Does Alcohol Kill Testosterone?

Does Alcohol Kill Testosterone?

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Men can significantly lower their testosterone levels by drinking alcohol. The effects of alcohol on testosterone increase with heavy drinking. Alcohol decreases the production of NAD+, the enzyme responsible for producing testosterone in the liver. Additionally, alcohol increases the stress hormone cortisol, which destroys testosterone. Lastly, chronic heavy drinking disrupts the normal sleep cycle and reduces testosterone levels.

Read on to learn more.

Endorphins interfere with the body's ability to synthesize testosterone

Alcohol and chronic alcohol abuse are both linked to decreased testosterone levels. Alcohol damages the Leydig cells, which are responsible for testosterone synthesis. It also inhibits the synthesis of testosterone by increasing the production of endorphins. Alcohol consumption also increases the stress hormone cortisol, which reduces testosterone synthesis and increases the production of estrogen. Excess alcohol consumption also leads to impaired sleep.

Naturalistic studies of hormone mechanisms may help unravel the evolutionary history of the hormones. The mechanisms by which the hormones work were likely tweaked over time to provide benefits for our fitness. It is believed that the hormones helped men increase their reproductive success during times of hunting. Oxytocin has been linked to muscle regeneration, but more research is needed to clarify their role. Endorphins may have a social and regenerative function as well as a fitness benefit.

Exercise boosts testosterone levels. Studies have shown that men who exercise have higher testosterone levels. Regular exercise also naturally boosts testosterone levels, although too much exercise can have negative consequences. Alcohol and chronic stress both increase cortisol levels, which make it difficult for hormones to pass through central pathways and suppress reproductive hormone secretion. Both alcohol and chronic stress lower NAD+, a coenzyme essential to testosterone production.

Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption does damage the testes, which produce testosterone. Within 72 hours of alcohol consumption, testosterone levels are lower than usual. This is because alcohol inhibits the enzymes responsible for converting testosterone precursors into active form. This leads to an increase in testosterone metabolism and a decline in testosterone levels.

Refined carbohydrates hinder enzymes that form testosterone

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In August 1939, Butenandt and Hanisch developed the chemical synthesis of testosterone from cholesterol. They shared the 1939 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery. They named the hormone 17b-hydroxyandrost-4-en-3-one, or T, a solid polycyclic alcohol containing a hydroxyl group on the 17th carbon atom. The compound has multiple biological functions, including its role in sperm maturation.

Stress causes testosterone levels to drop

High stress causes a person's body to produce less testosterone, which can have adverse effects on the rest of the body. High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, can inhibit testosterone production, as well as other hormones. In fact, too much cortisol in the body can increase the risk of heart disease and weight gain. A person with low testosterone should consider eating healthier foods, drinking less alcohol and exercising often to restore hormone levels and lower the risks associated with low testosterone.

Testosterone helps promote hair growth, bone density, mood, muscle size, and weight management, among other benefits. 

Studies have shown that the effects of acute stress on testosterone levels vary among men and women. Moreover, the effects of stress on testosterone levels were not limited to men: one study involved adolescents with anxiety disorder. There were no significant differences between the two groups. Further, the effects of stress on the testosterone levels were not investigated in men with BPD and PTSD. However, the findings suggest that testosterone levels may play a role in mental disorders associated with stress.

Other studies have found a relationship between low testosterone and mood swings in men. A study published in 2014 found that men with low testosterone levels were also more likely to develop symptoms of depression. The researchers assessed stress levels using a stress questionnaire. They also found an association between low testosterone and aggressive behavior. It is a very powerful connection between stress and psychiatric disorders.


Heavy alcohol consumption increases estrogen levels in the body, which has the opposite effect of testosterone.

If your estrogen level is high, this means that you're suffering from a condition called hypogonadism. It's important to note that testosterone and estrogen are related. While testosterone is responsible for a man's sexual desire, low levels affect both the emotional and physical aspects of sex.

High estrogen levels in men can lead to fatigue, depression, and even mood changes. 

Next Steps

The best way to reverse the damage to the testes is to stop drinking alcohol. It may take months or even years to completely recover. However, it may be necessary for further research to find out whether your hormone levels are permanently damaged.

To help your body recover from alcohol addiction, you should make a lifestyle change and avoid junk food. Exercise and a balanced diet will help your body produce the right amount of hormones. It will also help if you get enough sleep.


In addition to reducing your levels of testosterone, alcohol can also affect the function of other brain hormones and interfere with testosterone production. Alcohol also lowers NAD+, an enzyme responsible for testosterone production in the liver.

Drinking alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and stress hormone cortisol, which destroy testosterone. Chronic excessive drinking is also harmful to your sleep cycle. To conclude, alcohol use negatively impacts your testosterone levels. This is a problem in both men and women.


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