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The Testosterone and Fertility Conundrum: A Western Perspective

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JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

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2750 words

Some people are scared of testosterone. This is no surprise, since a super-majority of people have no background in the human sciences. I’m sure plenty men know what it’s like to have low testosterone, just like some men know what it’s like to have higher T levels than average. What is the optimum level of testosterone? Why are some people scared of this hormone?

Rushton (1997) posited that r/K Selection Theory could be used to classify the races of Man on a spectrum, going from r-selection (having many children but showing little to no parental care) to K-selection (having fewer children but showing a lot of parental care). He stated that the traits of the races were also on the r/K spectrum, with the races having stark differences in morphology. Rushton’s application of r/K theory to humans isn’t completely wrong, though I do have some problems with some of his claims, such as his claims that the races differ in average penis size. He contends that testosterone is the cause for higher crime rates for black Americans and higher rates of prostate cancer in black Americans compared to white Americans.

However, in 2014, Richard et al showed that when controlling for age, blacks had 2.5 to 4.9 percent more testosterone than whites, on average. This cannot explain racial differences in prostate cancer. However, some people may emphatically claim that the races differ in average testosterone, with blacks having 13 percent higher free testosterone than whites on average. The citation that gets used the most to prove that blacks supposedly have higher testosterone than whites is Ross et al (1986), which is based on a sample of 100 people (50 black, 50 white). He claims that it’s when T levels are higher, so it’s a ‘better study’ even though the sample leaves a lot to be desired. A much more robust study showed that the difference was negligible, and not enough to account for the differential prostate cancer rates between the races.

Rohrmann et al (2007) show that there are no differences in circulating testosterone between blacks and whites in a nationally representative sample of American men. Mexicans had the highest levels. There were, however, B-W differences in estradiol production. They couldn’t confirm the other studies that stated that blacks had higher testosterone, possibly due to variations in age or using non-representative samples (that’s the culprit). Their nationally representative sample showed there was no difference in testosterone between blacks is whites, while the meta-analysis showed by Richard et al (2014) showed the difference was negligible at 2.5 to 4.9 percent higher rate of testosterone which doesn’t explain why blacks have a higher rate of acquiring prostate cancer.

The much more likely culprit for blacks having higher rates of prostate cancer, as I have written about before, are environmental factors. The two main factors are receiving less sunlight and diet. There is no evidence that higher levels of testosterone lead to prostate cancer (Michaud, Billups, and Partin, 2015). Contrary to those who say that higher levels of T cause prostate cancer, there is growing evidence that lower levels of T lead to prostate cancer (Park et al, 2015). Put simply, there is no evidence for testosterone’s supposed impact on the prostate (Stattin et al, 2013).

Differences in androgen/androgen receptors have been explained as a cause for racial differences in prostate cancer (Pettaway, 1999), however, these results haven’t been consistent (Stattin et al, 2003) and these differences in circulating androgen may possibly be explained by differences in obesity between the two populations (Gapstur et al, 2002; also see my posts on obesity and race).

Due to the ‘testosterone scare’, some people may believe that having low T is a ‘good thing’, something that’s preferred over being a high T savage. However, testosterone and the androgen receptor gene polymorphism are both associated with competitiveness and confidence in men (Eisenegger et al, 2016) and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly men (Ohlsson et al, 2011). Obviously, lower testosterone is related to less overall confidence. People who have the thought in their head that testosterone is a ‘bad hormone’ will believe the negativity about it in the media and popular headlines.

Testosterone alone does not cause violence, but it does cause men to be socially dominant. Testosterone has been shown to increase in the aggressive phases of sports games and when shown artificial humans made to invoke physiologic responses, leading some researchers to argue that testosterone should be classified as a stress hormone. Testosterone does change based on watching one’s favorite soccer team winning or losing in a sample of 21 men (Bernhardt et al, 1998), lending some credence to the claim that testosterone is and should be classified as a stress hormone. Also of interest is that men who administered high levels of testosterone did not report higher levels of aggression (Batrinos, 2012).

I’ve heard some people literally say that having low testosterone is ‘a good thing’. People say this out of ignorance. There are a whole slew of problems associated with low testosterone, including but not limited to: insulin resistance in diabetic men (Grossmann et al, 2008); metabolic syndrome (Tsuijimura et al, 2013); muscle loss (Yuki et al, 2013); stroke and transient ischemic attack (a mini-stroke; Yeap et al, 2009); associated with elevated risk for dementia in older men (Carcaillon et al, 2014); myocardial infarction (heart attack) in diabetic men (Daka et al, 2015) etc. So it seems that the fear of testosterone from those in the anti-testosterone camp are largely blown out of proportion.

Testosterone is also a ‘food’ for the brain, with low levels being related to mental illness, sexual dysfunction, lower quality of life and cognitive impairment (Moffat et al, 2011) in both sexes (Ciocca et al, 2016). Noticed in both men in women with testosterone deficits were: cognitive impairment (reduction of working memory, episodic memory, processing speed, visual-spatial functioning and executive performance); a decrease in sexual activity; anxiety, schizophrenia, depression and stress; and alterations in cortical thickness in the brain. The fact that testosterone is so heavily important to the body’s central functioning is extremely clear. This is why it’s laughable that some people would be happy and brag about having low testosterone.

I recently came across a book called The Testosterone Hypothesis: How Hormones Regulate the Life Cycles of Civilization. Barzilai’s main premise is that the rise and fall of the West is mediated by the hormone testosterone, and due to lower testosterone levels this is one large reason for what is currently occurring in the West. The book has an extremely interesting premise. Barzilai’s hypothesis does line up with the declining levels of testosterone in America (Travison et al, 2007) though other research shows no decline in American testosterone levels from the years 88-91 to 99-04 (Nyante et al, 2007). Moreover, men who had higher level of n-6 in their blood then n-3 were far more likely to be infertile (Safarinejad et al, 2010) a marker of low testosterone (Sharpe, 2012). The ratio of n-6 to n-3 from the years 1935 to 1939 were 8.4 to 1, whereas from the years 1935 to 1985, the ratio increased to about 10 percent (Raper et al, 1992). The ratio of n-6 to n-3, on top of lowering sperm count (which is correlated with testosterone) also has negative effects on male and female cognitive ability (Lassek and Gaulin, 2011).

Barzilai’s research also corroborates Rushton’s (1986) theory of why there are lower birthrates for Europeans around the world. Rushton stated that this cycle has been noticed throughout history, with empires rising and falling due to differential birthrates between the ruling class and the ruled. Rushton also hypothesized that the cultures and gene pools associated with the Graeco-Roman empire were “evolutionary dead ends” (Rushton, 1986: 148). Knowing what we now know about the relationship between cognitive ability, testosterone, and fertility, we now have a plausible hypothesis for Rushton’s hypothesis and one of the (many) reasons why the Graeco-Roman empire collapsed. Rushton further hypothesized that the cause for lower fertility in European populations “may be partly mediated by a psychological process in which the desire to be in control of both oneself and one’s environment is taken to an extreme.” Of course there’s a good chance that this psychological process is mediated/influenced by testosterone.

Europe is the continent with the lowest fertility (ESHRE Capri Workshop Group, 2010). Testosterone has declined in Europe as a whole (Rivas et al, 2014), and this is a strong cause for the lower birthrates in Europe (along with genetic reasons) and in Finland (Perheentupa et al, 2013). The introduction of Westernized diets lowers testosterone, so this is no surprise that a reduction is seen in countries that begin to consume a Western diet. Another probable cause for lower testosterone/fertility in Europe at the moment is the large number of European men that died in WWI and WWII. Those that were more willing to fight died, meaning there was less of a chance he spread his genes. So, over time, this lead to the current cucking of Europe that we are now witnessing.

Testosterone is also hypothesized to have driven evolution (Howard, 2001). Testosterone is such an important part of human evolution and development, so much so that if we had a lower level of the hormone all throughout our evolution that we would be a different species today. Testosterone is needed for sexual functioning, good mental and brain health, fertility, cognitive ability, muscle mass retention in both young and old men, etc. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for both men and women, and low levels for both sexes are detrimental to a high quality of life. The current data on testosterone and prostate cancer shows that higher levels of testosterone don’t contribute to prostate cancer. Testosterone, then, also isn’t a cause for the racial gap in prostate cancer because other environmental factors better explain it. If people really are happy about having lower testosterone, then I hope they have fun living a life with a low sex drive, lower cognition in old age, lower muscle mass and a higher chance of stroke and metabolic syndrome.

One of the most interesting things about testosterone is the possibility that it explains why civilizations rise and fall. There is anecdotal evidence from Rushton, as well as his theorizing that the higher classes in Rome didn’t breed which led to their downfall. We now know that lower fertility rates for men are associated with lower testosterone, so along with Barzilai’s thesis of testosterone causing the rise and fall of civilizations, Rushton’s theorizing of the cause of lower European fertility and the cause of the fall of the Graeco-Roman empire.

Testosterone is an extremely important hormone, one that drives human evolution and society formation since it’s associated with dominance and confidence. Low testosterone is looked at as ‘good’ because those with higher intelligence have lower levels of the hormone (indicated by lower confidence and having sex at a later age). I showed that the higher IQ East Asian men have a problem finding dates and being looked at as sexually attractive (even though they rated themselves as average). Along with lower East Asian fertility, specifically in Japan, does it seem to you like the high IQ people are more desired if they are having problems keeping their birthrates up? The fact of the matter is, lower levels of testosterone are correlated with lower levels of fertility. If men don’t have as much testosterone pumping through their veins, they will be less likely to have sex and thusly reproduce.

References

Batrinos, M. L. (2012). Testosterone and aggressive behavior in man. International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism,10(3), 563-568. doi:10.5812/ijem.3661

Bernhardt, P. C., Jr, J. M., Fielden, J. A., & Lutter, C. D. (1998). Testosterone changes during vicarious experiences of winning and losing among fans at sporting events. Physiology & Behavior,65(1), 59-62. doi:10.1016/s0031-9384(98)00147-4

Carcaillon, L., Brailly-Tabard, S., Ancelin, M., Tzourio, C., Foubert-Samier, A., Dartigues, J., . . . Scarabin, P. (2014). Low testosterone and the risk of dementia in elderly men: Impact of age and education. Alzheimer’s & Dementia,10(5). doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.06.006

Ciocca G, Limoncin E, Gravina GL, et al. Is testosterone a food for brain? Sex Med Rev 2016;4:15-25.

Daka, B., Langer, R. D., Larsson, C. A., Rosén, T., Jansson, P. A., Råstam, L., & Lindblad, U. (2015). Low concentrations of serum testosterone predict acute myocardial infarction in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus. BMC Endocrine Disorders,15(1). doi:10.1186/s12902-015-0034-1

ESHRE Capri Workshop Group. Europe the continent with the lowest fertilityHum Reprod Update 2010; 16: 590–602.

Eisenegger, C., Kumsta, R., Naef, M., Gromoll, J., & Heinrichs, M. (2016). Testosterone and androgen receptor gene polymorphism are associated with confidence and competitiveness in men. Hormones and Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2016.09.011

Gapstur SM, Gann PH, Kopp P, Colangelo L, Longcope C, Liu K. Serum androgen concentrations in young men: a longitudinal analysis of associations with age, obesity, and race—the CARDIA male hormone study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002; 11: 10417

Grossmann, M., Thomas, M. C., Panagiotopoulos, S., Sharpe, K., Macisaac, R. J., Clarke, S., . . . Jerums, G. (2008). Low Testosterone Levels Are Common and Associated with Insulin Resistance in Men with Diabetes. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,93(5), 1834-1840. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-2177

Howard JM (2001): Androgens in human evolution. A new explanation of human evolution.

Lassek, W. D., & Gaulin, S. J. (2011). Sex Differences in the Relationship of Dietary Fatty Acids to Cognitive Measures in American Children. Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience,3. doi:10.3389/fnevo.2011.00005

Michaud, J. E., Billups, K. L., & Partin, A. W. (2015). Testosterone and prostate cancer: an evidence-based review of pathogenesis and oncologic risk. Therapeutic Advances in Urology,7(6), 378-387. doi:10.1177/1756287215597633

Moffat, S. D., Zonderman, A. B., Metter, E. J., Blackman, M. R., Harman, S. M., & Resnick, S. M. (2002). Longitudinal Assessment of Serum Free Testosterone Concentration Predicts Memory Performance and Cognitive Status in Elderly Men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,87(11), 5001-5007. doi:10.1210/jc.2002-020419

Nyante, S. J., Graubard, B. I., Li, Y., Mcquillan, G. M., Platz, E. A., Rohrmann, S., . . . Mcglynn, K. A. (2011). Trends in sex hormone concentrations in US males: 1988-1991 to 1999-2004. International Journal of Andrology,35(3), 456-466. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2011.01230.x

Ohlsson C, Barrett-Connor E, Bhasin S, et al. High serum testosterone is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events in elderly men: the MrOS (Osteoporotic Fractures in Men) study in Sweden. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011; 58(16):1674-1681.

Park, J., Cho, S. Y., Jeong, S., Lee, S. B., Son, H., & Jeong, H. (2015). Low testosterone level is an independent risk factor for high-grade prostate cancer detection at biopsy. BJU International,118(2), 230-235. doi:10.1111/bju.13206

Perheentupa, A., Makinen, J., Laatikainen, T., Vierula, M., Skakkebaek, N. E., Andersson, A., & Toppari, J. (2012). A cohort effect on serum testosterone levels in Finnish men. European Journal of Endocrinology,168(2), 227-233. doi:10.1530/eje-12-0288

Pettaway CA. Racial differences in the androgen/androgen receptor pathway in prostate cancer. J Natl Med Assoc 1999, 91: 653:650

Raper, N. R., Cronin, F. J., & Exler, J. (1992). Omega-3 fatty acid content of the US food supply. Journal of the American College of Nutrition,11(3), 304-308. doi:10.1080/07315724.1992.10718231

Richard, A., Rohrmann, S., Zhang, L., Eichholzer, M., Basaria, S., Selvin, E., . . . Platz, E. A. (2014). Racial variation in sex steroid hormone concentration in black and white men: a meta-analysis. Andrology,2(3), 428-435. doi:10.1111/j.2047-2927.2014.00206.x

Rivas AM, Mulkey Z, Lado-Abeal J, Yarbrough S. Diagnosing and managing low serum testosteroneProc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2014;27:321-324

Rohrmann, S., Nelson, W. G., Rifai, N., Brown, T. R., Dobs, A., Kanarek, N., . . . Platz, E. A. (2007). Serum Estrogen, But Not Testosterone, Levels Differ between Black and White Men in a Nationally Representative Sample of Americans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,92(7), 2519-2525. doi:10.1210/jc.2007-0028

Ross R, Bernstein L, Judd H, Hanisch R, Pike M, Henderson B. Serum testosterone levels in healthy young black and white men. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Jan;76(1):45–48

Rushton, J. P. (1986). Gene-Culture Coevolution and Genetic Similarity Theory: Implications for Ideology, Ethnic Nepotism, and Geopolitics. Politics and the Life Sciences,4(02), 144-148. doi:10.1017/s0730938400004706

Rushton J P (1997). Race, Evolution, and Behavior. A Life History Perspective (Transaction, New Brunswick, London).

Safarinejad, M. R., Hosseini, S. Y., Dadkhah, F., & Asgari, M. A. (2010). Relationship of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with semen characteristics, and anti-oxidant status of seminal plasma: A comparison between fertile and infertile men. Clinical Nutrition,29(1), 100-105. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2009.07.008

Sharpe, R. M. (2012). Sperm counts and fertility in men: a rocky road ahead. EMBO reports,13(5), 398-403. doi:10.1038/embor.2012.50

Stattin, P., Lumme, S., Tenkanen, L., Alfthan, H., Jellum, E., Hallmans, G., . . . Hakama, M. (2003). High levels of circulating testosterone are not associated with increased prostate cancer risk: A pooled prospective study. International Journal of Cancer,108(3), 418-424. doi:10.1002/ijc.11572

Travison, T. G., Araujo, A. B., O’Donnell, A. B., Kupelian, V., & Mckinlay, J. B. (2007). A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,92(1), 196-202. doi:10.1210/jc.2006-1375

Tsujimura, A., Miyagawa, Y., Takezawa, K., Okuda, H., Fukuhara, S., Kiuchi, H., . . . Nonomura, N. (2013). Is Low Testosterone Concentration a Risk Factor for Metabolic Syndrome in Healthy Middle-aged Men? Urology,82(4), 814-819. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2013.06.023

Yeap, B. B., Hyde, Z., Almeida, O. P., Norman, P. E., Chubb, S. A., Jamrozik, K., . . . Hankey, G. J. (2009). Lower Testosterone Levels Predict Incident Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack in Older Men. Endocrine Reviews,30(4), 411-411. doi:10.1210/edrv.30.4.9994

Yuki, A., Otsuka, R., Kozakai, R., Kitamura, I., Okura, T., Ando, F., & Shimokata, H. (2013). Relationship between Low Free Testosterone Levels and Loss of Muscle Mass. Scientific Reports,3. doi:10.1038/srep01818

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6 Comments

  1. Denny says:

    What role would “melanin” play in testosterone? Supposedly, according some, it is “everything.”

    Like

  2. Kowalski says:

    Dude, interesting points, but I wanted to say this: do they have a right to go all “fuck you dad!” to begin with?

    No. They shouldn’t. They are White men’s property and should be treated as such. It’s gone nothing but downhill for society as a whole since we began granting women imaginary “rights.”

    Like

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