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Helicobacter pylori is associated with lower androgen activity among men in NHANES III
  1. C M Schooling,
  2. J B Dowd,
  3. H E Jones
  1. CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to C Mary Schooling, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, 2180 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10035, USA; mschooli{at}

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Chen et al,1 using a nationally representative sample of the US population from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III), intriguingly suggest infection with Helicobacter (H) pylori may have positive health effects in addition to a causal role in gastric cancer. H pylori has a long history of coexistence with humans. Research on the human microbiome has also highlighted the symbiotic relation of gut microorganisms with their hosts. Animal biology suggests immune defence trades-off against reproductive success such that infections suppresses androgens.2 Correspondingly, changing the gut microbial environment in mice changes mice testosterone levels.3 The same mechanisms may also apply to humans, particularly at older ages when the immune system is less effective. H pylori could modulate androgen production and thereby affect health because androgens, and similarly endocrine disruptors, may play a role in chronic diseases.

Two androgen biomarkers (serum testosterone and androstanediol glucuronide (3-α-diol-G) (AAG)) were assayed for a male subsample (12+ years) from NHANES III who …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it was published Online First. The units in figure 1 and table 1 have been amended to ng/ml.

  • Contributors CMS originated the idea, analysed the data and wrote the first draft. JBD and HJ made suggestions about the analysis and reviewed the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final version.

  • Funding This project was supported in part (for HJ and CMS) by funds from the Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) grant # UL1-RR024996.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval CDC Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement This is an analysis of publicly available data.

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