I learned about sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) as a school bus. Your estrogen and testosterone are like wild children running around, and it’s chaotic. Once they are on the bus, there are less children running around. But if the bus never shows up, there are children everywhere and you’re in trouble.
We can use the short version, SHBG, because we’re all friends here. SHBG acts as a carrier to control how much free (active) hormone is circulating in our blood. MOST of the testosterone and estrogen in circulation is actually bound to SHBG (ahem, they’re on the bus). The more SHBG we have, the less active hormone is available, and the opposite is also true. When all is well, this keeps hormones at an ideal level.
Now, testosterone and insulin tend to be elevated in PCOS (check the last few PCOS posts for the deets), and both decrease SHBG. This leads to more free testosterone and estrogen (contributing to the estrogen dominance we talked about in the last #hormonehighlight ). The plot thickens!
A large study from last year showed that women who have PCOS and low SHBG levels are more likely to have signs of elevated testosterone (like facial hair growth), diabetes, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, obesity, infertility, and cardiovascular diseases. However, they ALSO reported that therapies like myo-inositol and metformin could increase SHBG and improve hormonal profiles.
Here are some additional functional medicine strategies for increasing SHBG:
◾️A low fat vegetarian diet is the most supported in the literature for increasing SHBG
◾️Lignan rich foods, particularly flax seeds
◾️Low glycemic, fiber rich foods (in order to manage insulin)
◾️Treating hypothyroidism can improve SHBG
◾️Resveratrol is an emerging consideration to increase SHBG production in the liver
PMID: 29227165, 10674588, 28947831
#functionalmedicine #fxmed #pcosawarenessmonth #pcosdiet #pcosawareness #insulinresistance #hormonebalance #pcossupport #pcoslifestyle #functionalnutrition #functionalfood #functionalfoods #hormonehealth #hormonediet