Beer and Testosterone

Beer and Testosterone
Beer and testosterone – the two really don’t go together.  I’ve always thought it ironic that beer is one of the most popular beverages with males worldwide, since it is so decidedly anti-testosterone.  Other than a nice, big glass of grapefruit juice, I can’t imagine any everyday beverage harder on the hormones.

NEWS FLASH: There was a recent study that showed that beer consumption post-workout (weight lifting) increased testosterone levels (free and total) by about 20 percent. [5] This should be interpreted with great care as a number of past studies have shown that alcohol consumption is hard on muscle recovery and repair. It is interesting, though, because yet another recent study found that alcohol reduces arterial stiffness, which is a problem (potentially) associated with weight lifting that I discuss in my page on Weight Lifting and Your Arteries. [6] A more natural solution in my opinion is to cardio after lifting weights to “de-stiffen” your arteries.

There’s no sign of consumption dropping:  there are a good 10 billion bottles of the stuff consumed worldwide annually and no sign of that diminishing any time soon.

Here’s five reasons to avoid or limit your intake of your next brewski:

1. 8-PN. 8-Prenylnaringenin (8-PN) in hops is such a potent phytoestrogen that it has been reproted to reduce menopausal hot flashes! [1] This study points out that some women who pick hops by hand have menstrual disturbances (from the estrogens) and used it to reduce the skin temperative in rats, i.e. anti-hot-flash.  Furthermore, other researchers expressed concern about the unrestricted concern about the unrestricted use of hops in herbal preparations for women because of 8-PN’s “very high estrogen activity”. [2]  (I knew there was a reason I liked tequila.)

2. Xanthohumol. This compound in beer has researchers excited:  it has potent anticancer properties.  Unfortunatly, it also blocks testosterone. [3]

3. Estrogen. Ethanol in beer or any other alcoholic beverage will slow down the P45 enzyme system in the liver allowing estrogen to stay in your system much longer.  And the more estrogen, in general, the less testosterone.  See my link on Alcohol Consumption for more details.

4. Testes. Alcohol also lower testosterone levels in the testes yourself.  [4]  In other words, it goes directly after the engine of your testosterone production.  If that’s not hitting below the belt, I don’t know what is.

5. Weight Gain.  They don’t call it a “beer gut” for no reason.  Those extra few hundred calories every day add up and, next thing you know, you’ve got a nice big spare tire around your middle that is associated with reduced testosterone levels.

I know beer consumption is religious for a lot of guys, but “eyes wide open” I always say…


1) Journal of Endocrinology, 2006, 191:399-405, “The hop phytoestrogen, 8-prenylnaringenin, reverses the ovariectomy-induced rise in skin temperature in an animal model of menopausal hot flushes”

2) J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2000 Dec, 85(12):4912-5, “The endocrine activities of 8-prenylnaringenin and related hop (Humulus lupulus L.) flavonoids”


4) Biochem J, 1983 January 15, 210(1): 29 36, “Inhibition of testosterone biosynthesis by ethanol. Relation to hepatic and testicular acetaldehyde, ketone bodies and cytosolic redox state in rats”

5) Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2013 Sep, 45(9):1825-32, “Postresistance exercise ethanol ingestion and acute testosterone bioavailability”

6) Nutrition, Sep 2013, 29(9):1122-1126, “Acute effects of beer on endothelial function and hemodynamics: A single-blind, crossover study in healthy volunteers”

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