T Nation

SHBG is it Good to Lower


#1

IS it good to lower my shbg?
my shbg from my last blood test was 47nmol which was at the top of the range and my total T was 14nmol
These figures give me very little free T ( i am not on trt or any drugs)

So is it beneficial for me to lower shbg to give me more Free T, is lower shbg a good thing i always thought so?
If so how can this be achieved naturally can supplements help such as nettle root and Tongkat ali, and do/does the lowering of shbg work continously by supplement use?

I think i read somewhere by lowering shbg with supplements will only work if at all for a short amount of time and then the body will reduce total T in response (making the process a waste of time)?

Does lowering shbg and raising Free T increase estrogen as there is less shbg for it to bind to, or actually reduces estrogen as there is less shbg for E to bind to?

What causes high shbg levels is it low T, or does higher T levels raise shbg?

I want to lower my shbg as much as possible through all natural means with nutrition and natural supplements, to drop it lower than my pretty high figure and reduce as much as possible and free up some Free T to feel/have some beneficial effects of T.
I would like optimal or shbg levels as low as i can naturally without drugs.

Thanks for any help gents


#2

It is hard to influence SHBG directly. I think the supplements you have mentioned can help, but probably are not adequate if you are very high.

I don’t think Total T will lower in response, unless there are other processes in your body that are shunning the T (resulting in the high SHBG in the first place).

High SHBG seems to be highly correlated high E2 and/or cortisol/thyroid issues. Probably the former more so than the latter. My recommendation would be to get your E2 under control if it is high and improve your hormone profile that way. Exercise and diet mainly. The supplements you listed are also good at lowering E2 I believe. Resveratrol has also been indicated to help E2. DIM as well.


#3

miniarnold,

I’m in somewhat the same boat (SHBG of 66nmol/L for a range of 10-57nmol/L). My free T is also on the low side.

Like VT said, and from my reading, E2 reduction is the way to go. I could stand to loose 30lbs, so that is my next objective as a means of reducing testosterone aromatization, thereby reducing my E2 levels, thereby reducing my SHBG. I’ve delayed the fat loss program while trying to (naturally) raise my testosterone levels via supplements and heavier lifting (while dropping cardio). For E2 clearance, I’ve been taking a product called “EstroSMART” which is described here: http://www.healthyimmunity.com/products/estrosmart.asp

For testosterone boosting and reducing aromatization, I’ve been taking zinc (60mg most days, some days 90mg if I am sweating a lot in the gym; I did take 100mg/day for three weeks to get my levels up). I’m taking a lot of other supplements (see my case thread) but Zinc and EstroSMART are most relevant to you I think.

How is your E2 level? And how is your LH level? I suspect my (really) high LH is causing increased aromatization within the testes, leading to high SHBG and low free testosterone.

I tried nettle root, and wow did it ever work well for a short time. Literally the morning after I took it I awoke like a twenty year old. I was expecting that it would take some time to feel the effects, but it was less than 24 hours. My energy was up and my strength was up. This lasted about a week. I ran out of the nettle root (I used a tincture), but tried another bottle a week later and got the same reaction.

Compounds in the nettle root tend to bind to SHBG. This ties up some of the SHBG and stops it from binding to both testosterone and estradiol, so both freeT and E2 increase. Unfortunately your HPTA sees increased E2 and drops LH. Blood work showed that while taking nettle root, my E2 increased and my LH decreased, so my testosterone decreased. That is why nettle root needs to be cycled. You want the initial portion of the nettle root reaction, but if you take it for more than a few days (about six days for me) you’ll get the negative effect. Personally, the morning wood indicator tells me when I’ve taken it too many days in a row (unbound E2 gets too high).

One other thing: high SHBG can indicate problems with the liver. You might want to get your liver checked out just in case.


#4

Thanks for replys gents, could you help to clear up these qs

So would it be better for me personally to have lower shbg, is lower the better?

Using a supplement like nettle root will only work for so long, and then the body will/may reduce total T in response?
if used how should it be cycled? (does it only work for a short time)

reducing shbg increases estrogen?

lower levels of T can cause higher shbg or is it higher levels of T cause higher shbg?

I do not know if i have any probs wih liver i do not think so as i have had more extensive tests from the past and nothing was brought to light
what are good supplements to help clense/detox the liver?

I am just basically trying to find out if my shbg is to high as i always believed the lower the better to give more free T, and can it be reduced naturally through supplements and diet and is the use of supplements worthwhile to reduce shbg or is it counter productive meaning the body will lower total T or something else in response, making the use of supplements a waste of time?

Here are all the tests i had taken they are the most recent and the ONLY tests i will have until may this year
I did a 6month trial on trt, then came off it in june 2011 as i didnt want to be on it i felt i shouldnt need it and wanted to improve the situation myself, and felt no benefit at all.

These results are from 18 nov 2011 (UK)

                       (RANGES)

FSH IU/L 2.1 (2.0-14.0)
LH IU/L 2.8 (2.0-14.0)
CORTISOL nmol/L 323 (200-650)
OESTRADIAL pmol/L 54 (50-165) (had to ask for the range for this)
SHBG nmol/L 47 (15-47) (coincidently)
TESTOSTERONE nmol/L 14 (10.0-35)

TEST ABN RESULT UOM RANGE
WHITE BLOOD CELLS 5.0 x10^9/L 4.0-11.0
RED BLOOD CELLS R 3.97 x10^12/L 4.50-6.50
HAEMOGLOBIN R 12.5 g/dL 13.0-18.0
HCT R 0.378 RATIO 0.400-0.500
MCV 95 F1 80-97
MCB 32.5 PG 27.0-32.0
MCHC 33.1 g/dL 31.0-36.5
PLATELETES 160 x10^9/L 150-400
NEUTROPHILS 3.02 x10^9/L 2.00-8.00
LYMPHOCYTRS R 1.45 X10^9/L 1.50-4.00
MONOCYTES 0.45 X10^9/l 0.20-1.00
ABSOLUTE EOSINOPHIL COUNT
R 0.02 X10^9/L 0.04-0.40
BASOPHIL COUNT 0.01 X10^9/l 0.00-0.10
FERRITIN 96.5 uG/L 15-200


#5

Yes your SHBG is pretty high and you should take steps to reduce it. Your other questions are too complex to really delve into here (easy way of saying “I dont know the answer”). You shouldn’t worry about all those other layers you were trying to uncover. You haven’t even scratched the surface yet and you’re wondering what is going on 5 steps ahead. This isn’t chess.

Your LH/FSH are also very low and warrant looking into.

Cortisol is on the low side as well. My mind is drawing some sort of correlation to low cortisol and high SHBG, but I can’t recall the cause/effect relationship there. But there is some sort of connection.

What supplements/meds are you currently taking?


#6

Holy shit I just saw your low RBC, Hemoglobin, and Hematocrit counts. This is a serious issue! Before going any further, go find a hematologist to get to the bottom of that. Unless you donated blood or something prior to your blood test (which would be incredibly stupid). Those are definitely too low and you need to figure out what’s going on.

There are many possibilities


#7

miniarnold,

Your SHBG is high, no doubt about that. Your (morning?) cortisol is low — it should be near the top of the range, not the middle. Testosterone is low, but “within normal range”.

About reducing E2 to cause an SHBG reduction, you are already at the low end of E2 (Oestradiol) so with that new information in hand forget what I said above about reducing E2. Read the estradiol sticky at the top of the forum thread list and you’ll see that it should be somewhere between 70 pmol/L and 110 pmol/L (20-30pg/mL).

Perhaps your E2 is low because your testosterone is low (so not much T to aromatize to E2).

You didn’t give a measure for free testosterone, but it’s likely low given the high SHBG and the low total testosterone. For the short term, I’d guess you would have a good response to nettle root, and you can likely use it for some time before E2 elevates enough to cause its effects to wane. Sorry, I can’t even guess how long that would take — you will feel it though. Then just stop taking it for a week or so and try again.

Based on your low cortisol, and assuming it’s a morning blood draw, you may have some adrenal insufficiency. That often goes hand in hand with thyroid problems, so you might want to get TSH, FT3, FT4, and rT3 measured to check your thyroid function. The root of your problems could be thyroid issues (high SHBG can be caused by hyperthyroidism). Could also be a lot of other things too of course (vitamin D, diet, etc.).


#8

With low WBC, I be looking for some kind of hidden infection which again estrogen, infections, starvation and inflammation will drive SHBG up. Your playing with symptoms not dealing with root cause. SHBG is an indicator of something going on at the deeper levels.

Its obvious you got something going on in the immune system is draining your adrenals causing major imbalances going on. I would check transferritin to see if you are having a protein deficiency which will raise SHBG. If ferritin levels are normal and transferritin levels are low they you have an issue which needs to be addressed immediately. I see this common in thalemisa


#9

what time of day was the blood drawn?

if at 8am, then yes your cortisol levels look horrible. If at 5pm, then they could be ok.


#10

Nettle root, boron, or avena sativa. Boron has a bunch of other benefits. Nettle root seems to be most widely used and most effective.


#11

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Nettle root, boron, or avena sativa. Boron has a bunch of other benefits. Nettle root seems to be most widely used and most effective. [/quote]

Short term not long term solution
Find out why its elevated in the first place then deal with it at the source is the long term solution


#12

[quote]Hardasnails wrote:

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Nettle root, boron, or avena sativa. Boron has a bunch of other benefits. Nettle root seems to be most widely used and most effective. [/quote]

Short term not long term solution
Find out why its elevated in the first place then deal with it at the source is the long term solution[/quote]

Agreed. Nettle root, boron, or avena sativa shouldn’t have any negative effect and might improve things a bit while he sorts out whether he has any other chronic issues. Certainly trying to free up some T can’t hurt with his overall condition.


#13

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
Yes your SHBG is pretty high and you should take steps to reduce it. Your other questions are too complex to really delve into here (easy way of saying “I dont know the answer”). You shouldn’t worry about all those other layers you were trying to uncover. You haven’t even scratched the surface yet and you’re wondering what is going on 5 steps ahead. This isn’t chess.

Your LH/FSH are also very low and warrant looking into.

Cortisol is on the low side as well. My mind is drawing some sort of correlation to low cortisol and high SHBG, but I can’t recall the cause/effect relationship there. But there is some sort of connection.

What supplements/meds are you currently taking?[/quote]

At the time and date the bloods were taken i was taking nothing had taken a few t boosters but nothing for approx a month before

you would recommend trying to reduce shbg short term with a nettle saupplement, as it wont work long term?

cannot possibly get any more tests done on the nhs only in may will all the above tests be repeated as i am under a so called proffessor one of the UKs so called experts
His words were “all tests normal”

I do not want to be on trt or drugs of any kind, and i hope my hormones etc will be improved and increased with weight gain and more food (am underweight and have been maintaining my light weight) and reducing stress and depression which i have suffered with for a long time and my ibs.

Thanks mate


#14

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
Holy shit I just saw your low RBC, Hemoglobin, and Hematocrit counts. This is a serious issue! Before going any further, go find a hematologist to get to the bottom of that. Unless you donated blood or something prior to your blood test (which would be incredibly stupid). Those are definitely too low and you need to figure out what’s going on.

There are many possibilities
[/quote]

going private is not an option for me and would cost a fortune, i have had a low RBC fo a long time, but i read this may be due to over consumption of fluids as i have always drunk alot of water 6.5-7 litres daily and have always had a low sodium count, maybe the high water intake dilutes the blood so some blood counts may appear low (a theory)


#15

[quote]MacJabberwock wrote:
miniarnold,

Your SHBG is high, no doubt about that. Your (morning?) cortisol is low — it should be near the top of the range, not the middle. Testosterone is low, but “within normal range”.

Blood was taken just after 10am

Perhaps your E2 is low because your testosterone is low (so not much T to aromatize to E2).

I think this is the case as E follows T and would make sense perhaps why E is low

You didn’t give a measure for free testosterone, but it’s likely low given the high SHBG and the low total testosterone.

I didnt get a free T figure, but i think from an online calculator giving my shbg and total t my free t was i think 1.6%

For the short term, I’d guess you would have a good response to nettle root, and you can likely use it for some time before E2 elevates enough to cause its effects to wane. Sorry, I can’t even guess how long that would take — you will feel it though. Then just stop taking it for a week or so and try again.

Take it for like a month or less stop and then resume?

I gather taking supps/drugs without a supplement or drug to boost total t levels will lead to the body sensing a lower in shbg and a raise in free t, and then it will reduce total t in response and put back my free t back to where it was initailly making it a bit of a waste of time, or a short term fix at best? (as you say nettle would need to be cycled to have any benefit but rather than on its own, would poss better used with an effective t booster)

Based on your low cortisol, and assuming it’s a morning blood draw, you may have some adrenal insufficiency. That often goes hand in hand with thyroid problems, so you might want to get TSH, FT3, FT4, and rT3 measured to check your thyroid function. The root of your problems could be thyroid issues (high SHBG can be caused by hyperthyroidism). Could also be a lot of other things too of course (vitamin D, diet, etc.).

I would never know if i had probs with thyroid, it has been tested over the yrs and has been normal whatever that means, i have no records of this but never had anything pointed out to me

What do you mean by vitamin d and diet, i am maintaining a light bodyweight and have taken vitamin d not so long ago?

As said earlier i cannot get any more tests of any kind until may and then all the above tests will be repeated, am not on drugs or trt and do not want to be, i want to be natural and improve my hormones myself by reversing negative factors that i feel and hope are the cause/reason for my blood results

Thanks.


#16

[quote]Hardasnails wrote:
With low WBC, I be looking for some kind of hidden infection which again estrogen, infections, starvation and inflammation will drive SHBG up. Your playing with symptoms not dealing with root cause. SHBG is an indicator of something going on at the deeper levels.

I have ibs which is a nightmare constant bloating and constipation issue, i drink around 6.5-7lites of fluid a day this could maybe diluting certain blood test results or not, and i am maintaining a light bodyweight for my size and height and train alot in the gym and suffer with depression and stress for last couple of yrs

Its obvious you got something going on in the immune system is draining your adrenals causing major imbalances going on. I would check transferritin to see if you are having a protein deficiency which will raise SHBG. If ferritin levels are normal and transferritin levels are low they you have an issue which needs to be addressed immediately. I see this common in thalemisa [/quote]

I eat a high protein diet healthy with little procesed foods, dont drink or smoke or touch drugs, as said i cannot get any tests done other than the inintial tests above when they will be repeated in may

Thanks


#17

[quote]PureChance wrote:
what time of day was the blood drawn?

if at 8am, then yes your cortisol levels look horrible. If at 5pm, then they could be ok.[/quote]

10am


#18

[quote]dhickey wrote:
Nettle root, boron, or avena sativa. Boron has a bunch of other benefits. Nettle root seems to be most widely used and most effective. [/quote]

Yes i believe nettle seems to be the most popular natural and effective supp at reducing shbg


#19

[quote]MacJabberwock wrote:
miniarnold,

Your SHBG is high, no doubt about that. Your (morning?) cortisol is low — it should be near the top of the range, not the middle. Testosterone is low, but “within normal range”.

About reducing E2 to cause an SHBG reduction, you are already at the low end of E2 (Oestradiol) so with that new information in hand forget what I said above about reducing E2. Read the estradiol sticky at the top of the forum thread list and you’ll see that it should be somewhere between 70 pmol/L and 110 pmol/L (20-30pg/mL).

Perhaps your E2 is low because your testosterone is low (so not much T to aromatize to E2).

You didn’t give a measure for free testosterone, but it’s likely low given the high SHBG and the low total testosterone. For the short term, I’d guess you would have a good response to nettle root, and you can likely use it for some time before E2 elevates enough to cause its effects to wane. Sorry, I can’t even guess how long that would take — you will feel it though. Then just stop taking it for a week or so and try again.

Based on your low cortisol, and assuming it’s a morning blood draw, you may have some adrenal insufficiency. That often goes hand in hand with thyroid problems, so you might want to get TSH, FT3, FT4, and rT3 measured to check your thyroid function. The root of your problems could be thyroid issues (high SHBG can be caused by hyperthyroidism). Could also be a lot of other things too of course (vitamin D, diet, etc.).

[/quote]

I have quoted you on this in the previous post but did it wrong so my answers and replys are in the same yellow text as your post, hope you can find it and still make sense of it

Thanks.


#20

Gents,

To be honest i do not feel ill or unwell, just feel extremely tired/fatigued my sleep could be better, i suffer with stress and depression and also ibs,also have bdd and body image issues (have been a competitive natural bbuilder which is poss part of the problem),i have not very good hormones, i still workout 4-5 days a week and still train to intensly for what i can handle/recover which is prob a massive factor in why i feel so tired and fatigued all the time, my diet is very healthy but limited in calories for me to just maintain my current light bodyweight as i know i am naturally supposed to be much bigger and heavier for my size.

I think i know what has caused and been the decline of my less than impressive hormones from a combination of negative factors, that have been self imposed unintentially in ignorance, so i hope i can resolve and improving my situation naturally in time by addressing the above suspected causes and working on improving them
I want to remain drug free and self heal naturally if its possible, i hope so and only time will tell.

Thanks for any replys fellas.