The TRUTH About Black Genetics! (SCIENCE)

You cannot be a part of the bodybuilding community… or even the broader sports world… and not have heard the term “black genetics” mentioned.

For instance, just search forums discussing someone like Simeon Panda or Ulisses Jr, and the term is bound to come up. Again and again and again.

The idea is that, blacks — by some genetic factor or factors — possess superior muscle-building and/or athletic potential compared to other races.

Now, there is documented evidence that blacks, particularly of West African descent, excel in sprinting events year-after-year-after-year.

But, what about muscle-building? One of this channel’s focuses is on bodybuilding, so that is the topic I want to focus on with this video.

I want to look at the science on the matter, and uncover the truth.

First, are there actually any documented differences in black and white body composition — i.e, muscle and bone density?

A 2000 paper, which reviewed the findings of over 76 different studies, found that the fat-free body mass of blacks and whites actually differs significantly. Blacks generally having a 14% greater bone mineral density, and 5–7% greater body protein content than whites.

So, blacks appear to have thicker bones, and more muscle on average. That’s generally-speaking, of course.

But, what could be the biological reason or reasons for this apparent trend? Let’s begin by looking at hormone differences between the races.

According to a 2014 meta-analysis, which examined 14 different studies on the subject that met specific criteria, all of which were carefully-selected from a total of 4,933 studies on the subject, it was found that after age was adjusted for, black and white men have similar total testosterone values, but black men have modestly higher free testosterone levels. By modest, I mean only 2.5 – 4.9% higher.

Although… it appears that sex hormone-binding globulin isn’t likely responsible for this minute difference in free testosterone, as there appears to be no significant difference between white and black men when it comes to that glycoprotein.

Whatever the case, 2.5 – 4.9% is not enough of a difference in free testosterone to account for any significant muscular advantage of blacks over whites or other race. Nor would that minor difference account for sudden steroid-like gains without the use of drugs.

To put this in perspective, if an average male has an average testosterone level of 679 ng/dL… an additional 2.5 – 4.9% would only bring that value to approximately 696 – 712 ng/dL. That is still well-within the normal range.

Even at the very top-end of normal, or about 1,070 ng/dL, an additional 2.5 – 4.9% would only bring that value to approximately 1,097 – 1,149 ng/dL. Still not significant enough to make any substantial difference in muscle-building.

And as I’ve discussed in a previous video, which I will link below, it would require free testosterone levels 20-30% higher than normal range to begin to see steroid-like muscle gain. At the very most, having testosterone levels in the upper-end of the normal range would only optimize fat burning, not muscle-building.

So, if it is NOT testosterone levels, then what is it?

Well, this got me to thinking. I theorized that perhaps myostatin deficiency could be more prevalent among the black population?

For those who are unaware, myostatin is a protein that, essentially, puts a limit on muscle growth. So, those who are deficient in this particular protein would be impressively-muscular compared to your Average Joe — even without drugs, and even without weight-training for that matter.

And there are examples of this deficiency among children.

And in the animal world.

But, is there any EVIDENCE that blacks have higher rates of this deficiency?

According to one study from 2009 which examined whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and “other”, among the 645 individuals who were studied, only blacks possessed myostatin or follistatin gene mutations.

And the blacks who possessed a myostatin gene mutation had 22% higher baseline maximum voluntary contraction than those who did not. Furthermore, the blacks who possessed a follistatin gene mutation had approximately 26% higher 1-rep-max and 22% greater muscle size than those who did not.

As for the rate of occurrence within that study. Out of 645 total participants, 23 of which identified as black, 8 possessed the myostatin gene mutation, and 12 possessed the follistatin gene mutation.

That’s a rate of approximately 35% and 52% respectively. Which is VERY significant.

However, more research would be needed, with a much larger and racially-balanced sample size, to more accurately reach a conclusion regarding prevalence of these gene mutations, by race, among the general population.

We simply do not have enough data to draw an accurate conclusion as of right now. To my knowledge, at least.

And it would be patently-false to say that blacks are the ONLY race capable of possessing those gene mutations, as a quick Google image search would demonstrate.

But blacks DO appear to have a higher prevalence of them compared to other races, and this could account for the popular perception of “black genetics” when it comes to muscle-building and strength. It would also account for the generally-higher bone mineral density and body protein content among blacks compared to whites. Again, “generally” being the operative word.

Keep in mind, myostatin deficiency, itself, is a rare condition.

Ergo, just because someone is black, doesn’t imply they will automatically possess one of those mutations.

Going solely by the limited sample size of that 2009 study, 65% of blacks do NOT possess the myostatin gene mutation, and 48% do NOT possess the follistatin gene mutation.

In other words, IF Simeon Panda, for example, is truly “natural” as he claims to be… and that’s a big fucking “if”… and his size is simply due to some gene mutation… he would still be setting an unrealistic natural standard… even for black men.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the effects of myostatin deficiency appear to be rate-dependent.

In other words, the amount of myostatin deficiency determines the amount of influence it will have on muscle growth.

So, even if you are a little myostatin-deficient, you won’t likely see much in the way of extra muscular accretion beyond what’s normal.

Even creatine and training can reduce myostatin levels, but you don’t see either providing steroid-like results… without steroid use, of course.

Just some food for thought.

Anyway, I hope you all found this video interesting, and I hope it added some clarification to this often-discussed topic.

Let me know what you all think in the comments below, and do stir up discussion.

And no matter what your ethnic background or genetic make-up may be, you can still benefit from a quality training program and nutrition advice like those you’ll find in my new e-book “Beast Mode By Science”. Two of the training methods that I prescribe can stimulate 75% more growth hormone release, and 21.5% more muscle growth respectively. Furthermore, one simple intra-workout nutrition trick that I instruct you to implement can elicit an average of 20.8% more muscle growth. All of that and MUCH more to get you bigger, naturally, based on over 100 human studies. All for the average cost of a single personal training session in the US.

My e-book, for those interested:


My video “The Truth About Testosterone Boosters!”

Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest

Measures of body composition in blacks and whites: a comparative review

Racial variation in sex steroid hormone concentration in black and white men: a meta-analysis

Myostatin and follistatin polymorphisms interact with muscle phenotypes and ethnicity.

Myostatin-Related Muscle Hypertrophy

Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1.

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