Has anyone done before and after blood work in regards to their testosterone levels and eating Paleo? If you saw a boost what do you think triggered it exactly (no gluten, more fat, vitamin D3 supplement) ? This article I found states that this particular hunter-gatherer tribe that was studied had LOWER testosterone that Western and other Non-Western males. Im curious if the samples were taken in winter and this tribe is tuned into the seasons.
asked byRyan (623)
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on April 14, 2010
at 11:10 PM
I don't know of anyone having testosterone levels tested on a modern paleo diet and there seems to have been little testing in any other hunter gatherer groups. Total testosterone levels can vary over a wide normal range and still be normal and healthy. This is because most of the hormone is bound to a protein and is inactive - the amount of free hormone accually has the effects. The levels of testosterone also vary a lot over the day and night so it is hard to measure a fixed level. I think it is unlikely that there is much seasonal variation.
A high level of testosterone may be good for unhealthy western men (protecting from heart disease, diabetes), however if you are low risk for these diseases already a high level may not be worth it (possibly raising risk of prostate cancer).
The influence of diet on testosterone levels does not seem to be well understood. High fat and high calorie diets may raise levels while a low glycemic index may lower them. Having low body fat may also lower sex hormones.
Social factors have a large impact on testosterone too. Spending time with women and caring for children seems to lower testosterone levels. There is evidence from the Hadza tribe in africa that hunter-gatherer men spend more time in contact with their kids and have lower T levels than a neighboring tribe of pastoralists in which men had little involvement with raising children. This may also be true of the Ache men as many such tribes live communally. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2674347/pdf/rspb20081028.pdf
An interesting note on the Ache diet is that they traditionally eat a lot of meat and also regularly consume a large amount of honey, with honey recorded as making up 44% of their calories (2000 calories of honey) on some days. I think the honey averaged at about 10% of calories. http://www.springerlink.com/content/k728k5q0m54gk542/ Apparently no one told the Ache that all the fructose in honey is bad for their health...
on April 17, 2010
at 09:01 AM
From what I've read about testosterone (there's a passable series here) a high fat but moderate carbohydrate diet would be optimal for maximising testosterone levels. Calorie restriction would also reduce testosterone levels, so it's possible that constantly sated westerners would have higher levels than more frugal hunter-gatherers...
Except that certainly doesn't seem to be the case for the Ache who, according to this paper, consume abour 3600 calories per day on average! A couple of other interesting things came up, including the fact that the game the anthropologists found was a lot fattier than expected based on the values for North American game (take that Cordain!). Also the the Ache were about 10kg heavier than the !Kung (for the same height) e.g. about 20-25% more, but it doesn't say whether this was extra lean mass or not (strikingly though, male Ache actually lose weight on hunting trips apparantly and then regain it while resting, while eating a lot less). They certainly don't look at all overweight, but rather look quite slight and wiry like most hunter-gatherers.