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. Therefore a lower SHBG will increase the free fractions of sex hormones.
An androgen or estrogen that is bound by SHBG doesn’t have much bioavailability and when you lower SHBG the free fractions of androgens and estrogens increase.
A lower SHBG doesn’t only increase free testosterone. It increases free DHT and the free fraction of all androgens and estrogens.
Now there are a lot of good foods out there – foods that increase testosterone, foods that increase dihydrotestosterone, and there are foods that lower SHBG. So here are some of the greatest foods that lower SHBG.
7 Greatest Foods to Lower SHBG
- White rice
Butter is the holy grail of foods. Its mentioned quite often here on Anabolic Apex and that’s because it is the greatest. Its greatness is universal – its not only great for lowering SHBG, its great for overall testosterone, its great for DHT, and its great for all androgens. Butter has been in my diet for years now and it always delivers.
Butter is a food that will lower SHBG because its high in saturated fat, low in monounsaturated fat, and has little to no polyunsaturated fat.
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.
Other than that butter has a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Get some grass fed butter here or at your local store.
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.
Here’s the evidence…
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
Other than that…
Dates – Have some vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Not bad at all, but they’re not the top choice.
Prunes – High in vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, choline, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. As you can see prunes are packed with all kinds of good stuff and they are an antioxidant. Prunes should be the foundation of a lower SHBG diet.
Raisins – High in copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. They also have a good amount of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
Looks like prunes are the top choice, raisins in the middle, and dates come in last. These are all great for a lower SHBG, prunes are the biggest bang for your buck though.
Get some dried prunes here.
Potatoes, Buckwheat, and White Rice
As you know carbs are essential for a lower SHBG and higher free testosterone in the body. Its well studied. That being said, these 3 are the greatest carb choices for a lower SHBG and higher free testosterone.
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.
Potatoes – Rich in vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, potassium, and manganese. Also a good amount of thiamin, pantothenic acid, copper, and a small amount of zinc. Potatoes are packed and they are decent in fiber, not too high, but not that low either.
Buckwheat – Crazy high in magnesium (one cup = ~400mg), phosphorus, copper, and manganese. Rich in riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, potassium and selenium. Also a good amount of thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate. Buckwheat is real packed, especially in magnesium, and as you know magnesium lowers SHBG and increases free testosterone. The only thing with buckwheat is its kind of high in fiber, one cup is about 17g. So you’d have to watch your fiber intake on the days that you eat buckwheat.
White rice – High in manganese, has a good amount of thiamin, niacin, folate, and selenium. Other than that there’s not much nutrient in white rice. White rice made the list because its one of the highest starch carbs out there. It has NO fiber at all, one cup of white rice only has 0.6g of fiber. So on days where you’ve ate a lot of fiber, white rice has you covered.
There you have it, some of the greatest foods to lower SHBG.
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.