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Testosterone levels and Fighting

  1. Feb 5, 2010 #1
    I am wondering if testosterone levels in humans are linked to advantages in fighting. I know they are linked to masculinity, and we all know that the more masculine a man is, the more likely he will be able to defeat a less masculine male in a fight. Do testosterone levels have a link to how good you can fight? I mean as a means for beating somebody in a fight, naturally. Let's say if two people went through the exact lifestyles. I mean same eating, same amounts of food ate, everything was identical down to the last detail. If they fought, but one had a higher testosterone level than the other, would the one with the more testosterone have an advantage? I found this on Wikipedia.org

    Taken from Wikipedia.org :
    I Googled "implicit power motivation" and it described people imagining winning a speed-based (not combat/fighting) competition. The people who imagined winning had increased testosterone levels than before and the people who did not had roughly the same amount. Also it said that winning increased the testosterone levels too.

    So what do you think? Are testosterone levels linked to combat skills?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2010 #2
    high testosterone will lead to higher muscle mass and strength. i doubt it would translate directly to skill except that higher T might lead to more fight experience and more combat training. higher T will also translate to higher motivation to win, and less likelihood to stop fighting when injured.

    so, i think a high T male could be less skilled and still win.
  4. Feb 6, 2010 #3
    It should be noted that higher levels of testosterone have been found in male monkeys and baboons who are of higher status in dominance hierarchies. However, it is unclear if the testosterone CAUSED the higher status or was a result of it. Apparently, testosterone levels rise in male fans whose sports team has triumphed during a game. But all of this is still kind of difficult to relate to any simple causal hypothesis.

    Certainly, injection with steroid hormones (androgens; precursors to testosterone) can cause increases in muscle mass and other physical changes, so hypothetically, naturally occurring "highs" of these hormones should have a similar effect, which might result in greater success in fights. However, there are also mental effects, such as greater reactivity and outbursts of rage, which interfere with strategic thinking.

    In the long run, being fit and smart is probably a better way to gain status in a group of men than being just "strong like ox". Of course, as a female, I may not be aware of quite how much pressure most younger guys are under from bullying.
  5. Feb 6, 2010 #4
    Good point. When someone is mad when they are fighting they are more likely to attack and less likely to defend.
  6. Feb 7, 2010 #5
    actually, it's not nearly that simple. it's got a lot more to do with balance of other hormones like estrogen.
  7. Feb 9, 2010 #6

    Isn't estrogen the female sex hormone? Wouldn't that take away the masculinity of a person?
  8. Feb 9, 2010 #7
    Probably he aint talking about absolute levels of estrogen in males, but relative levels of steroids in respect to each others.

    Anyway, in males, testosterone is a important substrate for the synthesis of estrogen hormones.

    Testosterone(aromatase) -> Estradiol
    Testosterone(17-ketoreductase) -> Androstenedione(aromatase) -> Estrone

    This has implications.

    For example, males doping with anabolic steroids may experience increased armoatization , leading to higher levels of estrogen hormones, with unpleasant effects such as gynecomastia.

    Another consequence is that males can use estrogen inhibitors drugs like Tamoxifen to
    trick your body to increase natural testosterone production. The drug acts on estrogenic receptors, blocking them, and the body is tricked into believing not enough estrogen is present. In response, since estrogens are produced from testosterone in male, the body will produce more testosterone, in an attempt to up-regulate production of estrogens. The effect is quite mild compared to the effect of intensive anabolic steroids usage.

    Anyway, dont sweat it too much. Genetics alone didnt created any champions. Years of training , consistence and determination did. Sometimes even despite genetics.

    (That's not to say that genetics aint important, only that by itself doesn't mean that much)
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