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The Impact of Alcohol on Testosterone

We have all been there – it’s been a long stressful day, the sun is setting, and you reach for that glass of wine, beer, or pour of whiskey.  Just one sip and you start feeling the relaxation go through your body.  Excuse me while I go pour a glass…

Everyone has their vice of choice and we don’t judge or endorse any of them.  We just want you to be educated about how your choices effect your health.

Aside from the obvious immediate and short-term effects, how are your alcoholic drinks impacting your health and fitness goals? Specifically, how are these drinks impacting your testosterone? 

There seems to be a new study every week telling us something different about the positive and negative impacts of alcohol on our health.

Here are a few of the discussed effects:

  • Alcohol lowers testosterone
  • Alcohol increases estrogen
  • Moderate drinking can help relieve stress and improve blood flow
  • Alcohol ruins your restful, deep sleep

So how do you figure out what is fact, what is fiction, or if the research is going to change like it often does?  Oh, and who is funding the research and what is their relationship with this huge industry?  All great questions. 

Below is what we have found with our research regarding how alcohol impacting testosterone for both men and women.  The other health concerns surrounding alcohol would have to be another blog post!

First, here are a few definitions:

  • Testosterone is a hormone both men and women produce that the body uses for sex drive & libido, muscle formation, bone mass & density, metabolism, fat distribution, and brain health
  • Moderate drinking = 1-2 alcoholic beverages per day (12oz beer, 4oz wine, 1.5oz alcohol)
  • Excessive drinking = 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day

Alcohol’s Impact on Testosterone

First, most studies show that moderate drinking (1-2 drinks per day) has little impact on our overall health and testosterone levels.  Now everyone is different, and your body reacts uniquely to the foods and drinks you consume, so listen to your body and how you feel.  Also, alcohol is a bunch of empty calories, so if you do choose to indulge, just monitor how this will impact your daily caloric needs. 

Moderate drinking seems to be okay, but excessive drinking (3 or more drinks per day) is where the wheels seem to fall off.  Not only do you need to question whether you have a drinking dependency issue, but your health will be impacted negatively.  Here are a few of the concerns we found:

  • Beer and wine contain chemicals that have been shown to increase estrogen – especially beers with high levels of hops. Hops are very estrogenic - meaning IPA’s are some of the worst offenders! The problem with high estrogen is that it is a storage hormone.  Meaning, with high levels of estrogen, you will find it very hard to loose fat and maintain a lean body.
  • Excessive drinking negatively impacts the endocrine system (hormone system)
    • For men it has been shown to lower testosterone – AND no one wants a man with low T!!!
    • For women it has been shown to increase testosterone – prolonged raised testosterone levels in women lead to the development of masculine features!
  • Excessive drinking negatively impacts REM sleep – this is the restful, deep sleep cycle where the most benefits of sleep come from

Bottom line: If you choose to drink alcohol, try to do it responsibly.  Keep it to one glass instead of finishing the bottle.

 

Sources:

https://www.bostonmedicalgroup.com/alcohol-and-low-testosterone-excessive-drinking-can-lower-testosterone/

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dr-mike-hart/low-testosterone-levels_b_3486961.html

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/is-drinking-alcohol-bad-for-hormone-balance

 

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