Diet-hormone interactions: Protein/carbohydrate ratio alters reciprocally the plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol and their respective binding globulins in man

Karl E. Anderson, William Rosner, M. S. Khan, Maria I. New, Songya Pang, Paul S. Wissel, Attallah Kappas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to determine if a change in protein/carbohydrate ratio influences plasma steroid hormone concentrations. There is little information about the effects of specific dietary components on steroid hormone metabolism in humans. Testosterone concentrations in seven normal men were consistently higher after ten days on a high carbohydrate diet (468 ± 34 ng/dl, mean ± S.E.) than during a high protein diet (3.71 ± 23 ng/d1, p<0.05) and were accompanied by parallel changes in sex hormone binding globulin (32.5 ± 2.8 nmol/1 vs. 23.4 ± 1.6 nmol/1 respectively, p<0.01). By contrast, cortisol concentrations were consistently lower during the high carbohydrate diet than during the high protein diet (7.74 ± 0.71 μg/d1 vs. 10.6 ± 0.4 μg/d1 respectively, p<0.05), and there were parallel changes in corticosteroid binding globulin concentrations (635 ± 60 nmol/1 vs. 754 ± 31 nmol/1 respectively p<0.05). The diets were equal in total calories and fat. These consistent and reciprocal changes suggest that the ratio of protein to carbohydrate in the human diet is an important regulatory factor for steroid hormone plasma levels and for liver-derived hormone binding proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1761-1768
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 4 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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