Alcohol and Testosterone: The Acute and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on Hormones

Alcohol is a widely used depressant that we humans most often drink in the form of ethanol. And ethanol – like everyone who has hugged a toilet seat at 4am knows – is toxic for the human body. But just how toxic? How do testosterone and alcohol interact in our bodies? And what kind of effects does it have on the endocrine system?

The magic of alcohol is fairly simple: because it’s a depressant, it slows down various bodily functions, which in turn triggers the feelings of drunkenness.

Alcohol also slows down inhibitions, which is why you might get the feeling of needing to poke everything and everyone around you after 10 shots of tequila…

…Sadly, this mission of having sex with everything that moves can often become impossible, since 10 shots of tequila is enough to dramatically slow down your sexual functions (ie: the battle sword might not rise to the occasion anymore).

This negative effect on the sexual function is mainly caused by a dramatic drop in the male sex hormone: testosterone…

…And here’s why it takes place:

Alcohol and Testosterone Production

Alcohol and Testosterone productionLet’s just start by the fact that you do not have to completely give up drinking in order to have naturally high testosterone levels…

…Since few drinks here and there ain’t enough to cause any dramatic reductions in testosterone. When it comes to alcohol and testosterone, it’s the dose that counts.

However, if you’re an alcoholic, and drinking yourself to the point of passing out on several days of the week, then you can be damn sure that your testosterone production has tanked (and you probably know this yourself already because of the negative effects it has on sexual functioning).

Here are the already known mechanisms of action in how alcohol lowers testosterone:

And here’s some research:

a) It has been noted in several rodent studies that consumption of alcohol lowers testosterone levels significantly (study, study, study, study). One study in particular is rather alarming, since it showed a 50% reduction in testicle size in rats who were fed a diet with 5% of calories coming from ethanol.

b) Multiple human studies have found that heavy consumption of alcohol reduces testosterone levels (study, study, study, study). It’s also seen that men who suffer from alcoholism have significantly lower testosterone levels, and higher estrogen levels, than men without alcohol problems, even if they have a perfectly functioning livers (study, study, study, study).

c) But how much is too much then? It might come as a relief to some that a low-dose (0.5 g/kg) of alcohol has actually been shown to slightly increase testosterone levels. And a moderate-dose (equivalent to 1,5 glasses of red wine) only lowered testosterone levels by 7%. Even more surprising is that in this study, 1g/kg of alcohol (that’s about half a glass of vodka for most men) taken post-workout, was able to increase testosterone levels by ~100%! Take that study with a grain of salt though, since another one found out that if you work out drunk or in hangover, the testosterone lowering effects of alcohol will significantly increase in duration.

Conclusion on Alcohol and Testosterone

As you can see, increasing testosterone naturally and alcohol consumption don’t go hand in hand, as it negatively impacts a wide variety of systems needed in normal endocrine functions.

However, lower dosages are probably fine, and can even increase testosterone levels slightly (I have no idea why). Moderate dosages are not that bad either (see that 7% reduction above).

It’s probably safe to say that 1-3 drinks are not enough to mess up your testosterone production, but anymore than that and the negative effects will start showing up.

Alcohol and Testosterone: The Acute and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on Hormones was last modified: January 30th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala
Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
Ali Kuoppala
  • LG

    As an alcoholic I spent many years drinking too much every night, and for about the last three months have drank moderately, maybe once per week or so. This isn’t my full story of course but my main questions are how long does it take for the endocrine system to balance out (ie make enough testosterone again) and is it possible the damage is permanent? I have zero sex drive, useless dick, etc.

    • vlade

      I don’t think it’s permanent. I would say you should see your test go back to normal pretty soon if it has been three months.

    • Utopianfreeman

      Message me if you need help.

      • SmashOnSight

        Can i message you? I have quit drinking completely and work out alot. ZERO SEX DRIVE THO.

    • rayzzor

      You need a full blood test panel. Your liver may still be recovering, you may have diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc. In the meantime, I would suggest exercise, especially weight training. Start out with light weights, but be consistent. If you are overweight, try the Atkins or paleo diet, as excess fat is a primary libido killer. Only do this diet until your lab results come in because if your kidneys are not functioning properly, too much protein would worsen kidney function. Please see a doctor ASAP and get that blood test panel!

  • Alcohol raises dopamine levels which correlates with testosterone

  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Stop Lowering Your Testosterone Levels — Fulton Training Systems()

  • Patrick

    Here’s my issues. I have spent so, so much time reading about phytoestrogens, 5-alpha reductase, T, DHT. It goes on and on and I’ve tried a number of different techniques. I was convinced beer was bad and red wine was good for a while. But red wine is a DHT inhibitor and hops in beer increases prolactin. Prolactin is essential for transporting DHT. Antipsychotics increase prolactin. One of the other effects of antipsychotics is they INCREASE facial hair growth. Other studies have said yeast in beer increases the size of prostate: a symptom associated with HIGH DHT. I’ve come to the conclusion reading literally hundreds of medical studies cover to cover that this stuff is REALLY complicated.

  • worried

    My fiance and I have been together for a few years now… I have had two miscarriages, one was a blighted ovum which is where u have everything but a baby in your uterus.. anyway he drinks to get drunk on a regular basis and it seems like he has most his sex drive.. porn turns him on, to pleasure himself but we never have intimate relations or really any relations anymore… is this due to drinking beer and his hormones. … please help. .. it relationship is going down hill fast !!!!

    • worried

      Not most his sex drive!!!! Lost most of his sex drive