If you’re like most guys, you know your testosterone levels are important. You also probably think the only type of testosterone you need to worry about is your total testosterone. Look, Chief, there are three basic subtypes of testosterone and yes, your body needs all of them to thrive. Say hello to the three main types of testosterone and how your body makes more of them.
Your “free” testosterone is the most organic form of testosterone in your body. Unfortunately, it only makes up about 2-3% of your total testosterone, and just like Grandma’s cookies, there’s never enough to go around. Free testosterone isn’t connected with any proteins which means it’s basically a mercenary hormone for your body to do whatever needs to get done. Free testosterone can enter your body’s cells and activate receptors to keep you healthy, fit, and virile (University of Rochester Medical Center).
Testosterone-binding globulin or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) testosterone
Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), or testosterone-binding globulin as it’s known in men, is a protein that binds together with testosterone molecules. SHBG-testosterone is your most prolific testosterone, comprising between 40-50% of your total testosterone. (Source) SHBG-bound testosterone can be carried throughout your body to areas of need, but because it’s bound, it is also biologically inactive. If your body needs more testosterone to build muscle or boost your mind, it can’t access the SHBG-bound testosterone.
The rest of your testosterone is handcuffed to another protein called albumin. Your liver is responsible for creating albumin and since testosterone is also bound to albumin just like it can be bound to SHBG, it’s also biologically inactive. However, the bind between albumin and testosterone can be easily detached, creating more free testosterone. There are some lab tests that group albumin-bound testosterone with your free testosterone during tests because of the weak connection.
If you think your testosterone levels are out of balance, Low T St. Louis is here to serve you. Our team put together a FREE eBook available here for you to download today to help you learn more about your testosterone needs. Many of our patients have benefited from using this as a conversation starter with their doctor or one of our board-certified staff physicians. Download your FREE eBook right now and schedule your next appointment at Low T St. Louis.