Boosting Sex-Hormone Binding

Boosting Sex-Hormone Binding
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The benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetes prevention appear to extend beyond weight loss.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Two years ago, I presented a mystery. Long-term adherence to a diet that includes meat—even just once a week or more—was associated with a 74% increase in the odds of getting diabetes, relative to long-term adherence to a zero-meat diet. Just a single serving of any type of meat or more a week was associated with dramatically increased risk. This makes sense, though. Eating vegetarian helps you lose weight; losing weight helps you avoid diabetes, so what’s the mystery?

Even after controlling for weight, controlling for weight change, weekly meat intake remained an important factor for diabetes. So even at the exact same weight, eating meat weekly significantly increases our risk of diabetes. So there must be a more direct factor. And this year we got closer to an answer.

Your body’s smart. It knows that high levels of circulating steroid sex hormones in the bloodstream can be deleterious—increasing our risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other disorders, like diabetes. So our bodies produce a sex hormone-binding globulin, a protein your body makes that takes excess hormones out of circulation. The more hormone-binding proteins we have, the lower our risk of these diseases. That’s where a plant-based diet comes in.

Sex-hormone binding levels were significantly higher—by more than half—in vegetarian women compared to omnivore women. And higher concentrations have been shown to be associated with a favorable metabolic profile, as well as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. So this may explain why even when vegetarians are overweight, they don’t suffer the same rate of diabetes that meat-eaters do.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Jessica Merz via Flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Two years ago, I presented a mystery. Long-term adherence to a diet that includes meat—even just once a week or more—was associated with a 74% increase in the odds of getting diabetes, relative to long-term adherence to a zero-meat diet. Just a single serving of any type of meat or more a week was associated with dramatically increased risk. This makes sense, though. Eating vegetarian helps you lose weight; losing weight helps you avoid diabetes, so what’s the mystery?

Even after controlling for weight, controlling for weight change, weekly meat intake remained an important factor for diabetes. So even at the exact same weight, eating meat weekly significantly increases our risk of diabetes. So there must be a more direct factor. And this year we got closer to an answer.

Your body’s smart. It knows that high levels of circulating steroid sex hormones in the bloodstream can be deleterious—increasing our risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other disorders, like diabetes. So our bodies produce a sex hormone-binding globulin, a protein your body makes that takes excess hormones out of circulation. The more hormone-binding proteins we have, the lower our risk of these diseases. That’s where a plant-based diet comes in.

Sex-hormone binding levels were significantly higher—by more than half—in vegetarian women compared to omnivore women. And higher concentrations have been shown to be associated with a favorable metabolic profile, as well as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. So this may explain why even when vegetarians are overweight, they don’t suffer the same rate of diabetes that meat-eaters do.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Jessica Merz via Flickr

Doctor's Note

Check out these videos for more on Type 2 diabetes:
Diabetes as a Disease of Fat Toxicity
Bacon, Eggs, and Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes
What Causes Insulin Resistance?

And check out my other videos on hormones

For more context, see my associated blog post: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

10 responses to “Boosting Sex-Hormone Binding

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  1. Since SHBG being high is considered “good” in this video, it is also good to note that with high levels of SHBG the levels of Free Testosterone go down. Why is this a good thing then to have some experience of Low T? Isn’t there health concerns with the Free Testosterone levels being too low?




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  2. I am a Vegan and have been since 1999. In summer 2013 I decided to have grass fed dairy and by spring of 2014 I realized it didn’t work for me. I was concerned about getting older and keeping overall Testosterone levels healthy. I am 44. I saw your video on “Vegans have the highest Testosterone levels.” I went back to being vegan!

    Then July of 2014 I tried having eggs for a month and noticed bodyfat levels decreasing and muscle mass increasing as well as a more youthful sex drive. I chose to go back to being vegan ever since Aug of 2014.

    I feel like some things in these videos are being left out. You have a video on vegans having the highest T levels. However, SHBG, if I am correct, is directly proportionate to levels of bioavailable or FREE Testosterone? If a vegan would have the highest SGBG levels, than how could they have the highest bioavailable or FREE Testosterone? They might have the highest Total Testosterone, but if they have high SHBG levels then isn’t there “high levels of Testosterone” going to be “bound” to SHBG and NOT bioavailable as Free Testosterone? Isn’t this a little confusing then about vegans having the highest testosterone ?

    There might be health concerns with high levels of SHBG, but there are also health concerns with low levels of Free Testosterone isn’t there? If I am wrong in any of my information then please correct me. However, if I am correct, then please realize that it would be helpful to sometimes “tie” the information in these videos together even if it doesn’t 100% make your point you are trying to make.




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  3. What a person do if he has HIV + symptoms in his body. One of my friend is infected with HIV virus last week what should he do now ? He is not sure about the test centre Hivrnatest centre ! He has doubtful over test detection Please suggest whether he should take another test on HIV or not ?




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