Racial Testosterone Differentiations Caused by the Environment?

Is it possible that the higher average in “Black” in early age and higher average higher count in older “White” men could be explained by environmental causes, and not genetic predetermined ones? That maybe this could explain itself as an alternative? “Black” culture in America at least has a definitive ‘machismo’ streak to it that often values and commands certain traits where you could say testosterone friendly traits are often expounded more. I wouldn’t say changing their culture would lowers these levels – perhaps they are more likely shaped in teenage years – but they are far more hypersocial and leave “Black” individuals vulnerable to cultural and environmental traits. I know at least our urge to take risks has been shown by neurologists to shape hormonal levels in men’s teenage years that determine our ability to take risks for the rest of men’s lives. While White culture often is more forgiving of anti-competitive males – in fact it is arguably the source of concepts like transgenderism and feminism. Feminism itself could be argued to be still in a process of osmosis in American culture. I think of psychologists like Steven Pinker who describe the ‘feminization’ of modern males when I think of such things, and how this allows for greater (or “feminizing”) social organization and success, something ideologically ‘Eurocentric’ in origin. Whenever we talk generally about this ‘modern male’, one should further consider, measuring this from norms and averages, we are de facto talking about “White” men, who represent the vast majority. Testosterone I would also say has been shown to be effected by environment in some way or another – stress is known to reduce it for example – as is stamina related exercise. I guess I’m saying whatever factor that might be might be inherent to a “black” teenagers testosterone and hence future young adult level might be as inherent as is his increased propensity to be from a lower economic status or listen to hip hop music and watch BET. My explanation would be some cause and effect exhaustion of the male capacity to produce testosterone, perhaps some aging effect on the “Black man’s” thyroid, or some other such physiological explanation. While my explanation may not be correct, what has to be considered moreover is that nevertheless there may be some other ‘secondary explanation’. And to implement such measures as a pill for “Blacks” could have arbitrary effect – misinformation about things that determine their whole physical existence is touchy stuff – where mistaken belief can leave to acts such as the Holocaust (not to go Hitler ad reductium on you, you are far from Hitler!) or even the unnecessary sterilization of criminals, disabled and such individuals in the western world during the earlier half of the last century. Whether you are right or not, you have to consider the ‘what if’ of such suggestions, the what if I’m wrong would there be any consequences in any case. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong in acting on assumptions like yours, but the consequences you have to consider.

I had a hard time understanding some of this comment, but the gist of it is clear. My understanding is that the racial differentials in testosterone scores are worldwide. That is, Blacks have higher levels in their early lives the world over, Asians have lower levels their whole lives the world over, and Whites are in between the world over. I am not sure how true that is, but that’s how I understand it. If this hasn’t been proven yet, we ought to do some studies to see if it is true or not. Personally, I doubt if environment is causing racial differentials in testosterone scores. As far as my thought experiment about giving Blacks a testosterone lowering pill, it’s just that – a thought experiment. We already give men pills and shots to raise their levels with few known ill effects. It stands to reason we could lower men’s levels without ill effects either. At any rate, such things ought to be rigorously studied.

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19 thoughts on “Racial Testosterone Differentiations Caused by the Environment?”

  1. In his new book “You Are Sasquatch”, Jack Barnes illustrates his theory of how wolves are akin to dogs the way Sasquatch is to us. That is to say, dogs came from their larger ancestor, wolves, and we humans came, similarly, from our ancestor, Sasquatch. To that end, I believe that whites are more “domesticated” biologically/genetically, whereas blacks lie more at a wild base of humanity. They are inclined to be larger, more athletic, and all of them were still living as hunter/gatherers 500 years ago, on a single continent. I am serious when I say that all of these traits, including the men being well endowed and full of testosterone, was essential to survival against diseases in their environment. It was recently brought to light that AIDS has been around
    for thousands of years
    among the primates of Africa, and the tribesmen there undoubtedly, had to contend with that.

    1. Caucasians are more inclined to be larger than blacks, similar to why Siberian tigers are larger than Bengal tigers, why Northern Wolves are larger than their tropical counterparts and so on. Colder environments breed larger masses — stockier specimens. Humans are no exception.
      Compare your average Ghanaian to your average German, compare the width of their arms, legs, etc. and you’ll see what I mean.

      1. @ Car guy
        Its unfair to compare Ghanaians to Germans because Ghanaians have grown up in much more improvrished conditions. The difference in size could be a phenotype difference, rather than a genetic or genotype difference. (Phenotype: The set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.) Instead compare black and white guys who grew up in the same society, in similar conditions. Then I think you’ll find little, if any, difference in average height.
        People would not expect it, but Japanese men are taller than Ghanaians!
        @ Nominay
        black Americans aren’t naturally bigger than white Americans. Not according to the only study I have seen anyway. White guys are pretty big.

        1. I may have to concede on that point. The masses of blacks are indeed not NBA players. Those are the direct descendants of the slaves who were bred to be big. And on second thought it’s not clear that being larger is a necessity of success in those environments. But they did have some healthy stuff to eat which would’ve helped, like banannas and watermelon, a liking which has carried over into the present.

        2. are there more really tall blacks than really tall whites? Not sure.
          I think blacks are faster (look at the Olympic 100 metres final, every time) but I doubt that they are stronger. Powerlifting is more dominated by eastern Europeans and the all time records are mixed black and white. Plus in the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese won several categories of men’s weightlifting.

        3. and I always think its ironic when Russian football fans throw bananas onto the pitch to taunt the black players…the Russians liked bananas so much, they imported them in the first place lol

        4. @Steve
          You’re right, my comparison wasn’t fair. But as you noted, even in America, whites are likely to be larger on average than blacks, or at least about the same size. The point you made was the point I was trying to get across.
          “But they did have some healthy stuff to eat which would’ve helped, like banannas and watermelon, a liking which has carried over into the present.”
          Bananas and watermelons,really? Is that the best you could come up with? What’s so healthy about watermelons? They’re just water.

        5. Car Guy – … Have you ever seen a black picnic? Talk about lip smacking. Watermelons are a source of Vitamin C and the rinds are full of nutrients. I have no doubt that the Africans devoured them. Anyway, they must be on to something. We can be reminded of some healthy things by them, such as bananas, watermelon, and that which they have adopted, like cauliflower greens and fried chicken.

        6. @ nominay
          whenever I hear somebody say black people like watermelons and friend chicken, I always thing ‘fuck, so do I’. No wonder they like that shit. Its tasty.

        7. nominay,
          I am a West African and don’t ever remember seeing much devouring of bananas and watermelons when I was still on the continent or while living here in the West, at least not any more so than I see whites and Asians devour them.
          I like bananas, but I haven’t had watermelon in ages. I seriously don’t know where this stereotype comes from. Maybe African Americans like them, but as Robert has stated on here multiple times, they are very different from Africans.
          As for the vitamins of Bananas and watermelons, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables native to Europe and elsewhere that offer similar nutrition. Moreover, Europeans love their dairy products, and we all know how full Vitamin C and other vitamins they are. This is a big reason why they are so tall. Dairy why Africans like the Sudanese Nilotes are so damn tall — they practically live off the milk of their cattle.
          If you want to grow big and tall, the way to go is diary products and not bananas and watermelons, lol. My brother and I, when compared to our oldest brother who mostly grew up on West African food, are proof of this fact.
          And yes, I like chicken, but as Steve stated, who on earth doesn’t?

        8. I used to loathe bananas as a kid. I eat them now but only as an acquired taste, and I still don’t like them that much. I make myself eat them because they are really healthy. But I can only eat them if they are just barely past ripe. As soon as they get even a little bit mushy they are disgusting.

  2. Btw, I know I’m overstating the gathering part of “hunter/gatherers”, even the Khoisans planted stuff, albeit not much.

  3. As far as I know, data from Africa does not show a clear tendency toward higher testosterone.
    Just a few citations:
    Here is information form a study on T in different groups, including a Congolese sample. In that sample testosterone is not higher in the 15-30, and 15-45 age groups, but in fact lower than in the presumably mostly European-descended USA sample.
    From “Reproductive Ecology and Human Evolution” by Peter Thorpe Ellison, page 119:
    “Nigerian males exhibit less aggressive bouts of prostate cancer as well as lower androgen levels than do urban African- American males,…”
    According to this study, there is evidence of fairly recent gene selection in African Americans vs West Africans including for genes associated with prostate cancer. I am not sure though how conclusively Prostate cancer has been linked to high testosterone. I recall there being some disagreement.
    There seem to be significant variations in T between European groups(White Americans vs Poles) which could be mostly environmental. The article seems to suggest that Zimbabwean levels are not high:
    “Salivary testosterone measurements of healthy urban men in Venezuela, Poland, Zimbabwe, and Japan have shown that the distinction between American and non-American populations is even more profound than previously suspected. Salivary testosterone levels from these urban populations, with the exception of Polish men, were lower than those for Americans. Moreover, modest age-related declines in salivary testosterone were noted relative to Americans (Campbell et al. 2000; Ellison et al. 1998).”
    Even in the African American case, the evidence seems mixed.
    The paper quoted at this blog suggests environment can affect T levels.
    There is also evidence that childrearing and marriage causes T to drop somewhat in men.

  4. “There seem to be significant variations in T between European groups(White Americans vs Poles) which could be mostly environmental. ”
    no such difference mentioned in quote(unless Venezuelans sampled are mostly Caucasian), my mistake

  5. Maybe it is more complicated than just testosterone. Here is an excerpt from
    “Evidence for Geographical and Racial Variation in Serum Sex Steroid Levels in Older Men”. Its a sub-section of the results.
    Racial Variation
    In addition to the effects of geography, two consistent
    racial patterns were found. First, Blackmen (from the United States and Tobago) had higher estrogen levels than Caucasians or Asians. Total and free estradiol levels were 10 –16%
    higher and estrone levels 27–39% higher in Black men after
    age and BMI adjustments (Table 2).Moreover, in Blacks the
    ratios of total estradiol:total testosterone and estrone:androstenedione (4-dione) were increased compared with other
    groups (Table 2). Second, after age and BMI adjustments,
    Asian men (from the United States, Hong Kong, and Japan)
    had lower serum levels of glucuronidated androgen metabolites [androsterone-glucuronide (ADT-G), androstane-
    3,17-diol-3-glucuronide (3-diol-3G), and androstane-
    3,17-diol-17-glucuronide (3-diol-17G)] than did Blacks
    and Caucasians, and the ratios of these compounds to their
    precursors [DHT and androsterone (ADT)] were lower in
    Asian men (Table 2). Racial patterns in other compounds
    were not apparent.
    The Asian men had 20% more testosterone but they lacked something that makes it available to the body tissues, so they had less free testosterone. I wonder how different east Asian would be if they were using that extra testosterone.

  6. blacks definitely have higher estrogen levels.
    Their women too show higher estrogen, and its symptoms: denser bones, relatively higher proclivity to breast cancer.
    Testosterone levels also change due to social conditions, like before a competition (in both male and female athletes with some interesting differences), so black males could have artificially raised T levels. otoh stress hormones can also show a similar pattern.

  7. Blacks in the United States have the highest prostate cancer rate in the world and nearly twice that of whites in the United States. The 2:1 black-to-white ratio in prostate cancer rates is already apparent at age 45 years, the age at which the earliest prostate cancer cases occur. This finding suggests that the factor(s) responsible for the difference in rates occurs, or first occurs, early in life. Testosterone has been hypothesized to play a role in the etiology of prostate cancer, because testosterone and its metabolite, dihydrotestosterone, are the principal trophic hormones that regulate growth and function of epithelial prostate tissue. This report gives the results of assays of circulating steroid hormone levels in white and black college students in Los Angeles, CA. Mean testosterone levels in blacks were 19% higher than in whites, and free testosterone levels were 21% higher. Both these differences were statistically significant. Adjustment by analysis of covariance for time of sampling, age, weight, alcohol use, cigarette smoking, and use of prescription drugs somewhat reduced the differences. After these adjustments were made, blacks had a 15% higher testosterone level and a 13% higher free testosterone level. A 15% difference in circulating testosterone levels could readily explain a twofold difference in prostate cancer risk.

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