Table of Contents
A regular total testosterone blood test shows you how much of this male sex hormone is circulating through your bloodstream. However, this is just part of the whole picture. There are other hormones involved that could help doctors come up with a more accurate result when measuring your T levels. For example, SHBG stands for sex hormone-binding globulin. This is a type of cell that attaches to both male and female sex hormones such as testosterone dihydrotestosterone, estrogen, and so on. Knowing your SHBG levels can bring important insight when you do a testosterone test.
Keep reading to learn more about SHBG, how to reduce it, and why you should do that.
What is SHBG?
As mentioned earlier, SHBG is a type of protein made by your liver that attaches itself to sex hormones. When this substance is attached to testosterone, for example, it will prevent tissues from absorbing it.
A higher SHBG value indicates that you have less testosterone available for tissues to absorb and use. That’s why lowering your SHBG might be a good idea, but only under the supervision of your medical doctor.
What is Total Testosterone?
Total testosterone refers to the sum of free testosterone and protein-bound testosterone. If you order a standard testosterone test, you will usually get the result of your total testosterone levels. In some cases, this is not accurate enough and that’s why you need to know about its fractions.
For example, free testosterone is the smallest fraction of your total testosterone level. Between 1-2% of your total testosterone is free testosterone. This active form is available for tissues to absorb and use. Most of the organs and tissues in your body can absorb free testosterone such as your muscles, brain, liver, etc.
The other approximately 98% of your testosterone is bound to various types of proteins. For example, about 60% of your total testosterone is bound to SHBG and can’t be absorbed by tissues and organs.
At the same time, about 38% of your total testosterone is bound to albumin. Albumin is the most predominant type of protein in the body. This link between testosterone and albumin is a loose one and your body is usually able to use some of this testosterone as well.
You will often hear about bioavailable testosterone. This is the sum between albumin-bound testosterone (that could be later absorbed by tissues and organs) and free testosterone (that is readily available to be used by tissues and organs).
What Is the Link Between Free Testosterone and SHBG?
As it turns out, when SHBG goes up, free testosterone tends to go down. Remember that free testosterone is usually the one that provides numerous health benefits such as increased sex drive, quicker muscle gain, better cognition, etc.
As men grow older, SHBG tends to increase and absorb more and more testosterone. This means that the total amount of free testosterone would go down and your life enjoyment with it. That’s why it makes sense to accurately measure your testosterone levels and try to lower SHBG.
How to Lower SHBG and Increase Free Testosterone?
There are a few ways you can easily lower your SHBG levels and let more testosterone cells roam free in your bloodstream. Let’s talk about these methods in greater detail.
Increase Your Total Testosterone Levels
Although this option might not automatically lower your SHBG levels, it can increase the amount of free testosterone in your body. Raising your total testosterone level will boost all testosterone fractions, including those bound to albumin as well as free testosterone.
You can do that in various ways. Some men opt for testosterone replacement therapy, others go to the gym and do resistance exercises. You can practice various relaxation and breathing techniques as well to increase your testosterone levels.
Lower Your Fat Percentage
Some studies show that the more adipose tissue you have, the higher your SHBG tends to be. That’s because fat increases estrogen production which in turn makes more testosterone become attached to SHBG. How to prevent this? Simply lower your fat percentage.
For example, you can start eating foods that contain a lot of fat. Many junk foods fit this category. Get your fat intake from nuts and seeds instead. Also, incorporate more cardio routines into your weekly training regime as cardio exercises tend to speed up metabolism.
By lowering your fat percentage, your SHBG doesn’t have a reason to go up. As a result, you have more free testosterone available for your tissues and organs to pick up and use.
Try DHEA Supplementation Under Strict Medical Supervision
DHEA is an important natural steroid that circulates through your body. It’s produced by your adrenal glands, your brain, and your gonads. This hormone helps produce testosterone and other substances that are strictly related to your metabolism and quality of life.
Some studies show that administering 50 mg of DHEA daily might increase free testosterone levels in young males. This is true even if the study participants engaged in HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), a type of fitness program that normally lowers testosterone.
However, administering DHEA should be done carefully and under medical supervision. Although more research is needed, some body of evidence suggests that too much DHEA might contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases later in life.
You should talk to your doctor and read more about DHEA, its effects on the human body, and how it might help you increase your free testosterone levels.
Check Your Testosterone Levels Today!
But how do you know if you need to increase your free testosterone levels? You need to check your total testosterone and bioavailable testosterone first. You can do that by ordering an accurate blood testosterone panel including a SHBG test from DiscountedLabs.com.
This test measures your total and free testosterone, bioavailable testosterone, SHBG test, and albumin using state-of-the-art testing assays. Order it today and see how you stand!
More information about SHBG on ExcelMale.com
1) J Korean Diabetes Assoc, 1998 Sep,22(3):328-337
2) Planta Med, 1995 Feb, 61(1):31-32; Fortschr Med, Nov 10 1996, 114(31):407-411; Z Naturforsch [C], 1995 Jan-Feb,50(1-2):98-104
3) Clin Endocrinol (Oxf), 2009 Dec 29, [Epub ahead of print], “Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men”
4) Life Sciences, May 4 1987, 40(18)1761-1768, “Diet-hormone interactions: Protein/carbohydrate ratio alters reciprocally the plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol and their respective binding globulins in man”
5) Phytomedicine, 2003, 10(5):405-15, “Modulatory effect of Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) leaf extract on biotransformation enzyme systems, antioxidant enzymes, lactate dehydrogenase and lipid peroxidation in mice”
6) Eur J Appl Physiol, 2013 Jul, 113(7):1783-92, “Effect of acute DHEA administration on free testosterone in middle-aged and young men following high-intensity interval training.