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Cavemen and testosterone.

by (394)
Updated about 23 hours ago
Created August 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM

What would our ancestors testosterone levels of been in comparison to ours? I was wondering if it would of been higher or lower.

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1232 · August 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

@GruffaloUnchained That is a rather unfortunate characterization of manliness. Also, testosterone =/= manliness. Women need testosterone too.

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26182 · August 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM

While I think I agree with you in principal, the current data doesn't agree (1) The body-fat/testosterone correlation I saw was rejected because they assumed that they were mutually exclusive. In fact there is about a 30% overlap in the genetic markers. When controlling for that overlap there was no significant correlation. (2) Vitamin D does not raise testosterone, it enables continued production. (i.e. low vitamin D = low testosterone. but high vitamin D != high testosterone) (3) I still have not seen any study that indicates significant deviations from a mean on either measure.

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17422 · August 12, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Yup, especially with all the poor guys fooled into the soy racket.

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41544 · August 12, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Old Seinfeld tale maybe. :)

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7292 · August 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Given that additional bodyfat is known to raise estrogen levels and lower testosterone, and that 65% of Americans are overweight, levels would just about have to be lower. Plus sunshine and fat helps raise levels, two things most men are afraid of now days.

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7292 · August 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM

In today's society, not enough testosterone is much more prevalent than too much. Then again, having soy put in all sorts of processed foods that most kids eat surely doesn't help.

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41544 · August 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I think the tighty-whities affecting sperm count (had not heard it with respect to testosterone) is a old wives' tale.

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394 · August 12, 2013 at 6:37 AM

Too much manliness? I remember when I was in year three in junior school one of the kids had a moustache and giant jaw. He is now a giant and just looks enormous with mark hunt gigantic elbows and wrists. I always imagine him as the alpha caveman who wouldn't bother holding you down as he bangs your wife as he could just stare you down A British Dan Henderson for sure.

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7292 · August 12, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Interesting question. Plus one.

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6 Answers

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7292 · August 12, 2013 at 12:01 AM

My guess would be higher (than the average today) because it would have played a more important role in survival and spreading the genes. Low testosterone men would have less chance to reproduce. Today even the weakest and dumbest of the species can reproduce just fine (sadly).

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17422 · August 12, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Yup, especially with all the poor guys fooled into the soy racket.

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690 · August 23, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Not a start a problem but "even the weakest and dumbest of the species can reproduce just fine"  would seem to a problem with the selection process?

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1262 · August 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Difficult to say. When I split wood all day my testosterone is pretty low. I assume that in midwinter, with limbs half frozen and trying desperately not to die, testosterone would have been low too. Then there would be alpha males around lowering your testosterone for you, more so than today.

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18 · August 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Our ancestors was much higher, today they put things in our food, water, medicine, etc. to deliberately lower it to no where near what it should naturally be, testosterone leveles haven't just went to a fraction of what they were by magic. 

It is very obvious that today's men are much more feminine if you see photos/films from before about 1960.  It is also why they have hardly any real sex drive, poor erections, anxious, low confidence, etc.

Everyone needs to start growing their own food.

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690 · August 23, 2014 at 10:41 PM

"today they put things in our food, water, medicine, etc. to deliberately lower it" 

and the motivation for this is???????

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26182 · August 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM

If we assert that modern hunter-gatherers would have comparable testosterone to paleolithic man, then it appears they have equivalent or lower levels of testosterone.

If we reject that assertion and assert that evolution has caused a drop in testosterone, then we may assume paleolithic man had closer testosterone to Neanderthals. I cannot find the reference right now, but I remember a study that showed Neanderthal children (as measured by some combination of bone structure and density, had higher testosterone than modern children. But there was no method of testing adults.

In my opinion (based more on thought than data), I would assume that the variance in testosterone has increased for two reasons (1) Larger variance below the average, Our society does not necessitate classical 'survival of the fittest' adaptation; (2) Larger variance above the average, We have medicinal (meds, supplements, etc) methods of raising testosterone and many people use these methods. -- However, I would doubt that the average has moved in any significant fashion.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · August 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Given that additional bodyfat is known to raise estrogen levels and lower testosterone, and that 65% of Americans are overweight, levels would just about have to be lower. Plus sunshine and fat helps raise levels, two things most men are afraid of now days.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26182 · August 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM

While I think I agree with you in principal, the current data doesn't agree (1) The body-fat/testosterone correlation I saw was rejected because they assumed that they were mutually exclusive. In fact there is about a 30% overlap in the genetic markers. When controlling for that overlap there was no significant correlation. (2) Vitamin D does not raise testosterone, it enables continued production. (i.e. low vitamin D = low testosterone. but high vitamin D != high testosterone) (3) I still have not seen any study that indicates significant deviations from a mean on either measure.

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1169 · August 12, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I have certainly not studied the topic (and I'm female ) but saw this "The normal range of testosterone is reported as 350- 1200ng/dl. Studies in the 1940's showed the average testosterone level to be at 700 ng/dl, 300 ng/dl higher than for men today. In the past, a drop in testosterone levels to 250 ng/dl was rarely reported before men were 80 years of age. Yet today, it is not an uncommon value for middle aged men."

I was certainly suggested one of my son's new special underwear for cycling which looks rather tight might not be a good idea.

I have never been tested myself (women do have testosterone) but often wondered if the reason I had a reasonably high sex drive and was successful in work and like things a good few men do like money, power, ambition, beating others, success was down to higher testosterone levels than some women ( I don't have a beard by the way.....)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · August 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I think the tighty-whities affecting sperm count (had not heard it with respect to testosterone) is a old wives' tale.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · August 12, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Old Seinfeld tale maybe. :)

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1232 · August 12, 2013 at 2:47 AM

There seems to be a lot of variance within generations rather than between them. This article suggests that many aspects of modern living contribute to testosterone "deficiency" (bringing down the overall average), but these can be avoided by individuals: http://www.interestingarticles.com/mens-health-issues/effects-of-modern-lifestyle-on-testosterone-levels-8530.html The main culprits are (surprise, surprise): inactivity, excess weight, processed foods, stress, disrupted sleep and lack of vit D.

That said, there is likely such thing as too much testosterone also.

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394 · August 12, 2013 at 6:37 AM

Too much manliness? I remember when I was in year three in junior school one of the kids had a moustache and giant jaw. He is now a giant and just looks enormous with mark hunt gigantic elbows and wrists. I always imagine him as the alpha caveman who wouldn't bother holding you down as he bangs your wife as he could just stare you down A British Dan Henderson for sure.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · August 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM

In today's society, not enough testosterone is much more prevalent than too much. Then again, having soy put in all sorts of processed foods that most kids eat surely doesn't help.

0b7c3e7fd96005f0b2dfd781e512fc2e
1232 · August 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

@GruffaloUnchained That is a rather unfortunate characterization of manliness. Also, testosterone =/= manliness. Women need testosterone too.

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