According to a new study, men’s testosterone levels are largely determined by the environment in which they grow up as children.
A study by Durham University suggests that men growing up in more difficult conditions where there are many infectious diseases may have lower levels of adult testosterone than men who spend their youth in healthier conditions.
A study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution undermines the theory that testosterone levels are controlled by genetics or race. Since high testosterone levels can lead to an increased risk of prostate enlargement and cancer, scientists suggest that the screening of risk profiles should take into account the environment of the childhood of the patient.
The study found that Bangladeshi men who grew up and lived as adults had much more testosterone in the UK than relatively wealthy men who grew up and lived as adults in Bangladesh. UK Bangladeshi people also reached sexual maturity at a younger age and were taller than men who lived in Bangladesh throughout their youth.
Scientists say that differences are associated with energy investments, because high levels of testosterone are only possible if there are not many other demands on the body, such as infection control, etc. In environments where people are more vulnerable to disease or malnutrition, they tend to direct their energy to survival at the expense of testosterone.
The scientists have collected data from 359 people on body weight, height, puberty and other health information, as well as saliva samples to test their testosterone levels. The following groups were compared: men born and still living in Bangladesh; men from Bangladesh who moved to the United Kingdom (London) as a child; men from Bangladesh who moved to the United Kingdom as adults; men born in the United Kingdom who moved to the United Kingdom as second generation whose parents were Bangladeshi immigrants; and ethnic Europeans born in the United Kingdom.
The main author of the study, Dr. Kesson Magid of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Durham, said that It is unlikely that a man’s absolute testosterone levels are related to his ethnic origin or where he lives as an adult, but they reflect the environment where he grew up as a child.
Men with high testosterone levels are more exposed to the potentially harmful effects of this hormone on health and aging. Very high levels can lead to increased muscle mass and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Very low levels of testosterone in men may cause lethargy, erectile dysfunction and libido loss. However, testosterone levels in men in the study were within a range that would have little effect on their fertility.
Professor Gillian Bentley of the University of Durham a co-author in the study said that very high and low testosterone levels can affect human health and it may be vital to better understand the circumstances of childhood of the person in order to get a more complete picture of the risk factors for certain health conditions.