T Nation

High Fiber = Low Androgens?

Anyone who has ever picked browsed through a Muscular Development Magazine has seen that they have a lot of short articles with headlines claiming something relatively new, and a small article explaining it… I honestly don’t know if these studies/claims have what would be considered “good science” backing them up, but can anyone expound/refute this one:

High fiber diets (over 30grams/day) lead to lower androgen levels. Fibers such as lignans from Flaxmeal and fibers from oats and such, bind to steroid hormones. So high fiber diets bind the hormones and remove them from the body… leading to lower androgens… (brief summary of article)

I have heard of lignans binding to estrogens and removing them from the body, but what about test?

I currently take in a lot of fiber since most of my diet is from veggies and beans (besides meats and oils) and just wanted to see if too much fiber is a bad thing… anyone?

I’ve read that our prehistoric ansestors ate upwards of 60 grams of fiber per day.

The research I’ve seen about the subject showed men put on a high-fiber/low-fat diet. They’re androgen levels DID drop somewhat.

Low fat diets are linked to lowering androgen levels. I have a feeling there are conclusions being drawn from that study either innocently incorrect or purposely misleading (probably the latter).

I’d say it was they low fat not the high fiber that resulted in the drop in androgens.

my diet is about 50% fat 30% protein 20% carbs so i compensate by consuming 50+ grams of fiber

I get plenty of fats as I understand their value. It seems inherit that a diet derived completely from vegetables, meats, and oils would be very high in fiber. What I don’t understand is if there is any merit in the whole " lignans binding androgens" stuff, and if so, how if works.

I’ve seen some studies that show lignans bind to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

Take it from here and see what you find. There may be some truth to it. It appears that the vast array of positives lignans have may outweigh a very small decrease in androgens (if there is any at all).

[quote]derek wrote:
I’ve read that our prehistoric ansestors ate upwards of 60 grams of fiber per day.

The research I’ve seen about the subject showed men put on a high-fiber/low-fat diet. They’re androgen levels DID drop somewhat.

Low fat diets are linked to lowering androgen levels. I have a feeling there are conclusions being drawn from that study either innocently incorrect or purposely misleading (probably the latter).

I’d say it was they low fat not the high fiber that resulted in the drop in androgens.[/quote]

If it was an experiment, then the results would show whether the effect was from the fiber, the low fat, both added together, or both interacting together.

So if it was an experiment, don’t speculate about what caused the effect. Go look at the data.

If it was observational/correlational, that’s a different story. But if people were “put on diets,” it was an experiment.

If we are talking about this:

[i] J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jun;90(6):3550-9. Epub 2005 Mar 1. Links

Comment in:
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jun;90(6):3802; author reply 3802.
Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men.Wang C, Catlin DH, Starcevic B, Heber D, Ambler C, Berman N, Lucas G, Leung A, Schramm K, Lee PW, Hull L, Swerdloff RS.
Department of Medicine and Pediatrics and the General Clinical Research Center, Harbor-University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Torrance, California 90509, USA. wang@labiomed.org

To validate our hypothesis that reduction in dietary fat may result in changes in androgen metabolism, 39 middle-aged, white, healthy men (50-60 yr of age) were studied while they were consuming their usual high-fat, low-fiber diet and after 8 wk modulation to an isocaloric low-fat, high-fiber diet. Mean body weight decreased by 1 kg, whereas total caloric intake, energy expenditure, and activity index were not changed. After diet modulation, mean serum testosterone (T) concentration fell (P < 0.0001), accompanied by small but significant decreases in serum free T (P = 0.0045), 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (P = 0.0053), and adrenal androgens (androstendione, P = 0.0135; dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, P = 0.0011). Serum estradiol and SHBG showed smaller decreases. Parallel decreases in urinary excretion of some testicular and adrenal androgens were demonstrated. Metabolic clearance rates of T were not changed, and production rates for T showed a downward trend while on low-fat diet modulation. We conclude that reduction in dietary fat intake (and increase in fiber) results in 12% consistent lowering of circulating androgen levels without changing the clearance.[/i]

(Full text free at: http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/90/6/3550 )

…then no, it would have been too much to hope for – it so often is – to assume that the experimenters would have isolated the variables. The results don’t show that because they didn’t look for that.

There is nothing in the study showing that the fiber had any effect on androgen levels. There is speculation that maybe that could happen for speculative and undemonstrated reasons, but nothing but speculation.

Thanks Bill for clearing that up. It seemed to be a faulty argument, but I just wanted to see if there was anyone else who has heard of such a thing.

[quote]andersons wrote:
If it was an experiment, then the results would show whether the effect was from the fiber, the low fat, both added together, or both interacting together.

So if it was an experiment, don’t speculate about what caused the effect. Go look at the data.

If it was observational/correlational, that’s a different story. But if people were “put on diets,” it was an experiment.[/quote]

Please read Bills post and get back to me about my senseless speculation.

I didn’t have a choice but to speculate. But you seem to know better than I so have at it brother…

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:

<<…then no, it would have been too much to hope for – it so often is – to assume that the experimenters would have isolated the variables. The results don’t show that because they didn’t look for that.

There is nothing in the study showing that the fiber had any effect on androgen levels. There is speculation that maybe that could happen for speculative and undemonstrated reasons, but nothing but speculation.[/quote]

Morons! Why does it seem like so many studies involving diet are done by people who seem to never have taken Experimental Design 101.

Without isolating variables, an experiment is a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME as nothing can be learned about what caused what. Completely pointless! They wouldn’t even get a passing grade in our lower-division undergrad course in experimental design.

[quote]derek wrote:
andersons wrote:
If it was an experiment, then the results would show whether the effect was from the fiber, the low fat, both added together, or both interacting together.

So if it was an experiment, don’t speculate about what caused the effect. Go look at the data.

If it was observational/correlational, that’s a different story. But if people were “put on diets,” it was an experiment.

Please read Bills post and get back to me about my senseless speculation.

I didn’t have a choice but to speculate. But you seem to know better than I so have at it brother…

[/quote]

I stand by my statement. I said “Go look at the data.” Bill made this easy for us.

You should always look at the experiment BEFORE you speculate.

In this case, nothing can be learned from the experiment. But if it had been well designed, there WOULD have been something to learn.

Do not dismiss OR accept studies unless you understand what can rationally be interpreted from the study’s results.

All we can rationally say from these results is that EITHER low fat OR high fiber OR both adding or interacting together MAY lower androgens in males. If we also know that there are other studies linking low fat with lowered androgens, then our best guess is that the low fat may be largely responsible. But we really don’t know for sure.

[quote]andersons wrote:
derek wrote:
andersons wrote:
If it was an experiment, then the results would show whether the effect was from the fiber, the low fat, both added together, or both interacting together.

So if it was an experiment, don’t speculate about what caused the effect. Go look at the data.

If it was observational/correlational, that’s a different story. But if people were “put on diets,” it was an experiment.

Please read Bills post and get back to me about my senseless speculation.

I didn’t have a choice but to speculate. But you seem to know better than I so have at it brother…

I stand by my statement. I said “Go look at the data.” Bill made this easy for us.

You should always look at the experiment BEFORE you speculate.

In this case, nothing can be learned from the experiment. But if it had been well designed, there WOULD have been something to learn.

Do not dismiss OR accept studies unless you understand what can rationally be interpreted from the study’s results.

All we can rationally say from these results is that EITHER low fat OR high fiber OR both adding or interacting together MAY lower androgens in males. If we also know that there are other studies linking low fat with lowered androgens, then our best guess is that the low fat may be largely responsible. But we really don’t know for sure.[/quote]

OK, sorry I kinda snapped at you there.

I am operating from the POV that I know low fat diets can and do often result in lowered T. I also know that our ancestors ate many times the fiber we do today. I am also “speculating” that they were’t experiencing any T issues back then.

The opinion I gave incorporated all these suppositions/assumptions and I was just relaying my hypothesis, nothing more.

Indeed, had I conducted this study/experiment, it would’ve elicited more conctete answers.

I also understand that results often reflect the theories of the people running the study… Whether they actually should or not.

I don’t believe that statement for shit. Most people don’t get enough fiber as it is, and if they are getting it from different sources (fruits, vegetables, seeds) then everything should be fine.

[quote]derek wrote:

OK, sorry I kinda snapped at you there.

I am operating from the POV that I know low fat diets can and do often result in lowered T. I also know that our ancestors ate many times the fiber we do today. I am also “speculating” that they were’t experiencing any T issues back then.

The opinion I gave incorporated all these suppositions/assumptions and I was just relaying my hypothesis, nothing more.

Indeed, had I conducted this study/experiment, it would’ve elicited more conctete answers.

I also understand that results often reflect the theories of the people running the study… Whether they actually should or not.[/quote]

It’s OK. And I see what you’re saying, but fiber can reduce estrogen, so it’s not inconceivable to speculate that it might reduce T as well.

It’s an empirical question; it either does or it doesn’t. I hope not, but hoping does not change whatever the reality is.

Actually it’s more important to know if it does for YOU. Ideally, each individual should have blood work done when young and healthy, after major diet modifications, etc. Because it doesn’t matter what the average of some study subjects was, just what your effect is.

Wow, didn’t mean to set off a UFC fight over fiber… but I see you two have come to terms with each other. I never doubted that low-fat diets wreck havoc on hormone levels, but what I was curious about was if lignans “bind” to SHBG to any degree, and what this means for our androgen levels. I am not in the science field, but simply curious of the physiology of this, if it is true.

isn’t it good for things to bind to SHBG? doesn’t that leave more free test to be utilized by other tissue?

No. Rather, it doesn’t matter.

[quote]cyph31 wrote:
my diet is about 50% fat 30% protein 20% carbs so i compensate by consuming 50+ grams of fiber[/quote]

Where are you getting all your fiber from, you certainly must be using some kind of supplement? I aim for about 30 but that comes from Oats, All Bran. I am trying to eliminate starchy carbs for insulin reasons, do you have a fiber supplement you recommended?

each day:

1 cup of raw oats (cooked) = 9 grams

1 apple ~ 4 grams

1 banana ~ 3 grams

4 cups frozen mixed (green beans/peas/carrots/corn) veggies ~ 20 to 25 grams

1 onion ~ 2 grams

1 cup raw spinach ~ 2 grams

1 bell pepper ~ 2 grams

half cup raw broccoli ~ 2 grams

5 tablespoons ground almonds ~ 3 grams

~ 45 to 50 grams total, no fiber supplements

the frozen veggies, oats, and broccoli are cooked so the raw values i listed will change a bit but that is my typical fiber intake for a training day with around 3300 calories