SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin)

SHBG is a protein made by your liver. It binds tightly to three sex hormones found in both men and women. These hormones are estrogen; dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and testosterone. SHBG carries these three hormones throughout your blood.

Although SHBG binds three hormones, the hormone that’s critical in this test is testosterone. SHBG controls the amount of testosterone that your body tissues can use. Too little testosterone in men and too much testosterone in women can cause problems. The level of SHBG in your blood changes because of factors such as sex and age. It can also change because of obesity, liver disease, and hyperthyroidism. Clearly a decrease in SHBG results in a Higher Free testosterone and bioavailable testosterone. The more SHBG, the less free testosterone floating around.

Low levels of SHBG can be related to:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Acromegaly, or too much growth hormone, causing body tissues grow larger over time
  • High levels of SHBG can be related to:
  • Hepatitis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • HIV
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