Drinking too much alcohol can affect your health in many ways, but does alcohol affect testosterone levels?
Excessive alcohol consumption impacts long and short-term changes to the hormones in your body. Understanding these effects and how you can prevent and treat low testosterone can help you feel your best.
What is Testosterone
Testosterone is the dominate male sex hormone, but both men and women produce it; just in very different quantities. Testosterone helps men cultivate their masculine features and helps grow muscles and bones. It is important for men to have healthy levels of testosterone to feel their best.
Low testosterone can lead to a lot of health problems for men. You may start to experience erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, or infertility. Women also need some levels of testosterone although those levels are lower than in men. If women do not have the testosterone they need, they may start to experience low sex drive and brittle bones.
How Alcohol Affects Testosterone Levels
Now that we know the importance of testosterone, we should look at how alcohol affects testosterone levels. There are three different glands in your body that you need for testosterone production. The hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, and testes all play an important role.
The hypothalamus releases the hormone GnRH which then activates your anterior pituitary gland. The anterior pituitary gland then releases two hormones: LH and FSH. These move to the testes which then produce testosterone. Alcohol can interfere with one or all of these glands and halt or slow down testosterone production.
Alcohol's Long-Term Effects on Testosterone
Consuming a lot of alcohol will cause long-term troubles for your testosterone levels. People who drink heavily typically see poor testicular function in higher frequency levels than those who do not drink as much alcohol. Heavy drinking typically means more than 15 drinks in a week’s time for a man or more than eight for a woman in the same time frame.
Men who are heavy drinkers often notice a lower libido, lower testosterone levels, and problems with erectile dysfunction. Drinking heavily over a long period of time causes damage to your Leydig cells in the testes which produce testosterone. It can also inhibit the production of the necessary hormones in the other glands which trigger the production of testosterone.
While they can all be linked to heavy drinking, moderate alcohol consumption doesn’t seem to cause the same problems. Moderate consumption is no more than two drinks in a day for a man or one for a woman.
Alcohol's Short-Term Effects on Testosterone
While the long-term effects are troublesome, there are also short-term effects you will want to avoid as well. Testosterone production can be limited temporarily as alcohol consumption will work against your hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Research shows this can cause a drop in your testosterone levels in only half an hour after drinking alcohol.
Alcohol's Effect on Fertility
Alcohol can have a very damaging effect on your sperm and fertility levels. The Sertoli cells in your testes are needed to produce healthy and mature sperm. Alcohol impairs the Sertoli cells and diminishes your ability to conceive.
Testosterone and FSH both contribute to the development of sperm called spermatogenesis. Disrupting these hormones disrupts the process of making and maturing sperm. Spermatogenic arrest refers to an interruption in the development of sperm that will lead to a lower concentration of sperm in semen.
A staggering percentage of men who are heavy drinkers have spermatogenic arrest when compared to men who are not heavy drinkers. Those men who drink more also typically had smaller testicles.
In addition to the maturation of sperm, heavy drinking can also affect semen volume and sperm morphology. The quality of semen will greatly hinder your ability to conceive. Some research even shows that men who drink heavily before fertilization can put their future baby at risk for birth defects in the same way women can put a baby at risk by drinking when pregnant.
To learn more about the impact of Alcohol on Testosterone, read the article:
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
You may notice that you have low testosterone in a variety of ways. Some symptoms may include low libido, depression, lethargy, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. You may also notice a loss of body or facial hair, loss of muscle mass, and the development of breasts. Some men see a loss of bone mass, hot flashes, and poor concentration.
If you suspect you may have low testosterone, you should talk to your doctor who can run bloodwork and tests to confirm this suspicion or find another cause for your symptoms. You should talk to your doctor about all your concerns and symptoms so he or she can get a full view of your health concerns.
How to Recover From Low Testosterone Naturally
If you have low levels of testosterone, then you may be looking for ways to reverse this problem. You have seen all the health problems and have low energy, and you want your life back. That is understandable, and there are things you can do to get your life back.
You can start by talking to your doctor and working with him or her to create a plan. Cutting down your alcohol consumption will help you get your hormone glands back on track. Stopping alcohol can help your symptoms, but how much it helps will depend on how much you drink and how long you have been a heavy drinker.
Some research shows that the effects can be partially reversible after 10 weeks of eliminating alcohol from your diet. Each person is different, so the results you see will vary. Coupling this with a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, avoiding junk food, and exercising regularly can also help. Make sure you are getting enough sleep as well, as that also will promote healthy hormone production.