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Testosterone Levels and Paleo and Hunter-Gatherers

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 05, 2010 at 10:27 PM

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.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/f1818h7x31112jt0/

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 04, 2011
at 09:18 AM

springer is media whic makes alert in brains. Its a bit like murdock and fox a big news group

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 11, 2011
at 12:57 PM

A feasting day does not a regular day make

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 11, 2011
at 12:57 PM

Systematic recording of dietary intake while living in the forest entirely off wild foods suggests that about 80% of the energy in the diet comes from meat, 10% from palm starch and hearts, 10% from insect larva and honey, and 1% from fruits.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 17, 2010
at 01:22 PM

This study- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12608929- shows pretty big differences between testosterone levels of ethnicity: in a Manchester study white Europeans average 18.7nmol/L, pakistanis 14.6 and afro-caribbeans 18, with similar trends for bound/unbound. They also found that lower levels negatively correlated with worse insulin control (assume this doesn't apply to the Ache/westerners!) and positively correlated with height (which might well be relevant). That said the study is far from perfect, could be lots of confounding variables (lower vit-D in the pakistanis for example).

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on April 17, 2010
at 12:10 PM

Yes from what people say about diet and tesosterone you would expect the Ache, with the diet they have, to have more rather than less of it. There is a lot of fat in those armadillos :)

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on April 13, 2010
at 09:23 PM

I just created an account so I lost my points. There are about 3-4 "Ryan" accounts on here as I keep clearing the cookies on my computer and staring over. Finally made a (very easy to do) official account! :-)

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 11, 2010
at 07:43 PM

Perhaps you should start a bounty Ryan. :)

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2 Answers

2
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

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...

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 11, 2011
at 12:57 PM

Systematic recording of dietary intake while living in the forest entirely off wild foods suggests that about 80% of the energy in the diet comes from meat, 10% from palm starch and hearts, 10% from insect larva and honey, and 1% from fruits.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on January 11, 2011
at 12:57 PM

A feasting day does not a regular day make

1
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

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.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on April 17, 2010
at 12:10 PM

Yes from what people say about diet and tesosterone you would expect the Ache, with the diet they have, to have more rather than less of it. There is a lot of fat in those armadillos :)

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 17, 2010
at 01:22 PM

This study- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12608929- shows pretty big differences between testosterone levels of ethnicity: in a Manchester study white Europeans average 18.7nmol/L, pakistanis 14.6 and afro-caribbeans 18, with similar trends for bound/unbound. They also found that lower levels negatively correlated with worse insulin control (assume this doesn't apply to the Ache/westerners!) and positively correlated with height (which might well be relevant). That said the study is far from perfect, could be lots of confounding variables (lower vit-D in the pakistanis for example).

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