T Nation

So Low SHBG Might be a Danger


#1

I’ve only been reading non-peer reviewed anecdotes about how men with low SHBG do not benefit from TRT (in terms of sexual function). I’ve also heard that a lot of low testosterone issues are caused in part by low SHBG, as this binds with compounds found in modern foods and plastics.

I personally have low SHBG, in fact this is the primary reason no endocrinologists never wanted to work with me as the mantra is low SHBG means more testosterone! Yay right? Well no, apparently it’s a pretty serious issue for men. Mine have been as low as 8 (free test 234) and the highest being 23 (free test 167) on a scale of 17-56. I’m on self-TRT now and want to make sure I get the most out of it by learning about this issue.

So far what I have learned is that SHBG rises with age, and that low SHBG is somehow related to insulin resistance. I can’t find any answers on how to treat this (some say none are possible). The suggestions have been a low fat, low carb high protein diet (this is no way to live, fat is important and low-carb only works with high-fat diets) and something to do with liver cleanses.

Any thoughts here?


#2

I have low SHGB too (21). Have you always had low SHGB or did you take steroids? How do you feel now that you’re on TRT?


#3

Never took steroids or anything like that before. I’m on TRT 2.5 weeks with no noticeable effects as of yet.


#4

Some people have seen an increase in their SHGB when they supplemented with T3. Have you ckecked your thyroid? Do you take an AI? Low SHGB means that you will have spikes in your TT and that usually means more estrogen. You can split your dose into 3 injections too or do sub-Q injections


#5

I’m a low SHBG guy as well, and my hormones are all over the place. My old regimen was a shot of 50 mg twice weekly and 250 iu hcg EOD. My levels were as follows:

TT = 582 ng/dL (240-950)
Calculated FT = 313 pg/mL (90-300) — HIGH
SHBG = 8 nmol/L (10-80) — LOW
E2 = 13 pg/mL (27-54)
Fasting Glucose = 87 mg/dL (60-109)
A1c = 4.9% (3.9-6.1)

I, like you, have yet to feel any noticeable effects from the testosterone. I’ve switched my dosing to daily subq and my doctor has lowered the dose to 12 mg/day (84 mg/wk).

I’d say the best course of action for you would be to get A1c and fasting glucose checked, as metabolic syndrome is a common cause of low SHBG. As for me, I believe the cause to be genetic or something equally shitty, seeing as my labs look ok.

All this being said, you’ve only been on treatment for 2.5 weeks and it can take up to 6 weeks for levels to build and stabilize. It might be best to wait it out and see what happens. For me, I’ve read that some have had success with test propionate, and I may look to that avenue, and if you continue to feel poorly, it might be worth looking into for you as well. Best of luck! This is a tricky and often overlooked problem.