How Alcohol and Testosterone Interact to Effect the Endocrine System

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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 fuck 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:

  • The metabolism of ethanol lowers the amount of the coenzyme NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) inside liver and testes. NAD+ is essential part of the electron donoring process needed in the production of testosterone and various other androgens, hence why it’s believed that alcohol lowers testosterone in a dose-dependent manner.
  • Chronically high alcohol consumption can significantly increase estrogen levels. This is due to the fact that it boosts the activity of the aromatase enzyme, which works by converting the male sex hormone: testosterone, into the female sex hormone: estrogen.
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.

d) It’s also worth mentioning that beer is probably one of the worst alcoholic beverages to enjoy, if you’re interested in not fucking up your testosterone levels. This is because the hops of which most beers are made from contain a very potent phytoestrogen called: 8-Prenylnaringenin. In fact, hops are so estrogenic that the women who pick them up by hand, often experience menstrual problems. Another not so awesome compound in beer is called xanthohumol, which can impair hormone signaling.

Conclusion on Alcohol and Testosterone

As you can see, increasing testosterone 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 fuck up your testosterone production, but anymore than that and the negative effects will start showing up.

 NOTE: If you’re interested in learning everything you must do with your diet, training and lifestyle to raise testosterone as quickly as possible, check these out .

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. alikuoppala @anabolicmen
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22 Comments

  1. LG on 16/04/2015 at 23:24

    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 on 18/04/2015 at 02:12

      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 on 23/08/2015 at 01:08

      Message me if you need help.

      • SmashOnSight on 13/09/2015 at 09:12

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

    • rayzzor on 27/08/2015 at 06:09

      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!

  2. Erik Pålshammar on 18/04/2015 at 06:28

    Alcohol raises dopamine levels which correlates with testosterone

  3. […] 5. Drinking too much alcohol – to specify this is for the binge drinkers on the weekend or those who indulge during the week as well. To be short, chronic alcohol consumption has a drastic impact on your ability to produce testosterone, in turn, it also causes the body to produce more estrogen. (5)  NOOOOO!!!!!  Having a drink here and there, will have a small effect on testosterone levels, but not enough to cause any real issues.  Here is a great article with more detail on alcohol and it’s effects on testosterone, with a lot back links to studies supporting it… [click here] […]

  4. Patrick on 08/03/2016 at 05:49

    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.

  5. worried on 06/07/2016 at 17:29

    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 on 06/07/2016 at 17:31

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

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