The following is a summary of an article originally posted by the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado here.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin may be robbing you of your usable testosterone. In this post we will cover why you need to be concerned with this molecule and how you can lower sex hormone binding globulin to increase your free testosterone.
Testosterone is a vital hormone that is essential to the proper function of many different systems within the body. Though testosterone is primarily viewed as a male hormone, it is actually vital to the health of both men and women.
Testosterone deficiency can naturally occur as you age, so having your levels checked regularly is an important measure everyone should have done at least annually. Low testosterone can cause a host of health issues, including weight gain, loss of muscle mass, decreased sex drive, and even erectile dysfunction.
The Difference Between Free Testosterone and Total Testosterone
Free testosterone is the amount of testosterone in your body that is unbound to albumin or sex hormone binding globulin. This free testosterone is the amount actually available for building muscle, maintaining bone health, etc.
Many physicians only test total testosterone, which often doesn’t tell the whole story. This is because, even if your total testosterone is normal, most of it becomes bound up and is therefore unusable by the body. Testosterone bound to albumin or sex hormone binding globulin cannot enter most of your cells.
How to Lower Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
According to the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado:
Only 3% of circulating testosterone if not bound to a carrier protein call sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and the unbound “free” portion is the active portion. With aging our SHBG tends to increase resulting in less free T. A common pattern in lab testing is to have a pretty good total T level with a low free T level, thus effectively resulting in low T.
By lowering SHBG one can increase the free T level. If total T production is good then this is preferable to supplementing T with a prescription.
Supplements to lower SHBG
- Eat plenty of plants to get plenty of carbohydrates. Include lots of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower to help metabolize excess estrogen which further lowers SHBG.
- Excess fat lowers T levels while excess protein doesn’t seem to have much impact. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
- Supplement with boron 5-10mg/day.
- Check serum zinc, magnesium and vitamin D as low levels are associated with lower T levels.
- Supplement with DIM to improve estrogen metabolism / elimination which further lowers SHBG
Conclusion: It is important to know the difference between free testosterone and total testosterone, and to have both checked regularly. Even if your total testosterone is normal, you can still suffer from symptoms of low testosterone if your testosterone is being bound up by albumin or sex hormone binding globulin.
Lowering your sex hormone binding globulin levels can be important and be assisted by the simple lifestyle choices outlined by the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado.
Disclaimer: Wild Warrior Nutrition writers are not medical doctors. Information presented in this post is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Consult your physician before starting any supplement, diet, or exercise routine.