Heavy Drinking Will Lower Your Testosterone Levels. Beware Male Breast Enlargement, Testicular Atrophy...
There is something supposedly masculine about heavy drinking. Drinking being something that guys do. That sharing a case of beers while watching a few ball games is a manly endeavor, and that fishing trips must be male bonding and liquor soaked affairs.
The somewhat ironic aspect of this masculinization of alcohol consumption is that alcohol consumption on a chronic basis actually contributes to a lessening in testosterone levels and sexual reproductive capability.
The Impact of Alcohol on Testosterone
Although acute drinking seems to cause a quick spike in testosterone plasma levels (which might account for drunken aggression and sexual desire) a single binge drinking session will result in a decrease in basal testosterone levels in the body for up to 24 ours after the fact (While also boosting levels of the hormone cortisol…muscle builders beware!)
Chronic drinking can result in a serious degradation of testosterone in the body, and can induce some serious hormonally linked changes.
Low testosterone levels in men are associated with:
- Male breast enlargement
- Lower percentages of lean muscle and more body fat
- Smaller testes
- Decreased sexual ability and desire
- Decreased fertility (a reduction in sperm count and sperm structure and functioning)
Lab tests examining the impact of chronic drinking on testosterone levels have found that as little as 5 days of consecutive binge drinking will cause a lingering fall in testosterone in the body.
So while social norms may seem to demand heavy drinking in certain male focused environments, heavy drinking actually reduces the maleness of those selfsame participants!
Women are also affected by the hormonal destruction of alcohol. Alcoholic women may not menstruate regularly and are less fertile. Alcohol abuse can also spark an early menopause.
Moderate social drinking is very unlikely to prompt a real reduction in hormonal levels, but men concerned about their "maleness" and concerned about their sexual functioning, fertility and appearance might do well to limit their consumption at a moderate level.
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