Testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, calculated free testosterone, and oestradiol in male vegans and omnivores.
Key TJ., Roe L., Thorogood M., Moore JW., Clark GM., Wang DY.
Total testosterone (T), total oestradiol (E2) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations were measured in plasma samples from fifty-one male vegans and fifty-seven omnivores of similar age. Free T concentration was estimated by calculation. In comparison with the omnivores, the vegans had 7% higher total T (P = 0.250), 23% higher SHBG (P = 0.001), 3% lower free T (P = 0.580), and 11% higher E2 (P = 0.194). In a subset of eighteen vegans and twenty-two omnivores for whom 4 d diet records were available, there were statistically significant correlations between T and polyunsaturated fatty acids (r 0.37), SHBG and fat (r 0.43 for total fat, 0.46 for saturated fatty acids and 0.33 for polyunsaturated fatty acids), and SHBG and alcohol (r-0.39). It is concluded that a vegan diet causes a substantial increase in SHBG but has little effect on total or free T or on E2.