9 Ways on How To Lower SHBG Count Naturally to Raise Free-Testosterone
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
We have testosterone which is bound to two different proteins, albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This bound up testosterone is unavailable to be used by our androgen receptors and it’s basically like a “reserve” of our male hormones.
Then we have “free testosterone”, which isn’t bound to glycoproteins. It floats around the bloodstream and is constantly ready to bind into the androgen receptors, creating masculinizing effects
Free testosterone only accounts 1-2% of our total testosterone but experts agree that it’s the most important kind as it’s the one that is actually bio-available.
Now if you’re smart, you’re probably thinking…
“How could I get more of this free testosterone then?”
That’s what this article is about. You see, science has shown that we can naturally reduce these binding proteins from our bloodstream, resulting in more free testosterone.
That’s why this article is about how to lower SHBG, which is the protein that binds most of your total testosterone making it unavailable for the receptors. By simply learning how to lower SHBG count in your body, you will free up testosterone and make it more powerful.
NOTE: Albumin, which is the other binding protein, is much weaker and less abundant than SHBG, thus I don’t feel the need to focus on it as much as we should on sex hormone binding globulin.
Table of Contents
- 1. Boron for Free Testosterone
- 2. How to Lower SHBG: Eat Plenty of Carbs
- 3. Take Vitamin D to Lower SHBG Count
- 4. Fiber is Not Really that Important
- 5. Certain Prescription Drugs can Skyrocket SHBG
- 6. Natural Hormone Optimization in General
- 7. Magnesium Increases Free Testosterone
- 8. Zinc for Everything
- 9. Don’t Go Overboard With Alcohol
- Conclusion on How to Lower SHBG Count
1. Boron for Free Testosterone
It’s present in our natural soil due to the fact that it comes to earth from cosmic ray spallation. Given that we don’t eat foods grown in nutrient rich soils anymore (because of the processed revolution), we’re depleted in multiple important minerals.
And one of them is boron, which has a valuable role in our endocrine system:
a) This human study found out that 10 mg’s of boron taken daily for a week was enough to increase free testosterone levels by 28%. SHBG count in serum also decreased significantly which probably explains the increase in free T.
b) In this human study the researchers gave their subjects 6 mg’s of boron daily for 60 days. The results showed a similar 29,5% increase in free testosterone, which was again caused by a significant drop in SHBG count.
I’m personally supplementing with this boron everyday (affiliate link).
2. How to Lower SHBG: Eat Plenty of Carbs
Many guys like to think that low-carb dieting would be the best way to go when boosting testosterone.
It makes some sense as insulin (a hormone that increases when we eat carbs) and sugar (which is a carb) are both claimed to lower testosterone (neither of them actually does).
And actually there was a point in my life when I also believed that a low-carb diet would be the way to go.
However that’s not true, studies constantly show that low-carb diets decrease testosterone levels, whereas high-carb diets significantly increase the big T while they simultaneously decrease estrogen, cortisol, and SHBG.
Therefore eating a diet moderately high in carbohydrates would be a good way to lower SHBG count (and increase testosterone).
3. Take Vitamin D to Lower SHBG Count
Vitamin D is one hell of an awesome vitamin.
Most commonly it’s associated with cardiovascular health, bone health, and immune function.
And while vitamin D is called a “vitamin”, it’s not. It’s really a steroid hormone that regulates more than 1,000 bodily functions, mistakenly named a vitamin.
…And this study found out that 3332 IU’s of vitamin D3 was enough to significantly reduce sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) count.
Therefore if you want to increase testosterone (both total and free), and reduce SHBG count, start supplementing with high quality vitamin D3 supplement (affiliate link), be out in the sun, and eat plenty of fish.
4. Fiber is Not Really that Important
It’s a common mantra from the governmental health panel that we need to eat huge amounts of dietary fiber in order to be “healthy”.
However there’s no reason for that. There’s absolutely no scientific evidence that we would need so much fiber daily.
Kellogg’s and other cereal giants are just paying millions of dollars to various influential organizations (such as the AND) in order to get their message of “healthy breakfast with plenty of fiber” out there, which will then only increase their revenue, not our health.
I’m personally sticking to 30g or less fiber because:
High fiber diets are known for their testosterone lowering effects. They also increase SHBG which binds up testosterone making it unable to bind to the receptors, and they increase endotoxin release from the gut lining, which raises serotonin, suppresses dopamine, and also slightly reduces testosterone production.
5. Certain Prescription Drugs can Skyrocket SHBG
…Then I followed up with a post about Finasteride and other hair loss drugs which were shown to be even more harmful for your testosterone levels.
Quite many of those meds in the list also increased SHBG levels, resulting in lowered free T.
6. Natural Hormone Optimization in General
Testosterone in itself will reduce SHBG count. It’s not exactly clear why, but men with higher testosterone levels usually have lower SHBG levels.
Estrogen also impacts SHBG, as lower levels of the female hormone will lower SHBG, which is an awesome thing.
This means that simply following the teachings of this blog (which in all of its simplicity is to boost testosterone and reduce estrogen), could significantly lower your SHBG levels as your hormonal health improves.
So just boost that T and get rid of that overblown E 😉
7. Magnesium Increases Free Testosterone
Magnesium is one of the most important elements for the human body.
It’s essential for our survival and regulates hundreds of enzymes in the body. We’re also somewhat deficient in the mineral due to the fact that most of us eat shitty diets. However we shouldn’t be as magnesium has shown to be pretty awesome in regards of free testosterone and SHBG:
a) This study found out that magnesium makes testosterone more bio-available via decreasing SHBG.
b) This study found out that a gram of magnesium a day in combination with exercise is enough to raise free testosterone levels by 24%.
c) This study examined several health parameters of 400 men. The researchers found out that the men who had highest serum magnesium levels, also had lowest SHBG and highest testosterone and IGF-1 (growth hormone) levels.
I highly recommend this pure magnesium oil (affiliate link) which is applied transmedally to the skin. It has much higher bio-availibility than oral supplements.
8. Zinc for Everything
Zinc is literally the master mineral of the endocrine system…
Several studies show that it increases testosterone, reduces estrogen, increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and improves sperm parameters (source).
My recommendation for zinc is Thorne Research’s Double Strength Zinc (affiliate link).
9. Don’t Go Overboard With Alcohol
Binge drinking has its downsides…
Such as the fact that it significantly reduces testosterone levels, testicular weight, and sperm parameters (source).
It also skyrockets the female hormone estrogen and the stress hormone cortisol.
And that’s not even all, as binge drinking impairs the P45 enzyme system of the liver which skyrockets SHBG.
In other words, binge drinking is pretty damaging for your endocrine system.
Conclusion on How to Lower SHBG Count
There you go, 9 scientifically proven ways on how to lower SHBG levels and increase your free testosterone levels.
However do remember that when decreasing SHBG, you’re not only freeing bound up testosterone, but also bound up estrogen.
For most men this isn’t a big problem, especially if you know something about hormone optimization and are already lowering your estrogen levels…
…But the guys who have overblown estrogen levels, it might be wise not to go too low with SHBG, at least first get the estrogen in check.