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SHBG Symptoms, Blood Test, & What Factors Lower/Raise Levels

Written by Carlos Tello, PhD (Molecular Biology) | Last updated:
Medically reviewed by
Nicole Craven, MD, Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Carlos Tello, PhD (Molecular Biology) | Last updated:

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Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG) is an important protein that decreases the effects of sex hormones (especially testosterone) by binding to them. Unusually high or low blood SHBG levels can be indicative of several hormone disorders. Mildly high SHBG can lower testosterone bioavailability. Read on to learn more about this protein, the diseases associated with changes in its concentration, and how to maintain optimal levels.

What Is SHBG?

What Does SHBG Do?

Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), also known as testosterone-binding globulin, is a protein that binds to sex hormones and carries them through the blood [1, 2].

SHBG binds to the following sex hormones, listed in order of affinity [3]:

  • Dihydrotestosterone/DHT (male)
  • Testosterone (male)
  • Androstenediol (male)
  • Estradiol (female)
  • Estrone (female)

SHBG has a greater affinity for male sex hormones (androgens) than female sex hormones (estrogens).

The main functions of SHBG include:

  • Controlling the availability of sex hormones [4]
  • Transporting sex hormones through blood [5]

SHBG is mainly made in the liver, where its production is stimulated by female sex hormones and thyroid hormones [6, 7].

SHBG Production

SHBG can also be made in these organs:

  • Brain [8]
  • Kidneys [9]
  • Breasts [10]
  • Uterus [11]
  • Placenta [12]
  • Ovaries [13]
  • Prostate [14]
  • Testicles [15]

SHBG is also produced by some types of tumors, such as breast, ovarian, and uterine [16, 17, 18].

SHBG production is blocked by:

SHBG levels are very low in babies of both sexes (10x lower than in their mothers) and increase gradually during childhood until puberty, when they decrease 2x in girls and 4x in boys. The lower SHBG levels in boys allow for higher concentrations of available male sex hormones, which are necessary for their growth in height and the development of their sex organs [22, 23, 1].

In adult men, SHBG levels are stable for many years but progressively rise as they age, which causes a reduction in free but not in total male sex hormone levels [24, 25].

In adult women, SHBG progressively decreases from 20 – 60 years and starts increasing after that [26].

Roles of Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin

1) Reduces the Availability and Activity of Sex Hormones

Only unbound (free) hormones can cross cell membranes and reach their targets. By binding to sex hormones, SHBG can reduce their availability and thus, their activity. However, unbound hormones also disappear more quickly from blood [27, 4, 5].

Because SHBG has more affinity for male hormones, it mainly reduces the activity and elimination rate of male sex hormones. SHBG levels are lower in men than in women, implying that both the activity and elimination rate of male sex hormones are higher in men. Conditions that cause increased SHBG production (e.g., hyperthyroidism) reduce the activity and elimination rate of sex hormones. Conditions that result in decreased SHBG levels (e.g., polycystic ovarian syndrome) increase both activity and elimination rate [3, 28, 29].

2) Transports Sex Hormones Through Blood

Since sex hormones are fatty molecules and can’t dissolve in water, they are transported through the body by binding to a protein like SHBG or albumin. While female sex hormones can undergo modifications that allow them to dissolve in water, male sex hormones need to be bound to transport proteins [5, 30, 31].

Other

SHBG can bind to receptors on cell membranes and stimulate the production of a messenger molecule (cAMP), implying that it may not only transport sex hormones to their target tissues but also trigger biological effects [32, 33].

Genetics of SHBG

There are several variations in the SHBG gene, that are associated with increased or decreased blood levels of this protein and are linked to different conditions [34]:

  • The rs6257 variant reduces blood SHBG levels and is associated with breast cancer in women and type 2 diabetes in both men and women [35, 36].
  • The presence of the rs6258 variant reduces the affinity of SHBG for testosterone, and is associated with higher levels of free testosterone [37].
  • The rs6259 variant increases SHBG levels by reducing its elimination and has been associated with a lower frequency of breast and uterine cancer in women, low sperm movement in men, and lower incidence of type 2 diabetes in both men and women [38, 39, 40, 36].
  • rs1799941 increases blood SHBG levels and has been associated with a higher bone density and lower sperm quality in men, and a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes in both men and women [41, 42, 43].
  • The SHBG gene can be longer or shorter depending on the number of repeats of a certain sequence. More than 6 repeats (rs35785886 variant) decreases SHBG production. This variant is associated with conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), excessive body hair, delayed onset of the first period, and coronary artery disease in women, and low sperm concentration and increased bone density in men [44, 45, 46, 47, 41].

SHBG Blood Test

When Is the SHBG Blood Test Used?

The SHBG blood test is not routinely ordered and is most often used when symptoms of sex hormone imbalance are not accompanied by changes in their blood concentration [48, 49].

Free testosterone levels can be indirectly calculated using SHBG by assuming that 44 – 65% of testosterone is bound to SHBG and 33 – 50% to albumin in men, while 66 – 78% is bound to SHBG and 20 – 30% to albumin in women. Free testosterone levels reflect the availability of this hormone more accurately than the total testosterone concentration [50, 51, 48].

Additionally, SHBG levels can be used as a marker of conditions such as:

  • Thyroid disorders [52, 53]
  • Pituitary gland disorders [54]
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) [55, 56]
  • Insulin resistance [57]
  • Metabolic syndrome [58]
  • Androgen receptor disorders [59]
  • Eating disorders [60]

Lab results are commonly shown as a set of values known as a “reference range”, which is sometimes referred to as a “normal range”. A reference range includes the upper and lower limits of a lab test based on a group of otherwise healthy people.

Your healthcare provider will compare your lab test results with reference values to see if your SHBG results fall outside the range of expected values. By doing so, you and your healthcare provider can gain clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases.

Remember that some lab-to-lab variability occurs due to differences in equipment, techniques, and chemicals used. Don’t panic if your result is slightly out of range – as long as it’s in the normal range based on the laboratory that did the testing, your value is normal.

However, it’s important to remember that a normal test doesn’t mean a particular medical condition is absent. Your doctor will interpret your results in conjunction with your medical history and other test results.

And remember that a single test isn’t enough to make a diagnosis. Your doctor will interpret this test, taking into account your medical history and other tests. A result that is slightly low/high may not be of medical significance, as this test often varies from day to day and from person to person.

Normal Ranges

Men: 10 – 57 nmol/L

Women: 18 – 144 nmol/L

High Levels of SHBG

The conditions we discuss here are commonly associated with high SHBG levels, but this single symptom is not enough for a diagnosis. Work with your doctor to discover what underlying condition might be causing your high levels of this protein and to develop an appropriate plan to improve your health.

Symptoms of High SHBG Levels

Symptoms of high SHBG are similar to those of low male sex hormone levels.

In men, they include [61, 62]:

  • Arrested sexual development (in teenagers)
  • Infertility
  • Decreased sperm concentration and motility
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Reduced testicle size
  • Breast growth
  • Decreased body hair
  • Hot flashes
  • Reduced bone and muscle mass
  • Decreased energy and motivation

In women, high SHBG levels may cause [63, 64, 65]:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced bone and muscle mass
  • Memory losses
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Reduced wellbeing

Causes of High SHBG Levels

1) High Estrogen Levels

During the menstrual cycle, estrogen levels increase when the egg is released from the ovaries. In an observational study on 12 women, this rise in estrogen levels was accompanied by an increase in the SHBG concentration in the blood [66].

Birth control pills are powerful combinations of synthetic female sex hormones and progesterone. In three studies of 270 people, SHBG levels were up to 4x higher in women taking oral contraceptives. SHBG levels dropped after discontinuation but were higher than before treatment [67, 68, 69].

In an observational study on 40 male-to-female transsexuals, SHBG levels increased after 12 months. During their transition, male-to-female transsexuals take male sex hormone production blockers and female sex hormones, which can increase SHBG levels [70].

In two studies on almost 500 women, hormone replacement therapy increased SHBG levels [71, 72].

Studies in cells found increased SHBG production at high concentrations of the following female sex hormones:

2) High Thyroid Hormone Levels

Increased blood SHBG levels were measured in 3 observational studies on 70 people with excessive thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism) [52, 76, 77].

An observational study on 59 people with different types of hyperthyroidism found higher SHBG levels [78].

Similarly, thyroid hormone (T3) increased blood SHBG levels in a small trial on 7 healthy men [79].

Both T4 and T3 increased SHBG production in healthy and liver cancer cells [80, 7, 81, 82, 83].

3) Low Growth Hormone Levels

In an observational study on 74 men and women, SHBG levels were higher in those with a hereditary growth hormone deficiency [84].

4) Pregnancy

During mid to late pregnancy, SHBG levels increase up to 5 – 10x [1].

In two studies on women undergoing ovarian stimulation, SHBG levels increased when they became pregnant, probably as a result of the increase in sex hormones [85, 86].

5) Liver Issues/Disorders

Since SHBG is mainly produced in the liver, liver damage can result in abnormal SHBG levels [87].

In a study on 167 men, chronic alcoholic liver inflammation (cirrhosis) was associated with increased SHBG levels [88, 89].

Similarly, abnormally high SHBG levels were measured in men with non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis in a study on 50 men [90].

However, in another study on over 100 women, SHBG levels were within normal ranges in those with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis. However, the levels did increase in those with alcoholic cirrhosis who abstained from alcohol for 3 months [91].

In a study on 32 women with hepatitis, the disease severity was associated with higher SHBG levels. Severe hepatitis B viral infection was associated with higher SHBG levels but not uncomplicated or chronic hepatitis B viral infection. Women with severe hepatitis unrelated to hepatitis B also had elevated levels [92].

This same link between disease severity (as measured by fibrosis) and SHBG was seen in 46 men with hepatitis C infections [93].

Excess iron levels in the liver (iron overload) can also cause high SHBG [94].

6) Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol consumption was associated with higher SHBG levels (as well as higher luteal estrogen and lower testosterone) in a study on 2,000 premenopausal women. It was not associated with changes in other sex hormones levels studied [95].

7) Smoking

Smoking has been associated with increased SHBG levels in several studies on 4,000 people [96, 97, 98, 99].

In two studies on over 100 people who quit smoking, SHBG levels started to drop within a few weeks [100, 101].

8) Significant Physical Exertion or Strain

In three studies on over 100 people, physical strain increased SHBG levels [102, 103, 104].

Changes in SHBG levels from exercise may be affected by age and level of exertion. In 35 people, after a triathlon, SHBG levels were higher in the older participants (50 – 74 years old) but not the younger (~20 years old) [105]

In another study on 12 people, SHBG levels were decreased following a marathon [106].

9) Stress

Men and women undergoing a stress test had elevated levels of SHBG (and testosterone, estradiol, androstenedione, adrenocorticotropic hormoneACTH-, and cortisol levels, as well as increased heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure) in a study on 39 people [107].

However, in an observational study on over 1,200 men, self-reported stress levels did not impact reproductive hormone levels (SHBG, LH, FSH, testosterone, calculated free testosterone, and inhibin B) [108]

10) Malnutrition/Anorexia

Malnutrition (protein and calorie deficiency) is associated with higher SHBG levels.

In one study, SHBG levels were elevated in 29 female anorexic patients. When they were given a caloric IV infusion, their SHBG levels dropped. In those who gained at least 5% weight, SHBG dropped to normal levels [109]

However, in a study on 86 malnourished children (severe protein deficiency, general malnourishment, or anorexia), only those with severe protein deficiency or anorexia had elevated SHBG levels [110].

11) HIV/AIDS

In two observational studies on over 1,300 men, those infected with HIV had higher blood SHBG levels [111, 112].

12) Acute Intermittent Porphyria

Acute intermittent porphyria, a rare genetic disorder, is associated with elevated SHBG. High levels of this hormone were observed in all 12 patients with a clinical manifestation of the disease in a study, while all but one of the 14 patients with latent porphyria had normal levels [113].

Conditions Associated With High SHBG Levels

1) Bone Loss

High SHBG was linked to reduced bone density in eight studies on ~3,500 people [114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120].

In an observational study on almost 10,000 elderly women, those with high SHBG levels had an average bone loss (2.2% a year) almost twice as high as those with low SHBG (1.2% a year) [121].

Seven observational studies on over 4,500 men and women associated high blood SHBG levels with an increased incidence of bone fractures [122, 114, 123, 124, 125, 126].

However, two studies on almost 8,000 men and women failed to find a link between high blood SHBG levels and increased risk of bone fractures [126, 127].

2) Alzheimer’s Disease

In a meta-analysis, high SHBG levels were linked to an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Two other studies on 1,700 people came to the same conclusion [128, 129, 130].

3) Prostate Cancer

High SHBG levels were strongly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in a study on almost 300 men. Another study found a slightly increased risk, but only in younger men [131, 132].

However, a meta-analysis of 8 studies and another study (on almost 1000 men) failed to find a link between high SHBG and increased incidence and death rate of prostate cancer [133, 134].

All About Low SHBG Levels

The conditions we discuss here are commonly associated with low SHBG levels, but this single symptom is not enough for a diagnosis. Work with your doctor to discover what underlying conditions might be causing your low levels of this protein and to develop an appropriate plan to improve your health.

Symptoms of Low SHBG Levels

Symptoms of low SHBG levels are similar to those of excessive male sex hormone levels.

In females, they include [135, 136, 137, 138, 139]:

  • Excessive body hair/male-pattern hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Dandruff
  • Baldness
  • Voice deepening
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Reduced breast size
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Enlargement of the clitoris
  • Weight gain

Though rare, low SHBG in males may cause:

  • Early puberty (in children) [140]
  • Acne [141]
  • Baldness [141]
  • Increased body hair [141]
  • Aggression [142]
  • Erectile dysfunction [143]
  • Gynecomastia (breast growth) [144]
  • Infertility [145]

Causes of Low SHBG Levels

1) High Insulin Levels

In a study on 47 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), high blood insulin levels were linked to low SHBG concentration [146].

Similarly, Mexican-Americans (a population with a high risk of type 2 diabetes) had higher insulin and lower SHBG levels than non-Hispanic whites in a study on 96 people [147].

Diazoxide (a medication for low blood sugar) increased SHBG levels in a small study on 6 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome [55].

Three studies found reduced SHBG production in human liver cells treated with insulin [148, 149, 149].

A clinical trial on 20 men found that insulin (0.1 – 0.4 UI/kg dosages) increased SHBG production in those with type 2 diabetes [150].

However, a study in cells suggested that the effect of insulin on SHBG levels is non-specific and reflects a reduced production of proteins [151].

2) High Growth Hormone Levels

Acromegaly is a disorder in which the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone in adults. Several observational studies on over 100 people have measured lower SHBG levels in patients with acromegaly [139, 152, 153].

In overweight healthy men, injection of low growth hormone doses (0.02 U/kg/day for 14 days) decreased blood SHBG levels in a small clinical trial on 8 men [154].

3) High Prolactin Levels

A prolactinoma is a tumor in the pituitary gland that causes the excessive production of the hormone prolactin (PRL). Prolactinomas reduced blood SHBG levels in a study on 20 people. In another study on 28 women with excessive prolactin production, the drug bromocriptine restored prolactin and SHBG levels [54, 155].

In a cell study, prolactin reduced SHBG production [19].

4) High Testosterone Levels

High testosterone levels are normally considered to reduce SHBG production. The addition of testosterone blocked SHBG production in two cell studies [156, 157].

However, testosterone had no effect on SHBG production in two cell studies and stimulated SHBG production in two other ones [7, 158, 159, 74].

5) Thyroid Hormone Levels

The relationship between low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism) and SHBG concentration is unclear. While three studies found decreased SHBG levels in hypothyroid patients, three other studies measured normal SHBG levels in people with low thyroid hormone levels [53, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164].

6) High Growth Factor Levels

In a cell study, the growth factors IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), EGF (epidermal growth factor), and TGF-alpha (transforming growth factor alpha) reduced SHBG production [165].

However, a study on over 1,000 men did not find an association between IGF-1 and SHBG levels [166].

7) Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Since SHBG is made in the liver, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may affect its levels in the body.

Low SHBG levels have been associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in studies on type 2 diabetics and PCOS. However, it’s difficult to prove causality based on these studies [167, 168, 169, 170].

8) Inflammation

Inflammatory markers, which indicate a pro-inflammatory state, were associated with lower SHBG levels in a study on over 400 women [171].

In another study on almost 700 people, a marker of inflammation (hs-CRP) was associated with lower SHBG levels [172].

9) Genetic Mutations

Genetic mutations can result in low SHBG levels. For instance, a mutation in the SHBG gene resulted in undetectable levels of SHBG in two siblings [173].

10) High Sugar Levels

In genetically modified mice that produce human SHBG, a high-sugar diet reduced SHBG production by 50% after 1 week [174].

Conditions Associated With Low SHBG Levels

1) Type 2 Diabetes

A meta-analysis of 43 observational studies and over 13,000 people found a protective role of high SHBG from developing type 2 diabetes, especially in women [175].

Another meta-analysis of 15 studies found a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes among men and women with mutations causing increased SHBG production [176].

Similarly, two studies on 2,500 people found a link between low SHBG levels and increased type 2 diabetes risks [177, 36].

In two studies on 690 people, this correlation was only seen in women [178, 179].

2) Gestational Diabetes

Low pre-pregnancy SHBG was identified as a risk factor for developing diabetes during pregnancy in an observational study on over 250 women [180].

3) Obesity and Obesity-Related Conditions

Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by the following symptoms [181]:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High blood triglyceride levels
  • Low blood levels of HDL cholesterol

In a meta-analysis of 52 studies, metabolic syndrome was associated with low SHBG levels in both sexes [58].

Having low SHBG levels is a significant risk factor (several fold increased likelihood) for developing metabolic syndrome based on a study on almost 2,500 people [182, 183, 184].

Insulin sensitivity, the opposite of insulin resistance seen with diabetes, was associated with high SHBG levels in three studies on over 300 people [185, 186, 57].

4) Breast Cancer

A meta-analysis of 9 studies found a link between low SHBG levels and increased risk of developing breast cancer [187].

Two observational studies on almost 3,000 people found the same association [188, 189].

5) Heart Disease

In two studies on almost 4,000 women, low SHBG levels were associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease [190, 191].

6) High Blood Pressure

In an observational study on almost 3,000 people, low SHBG was a risk factor for high blood pressure, but only in men [192].

7) Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

SHBG levels were lower in 23 women with PCOS [55, 56].

Although two studies on over 800 women found a link between a variation causing reduced SHBG production and polycystic ovarian syndrome, two other studies on almost 600 women failed to find the same association [193, 194, 195, 196].

Another study examining all four SHBG SNPs (rs1779941, rs6297, rs6259, and rs727428) did not find any associations with PCOS [197].

8) High Cortisol

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition with abnormally high cortisol levels [198].

Cushing’s syndrome was linked to reduced SHBG levels in multiple studies on 135 people [199, 200, 201, 202].

9) Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic disorder in which the body produces insufficient cortisol and excessive male sex hormone levels [203].

In a study on 240 people, congenital adrenal hyperplasia was associated with higher SHBG levels in women but not in men [204].

Factors That Can Affect SHBG Levels?

Increasing SHBG Levels

Individuals wishing to increase their SHBG levels will be most likely women with symptoms of male sex hormone excess. If your SHBG levels are too low, discuss with your doctor what strategies may help you raise them. Never implement them in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.

Some lifestyle changes that may help increase SHBG levels include:

1) Physical Exercise

Moderately intense aerobic exercise for a year increased SHBG levels in a clinical trial on over 100 people [205].

Similarly, moderate to intense exercise for a year increased SHBG and reduced estradiol and free estradiol levels in a trial on over 300 women [206].

A study on over 13,000 women found that exercise was associated with higher SHBG levels. Higher BMI was associated with lower SHBG levels [207].

2) Weight Loss

In multiple trials on over 300 people, SHBG levels increased after weight loss [208, 209, 210, 211].

Weight loss from either a higher-protein/low-fat diet or a higher-carbohydrate/low-fat diet increased SHBG levels in a clincal trial on over 100 overweight and obese men [212].

3) Caffeine Intake

Regular coffee intake was linked to increased blood SHBG in multiple studies on 19,000 people [207, 213, 214, 215, 216].

Different types of caffeinated drinks (coffee, green tea, black tea, oolong tea, and cola) were linked to increased SHBG levels in 50 women [217].

However, a clinical trial on 42 people had mixed results and did not find significant effects of coffee consumption (regular or decaf) on SHBG levels [218].

4) Dietary Changes: Mediterranean Diet

A study on 27 obese men found that a low-fat, high-fiber diet, with exercise, effectively increased SHBG levels [219].

Additionally, the following foods and beverages increased SHBG production. However, additional clinical studies need to be done before these findings are considered conclusive:

Factors That May Lower SHBG Levels?

SHBG reduces testosterone availability. Because testosterone can increase athletic performance and does lower naturally with age, some people may want to lower their SHBG levels [225].

Again, it is important to speak with your doctor before attempting any lifestyle or supplement regimen changes aimed at lowering SHBG levels.

1) Dietary Changes

High-protein diets were associated with reduced blood SHBG levels in a study on over 1,500 men [226].

In a clinical trial on 36 women, one cup of red wine daily reduced blood SHBG levels, while white wine did not [227].

2) Taking Supplements

The following supplements were found to decrease SHBG production and/or reduce its interaction with sex hormones, though further clinical studies are needed before these findings can be considered conclusive:

Drugs That Control SHBG Levels

Note: By writing this section, we are not recommending these drugs. We are simply providing information that is available in the scientific literature. Many drugs have side effects and should not be taken unless prescribed by a physician. Please discuss your medications with your doctor.

1) Drugs That Increase SHBG Levels

Oral Contraceptives

Because they include synthetic female sex hormones, birth control pills can increase SHBG levels.

Different combinations of birth control pills caused an increase in SHBG levels to different degrees in a clinical trial on 91 people, with 30 mg ethinylestradiol plus 2 mg dienogest having the strongest effect [67].

Both a triphasic birth control (containing ethinylestradiol and gestodene) and a monophasic version (containing 35 mg ethinylestradiol and 250 mg norgestimate) increased SHBG levels 200 – 240% on days 11 and 21 in a clinical trial on 46 women. Even on pill-free days, SHBG levels were elevated compared to pre-treatment [68].

SHBG levels in women currently taking birth control pills were 4x higher compared to those who have never taken it in a study on over 100 women. Discontinuing the pill decreased SHBG levels slightly, but they were still higher than those who had never taken it [69].

Aromatase Blockers

Treatment with the aromatase blockers risedronate (35 mg/week) or letrozole (2.5 mg/day) increased SHBG levels in two clinical trials on over 100 men and women [237, 238].

Anti-Seizure Medication

SHBG levels increased in epileptic patients treated with anti-seizure medication in several studies:

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators

The following selective estrogen receptor modulators increased SHBG levels in clinical trials:

  • Tamoxifen (breast cancer medication) [243]
  • Raloxifene (osteoporosis and breast cancer medication) [244]
  • Bazedoxifene (osteoporosis medication) [245]
  • Clomiphene (women infertility medication) [246]
  • Ospemifene (medication for painful sexual intercourse in women) [247]
  • Toremifene (breast cancer medication) [248]

Metformin

Several clinical trials have found that metformin (type 2 diabetes medication) increased SHBG levels [249, 250, 251].

Certain Antipsychotics

SHBG levels raised after treatment with conventional antipsychotic medications (haloperidol, haloperidol with chlorpromazine, or chlorpromazine) in a clinical trial on 68 people but not with olanzapine, a second-generation antipsychotic, even when olanzapine was taken with conventional antipsychotics [252].

2) Drugs that Reduce SHBG levels

Treatments with the following glucocorticoids used against inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and allergies decreased SHBG in several human trials:

Takeaway

SHBG can be affected by many hormone pathways in the body. In turn, SHBG levels affect the bioavailability of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.

Checking your lab values may help your doctor rule out some serious illnesses, but it can also give them a bigger picture of your hormone health.

Most unhealthy lifestyle conditions are associated with an increase in SHBG (sometimes clinically significant and other times not) and a shift in bioavailable testosterone.

Irregular SHBG Levels?

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About the Author

Carlos Tello

PhD (Molecular Biology)
Carlos received his PhD and MS from the Universidad de Sevilla.
Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.

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