afford $255 bucks, join canaryclub.org(its free) and use their discount
to order the HIS saliva/blood spot panel from ZRT labs. I did this and between
the questionnaire and 7 page response from them on my test results it helped me
get a sense of where I was at."  Of course, a 7 page report accompanying lab
results is impressive and reveals the fact that Canary Club has very throrough
commentary and analysis on your hormone results.
7. (U.K. Testing) Private Blood Tests. U.K. guys, from what I have seen on
the Peak Testosterone Forum, have a notoriously difficult time getting treatment and testing. "I've found a usefull website here in the uk, www.privatebloodtests.co.uk , this allows you to run bloods at a local hopsital without going through your GP, which is useful for tracking things like clomid."  Again, I do not know anything about them, other than what was mentioned in this post, so do your own research.
8. (U.K. Testing) Blood Tests London. One of our posters also recommended bloodtestslondon.com. His comments were that "the prices were very competitive and they turned my thryoid blood work around in less than 1 working day. If any of the blood results are out of range then they get a doctor to comment on them (included in the price)."
Again, I do not know anything about them, so do your own research.
9. PrivateMDLabs. This lab, according to one of our veteran posters,
uses blood draws throught LabCorp. This one has been used by a couple of
men and the only negative comment was that "they have a male panel that is not
as comprehensive as I'd like, but includes some things that are worth
10. Genova. One of our posters that has been around awhile used Genova
labs for a metabolic and digestive panel.  Chris Kressler, an established
Paleo media personality, also uses them.
11. Rhein Labs. This lab specializes in
testosterone and estrogen-related metabolites and can really help you diagnose
the root cause of your hormonal issues. Check out
this thread for sample
results and costs from one of the senior posters on the Peak Testosterone Forum.
12. Direct Labs. I have used this lab for hair testing. However, they have many other tests available as well.