Does drinking alcohol negatively affect a man’s testosterone levels?

Article at a Glance:

Important facts to remember about alcohol and testosterone include:

Testosterone is a primary sex hormone in men

Some responsibility of testosterone include sex drive, bone and muscle mass, and hair growth

Low levels of testosterone may influence depression, decreased bone and muscle mass, and low sex drive

Chronic and excessive alcohol use lowers testosterone levels

Moderate alcohol intake likely does not have the same effects on testosterone as heavy drinking does

Does Alcohol Lower Testosterone?

Excessive alcohol consumption and chronic alcohol abuse are associated with decreased testosterone levels. Various studies support this finding.

Some specific ways that alcohol affects testosterone levels include:

  • Alcohol damages Leydig cells in the testes which produce and secrete testosterone.
  • A coenzyme, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), is used for both alcohol metabolism and testosterone synthesis. When alcohol is consumed, NAD+ must help in metabolizing alcohol rather than synthesizing testosterone.
  • Drinking alcohol results in the release of certain endorphins. While these endorphins produce pleasant and relaxing feelings, they can also interfere with testosterone synthesis.
  • Alcohol can increase a stress hormone, called cortisol, which is known to decrease testosterone synthesis.
  • Alcohol may increase the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body.

Excessive drinking can interfere with testosterone production, but does moderate alcohol consumption have the same effects? In general, drinking one to two drinks occasionally should not have a major impact on testosterone levels. Moderate levels of alcohol consumption may have positive health benefits. However, drinking more will likely result in adverse effects including lower testosterone levels.

What is Testosterone & How It Affects Your Health

Maintaining appropriate testosterone levels throughout life is essential for physical, mental and sexual health. However, various lifestyle choices, including alcohol abuse, can affect the male reproductive system and testosterone levels.

In general, excessive alcohol consumption decreases testosterone.

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men. It is responsible for functions like sex drive, hair growth, and bone and muscle development. Testosterone levels vary throughout life. While testosterone levels are highest during puberty and early adulthood, the levels begin to decline around age 30 naturally. Low testosterone levels have been associated with depression, decreased bone and muscle mass, and low sex drive.

If you’re concerned about your alcohol consumption, don’t wait to get help. The Recovery Village has comprehensive alcohol rehab programs at accredited facilities across the country. Call us today to learn more about which program could meet your needs.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

Wein, Harrison. “Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men.” National Institutes of Health, published on September 23, 2013. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Solan, Matthew. “Treating Low Testosterone Levels.” Harvard Health Publishing, published December 31, 2017. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Cleveland Clinic. “Low testosterone (male hypogonadism).” Published on April 10, 2018. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Emanuele, Mary; Emanuele, Nicholas. “Alcohol and the Male Reproductive System.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, (n.d.). Accessed March 30, 2019.

Emanuele, Mary; Emanuele, Nicholas. “Alcohol’s Effects on Male Reproduction.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, published 1998. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Sierksma, A, et al. “Effect of Moderate Alcohol Consumption o[…]d Intervention Study.” The U.S. National Library of Medicine, published in May 2004. Accessed March 30, 2019.

The Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol: Weighing risks and potential benefits.” Published on November 6, 2018. Accessed March 30, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.