When you go to the doctor to get your testosterone levels checked out, the results would always show the total testosterone levels in your body. However, this total testosterone can be divided into two distinct parts:
Bound testosterone & Free testosterone
Bound testosterone forms about 98% of the total testosterone in the body. About a third of it is loosely bound to albumin (the main protein found in blood) while two- thirds of it is bound to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin). This type of testosterone acts as a store for the hormone.
Free testosterone is not bound to anything at all. It forms less than 4% of the total testosterone level in the body. Since the bond between testosterone and albumin is weak, it can be broken easily. If this happens, the albumin-bound testosterone joins the free testosterone to form bio-available testosterone (BAT). This is the testosterone that is readily available for use by your body cells and is thus responsible for all the beneﬁts and male characteristics described in the previous chapters.
Studies show that if the level of bound testosterone can be reduced or freed up, then the amount of free testosterone will increase. This is signiﬁcant for those men who need to boost their testosterone levels. Lowering your SHBG levels is possible through the right supplements and diet.
How to Naturally Lower SHBG
1. Boron supplements
While most people are not familiar with this element, it plays a signiﬁcant role in the endocrine system. Boron is a trace mineral found in natural nutrient rich soils. Since most of the soils we grow our food in are depleted of many essential minerals, boron is not as easily available as it once was. Taking boron supplements has been proven to decrease SHBG and increase free testosterone signiﬁcantly.
2. Increase carbohydrate consumption
The common perception is that reducing your carb intake will help boost your testosterone. This is because when you eat carbs, insulin and sugar levels in the bloodstream go up, and these two elements are linked to low testosterone. However, research shows that diets high in carbs cause a signiﬁcant increase in testosterone while decreasing SHBG and estrogen. It is therefore recommended that you consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
3. Vitamin D supplements
Did you know that vitamin D is not actually a vitamin? It is more of a steroid hormone that is responsible for over 1,000 functions in the body. Studies have shown that increasing your vitamin D can lower SHBG levels and increase free testosterone. It is recommended that you get adequate sunlight, consume enough ﬁsh, or take some vitamin D3 supplements.
4. Moderate your ﬁber intake
We have been conditioned to believe that we need a lot of ﬁber to stay healthy. However, a high fiber diet is also associated with an increase in SHBG, which prevents testosterone from binding to its receptors. This ultimately causes a reduction in testosterone production.
5. Avoid speciﬁc prescription drugs
There are specific classes of medication that are responsible for raising SHBG levels and lowering free testosterone. Some hair loss drugs will have this effect on you. Other types of drugs include statins, antidepressants, antifungals, and beta blockers.
6. Increase magnesium intake
Magnesium is responsible for regulating more than 100 enzymes in your body. Due to the types of food we consume in our modern diets, most people are deﬁcient in magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium increases the level of bio-available testosterone in the body by reducing SHBG. Another study showed that 1 gram of magnesium combined with exercise would boost your free testosterone by up to 24%. It is recommended that you go for pure magnesium oil that you can apply on your skin. This will be more effective than taking oral supplements.
7. Increase zinc intake
Zinc, just like boron, is one of the most important minerals for your endocrine system. Research shows that it boosts testosterone, lowers estrogen, and enhances sperm parameters. It even lowers your SHBG count. There are natural zinc supplements that can help you increase zinc levels in your body.
8. Avoid excess alcohol consumption
It may be fun to go out drinking once in a while, but binge drinking has been proven to lower your sperm parameters, testicular weight, and testosterone levels. In fact, too much alcohol in the bloodstream increases estrogen and cortisol levels, which is something you definitely don’t as a man. Binge drinking hinders the functioning of the P45 enzyme in the liver, thus increasing your SHBG count. If you want to boost testosterone, then avoid bingeing on alcohol.
These are just 8 simple ways to lower SHBG and boost free testosterone levels. One thing that you need to note is that a reduction in SHBG not only frees bound testosterone but also frees bound estrogen. This shouldn’t be a problem for most men. However, for those who already have too much estrogen in their body, it is recommended that you don’t lower your SHBG too much without first dealing with the estrogen problem.