Your Birthplace Heavily Influences Your Future Testosterone Levels

Posted by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on December 18th, 2022
Reading Time: 4 minutes

We know that a lot of what determines our health and longevity is based on genetics, but lifestyle factors, which include environmental factors, also play a huge role as well.

Obviously, if you have genes that tend to keep you slim and muscular for the most part, but you end up eating tons of fat and junk food, you’ll end up gaining weight.

On the other hand, some people have a tough time staying slim most of the time, but with the right diet and exercise, it’s not so difficult.

The same kind of example can be said about a man’s testosterone levels, especially as one ages. Both genetics and lifestyle factors play a role in how much a man’s testosterone levels decline as he ages and how bad the symptoms of low testosterone are for him.

It turns out that an environmental factor largely determines a man’s testosterone levels: where he grew up.

Study Shows Challenging Conditions Lower Future Testosterone Levels

A recent study conducted by Durham University is suggesting that men who grew up in “challenging conditions” are more likely to have lower testosterone in later years than their peers who grew up in “healthier environments.” These challenging conditions include areas where infectious diseases run rampant.

Published in Nature, Ecology, and Evolution, the hypothesis was that testosterone levels are not determined by genetics or race alone. One of their main catalysts for conducting the study was the fact that high testosterone levels can cause prostate enlargement or even prostate cancer.

The Durham University researchers want to see doctors who are screening for risk factors in men to consider the man’s childhood environment as well.

Testosterone Levels Linked to Energy Investment as a Child or Teenager

The subjects in the study were Bangladeshi men. The study found that Bangladeshi men who grew up and lived their whole lives in the United Kingdom had significantly higher levels of testosterone than their peers who grew up and lived in their homeland, Bangladesh.

In addition, the Britain Bangladeshis went through puberty at a younger age and were taller than the men who grew up solely in Bangladesh.

Specifically, 359 men were studied, using their saliva samples to determine testosterone levels.

The groups of men analyzed: men born and still residing in Bangladesh; Bangladeshi men who moved to London as children; Bangladeshi men who moved to London as adults; second-generation, United Kingdom (UK)-born men whose parents were Bangladeshi migrants and UK-born ethnic Europeans.

The scientists theorize that the differences are due to energy investment, in that if more energy is being invested in fighting off infections or battling other harsh environmental factors (disease, poor nutrition, etc.) then there is less energy to be used in producing testosterone.

Less stress and a healthier environment leave more energy for testosterone production.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Kesson Magid from the Department of Anthropology at Durham University in the UK, stated: “A man’s absolute levels of testosterone are unlikely to relate to their ethnicity or where they live as adults but instead reflect their surroundings when they were children.” Nature sure is surprising!

Health Effects of High or Low Testosterone Levels

Keeping your testosterone levels at the correct concentration in the body is no joke. Having too much or too little can wreak havoc on your body, men and women included.

Men with higher testosterone levels demonstrate increased muscle mass, risk of prostate disease or cancer, and more aggressive behavior. Low testosterone levels can cause chronic fatigue, low libido, depression, and erectile dysfunction.

Professor Gillian Bentley, the co-author, stated: “Very high and very low testosterone levels can have implications for men’s health and it could be important to know more about men’s childhood circumstances to build a fuller picture of their risk factors for certain conditions or diseases.”

The research also demonstrates that certain aspects of a man’s reproductive function and health remain malleable up to the age of approximately 19, being more flexible in early childhood.

In adulthood, it appears that men’s testosterone levels are no longer as heavily influenced by their surroundings (environment).

As you can see, scientists at Durham University are concerned about men’s testosterone levels and the risk for adverse health effects – and so should you!

If you have any concerns regarding your hormone levels and want to get your testosterone levels checked, consider giving us a call or filling out our contact form to get started. It’s super easy to find out what your levels are and whether you’re at risk for any adverse effects of high or low testosterone. Call us today!


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