An androgen that is free is not bound to anything and has bioavailability. Free testosterone and free DHT is where the high testosterone benefits come from, yet only 1-2% of your testosterone is free and unbound. You want to lower SHBG, increase free testosterone, and increase free DHT to the maximal.
The way you increase free testosterone and free DHT is to lower SHBG. Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that binds to the two sex hormones: androgen and estrogen. Testosterone and estradiol circulate in the bloodstream bound mostly to SHBG
98-99% of your testosterone is bound by sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and to a smaller extent by albumin.
A man with a total testosterone level of 600 and a free testosterone level of 10 will feel worse than a man with a total testosterone level of 450 and a free testosterone level of 15.
The man with the 600 level has a good amount of testosterone in his body, everything is working well, but his body can’t use much of that testosterone because SHBG is high and it bounds to most of that testosterone, tying it and making it unavailable for the body to use.
Essentially its the free fraction of androgens that count. A lower SHBG will increase the free fractions of all your androgens.
A lower SHBG doesn’t just increase free testosterone, it increases free DHT as well. DHT is already more potent than testosterone so imagine what free DHT can do.
Free testosterone, free DHT, and SHBG have a genetic factor, but you can still increase free testosterone and free DHT to a good extent.
18 Ways to Increase Free Testosterone, Free DHT, and Lower SHBG
- Testosterone optimization in general will increase free testosterone
- DHT optimization will increase free testosterone
- Don’t stay on a calorie deficit for a long time
- Lower estrogen to increase free testosterone
- Stay damn lean
- Drop the almonds and most nuts
- Lower SHBG by being anabolic and androgenic
- Eat more fruits
- Fat ratios
- Olive oil ain’t that good for free testosterone
- Up the good carbs
- Watch your protein and your fiber
- Eat a good amount of dates, prunes, and raisins
- Train hard but don’t overtrain
- Supplement with pine pollen
- Supplement with magnesium
- Supplement with vitamin D
- Supplement with Tongkat Ali
Testosterone Optimization in General Will Increase Free Testosterone
The more testosterone and DHT you have, the bigger the free fractions can be.
Testshock is a program on how to optimize your life for crazy high natural testosterone production. Its the greatest resource out there on natural testosterone enhancement. The creater – Christopher Walker went from a super low testosterone level to a level of 1181 ng/dL naturally. Testshock is the most complete and genuine program on naturally increasing testosterone with everything backed up by science and his own experience as an endocrinologist. Without overhyping it, here’s the official Testshock program.
DHT Optimization Will Increase Free Testosterone
A higher DHT level will inhibit aromatase activity and therefore you’ll have less estrogen. Having less estrogen means you won’t need that much SHBG to tie to estrogens. So less estrogen will lower SHBG and DHT will lower estrogen.
I have a good amount of posts on DHT. I found a revolutionary way to increase DHT by bypassing testosterone conversion completely, I had my hands on about every DHT study available, I’m living a high DHT lifestyle.
All my DHT posts so far (you can bet there’ll be more coming)…
- Dihydrotestosterone Manual – Becoming Mighty and Macho
- Dihydrotestosterone to the Apex – 50 Ways to Increase DHT Naturally
- 24 Natural DHT Blockers to Stay Away From
- Benefits of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
- Dihydrotestosterone All Out Protocol
- 5 Greatest Foods to Increase Dihydrotestosterone
- Only 3 Supplements You Need to Optimize DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)
Don’t Stay on a Calorie Deficit for a Long Time
When cutting you go on a calorie deficit to reach your body fat % goal. Getting lean is worth it in every way, but the way you get lean can fuck up your androgens.
When you go on a calorie deficit, it should be a 10-15% deficit from your maintenance calories. Any more than that and your androgens take a hit, any less and you’re not progressing.
Your ratios matter as well. Don’t only cut on fats or carbs or protein. When you go on a calorie deficit you should cut a little from all 3 macros to maintain the same ratio. A 40% fats / 40% carbs / 20% protein ratio is ideal.
Diet is and can get real confusing and stunt your progress BIG time. Get my custom testosterone plan and this won’t ever be a problem of yours.
This study looks at the effects of a calorie deficit in healthy humans. The study looks at a group of men on a calorie deficit, a group of men that are endurance runners, and a group of men that eat a typical Western diet. The results are, both the calorie deficit group and endurance runners group had a significantly lower body fat % than the group eating the Western diet.
Serum total testosterone and the free androgen index were significantly lower, and SHBG was higher in the calorie deficit group than in the endurance runners group and the Western diet group. Serum 17beta-estradiol and the estradiol:SHBG ratio were both significantly lower in the calorie deficit and endurance runner groups than in the Western diet group. Serum DHEA-S concentrations were not different between the three groups.
The study concluded – a calorie deficit reduces serum total and free testosterone and increases SHBG concentrations in humans, independently of adiposity.
So being on a calorie deficit = lower total and free testosterone and higher SHBG. Then having a higher body fat % = more estrogen and a higher fraction of free estrogen.
Seems like there’s no winning here, but there is. Get my custom testosterone plan and you’ll win.
Lower Estrogen to Increase Free Testosterone
SHBG doesn’t only bind to androgens, it binds to estrogens as well. So what happens when your estrogens are high? SHBG increases to catch up to the estrogens and bind to them so your body is not full of bioavailable estrogens. While doing that, SHBG binds to androgens too, not just estrogens. So you’re left with a higher SHBG and lower free testosterone and free DHT.
This study says – thyroid and estrogenic hormones increase SHBG production and SHBG gene promoter activity.
The greatest ways to lower estrogen is of course getting lean, avoiding soy and other phytoestrogens, adding some aromatase inhibiting foods such as cauliflower, cruciferous vegetables, and grapes, and increasing DHT will lower your estrogen as well.
Stay Damn Lean
Here’s the simple formula – body fat >15% = high aromatase activity = higher estrogen = more SHBG to tie to the estrogens = higher SHBG = lower free testosterone and lower free DHT.
Fat tissue enhances aromatase, which takes testosterone and turns it into estrogen.
Its not uncommon for men to drop some pounds and double their testosterone levels from simply dropping some pounds.
Being fat isn’t just great for your testosterone, DHT, estrogen, all your male hormones, your manhood, and looks. Its great for all aspects of your health such as, diabetes, cholesterol, glucose, insulin, and your overall health.
If you’ve been following Anabolic Apex for a while, you know how much emphasis I put on staying lean all the time.
Get lean, stay lean, remain lean, lean year round, lean every year, lean your whole life.
Drop the Almonds and Most Nuts
Nuts taste super great but damn are they a pile of shit on your androgens and SHBG.
This study says serum testosterone levels decreased significantly after the men followed the pistachio diet. Pistachios contain phytosterol, and previous research in animals has shown that a high intake of phytosterols can reduce testosterone levels.
This study found out that almonds increased SHBG by 16%. As SHBG binds testosterone avidly, increased SHBG can decrease the free fraction of androgens.
Lower SHBG by Being Anabolic and Androgenic
Good old intermittent fasting has you covered once again. It improves insulin sensitivity, increases human growth hormone, and increases androgens.
In this study researchers found that human growth hormone spikes multiple times throughout a 24 hour fast. And once the fast reaches 24 hours (1440 minutes as the study says) human growth hormone spikes up by 2000%.
This study suggests that starvation-induced enhancement of growth hormone is brought by an increased frequency of growth hormone release and longer and more pronounced periods of somatostatin withdrawal.
This study conducted on eight non-obese normal men found that short-term fasting increased luteinizing hormone response by 67% and testosterone response by 180%. However in obese men the increases were not as great.
Make sure you’re not on a calorie deficit while fasting though.
Eat More Fruits
This study says – glucose and fructose reduce human SHBG production by hepatocytes.
Inhibition of lipogenesis prevented monosaccharide-induced downregulation of HNF-4alpha and reduced SHBG expression in HepG2 cells. Thus, monosaccharide-induced lipogenesis reduced hepatic HNF-4alpha levels, which in turn attenuated SHBG expression.
This provides a biological explanation for why SHBG is a sensitive biomarker of the metabolic syndrome and the metabolic disturbances associated with increased fructose consumption.
This study says – SHBG is secreted by the liver under the control of hormones and nutritional factors. Glucose or fructose effectively decrease SHBG expression by inducing lipogenesis, which reduces hepatic HNF-4alpha levels, a transcription factor that play a critical role in controlling the SHBG promoter.
Ideally you want 60% saturated fat, 30% monounsaturated fat, and 10% polyunsaturated fat. Don’t ever aim to get more polyunsaturated fat in though. Polyunsaturated fat is everywhere, in small to medium quantities. Aim to get NO polyunsaturated fat at all and if you’re good you won’t be much over 10%.
So shoot for a saturated:monounsaturated fat ratio of 2:1 and keep polyunsaturated fats to the bare minimum.
This study found out that oleic acid increases SHBG production in men. Oleic acid is found in monounsaturated fats. Watch out with all those avocados, olives, and olive oil.
Olive Oil Ain’t That Good for Free Testosterone
Olive oil is praised beyond recognition, but is it actually the greats of testosterone boosting foods? Who knows. What I do know is it ain’t that good for free testosterone and free testosterone is what counts so…
The study I’ll use is a vitro study, but so what? Its not as accurate as a study on humans but most vitro studies are accurate enough to come to a similar conclusion as the later studies done on humans.
This vitro study had a total of 315 men. In these patients, nutrition data and plasma samples for SHBG assessment were obtained. They found that SHBG levels correlated positively with MUFA and negatively with saturated fatty acids.
In the multiple regression analysis, MUFA were independently associated with SHBG levels and accounted for the 20.4% of SHBG variance. In vitro studies revealed that oleoyl-CoA increases SHBG production by downregulating PPAR-γ levels in HepG2 cells.
The study concluded – olive oil consumption is associated with elevated SHBG serum levels. PPAR-γ downregulation induced by oleoyl-CoA is an important underlying mechanism of such regulation.
Up the Good Carbs
There is lots of solid evidence that carbs are essential to increase free testosterone and to lower SHBG. These are some of the good carbs…
- White rice
- Fruits and vegetables
This study looked at the effect on steroid hormones with a high carb diet and high protein diet.
The study found – testosterone concentrations in seven normal men were consistently higher after ten days on a high carbohydrate diet than during a high protein diet and were accompanied by parallel changes in SHBG.
Free testosterone was 36% higher in the high carb group.
Cortisol concentrations were consistently lower during the high carbohydrate diet than during the high protein diet and there were parallel changes in corticosteroid binding globulin concentrations.
The diets were equal in total calories and fat. These consistent and reciprocal changes suggest that the ratio of protein to carbohydrate in the human diet is an important regulatory factor for steroid hormone plasma levels and for liver-derived hormone binding proteins.
This next study found out that free testosterone to cortisol ratio decreased by 43% in a low carb group doing intense training. While in the high carb group it only decreased by 3%.
Watch Your Protein and Your Fiber
This study looked at the role of protein intake on SHBG levels in men. The study found that fiber intake were positively correlated to SHBG concentration, whereas body mass index and protein intake were negatively correlated to SHBG concentration.
The study concluded that the major determinants of SHBG concentrations in older men are age, body mass index, fiber and protein intake.
Ideally you want 20% of your calorie intake to be protein and 25-35g of fiber a day.
Eat a Good Amount of Dates, Prunes, and Raisins
Dates, prunes, and raisins are perfect foods to increase free testosterone and lower SHBG.
- They have fructose and glucose and as you saw earlier, fructose and glucose lowers SHBG.
- They are good carbs and as you saw earlier, carbs are essential.
- These 3 dried fruits are the richest and highest source of boron.
This study shows supplementing with boron (10mg daily) decreased sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), increased free testosterone, decreased estrogen (female hormone), and elevated DHT. What else can you ask for? Boron decreased SHBG and estrogen, it increased free testosterone and elevated DHT.
Train Hard but Don’t Overtrain
Nothing new, but its a big impact on free testosterone and SHBG.
This study suggests – high-intensity interval exercise might produce a more pronounced turnover of free testosterone by androgen sensitive tissue than the steady-state endurance exercise form of exercise.
This study concludes that testosterone increased in response to high-intensity cycling and resistance exercise.
This study found that short-term strength training elevates anabolic hormones.
How do you know if you’re overtraining? Simple. Your body will tell you.
- Your dick doesn’t get up most mornings and/or your sex drive decreased.
- You feel tired, fatigued, out of energy, or unmotivated.
- You’re not progressing in the gym, breaking personal records, or you’re losing motivation to go to the gym.
Supplement with Pine Pollen
Pine pollen is the only natural supplement/herb that has actual androstenedione and other androgens in it.
Examine says pine pollen contains Vitamin D3 at 200ng/g (8 IU per gram) while the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is at 10-300ng, Testosterone (80ng/g), epitestosterone (110ng/g), and androstenedione (590ng/g).
Now the availability of these androgens in pine pollen is not known. 590ng/g of androstenedione is a good amount though. Even if a fraction of that is available for the body to use, that would equal in a lot of DHT production from 5a-androstanedione.
This study says – pine pollen is an attractive agent with potential to reduce aging and attenuate age-related diseases in humans.
This study says pine pollen has some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in the body.
Note: The highest quality and biggest bang for your buck pine pollen product can be found here.
Supplement with Magnesium
Magnesium is a well known mineral mostly found in dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, and buckwheat. Its a great mineral that increases free testosterone.
This study concluded that supplementation with magnesium increases free and total testosterone levels in sedentary men and in athletes. The increases are higher in those who exercise than in sedentary individuals.
This study found that magnesium inhibits SHBG, therefore making more testosterone bioavailable.
This next study found out that in older men, higher serum magnesium levels correlate with higher testosterone levels and other anabolic hormones.
Get yourself some magnesium oil, rub it on your legs an hour before sleep, and sleep like a lion.
Supplement with Vitamin D
You can get vitamin D from the sun, food, or from a supplementation. The last one is the easiest since most people aren’t out in the sun at least 2 hours a day, without a shirt. If you are the exception then skip this, your vitamin D levels are good.
This study is in men taking 3,332 IU of vitamin D for one year, after bringing up serum levels past an average of 50nmol/L increased testosterone from 10.7±3.9 nmol/l to 13.4±4.7 nmol/l. Bioactive and free testosterone also increased. The study suggests that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels.
Vitamin D is one of the greatest vitamins for testosterone and other androgens. I use this vitamin D supplement and it lasts me years. Its a highly concentrated tincture, just one drop gives you 2,000 IUs of vitamin D.
Supplement with Tongkat Ali
This study says – the effects of tongkat ali in restoring normal testosterone levels appears to be less due to actually “stimulating” testosterone synthesis, but rather by increasing the release rate of “free” testosterone from its binding hormone, sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG).
This study says Tongkat Ali stimulates the release of free testosterone from its binding proteins and improve overall hormone profiles.
Get yourself some Tongkat Ali here.
That’s about all.
Credit due –10 Ways To Lower SHBG Count Naturally for a Boost in Free Testosterone Levels – Anabolicmen.com
P.S. Check out my custom testosterone plan for a plan designed to optimize the free fractions of androgens and lower SHBG, in your specific scenario.