T Nation

Where to Get a SHBH Test in the UK?

It’s been recommended that I have my SHBH levels tested in my blood test results thread (found here: Help Me Analyze My Blood Test Results). Problem is, I’m not sure where to have this done as I often see people advising against certain tests as the method of sample collection etc produced an inaccurate result.

Would this https://www.bloodtestsdirect.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=274 be sufficient for a fairly accurate reading?

My recent blood work results for reference:

Age: 31

Serum testosterone level 18.1 nmol/L (523 ng/dl)

Serum oestradiol level < 73 pmol/L (Note the result had the “<” before the 73)

Serum prolactin level 219 mu/L

Serum LH level 3.1 iu/L

Reason I’m doing all this: Been experiencing depression/anxiety in the last year plus relatively low libido


You need to have testosterone tested at the time you test SHBG so you can accurately determine free T. If free T is low even with good T levels it’s all bound up (non-bioavailable) and would be the same as if T was low.

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So would this be better then https://www.bloodtestsdirect.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=286 ?

I ask because I’ve already used the nhs for blood work and they don’t check free T (or SHBH as far as I know). Really need the opinion of people who have had these tests done in the UK privately so I know where is reliable.

There’s another reason to check SHBG, you take your TT and SHBG and calculate to come up with your free T. TT + SHBG = FT

There’s another reason to check SHBG, you take your TT and SHBG and calculate to come up with your free T. TT + SHBG = FT

That’s useful as the SHBH test is half the price of the free T one. Obviously it’s not ideal but can I just use my TT reading from my recent test or would I have to retake the TT test at the same time as the SHBH test? I haven’t altered anything lifestyle wise in the last few weeks.

Yes at the same time because both TT and SHBG will fluctuate and this is why they must be done together. The direct bioavail test isn’t accurate, everyone uses TT + SHBG to get their FT.

Thanks for the info, I’ve ordered a test which includes SHBG and a free test estimation. I’ll duly update once I have the results.

Just a head up - go with Medichecks next time. Cheaper and faster.

I’ve used them with zero problems.

Hey dude, happy to report that that’s the company I went with. They had a discount on so I got the full profile which includes TT, free T, SHBG and estro levels.

Got the results back and here they are. TT higher than any reading I’ve had on previous tests. The company have indicated that all results are within normal range but according to other charts I’m reading against, my SHBG is in the age range of somebody in their eighties… Not sure how that can be accurate lol.

Any thoughts on this appreciated.

Which test? Im looking at both Free T tests and Medichecks is 99 vs 77 (+£10p+p) at BTD. Am I looking at the wrong tests?

Not being a dick but always wanted to get my T tested, out of curiosity, and want to do it right.

Hey bud, can I ask which test it is that gives the full profile? You have a nice range of results there.


That’s the one. It had a £20 discount when I bought it a week ago, £99 now. Sent the blood on Monday, received the results today (Thursday).

Did it using the finger prick method, got messy, had to puncture my middle and ring finger on both hands, could only squeeze half a vial’s worth of blood from each finger.

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The reason why TT might be higher is sometimes when SHBG starts climbing your pituitary reacts and increases your TT to compensate in an attempt to regulate FT. Also high SHBG inflates your TT number, you’re holding onto your T a little to much and that’s why your FT is low.

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You’ve got pretty much the exact same results as me.

My Total T levels were lower (ranged from 14-17nmol/l), but SHBG the same.

I went on TRT a few months back as that put my Free T under range and I was sick of feeling like crap. Had my SHBG been normal, I’d have been apprehensive, but to be honest, 15nmol/l is not that great anyway considering I’m healthy and mid 20’s.

Feeling better already, not dramatically, but for sure. It’s still early days.

Were your SHBG levels normal I wouldn’t even think twice about staying away from TRT, as your total T levels would be acceptable.

Not encouraging you to hop on TRT, just sharing my experience.

Unfortunately there isn’t a tonne of reliable ways to lower SHBG. It’d be responsible to try and find out why it may be elevated before making any decisions. On a plus side, if you do go the TRT route, E2 will be much easier to manage with high SHBG (I’m on 150mg/week + HCG and my E2 is still only 20).

Also, the lancets they send you in the pack for the finger prick are awful. My first try was a bloody mess. If you do decide on TRT (and again, I’m not encouraging it), and you’ll be doing regular tests, invest in a lancet and needles for diabetes - you can adjust how deep they go on most of them. I now just need one painless prick in my middle finger on the highest setting and it’s pretty easy to fill the vial.

Best of luck, hopefully you get some other opinions and knowledge. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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Many thanks for the responses guys.

Looking over my results in full, every reading is comfortably away from the outer reaches of the normal ranges except the two which arguably matter the most, free T and SHBG. My free T is just within the acceptable lower end of the range and my SHBG is just within the upper end.

So I’m sure I’m not being a hypochondriac, those levels are something to be concerned about for a 31 year old, is that correct? I’m going by a 1996 study featured in this article https://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/01/16/normal-testosterone-levels/. Are there any other charts/studies I can reference for free T/SHBG levels by age?

Assuming those are poor levels for my age, the next thing to consider is where to go from here. I’d rather not have to go the TRT route if possible but as you say, lowering SHBG can be difficult. How would one go about determining what is causing the high SHBG level?

What concerns me about my readings which are just on the cusp of acceptability is that this is me with a lifestyle pretty much as optimised as possible for the average guy. I eat fairly clean all year round, gym every other day or one on/two off, minimised work stress, 7-8 hours of sleep per night, rarely drink, never do drugs and haven’t smoked for over 6 years now. I feel like I’d practically start lactating and bleeding once a month if I lived like some of the slobs around me.

Something I forgot to mention but I’m not sure the relevance of is that about 4 months ago, my right ball was aching noticeably. This went on for some time until I saw the doctor. Turned out there were little stone like lumps on the tubes and was diagnosed with epididymitis. Took a two week antibiotic course and to be fair, the pain did/has largely subsided.

And yes, those lancets were rough. It was essentially using a hole punch on the finger tips and then trying to squeeze uncooperative blood into a tiny target area.

Not sure whether to go ahead and start an ssri or if those results strongly suggest something is off hormonally.

I’d steer clear of SSRI’s. Obviously just my opinion though.

As I said previously, your Free T is below range due to your SHBG. I’d try and find a knowledgeable doctor to talk to this about.

Just throwing it out there, but if you are actually suffering from depression, have you considered low dose ketamine therapy? I know it worked wonders for me a while back, and does for many people. It’s ridiculously safer than SSRI’s, and works within 12 hours. SSRI’s are going screw with your body more and absolutely kill your libido - I can see this maybe creating more problems for you.

I’ve used the finger prick test method with Medichecks and found the result did not tally with intravenous test… I am on TRT… Also, my doctor advises not to use finger prick test for hormones…