Whether it’s a glass of red wine or a mug full of beer, folks of all ages and nationalities enjoy indulging in alcohol from time to time. Drinking these liqueurs provide a sense of joy and merriment, and they’re often a major part of every adult gathering.
That said, bad things are bound to happen when a person constantly goes over the recommended daily alcohol intake.
Beyond the usual hangover, excessive alcohol consumption can have a drastic long-term impact on hormone levels, including the primary male sex hormone—testosterone.
Testosterone plays a variety of roles in the body. If working optimally, it plays a part in maintaining and enlarging muscle mass and increasing bone density. It also spikes libido and makes you more enthusiastic towards sex.
If there are insufficient levels of testosterone in the body, it can do the exact opposite—weakening your body and sucking your sexual interest dry.
And unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption can have bad effects on testosterone levels. Let’s dive into the effects of alcohol on the body and how it affects testosterone production.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone, as previously mentioned, is one of the 50+ hormones found in the human body. Testosterone is mainly produced in the testes in males; however, female bodies also produce testosterone in smaller quantities in their ovaries. Additionally, the adrenal glands contribute to testosterone production in both men and women.
Often referred to as the primary male sex hormone, testosterone plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics.
In particular, testosterone performs the following functions:
- Increases height during puberty
- Ramps our sex drive
- Induces body and facial hair growth
- Enlarges the penis
- Encourages red blood cell formation
- Strengthens muscles and bones
- Deepens voice
Men who possess optimal testosterone levels can enjoy the advantages of its various functions. That said, some men may face low levels below the minimum healthy threshold of 300 ng/dL, whether due to diet, genetics, or some other factors.
This can manifest in a variety of ways.
Signs of Low Testosterone
Testosterone greatly affects overall health, and it typically decreases as we age. Despite it being fairly prevalent, it’s not considered normal and would benefit greatly from medical intervention.
Here are some symptoms of low testosterone that may manifest in men:
- Lethargy and insomnia
- Low mood and loss of concentration
- Reduced desire for sex
- Erectile dysfunction
- Shrinking testicles
- Increased body fast
- Loss in strength
However, it’s worth noting that some individuals may not exhibit symptoms even if their testosterone levels are abnormal. As such, it’s best to book an appointment with a doctor for them to perform a testosterone test.
Testosterone levels are often measured by undergoing the following tests:
- Total testosterone blood test
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) blood test
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) blood test
From these tests, doctors could determine the root cause of your hormonal imbalance and address it accordingly.
Low testosterone could be either primary hypogonadism (caused by testicle problems) or secondary hypogonadism (caused by the hypothalamus or pituitary gland imbalance).
When the root cause is established, treatments like testosterone replacement therapy may be considered.
6 Ways Alcohol Reduces Testosterone Levels
If you’ve ever wondered, “Does alcohol lower testosterone?”, the short answer is yes.
Alcohol affects testosterone levels negatively. Even moderate alcohol consumption can cause decreased testosterone production given you do it regularly.
Let’s uncover six effects of alcohol abuse on testosterone production.
1. Alcohol damages Leydig cells
Excessive drinking can harm the Leydig cells in the testes, a primary source of testosterone in men.
This damage disrupts the process of testosterone synthesis, leading to lower hormone levels.
2. Alcohol interferes with the release of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone
Alcohol interferes with the release of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone—a regulator of the reproductive axis—from the hypothalamus.
GnRH is crucial for stimulating the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which, in turn, regulate testosterone production.
3. Alcohol increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol
Heavy alcohol consumption triggers an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone.
Elevated cortisol levels can suppress testosterone synthesis and reduce blood testosterone levels.
4. Alcohol produces ethanol, which can cause impaired testosterone production
Ethanol and acetaldehyde, two byproducts of alcohol metabolism, can directly and indirectly damage testosterone-producing cells in the testes.
Besides ethanol suppressing the release of GnRH, it also reduces the synthesis of active oxygen radicals, which consequently damages testosterone.
5. Alcohol elevates estrogen levels
Alcohol slows the breakdown of estrogen in the liver, which consequently causes an increase in estrogen levels in men. An increase in estrogen levels directly decreases testosterone.
6. Alcohol impairs liver function
The liver is important for metabolizing multiple endocrine hormones.
Alcohol abuse can impair liver function, affecting the metabolism and clearance of hormones, including testosterone.
This, in turn, may lead to compromised testosterone levels in the body.
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone Levels
Increasing testosterone levels can be done naturally. Here are some ways you can increase testosterone levels and get your body back into shape:
- Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, including both cardiovascular exercises and strength training. Resistance exercises like weightlifting can specifically boost testosterone levels.
- Get Sufficient Sleep: Prioritize quality sleep and aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep each night. Poor sleep patterns can disrupt hormone regulation and can lead to lower testosterone levels.
- Manage Stress: Implement stress-reducing techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Chronic stress can increase cortisol levels, which negatively impacts testosterone production.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Include nutrient-rich foods in your diet, such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Adequate intake of zinc, vitamin D, and healthy fats can be especially ideal for testosterone production.
Besides the aforementioned treatments, stop heavy drinking and seek out a specialist like an endocrinologist to get treated.
They’ll have the expertise and resources to improve your hormone health and lower your alcohol dependence.
Overcome Testosterone Imbalances at Atlanta, Georgia’s Top Men’s Health Clinic
Drinking alcohol may be fun, but it’s terrible for your short-term and long-term health.
While you may feel nothing now, the harmful effects of alcohol misuse can cause you to suffer symptoms that may be hard to treat in the future.
Experiencing medical health issues now? We can help.
The medical professionals at Priority Men’s Medical Center offer a wide range of male health treatments, from ED treatment and PE treatment to andropause treatment. We also offer customized health services for men to reclaim the life they deserve.
Interested? Contact us today for a free consultation.