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New Study: Excess sugar shuts down regulation of hormones

Excess sugar shuts gene key to hormones

Published: Nov. 12, 2007 at 7:00 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Eating too much fructose and glucose can turn off the gene that regulates the levels of testosterone and estrogen in the body, a Canadian study found.

Study leader Dr. Geoffrey Hammond of the Child & Family Research Institute, in Vancouver, explains that glucose and fructose are metabolized in the liver, but when there's too much sugar in the diet, the liver converts it to lipid.

Using a mouse model and human liver cell cultures, Hammond discovered that the increased production of lipid shut down the gene SHBG, reducing the amount of SHBG protein in the blood. SHBG protein plays a key role in controlling the amount of testosterone and estrogen that's available throughout the body.

If there's less SHBG protein, then more testosterone and estrogen will be released throughout the body, which is associated with an increased risk of acne, infertility, polycystic ovaries and uterine cancer in overweight women, Hammond said.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that low levels of SHBG in a person's blood means the liver's metabolic state is out of whack -- because of inappropriate diet or something that's inherently wrong with the liver -- long before there are any disease symptoms.

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I have problems with two of those claims. This is the first one: "SHBG protein plays a key role in controlling the amount of testosterone and estrogen that’s available throughout the body." That may well be true for women, but I find it difficult to believe that it's true for men. That's because the main regulator of testosterone and its effects in men must surely be the HPT (hypothalmic-pituitary-testicular) axis, not the production of SHBG per se. Even if SHBG were to be reduced for the dietary reason mentioned in that article (increased consumption of carbohydrates), it seems clear that the brain would see the increased androgenic activity and then send the chemical signals to the testes to REDUCE the synthesis of testosterone, as a means of compensation. Women, on the other hand, have no similar feedback control of androgen production, so I _can_ see that as a reasonable theory for women.

The other thing I have a problem with is the implication that it's just the simple sugars which have that effect. That's not true. ALL carbs can do that, because all carbs are broken down into simple sugars before they are absorbed.

.

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which is associated with an increased risk of acne, infertility, polycystic ovaries and uterine cancer in overweight women,

Would this pertain to normal or underweight women too, or only overweight? I'm underweight and it's something I've been a bit worried about.

I was tested and found to have elevated levels of testosterone, and so I've been cutting back on sugars.

Thanks for the article

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So this means REFINED sugar should be avoided, right? Or does this apply to all sugars - honey, molasses, etc?

I think I might as well give it a try.

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So this means REFINED sugar should be avoided, right? Or does this apply to all sugars - honey, molasses, etc?

I think I might as well give it a try.

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