One activity that is better than sports for testosterone
Apparently there is truth to the fact that lumberjacks and other ‘woodsmen’ are among the 'manliest' of all males. Researchers from UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) have found out why. Cutting trees is found trumps competitive sports when it comes to raising testosterone levels.
The researchers looked at testosterone levels among native Tsimane people in central Bolivia who have to work hard to feed their families.
The impetus of the study, published in Evolution & Human Behavior, was to find out how non-competitive but vigorous activity needed for food-production compared to soccer for raising testosterone.
The finding gives insight into how industrialization and modern amenities like just having to go to the grocery store to 'forage for food' have had an impact on men's health and well-being.
UCSB anthropologists Ben Trumble and Michael Gurven conducted the study.
Trumble explained in a press release Tsimane men maintain their testosterone levels, unlike Western men whose hormone level declines with age. And thy do it despite the fact that they are more likely to suffer from infection from parasites. Trumble says any disease or illness, in addition to not having enough calories to expend energy can cause an immediate drop in the male hormone. "
"With the Tsimane, we see an environment that is more like that in which humans evolved, and for which our systems are calibrated, " he adds.
U. S.men can easily get their calories. But the Tsimane have to fish, hunt and grow their own food, which also means high energy expenditure. They are also likely to have more children to feed.
Trumble said the researchers wanted to see how testosterone changed during food-production. Past research has shown competitive sports like soccer can give a short-term boost to the male hormone.
For the investigation the researchers took saliva samples before and after the Amazon men cut trees for food production for one-hour.
They compared the results to an hour of playing soccer.
Cutting trees increased testosterone 46.8 percent. In comparison, soccer boosted the male hormone by 30 percent.
The finding is significant, given the fact that Tsimane men have 33 percent lower testosterone levels to begin with, compared to men in the United States whose lives are less physically demanding.
Yet, the men maintain their levels throughout their lives, which is the opposite o men living in the f U.S. and other industrialized countries.
The finding may not apply just to men, either. Past studies show women who are the main calorie producers for their family and are active also have higher testosterone levels, though the current study didn’t measure testosterone in women.
"One of the important take-home messages of this study is that over the course of human evolution, we had very physical strategies for producing calories. It's important to think about how testosterone fits into that, ”Trumble said. The study shows tree-cutting is better than competitive sports like soccer for raising testosterone levels and gives insight into how industrialization and too many modern conveniences. could be robbing men of the male hormone.
Updated January 26, 2014