2

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Does beef consumption lead to a decrease in testosterone levels throughout generations?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 29, 2012 at 5:27 PM

As I was reading Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (great book by the way) I stumbled upon an interesting claim. In the book it is stated that whenever beef consumption increases in a population, testosterone will drop in the next generations. Does anyone know the mechanism behind this, or whether this claim have any validity at all?

Edit: Here is an excerpt: "For example, many Asian diets include large quantities of soy products, while many Western people consume large quantities of beef, both having been shown to cause rapid generational reduction in testicular volume and spermatogenesis."

"The Human Reproduction study at the University of Rochester found that men whose mothers had eaten beef more than seven times per week while pregnant were three times more likely to be classified as subfertile (fewer than twenty million sperm per milliliter of seminal fluid). Among these sons of beef eaters, the rate of subfertility was 17.7 percent, as opposed to 5.7 percent among men whose mothers ate beef less often."

In the book they also state many other causes, but this is the one point that both fascinates me and scares me.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:40 PM

To be on the safe side don't eat cows that have been on anabolic steroids.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I can't post it all here but the whole discussion section at the end is worth reading.

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:06 PM

Maybe so, but they specified that this mostly affected the following generations, not the beef consumer himself. Therefore it seems unlikely that this is the full answer.

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:04 PM

No, they did not specify what type, but it seemed like they meant all type of beef. Maybe they did in the references, but I can't seem to find it.

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5 Answers

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4
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:35 PM

This looks like the study that they are quoting in the book from the University of Rochester.

Semen quality of fertile US males in relation to their mothers??? beef consumption during pregnancy

The full text is there but it looks quite technical. Just read the abstract and conclusions at the end if you are interested.

This is the conclusion to the paper:

In conclusion, in our large study of fertile American men, we found a negative association between the number of servings of beef the mother ate per week while pregnant and the sperm concentration and fertility of her son. Several alternative explanations for these findings are possible. We cannot rule out unknown confounders associated with both the mother???s beef consumption and her son???s testicular development. As discussed, pesticides and other contaminants in animal feed may play a role, as may lifestyle factors correlated with greater beef consumption. Whether prenatal exposure to anabolic steroids is responsible for our findings in whole or in part could be clarified by repeating this study in men born in Europe after 1988 when anabolic steroids were no longer permitted in beef sold or produced there.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I can't post it all here but the whole discussion section at the end is worth reading.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:40 PM

To be on the safe side don't eat cows that have been on anabolic steroids.

3
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 29, 2012
at 05:53 PM

If the beef is conventionally raised and has been given hormones then it makes sense.

I don't see how grass fed/pastured beef could do this and in fact I have wondered if the decline in testosterone levels in men since the 60s is related to decreased intake of saturated fat and therefore dietary cholesterol - a necessary building block for hormones.

Did they specify what type of beef?

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:04 PM

No, they did not specify what type, but it seemed like they meant all type of beef. Maybe they did in the references, but I can't seem to find it.

1
C1484e8cfca0cc00f40da25d36f689b8

(374)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:31 PM

Is this information from peer reviewed clinical trials or just observational data. I think there are far too many confounding variables for this to be taken seriously. Things change quite a bit in 20 years, especially in these past 60 years.

1
9e3bf43de29f66e5bb7be9c7d176b5e1

on July 29, 2012
at 06:26 PM

The fact that anything can cause a decrease in testosterone in subsequent generations is disturbing to me. Talking about paying for the sins of those that came before us. Our grand kids are screwed.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:02 PM

It's likely due to soy-based feed & hormones fed to conventional beef (and dairy) cattle. As Crowlover said, not an issue with 100% grass-fed, hormone-free beef.

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:06 PM

Maybe so, but they specified that this mostly affected the following generations, not the beef consumer himself. Therefore it seems unlikely that this is the full answer.

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