In an article titled "Black Males and Testosterone: Evolution and Perspectives" Robert Lindsay writes:

Young Black males have higher levels of active testosterone than European and Asian males. [...] Blacks have much higher testosterone levels than Whites from age 7-24. After 24, the difference starts shrinking, and by the early 30's, it is gone.

Is that true and the state of our current knowledge about racial differences?

  • 4
    How young?!
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 1 '14 at 15:02
  • 1
    Can you give a citation or link to Lindsay's article? If the author has made such a claim without citing evidence, that is irresponsible of him. Also, your final sentence doesn't make sense. Jul 1 '14 at 20:08

It is hard to pinpoint the references for his claims, since his article references the following blog post with a broken link: http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2008/06/testosterone-and-greenland-inuit.html

From this blog post:

Testosterone levels are higher in black boys than in white boys as early as 5 to 9 years of age (Abdelrahaman et al., 2005).

Oddly, the abstract of this article states that:

Total testosterone, the free androgen index, and dehydroepiandrosterone increased with age in both groups, but after adjusting for age, no racial differences were found.

Rohrmann et al. (2009) looked into the testosterone levels of neonates and found:

Androstanediol glucuronide, estradiol, and SHBG concentrations did not differ by race; however, the molar ratio of testosterone to SHBG was higher in African-American than white male babies after adjustment (p=0.01). Both before and after adjustment, whites had higher concentrations of IGF-1 (adjusted; white, African-American: 93.1, 71.9 ng/mL), IGF-2 (537.3, 474.8 ng/mL), and IGFBP-3 (1673, 1482 ng/mL) than African-Americans (p<0.05), although the molar ratio of IGF-1 plus IGF-2 to IGFBP-3 did not differ by race.

So it seems that there may be some differences on average, at least at birth, although the verdict may still be out.

  • Abdelrahaman, E., Raghavan, S., Baker, L., Weinrich, M., and Winters, S.J. (2005). Racial difference in circulating sex hormone-binding globulin levels in prepubertal boys. Metabolism, 54, 91-96.
  • Rohrmann, Sabine, et al. "Racial variation in sex steroid hormones and the insulin-like growth factor axis in umbilical cord blood of male neonates." Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18.5 (2009): 1484-1491.
  • The 2005 paper shows no difference in testosterone, but it shows a difference in sex-hormone binding globulins. They say: we conclude that high levels of SHBG are more common among African American than in white boys and hypothesize that this difference and its effect on the ratio between bound and free steroid hormones may contribute to racial differences in disease risk in adult men.
    – nico
    Jul 5 '14 at 18:11
  • 1
    When I looked into this, I found lots of contradictory studies. I'd suggest we need a higher level of evidence.
    – Oddthinking
    Jul 6 '14 at 2:38
  • I agree with Oddthinking, this is a controversial topic where it makes no sense to refer to a single study.
    – Christian
    Jul 6 '14 at 14:24
  • This is not an area that I'm familiar with, so I would encourage others to either add another answer or modify mine (is there an option to turn an answer to a "community wiki"?).
    – Jonathan
    Jul 6 '14 at 22:13
  • "It is hard to pinpoint the references for his claims, since his article references the following blog post with a broken link" ... did you try the Wayback Machine ? Nov 2 '17 at 10:15

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