The Dangers of Binge Drinking
I've never felt compelled to write a page about what alcoholism does. It seems pointless.
knows it is very hard on the body and brain, so I would just be stating the obvious. But what may not be so obvious are the evils of so-called "binge drinking."
Many men will drink heavily on a weekend night or two figuring that they "have the
rest of weekend to recover." The problem is that you don't
really recover. Sure the hangover goes away. And, yes, you feel fine in 24-48 hours. But, unbeknowst to
most people, damage is accumulating. And, if you binge drink repeatedly,
it can take its toll.
It turns out that binge drinking has actually been quite heavily studied.
And the reason undoubtedly is that it is so hard on the body. They even have
technical definitions for it, which usually is five or more drinks on one
occasion (for men).
Below are eight nasty effects that result from binge drinking and, as you'll
see, these attack everything you hold near and dear as a man:
1. Testosterone. One study gave 1.5 grams of alcohol per kg of body weight
during a three hour period to young men in their early to mid 20's.  Now,
admittedly, that is quite a bit of alcohol, but the results are instructive
nonetheless and mimics what a lot of guys consume in a drinking contest or on a
night with certain friends. Let's take the typical 180 lb man. Those 180 pounds are
about 81 kg and so he would need to consume about 122 grams of ethanol to match
the dose in this study. In
the U.S. that would be about 8.7 "standard drinks", or almost nine 12
oz beers. Now that's a lot of beer - at least for this cowboy - but
certainly not totally unrealistic.
And let's look at what happened to the testosterone levels of these young men.
The researchers took measurements every four hours and found that testosterone
decreased on average by 23% with the nadir occurring between 10 and 16 hours
This means that testosterone will be significantly suppressed for about 24 hours
in most of these men. Another study found that the men with hangover symptoms
had the most profound decreases in testosterone and found that "ten to twenty
hours after drinking, the testosterone concentrations were significantly
decreased in all subjects." 
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2. Growth Hormone. The same study found that "ethanol profoundly suppressed
the pulsatile secretion of growth hormone."  So forget anything worthwhile
coming out of your gym time the next day with testosterone and growth hormone
3. Heart Disease. Research shows that this kind of "drinking
in bursts" can lead to heart
disease. One study found that "binge drinking increased the risk of
coronary heart disease in both men (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.26, 95% confidence
interval (CI): 1.22, 4.20) and women (HR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.18)." 
Now this is not that much of an increase for females, but notice that it more
than doubled th risk for men.
4. Arteriosclerosis and Hardening of the Arteries. One interesting study
followed young people for 15 years. It was found, in general, that the
more alcohol consumed, the greater the arteriosclerosis. However, the
authors made special note that "calcification was also more common among binge
drinkers (odds ratio = 2.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.6, 2.7). These
associations persisted after adjustment for potential confounders (age,
gender/ethnicity, income, physical activity, family history, body mass index,
smoking) and intermediary factors (lipids, blood pressure, glucose, C-reactive
protein, and fibrinogen)." 
5. . There is no study that shows binge drinking
to erectile dysfunction. However, if either #3 or #4 is true, then it very
likely does affect hardness factor and bedroom performance. Almost
anything that affects the heart affects the penis after all.
Anti-Muscle. One study showed that consuming alcohol post-workout
sabotaged the best laid plans to put on muscle.  Their conclusion should
surprise no one: "it appears that alcohol intoxication interferes with the
testosterone response to resistance exercise workouts."
Permanent Weight Gain and HPA Axis Dysfunction. If you binge drink at a
young enough age, it can lead to permanent changes in your HPA Axis such that
you put on weight easier forever thereafter according to one study.  This
shows the very toxic nature of alcohol intoxication and animal studies show that
alcohol can actually alter one's epigenetics in many different tissues. 
8. Disrupted Sleep. Alcohol is a sedative and helps you sleep, right?
Yes, that's true, but what many men do not realize is that it acts like a
sedative for a couple of hours and then as stimulant later on the early morning
hours. For this reason, binge drinking is associated with shortened
sleep.  And sleep is one of your primary engines of testosterone. It
is during the early morning hours that the pituitary sends out pulses of
leutinizing hormone that then triggers testosterone production in the testes.
As I discuss in my link on Sleep and Testosterone, the
less the sleep, the less your testosterone.
9. Permanent Memory Damage. A recent study showed that binge drinking as a teen likely resulted in permanent loss of memory for the rest of one's life.  I doubt anyone was too surprised, since other studies have shown that it increases the risk of dementia as well.
CONCLUSION and COMMENTS: One comment that I have gotten on the Peak Testosterone Forum from time to time
is that men, after a significant of drinking, notice strong morning or next day
erections. This may be explained by the fact that alcohol is a vasoilator..
However, more is not always better and binge drinking is a great example of
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CAUSES: What would cause one to want to binge drink? I have asked
myself that question when I look back at my college days! Researchers have
found that, interestingly enough, as cortisol decrease, risky behaviors, i.e.
"sensation seeking" go up.  So there may be an underlying cause that has its
roots in the HPA axis.
1) Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Dec 1990,
14(6):928-931, "The Pulsatile Secretion of Gonadotropins and Growth Hormone, and
the Biological Activity of Luteinizing Hormone in Men Acutely Intoxicated with
2) Journal of Steroid Biochemistry, Nov 1974, 5(7):655–658, "Low plasma
testosterone values in men during hangover"
3) Am. J. Epidemiol. (2002) 155(3): 242-24, "Alcohol Volume, Drinking Pattern,
and Cardiovascular Disease Morbidity and Mortality: Is There a U-shaped
4) The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Feb 1 2002,
87(2):589-598, "Age Trends in the Level of Serum Testosterone and Other Hormones
in Middle-Aged Men: Longitudinal Results from the Massachusetts Male Aging
5) Strength & Conditioning Journal, Feb 2006, "Effect of Postexercise Alcohol
Consumption on Serum Testosterone: Brief Overview of Testosterone, Resistance
Exercise, and Alcohol"
6) "Alcohol Consumption, Binge Drinking, and Early Coronary Calcification:
Findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA)
7) AJP - Endo, February 1 2010, 298(2):E320-E328, "Binge-pattern alcohol exposure
during puberty induces sexually dimorphic changes in genes regulating the HPA
8) Alcohol and Alcoholism, March/April 2006, 41(2):126-132., "ACUTE IN VIVO
EFFECT OF ETHANOL (BINGE DRINKING) ON HISTONE H3 MODIFICATIONS IN RAT TISSUES"
9) Hormones and Behavior, Nov 2001, 40(1):396–402, "Sensation Seeking and
Hormones in Men and Women: Exploring the Link"
10) Am. J. Epidemiol, 2009, 169(9):1052-1063, "Sleep Duration in the United
States: A Cross-sectional Population-based Study"