Most of us love a few beers or a cheeky glass of wine, right? I mean, what harm can it do to de-stress at the end of a hard day?
There is abundant medical research on the impact of alcohol consumption on the body, particularly on its relationship with testosterone. Unfortunately, it does not make for good reading if you’re partial to substantial alcohol consumption.
In this article, we will walk you through just exactly what these health issues can be.
Key Takeaways: The Facts About Alcohol and Testosterone
How Bad Is Alcohol for Testosterone?.
In short, the answer is pretty bad all around . If you have low testosterone issues, reducing your alcohol consumption is one of the best things you can do.
To help boost testosterone naturally and improve overall well-being, you can decrease the amount of alcohol you drink and make changes to your diet.
Short Term Effects
A couple of drinks in your alcohol metabolism are not likely to cause a problem. In fact, testosterone levels may even rise slightly after a drink or two .
Light or moderate alcohol intake causes a slight drop in testosterone levels but without many of the associated health problems . This is classed as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for adult men.
Long Term Effects
The long-term effects of alcohol abuse are pretty severe and frightening. The impact on sexual health can be quite damaging and long-lasting.
People with heavy alcohol consumption issues can suffer from heart disease, bone loss, cell damage, reduced sexual function (sperm production), erectile dysfunction or erection problems, and a loss of muscle mass .
To help alleviate the loss of muscle mass, an excellent way to increase testosterone naturally is with exercise.
What Does Heavy Drinking Do to Testosterone?
Alcohol abuse can reduce or stop the production of testosterone altogether. So, why is this a problem?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and in men is bound up intimately with sexual health . Long-term alcoholism has been found to damage these cells, therefore reducing the body’s ability to produce testosterone.
Drinking heavily is classed at four or five drinks in a short period of time. If you drink more than 15 drinks a week for men or eight a week for women, you are also entering the danger zone .
Does Alcohol Decrease Sperm Too?
The answer to this is yes, unfortunately. Testosterone stimulates the testes to make sperm. Low testosterone levels mean a lower sperm count and poor sperm development along with possible erectile dysfunction  .
Why Does Alcohol Lower Testosterone?
Alcohol impairs the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) which in turn triggers the production of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormones (LH) .
These two hormones stimulate the testes to synthesize testosterone . The greater your drinking, the greater the effect on the endocrine system, and the lower the amount of testosterone is produced.
Alcohol also disrupts your sleeping patterns. Sleep poverty causes a rise in cortisol which damages testosterone. A good way to increase testosterone naturally is to make sure you have adequate sleep.
Will Testosterone Increase After Quitting Drinking?
Your testosterone levels should rebound quite quickly after quitting the drink. How fast, however, depends on your previous intake.
If you had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) with alcohol addiction recovery, it will be longer than with low or moderate drinking.
Abstaining for as little as a few weeks allows your body to recover from the effects of the alcohol and increase hormone production. Testosterone should start to rise naturally, back towards normal levels .
A natural and healthy way to boost your flagging testosterone levels is with supplementation. There are many popular over-the-counter natural testosterone boosters such as Testogen.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Testosterone?
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a treatment option if your own body can not make enough testosterone. This usually only happens after seeking professional medical advice.
You can not usually have TRT while drinking heavily as the effect of the alcohol negates the result of the therapy .
Does Alcohol Affect Testosterone Shots?
Yes, alcohol does affect testosterone shots, and not in a good way. Even moderate drinking will make your TRT less effective.
Most doctors will provide medical advice prior to treatment, recommending that you reduce or eliminate alcohol if you are embarking on a course of TRT. Otherwise, it will undermine the effectiveness of the treatment.
Can You Drink Beer on Testosterone?
You can drink beer while you are taking testosterone, but it is not a good idea. Beer is one food or drink that can contain the estrogen-increasing chemical phytoestrogen .
Phytoestrogen can have a negative effect on testosterone and, as such, will reduce the efficacy of your TRT.
Alcohol Abuse Resources
If you have a chronic drinking problem, there are many ways to reach out and get help. Below is a list of groups or individuals who offer a number of treatment options:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
- Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits.
- See your GP or medical health practitioner.
- Psychologist or psychiatrist.
- Alcohol counselor.
- Medicare and Medicaid.
Have a quick look through our FAQ section to see if we have answered your query about the relationship between alcohol and T levels.
What Is the Possible Impact of Alcohol on Male Hormones?
Alcohol and testosterone do not have a good relationship. Here is a quick list to run through alcohol’s effects on you and your hormone levels;
- Alcohol damages the male reproductive system.
- Excessive drinking stops the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
- GnRH triggers testosterone production.
- Alcohol causes liver damage. In men, this causes a rise in estrogen levels.
- Liver damage in women causes dangerously elevated levels of testosterone.
- Drinking heavily causes a rise in cortisol. Cortisol leads to lower testosterone levels .
Does Alcohol Increase Testosterone Levels?
Yes. Strangely enough, the first and second drinks you have will lead to temporarily increased testosterone levels.
Be aware, though, that this spike in the amount is a short-lived effect. Any additional drinking will cause your T levels to fall.
Does Beer Boost Testosterone?
No, it does the opposite. Alcohol depresses testosterone production. In addition, beer is made from hops and barley. Both contain phytoestrogen and prolactin . These are two chemicals linked to an increase in estrogen levels.
This is a problem as raised estrogen levels can actively reduce testosterone levels. This is not good if you have low testosterone already.
How Many Beers Does It Take to Lower Testosterone?
Studies have shown that moderate drinking leads to slightly reduced testosterone levels in men. Any further rise in consumption levels comes with a commensurate reduction in hormone levels.
If you have more than five drinks in two hours or more than 15 drinks a week (men) or eight drinks a week (women), then you are in danger of possible long-term damage.
You can take steps to remedy this just by simply altering your diet to boost testosterone naturally.
Does Wine Reduce Testosterone Levels?
Wine contains the estrogen-increasing chemical phytoestrogen, just like beer . An increase in estrogen levels can reduce testosterone in men.
We don’t want to take away all your fun, but like most things in life, it is a case of everything by degrees.
Having a few drinks here and there will cause no long-lasting harm. The problem is when people start drinking to excess. The long-term health effects of AUD are well known, particularly the effect it has on testosterone.
It’s possible to boost testosterone naturally by altering your diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising. You can still enjoy a beer or wine, just don’t enjoy it every day. All things in moderation is the key!
- Brick, J. (2004). Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse. In J. Brick (Ed.), Handbook of the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse (pp. 7–47). Haworth Press.
- Jensen TK, Swan S, Jørgensen N, Toppari J, Redmon B, Punab M, Drobnis EZ, Haugen TB, Zilaitiene B, Sparks AE, Irvine DS, Wang C, Jouannet P, Brazil C, Paasch U, Salzbrunn A, Skakkebæk NE, Andersson AM. Alcohol and male reproductive health: a cross-sectional study of 8344 healthy men from Europe and the USA. Hum Reprod. 2014 Aug;29(8):1801-9. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu118. Epub 2014 Jun 3. PMID: 24893607; PMCID: PMC4093992.
- Duca, Y., Aversa, A., Condorelli, R. A., Calogero, A. E., & La Vignera, S. (2019). Substance Abuse and Male Hypogonadism. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(5), 732. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8050732
- Tyagi, V., Scordo, M., Yoon, R. S., Liporace, F. A., & Greene, L. W. (2017). Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something?. Reviews in urology, 19(1), 16–24. https://doi.org/10.3909/riu0716
- “Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 May 2021, www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm.
- Van Heertum, K., & Rossi, B. (2017). Alcohol and fertility: how much is too much?. Fertility research and practice, 3, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40738-017-0037-x
- Ricci, E., Al Beitawi, S., Cipriani, S., Candiani, M., Chiaffarino, F., Viganò, P., Noli, S., & Parazzini, F. (2017). Semen quality and alcohol intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Reproductive biomedicine online, 34(1), 38–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2016.09.012
- Marc Walter, Urs Gherhard, Manfred Gerlach, Heinz-Gerd Weijers, Jobst Boening, Gerhard A. Wiesbeck, Controlled study on the combined effect of alcohol STUDY ON and tobacco smoking on testosterone in alcohol-dependent men, Alcohol and Alcoholism, Volume 42, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 19–23, https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agl089
- Gavaler JS. Alcoholic beverages as a source of estrogens. Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):220-7. PMID: 15706799; PMCID: PMC6761902.
- Brownlee, K. K., Moore, A. W., & Hackney, A. C. (2005). Relationship between circulating cortisol and testosterone: influence of physical exercise. Journal of sports science & medicine, 4(1), 76–83.