Alcohol and Testosterone: The Truth
What is your view on alcohol?
I guess it is widely regarded as the most acceptable ‘drug’ people use to unwind, let loose and forget any worries they may have.
Let’s face it, we all love to unwind, alcohol may not be everyone’s tipple of choice, but it is for many, and who doesn’t like to sit in front of the TV with a loved one at night when your jobs are completed and the kids in bed?
That first sip, with the lights down a bit low really does have some sort of magical effect. You exhale, let out a sigh and feel like you can relax.
I do love a drink as much as anyone, I love a glass of wine with my girlfriend on the sofa or with dinner out in town, we’re even known to sip Bailey’s in bed…
However, a relaxing drink or a catch up with your buddies can turn in to a full onslaught which then rewards you with the ‘fear’ for the next few days.
Now, the fear is horrendous. It is a killer of the mind, body and soul.
However, apart from the ‘fear’, have you ever wondered how alcohol can affect your testosterone levels?
Have you ever wondered what impact that glass, bottle or Nebuchadnezzar of champagne is having on your hormones and in turn, your muscular development or fat loss?
Do you have a clue what the alcohol is doing in your body?
So, are we to cut alcohol out completely or just have it in moderation? And, what is even classed as moderation?
‘Moderation’ and units of alcohol are also other reasons for confusion.
A long time ago, when I was 19 I was handed a DUI.
Part of my punishment was to attend an alcohol awareness course.
One of the main points of discussion was the amount of units consumed, the legal drink and drive limits plus the size of the person and the effects of alcohol.
Everyone assumed that if a person was big, and didn’t show the effects of drinking alcohol as much as another person that they were fine.
However, what the class leader kept repeating was that regardless of the size of the person and the seeming effects on them, they have still drunk the same number of units.
Therefore, even if they seem fine, they may have drank more units than what is legally allowed.
This begs the question about ‘moderation’. In theory, regardless of how physically or mentally the person who is drinking may seem, the alcohol will still be having a chemical effect.
It still will be as toxic to one human as it is another. However, again, what effect will it have on hormones?
Age it seems has a large effect on hormones and how your body reacts to drinking alcohol.
In particular, as women age, their hormone levels rise up and down. As a result, less alcohol will have an effect on an older woman in her fifties than it would on a woman in her twenties.
Alcohol consumption does seem to cause a rise in estrogen and has even shown signs of decreasing progesterone in women who had yet to start the menopause.
In fact, there is a suggestion by some studies that moderate alcohol consumption can delay the menopause.
Aside from moderate alcohol consumption, binge drinking which is generally classed as more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a day has a much larger effect on hormones.
Binge drinking is extremely disruptive to hormones and general overall health.
Alcohol and Testosterone
You may be aware or not aware that an increased consumption of alcohol has a negative effect on testosterone production.
Testosterone is not just a male only hormone, either. Both men and women require testosterone for bone health, muscle development, mood, brain function and fat mass regulation. It is also know to help sex drive and libido.
Men just have much more testosterone than women.
If men and women suffer from low testosterone it can cause a number of issues such as:
- Less muscle mass
- More fat mass
- Brain fog – cannot focus or think clearly
It has been said by the Testosterone Center of Texas that alcohol is the absolute enemy of testosterone.
It is also said that the amount of alcohol consumed is directly linked to decreases in testosterone.
However, is there a known limit?
Now, I personally do not drink everyday. I like to binge here and there, may be on a Friday or Saturday night. However, it depends on the situation.
Dinner with my girlfriend will probably include the equivalent of a bottle of wine each over the course of an evening.
We may also share a bottle of wine when we meet during the working week which is usually two days.
If I head out to see my buddies, that will usually end up with a load of beer drunk.
However, studies are suggesting that just a couple or three beers per day can cause a small reduction in just men.
It is beer and wine that contains certain chemicals which can increase estrogen levels which creates a hormone imbalance in turn decreasing testosterone.
Yet, if you breach the three beer per day barrier and start knocking on the door of heavy or binge drinking this is where the real issues can start to creep in.
You can start to notice the following:
- Fertility issues
- Weight increase
- Decreased testosterone in men
- Increased testosterone in women
Men who drink in excess regularly suffer from extremely low testosterone levels which can be classed as abnormal and fertility issues.
Moderation is key…
Lots people like to unwind with a drink and that is not an issue.
And, it seems that one, two or even three drinks can be consumed with little concern, and this is for all people and it does not change dependent on body size.
This is whereby the term moderate needs to be established.
To some people five beers per day may seem ‘moderate’, that could be the truth if you normally drink ten.
However, the studies say, anything more than three beers per day will start to have a dramatic and negative effect on testosterone levels, this also includes fertility levels.
If you drink regularly, or even if it is once per week and you maintain optimal testosterone levels and a healthy hormone balance, stick to three drinks.