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What Men Need to Know About Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

October 28th, 2016

SHBG levels affect the amount of bioavailable testosterone in your system.

Testosterone’s role as the most important male hormone is well known. Men suffering from low testosterone experience symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, low sex drive, irritability, muscle loss, memory problems, and more.

When diagnosing Low T, it’s important not to focus solely on total testosterone. We also need to consider how much of your total testosterone is actually available for the various systems in your body to metabolize and use right now. This is where sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) becomes important.

What is Sex Hormone Binding Globulin?

At any given time, only about 2% of the testosterone in your body needs to be in a free, unbound state. The rest of your testosterone will be bound to a protein carrier that will transport it to wherever it’s needed, and keep it protected until it can be used.

There are two primary protein carriers in your body: albumin and SHBG. While testosterone that is bound to albumin dissociates easily, testosterone bound to SHBG enjoys much stronger protection. Testosterone bound to either one of these proteins is not bioavailable and cannot be used by the body until it’s released. In the average healthy man, about 45% of total testosterone is bound to SHBG.

SHBG and Low T Symptoms

If you have elevated SHBG, you can experience symptoms of Low T even when your levels of total testosterone are optimal. The more SHBG you have in your system, the more your testosterone molecules will be bound up with this protein, leaving an insufficient supply available for your body to use for its normal functions. This is why it’s important to evaluate SHBG levels when diagnosing Low T, and to consider the impact of this protein when prescribing a treatment.

SHBG and Aging

While testosterone production decreases with age, SHBG can increase by about 1% every year, starting in early adulthood. In other words, a decline in testosterone production is often exacerbated by elevated SHBG.

Should SHBG Be Lowered?

SHBG is like other aspects of hormone therapy in that we don’t want SHBG levels to be too high or too low—we want SHBG levels to be just right. This is why management of SHBG levels is incorporated into our treatment plans when necessary and appropriate.

Choose Renew Youth™ for Safe & Effective Treatment

At Renew Youth™, we take all the latest proven science into account when providing treatment for Low T symptoms. We test for total testosterone, free testosterone, and SHBG, and then develop personalized testosterone replacement therapy based on these numbers and your symptoms. Please contact us today to learn more.

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