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Low testosterone level in Amazonian tribe responds to competition
Date:3/28/2012

testosterone as they age, and the drop serves as a sentinel for age-related disease, Tsimane men maintain a stable testosterone level across their lifespan, and show little incidence of obesity, heart disease, and other illnesses associated with older age.

Despite lower levels of circulating testosterone under normal conditions, the forager-farmers do have something in common with U.S. men short-term spikes of testosterone during competition.

The researchers organized a soccer tournament for eight Tsimane teams, and discovered that Tsimane men experienced a 30 percent increase in testosterone immediately after a soccer game. An hour after the game, testosterone was still 15 percent higher than under normal conditions. Similar increases have been shown in men living in the U.S. or other industrialized countries following, sports competitions.

The study suggests that competition-linked bursts of testosterone are a fundamental aspect of human biology that persists even if it increases risk of sickness or infection. "What's interesting is that in spite of being in a more pathogenic environment, it's still important to raise testosterone for short-bursts of energy and competition," Gurven said.

As to whether higher levels of the male hormone would offer a competitive advantage in sports, Trumble suspects that because U.S. men are "taller and weigh more than Tsimane men, and tend to be exposed to fewer parasites and pathogens, they would probably have a competitive advantage, regardless of circulating testosterone."


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Contact: Andrea Estrada
andrea.estrada@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-4620
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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