T Nation

High SHBG, Low Vitamin D & Iodine. Any Ideas?

I posted this in the supplements section but was told this might be a better place now that I’ve got some more insights.

Over the last 6-9 months I’ve found myself super fatigued, really low energy, no sex drive at all and have a general brain fog most of the time. I’ve got some test results back but don’t know what to make of them after seeing my GP. She wasn’t a lot of help and basically said not to worry about anything. I’d love a little advice about what you think might be going on. From the other thread, it seems like the high SHBG might be the cause but not many can think of ways to lower it.

The readers digest from the results is:

  • Low iodine
  • Low Vitamin D (it’s summer here if that makes a difference?)
  • High SHBG

I’m reasonably active and healthy. I do 2 5/3/1 strength training sessions each week, 3 gym classes for fitness and ride a bike once a week for about 35km’s. I don’t eat crap. I eat mainly veggies, chicken, eggs and avocado 90% of the time. I will add in a protein shake and creatine most days and have a protein bar on most of the days I workout.

I don’t drink much, maybe once a week I’ll have a bottle of wine but I’ve even pulled back on that lately as well. The only weird thing I do is I’ve taken 100mg of Modafinil 4-5 times a week for the past few years. I’ve stopped taking that in the past few weeks thinking that may be contributing but haven’t seen any changes.

Since first started the old thread I’ve started to supplement with Vitamin D, K2 and Iodine to help with those levels.

Anyone have any insights into what might be going on or what I could do to fix it? Let me know if there’s more info that’s needed!

Test results are below.

The elephant in the room is your SHBG and is affecting your Free T negatively. Your problem is you went to a GP who doesn’t specialize in sex hormones, what she should have said is I’m not very knowledgeable in sex hormone, ego or pride tends to get in the way of claiming a lack of knowledge.

SHBG bind sex hormone and when elevated, decreases Free T, so the higher SHBG increases, the lower your Free T. Total T is not bioavailable, Free T is what matters and yours is in a range where most would have symptoms as it needs to be high normal or higher to relieve symptoms. This kind of thing is what happens to older men, not younger men, but do to living in a toxic environment times are changing where younger and younger men are becoming testosterone deficient.

I see men coming here everyday with the exact same symptoms and same stories about the doctor saying everything is fine when it’s not, the medical community as a whole is extremely ignorant in male sex hormones so I expect most to get it wrong.

Even in the US we have to go seek private doctors because the sick care system or state healthcare (NHS) is ignorant in male health as it pertains to sex hormones or what constitutes normal levels at a given age. Most doctors wouldn’t see a problem with a younger man having the same hormones as an 80 years old.

Thyroid labs looks good.

IMO, SHBG is your devil.

Your Testosterone translates to 836ng/dL which isn’t bad. Even online, you will read that many doctor’s consider “optimized” testosterone to be 600-800 (when all hormones are firing correctly).

I have tried everything to reduce SHBG, because I also produced enough Testosterone. The only natural thing that worked (and proven by labs) was BORON (supplement). None of the hundreds of other suggestions worked (FOR ME).

But boron didn’t get it down enough, as I have insanely high SHBG. Prescription drug DANAZOL is what did it for me, reducing my SHBG by more than 50%. (Proviron has worked for others, but did not work for me).

When I run out of my current boron, I will switch to Bio Immersions Fructoborate 6mg. Most of us are deficient in boron anyway, so adding it wouldn’t be a negative.

MOST people are going to tell you that you need TRT to drive down the SHBG.

However, in my case …

SHBG has always been the problem , not T. I wish the doctors would have suggested I take something to lower the SHBG FIRST . From my thread.

I’m not making any suggestions - only providing ideas for your reading. I am also a pellet user, which places me in the category of red-headed bastard child.

Obviously supplement in the areas that you’re deficient, I’d recommend getting your B12 up as well. The thyroid Support Supplement has everything you need to boost those thyroid numbers, as well as a good B12.

Thanks for this! Interestingly I heard of Boron for this through some previous research and had ordered some online that came today. I’ll start taking that to see how it goes. Any suggestions on dosage? I read that 5-10mg was ideal but curious to hear from you how you took it. Was it with food?

I’m definitely keen to steer clear of TRT if I can so not eager to go down that path at all.

Thanks again!

B12 wasn’t something I thought of but I’ll add that in as well. Thanks!

Make sure you get a good absorbable form. I forgot to add the Supplement is made by one body and really boosted my T4 and T3 numbers, verified by labs.

Every boron formulation is different and 3mg of one type does not equal 3mg of another.

I was not able to tell a difference in lab work between 3mg and 6mg per day. But that may just be me because I read stories where others were able to see a difference.

Boron does not work overnight. Start where you are comfortable … minimum of 3mg per day.

I take it every morning with my handful of other supplements. My only food in the morning is a protein shake.

FYI - the one I suggested is 6mg (2-capsules) Calcium Fructoborate a patented, easily absorbed advance formulation. The one I am taking (because I stocked up with too many bottles) is 3mg (2-capsules) Calcium Fructoborate but is not a patented formulation.

Because CF has been shown to be an efficient, non-toxic precursor of the borate anion, having multiple published studies on its numerous potential contributions to human health, nutritional supplementation with CF offers significant benefits in support of healthy bone and joints, as well as for cardiovascular health. SOURCE

Ok I’m hoping I’ve got a good one then. It seems to get good reviews so I’ll start taking it and see how I feel. I believe mine is actually Calcium Borogluconate though. Is that an issue do you think?

I do not want to present myself as an expert because I am NOT.

As someone else wrote, Boron is a boring substance, and there aren’t that many studies that directly compare different types of boron derivatives or carriers.

In other words, I know from reading that the one I suggested, is both the one I am taking, and the one appears to have the most online discussions as being a better, more easily absorbed product. But search boron and you will get guys who swear by every different formulation.

I found nothing bad published about the formulation you bought.

@magempire Did you get to the bottom of your symptoms in the end? Did the supplements help your blood test numbers?

Unfortunately not much helped in the end. I’ve still struggled since starting this thread and ended up going down different paths with a new doctor. Have tried some anti depressants with minimal success, an anti psychotic which was awful and some other drugs that were used off label. Only two have had any effect. Both are generally used to help people recover from addiction but my Dr had used them experimentally with mood issues and wanted to try. One was Naltrexone and the other was Acamprosate. I’m not sure which one was helpful but days after starting both of these my mood and energy were so much better.

I’m staying on those for a while and while my energy has dipped a little in the last week it’s still miles better than before.

Nothing really worked on the SHBG levels, while the vitamin D and Iodine did go back up slightly with supplements. They didn’t change how I was feeling though so I didn’t really see any benefit.

Hoping this current stuff keeps working for a while!

I too have high SHBG and it was the root cause of why I started TRT over 8 years ago.

Long story short, I tried ALL of the known supplements and diet fixes, but none of them had any affect on SHBG, even the much touted Vitamin D and Boron. After I did some PubMed researching, I found that high SHBG can be genetically related and can affect approximately 15-20% of the population. Since it doesn’t affect women to the extent that it affects men, it is only symptomatic in about 7-10% of the population (assuming half men). Unfortunately, at the time I found this reference my filing system was not what it is today, so I can’t reproduce it. Sorry!

The research further pointed to studies that show the mechanism of action for the disorder is increased gycosylation (addition of sugar molecules) to the SHBG protein, which effectively doubles the half life of the protein. Therefore, for every molecule we produce, it has about double the affect that it does with “normal” people.

I’ve tried two approaches to dealing with High SHBG (mine is typically in the 70-90 nmol/L range), and found both to be effective. I’ve settled on the second method because it is more mainstream and does not require the purchase of (illegal) ancillary synthetic anabolic hormones from overseas supplies.

METHOD 1: Very small doses of either Oxandrolone (Anavar) or (oral) Stanozolol (Winstrol) will bring my high SHBG down to about mid-range. By small doses, I mean compared to typical medially approved doses (generally 10-40 mg/day) or bodybuilding doses (typically >40mg/day). For me, I found stanozolole to be more effective than oxandrolone. Through several dos-response experiments, I found the 2.5 mg twice per day (AM & PM) was the magic dose for stanozolol and double that (5mg twice per day) for oxandrolone. Oxandrolone is also about 4X more expensive than stanozolol. If you go down this road, I recommend twice per day dosing because they both have short half lives and it also reduces the acute load on the liver. I did not observe any significant anomalies in my liver labs with these protocols.

METHOD 2: The simplest was to deal with high SHBG is to simply saturate the protein with T so that enough spills over to Free T, which is the more important form of T. SHBG-bound T cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier where guys need it to feel normal. I did a dose-response experiemnt with various doses of T-cyp and found that about 125mg/week of T-cyp in a every 3 day protocol (E3D) was the point where all of my low T symptoms were abated and this put me at the upper end of physiologically normal range of Free T for a 20-30 year old guy. Below is a graph of my experiment.

Just curious as to why you were willing to try anti-depressants and anti-psychotics when there is documented evidence that low dose Danazol lowers SHBG?

To be honest I have been to a couple of different doctors now to get different opinions and options and this wasn’t one any of them were willing to help with. If I was able to find it without a prescription I’d give it a try but probably can’t right now.

Different doctors were convinced it was different issues so I’ve tried numerous things. Blood tests this week confirms I still have high SHBG but everything else is basically at normal now so I’m guessing this is still the issue. I wanted to confirm with new bloods that this was still high so that’s confirmation!

I guess I’ll have to chat to my Dr here and see if I can convince him to try this. I’m a bit over it all to be honest. I’ve felt so horrible for so long and nothings worked that I’m just about ready to pack it in!

EDIT: Have just found out that in Australia this isn’t available anymore so probably not an option now. https://apps.tga.gov.au/Prod/msi/Search/Details/danazol

This all looks really interesting but I think I’ve exhausted my current Dr’s with what they’re willing to try. They were each convinced the issues were related with different things so have tried their suggestions since this all started over a year ago!

My latest blood work shows everything is in the healthy range EXCEPT SHGB still! Ugh! So frustrating. It looks to me that this is clearly the issue but I’ve tried several different Dr’s now and none of them are convinced.

I’m in Melbourne, Australia and in lockdown so I doubt I’ll be able to find a new one that would be willing to try anything else right now. Not sure I have the contacts here to find anything like this to try myself so may have to just continue for a while as is.

Still posting? How much boron did you take? I am considering Borax… the normal dose is 1/4 tsp daily in a liter of clean water, taken all during the day… equal to around 110mg boron… Vitamin D3 is supposed to lower SHBG too… thx!

I’m still here … however, I only post if I think I have something constructive to add to the discussion. My intake of boron has been “6 mg of elemental boron”. I never took borax.

@magempire I read your linked article, and it appears that the pharma company simply stopped making it. I don’t understand how that works.

I just asked because I replied to an older post…

Did the boron reduce your estradiol… or help increase your T?