T Nation

Has My Diet Screwed-Up My Hormones?

Hi there,

Following a period when I thought I had managed to get my hormones relatively in-check (I have had low T symptoms for many years and have a tendency towards aromatising T), I have been suffering from ED, low libido, brain fog and think my diet may be the cause. I have been intermittent fasting in attempt to lose weight following a vacation, and now have elevated levels of SHBG and high estrogen.

I also think that by only having two meals a day, my caloric intake may be too low. Having read the forum, I have discovered that intermittent fasting can elevate SHBG; I will of course now stop the IF’ing, but would appreciate any advice on how to reduce my SHBG and estrogen levels.

My stats info is as follows:

male, 38 years old
Height: 5 foot 11
weight: 179lbs
I can grow a beard, although somewhat patchy & I have normal amount of body hair
I have been greying and receding from a young age
I wake-up every night and sleep poorly, averaging only about 5-6 hours a night (I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, although the gumshield-type conraption I was given hasn’t done much for me, and I do not have many of the typical traits such as snoring and being overweight)
My morning wood has reduced greatly, although the supplements (detailed below) I have been taking over the past few months have led to some improvement in this area
I have always had symptoms of low T, and have had mild gyno (puffy nipples) since puberty. As mentioned above, I think that I have a tendency to aromatise T.
I have a tendency to feel cold in my extremities - my morning temperature averages 96.8 degrees (my Doc thinks I may have raynaud’s)

Latest blood test:

Free androgen index 32.3 (no reference range but highlighted as ‘low’)
serum T 23.6 nmol/l (once again no reference range)
SHBG 73nmol/l (marked as ‘high’, no reference range)
Free T4 17.4pmol/l
Serum TSH 1.48miu/l (0.27-4.2)
Serum oestradiol 133pmol (no range)
serum FSH 2.8 u/l (1-12)
serum LH 3.9u/l (1-9)

multi vit
vitamin D
nettle root
tongkat ali

Any recommendations would be really appreciated. Having suspected for a little while that the intermittent fasting might have been the cause, I’m feeling more positive but I do have underlying issues which need to be fixed, which a simple change of diet will not fix.

Thanks in advance.

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Are you on TRT? What is your protocol? What other drugs are you taking?

You’re LH should be high normal or higher with SHBG that high, that’s what we see when the pituitary gland is doing it job well.

It’s next to impossible to reverse course after SHBG becomes elevated, you might decrease it a tiny bit, but at this point the ship is already lost.

TSH looks good, but would like to see the most important thyroid lab of all, Free T3 the most potent thyroid hormone.

I get cold fingertips and feet when changing dosages, it subsides after the first 6 weeks. Prior to my testosterone taking an unnatural dive I never had these symptoms of cold foot and fingertips.

Sleep apnea can cause low testosterone and high hematocrit.

Take a second look at all those supplements your taking. Ashwanga and other supplements are sometimes also used for labido and etc. I recall another guy come here and talk about a similar issue. He mentioned only 1 supplement. I did some searches and found that that specific supplements known to cause that specific problem of his… this is why I suggest you make sure you are not taking anything your body does not naturally need to survive and go from there. We need vitamin d, iron, magnesium… do we need ashwanga and roots and nettle and etc? Hopefully it’s as easy as that. I don’t know how shbg can permanently alter someone’s shbg. It’s prinablu temporary. I fast every year for 30 days and it’s sunrise to sunset without water and food. Never heard of anything but benefits from fasting. :slight_smile:

Finally take look at the thyroid a bit more. There is huge connection between thyroid and hormone issues. You have two feel good hormones. Testastorone and thyroid (t3). My doc told me that and I love to pass it along.

Trt didn’t help with fatigue until I started thyroid. Fatigue and brain fog can be thyroid induced and has almost exactly the same symptoms as low t. Make sure you check free t3. If your bodies not converting enough t4 to t3 your gonna feel fatigue and depressed like I did …

Good luck that’s all I have for ya sorry. Oh

I agree about the supps, that is something which can probably be pared back.

Anyway, I’m going to give stopping fasting a go, and see how I get on with it. Also, I think my calories are probably too low, so I’ll also trying raising them gradually, so as to not put on too much weight, and also adding more carbs into my diet.


No, I’m not on TRT or on any prescription drugs, although I did mention the supps I’m taking in my original post.

I developed low libido/ ED etc. after I started fasting to lose weight following a rather gluttonous holiday. Prior to that, I had morning wood and a relatively high libido, although I had suffered from low T symptoms before, which I thought I had managed to keep in check.

However, even when my T levels were lower than they are now, I was not suffering as badly from ED and loss of libido, which really sucks as I only got married six months ago and we’d like to start a family one day.

I am in the process of being referred to a Consultant, so we’ll see what happens there but given my experiences with fairly ignorant Doctors in the past, I’m not getting my hopes up.

Ok. So what is the reason you are posting on the T Replacement forum on T-Nation? Im sure there are a bunch of ED forums out there that are probably way more knowledgeable than we are.

You have a TT of 681 ng/dl and an E2 of 36 pg/mL. Your TSH is a little high but not bad. Where is your vitamin D level? If your dental device isnt helping you get a good nights rest then perhaps get a new one? I have slight apnea and got a $30 device off of Amazon that has changed my life. No snoring etc anymore. I know you said you dont snore but are you sure? Try running SnoreLabs app for a few nights and record yourself to see. If you arent sleeping then all bets are off with everything.

Why are you taking nettle root? BPH?

What about tongkat ali? Do you know its main side affect is listed as insomnia?

I accept what you say about ED forums, but have found this forum to be a useful source of information in the past and know how knowledgeable some of the members are, so thought I’d see people say.

The last time I had my vitamin D tested it was 112 nmol, which was in the lab’s normal range. I asked my wife, and she did say that I do snore a little, so that’s something. I’ll try another device and see if that makes any difference. Thanks for mentioning
Snore Labs, I’d never heard of that one before .

You’re right about the sleep. I think if that I can get that sorted, then it will make it will have a big impact on my health generally, although I have been trying to fix it for many years without much success.

The reason for me taking stinging nettle has been to reduce my estrogen and SHBG (I’ve been speaking to a naturopath who asked me to take a DUTCH (urine) test, which showed high levels of estrogen), which I have been trying to lower; Tongkat Ali was being taken
for the same reason. I have only been taking Tongkat Ali for a week or so, I don’t think it has made my sleep any worse but I will keep an eye on it.

You need to look at your hormones more closely and get a better lab done. Go to discounted labs com and get the full male hormones panel or whatever it’s called. You can reference the values here to make sure nothings missing.

If you had hormonal issues before diet, and during diet it got worse. That jsut tells me your body is struggling to produce. I wouldn’t blame it on the diet. You jsut amplified the situation .

I would honestly stop trying to modify shbg and etc with weird supplements.

Get the full test and get on a normal diet before doing so. Also try to stop those supplements before the bloods so you can see where you are at baseline.

From there you can probably get better help. Also, your doc must not be very good if those tests are all they gave you. Especially without ranges and etc. you need a doc who can really help. There’s plenty out there but you need to research and find the logic that suits you.

Also describe ED in more detail. Are you not able to ge tit up at all. Are you having less attraction to opposite sex. What do you mean.

Thanks. That all seems like sound advice. Yes, my Doc seemed really quite disinterested - when I told her I had high SHBG, she pretty much yawned at me, and I had to push for basic things like having my estrogen levels tested.

Re ED, I am not getting any morning wood, and getting and maintaining erections is difficult. My libido is much lower than it has been for a very long time.

I’ve read a DUTCH test is the best you can get for hormone testing. @physioLojik uses them in his practice I believe.

If it were covered by insurance, I’d get one.

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That describes a lot of doctors, it may have to do with that the fact that they aren’t practicing medicine quite like they thought they would be, instead that have insurance companies dictating when someone is eligible for treatment and soon you start to feel like someone else’s bitch to put it bluntly.

It makes you wonder why they became doctors at all. I would yawn as well if a patient came in asking for more that what’s standard of care because I don’t want to get in trouble and be blacklisted by insurance companies possibly ruining my career.

It is for this reason you will find more passionate doctors privately as they no longer deal with the headache that is insurance companies, the smart ones would refuse to take insurance as it’s more headache than its worth.

When insurance healthcare came of age, many knew it would be the death of healthcare.

It was certainly very detailed but much of the data went well-over my head. The naturopath I’ve been using provided me with his analysis, I’d be happy to provide some details if any of you think that would be of use.

I’m actually based in the UK. Our healthcare system has its own problems, many of them stemming from under-funding and over-worked Doctors.

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Me to. But it takes time to figure this out. Don’t get all distraught over it. It takes time. We’re not healthy and this is not an over night fix. It will get better, but find a good doc to guide you.

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Thanks. I’m trying to stay positive, although it’s not always easy.

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