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Dads have lower testosterone

13th September 2011

Being a father lowers male testosterone, according to a recent US-Philippine study.

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The researchers found that lowered levels of the hormone made it easier for men to raise kids.

Christopher Kuzawa of Northwestern University, who worked on the study, said the research showed that humans came with biological wiring for the task of fatherhood.

Men who have high testosterone levels often take more risks than men whose levels are closer to the average.

High testosterone also contributes to social dominance.

Lee Gettler of Northwestern University, who worked on the study, said that men with lower testosterone were not simply more likely to become fathers.

In previous studies, researchers showed that fathers had lower testosterone than other men, leading some to conclude that having lower testosterone led men to become fathers.

For the recent study, the researchers tried to find out more about the link between testosterone and fatherhood by following a group of people from the Philippines.

The researchers followed a group of 600 men, some of whom became fathers during the study's five-year timespan.

It seemed clear that once men became fathers, their levels of testosterone dipped.

Sometimes people's levels went back up after a while, however.

Gettler said that men whose testosterone was high when they first became fathers experienced a substantial dip in the hormone.

He said that fatherhood was demanding, not only psychologically but also physically, emotionally, and biologically.

Allan Pacey, a researcher at the University of Sheffield, who did not take part in the study, said the study was intriguing.

He said that there were virtually no examples of testosterone changes in men, although levels of the hormone declined with age.

Ashley Grossman, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Oxford, who also did not take part, said that endocrinologists tended not to pay much attention to testosterone.

She said the finding suggested that biology had hidden subtleties.


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