Health

Does Alcohol Raise Estrogen?

Alcohol isn’t good for you. 

We don’t really need to tell you that!

But few men really care a great deal about the harmful effects of alcohol. It’s such a big part of western culture that we tend to just ignore the damage done by alcohol.

Chances are, you enjoy drinking alcohol, and you do it regularly. You probably have a beer now and then, the odd glass of wine with dinner, and every once in a while you might go out and get drunk. None of this really bothers you because you don’t care what alcohol does to your kidneys. Like most men, you just leave that for future you to deal with. Sound familiar?

Well, what if we told you that alcohol doesn’t just make you fat and give you liver disease?

What if we told you that alcohol drastically reduces testosterone levels in otherwise healthy men?

What would you say if you found out that alcohol inhibits protein metabolism, stimulates fat accumulation n the worst places, and makes it very difficult to gain muscle?

Well, according to some studies, alcohol does all of these things and more. Let’s take a look at a few of these studies and see if alcohol is really as bad as it sounds.

 


Studies – Does Alcohol Increase Estrogen?

It’s pointless theorising about alcohol and hormone levels. Many articles make big statements about alcohol, often to suit their pre-decided point, but we do things differently. Let’s dive right into the studies to see what kind of effect alcohol has on our hormones. 

The relationship between alcohol and estrogen levels seems to have first come to our attention after the discovery of phytoestrogens. 

Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like substances found naturally in pretty much all plants. Now, some people claim (or rather assume) that phytoestrogens act like estrogen in the human body. The logic goes that these phytoestrogens are structurally similar to estrogen, so they will interact with the same estrogen receptors. They will therefore have similar effects in the body as would exogenous estrogen. 

This isn’t quite true in practice. Phytoestrogens are not estrogen, so they do not have the same effects as estrogen. It’s also true that different plants contain different quantities of phytoestrogens, and it is rare for a plant to contain enough to be of concern. 

However, we have seen at least one peer-reviewed paper stating that “congeners present in alcoholic beverages can produce measurable estrogenic effects, even at moderate drinking levels”. The congeners the study is referring to here are phytoestrogens. 

Other studies have similarly observed a rise in estrogen levels following the consumption of alcohol. Trials like this one looked at post-menopausal women, which doesn’t map exactly onto young, healthy men. But the principle is very much the same; alcohol is consumed, and the free serum estrogen levels of the subject go up. 

It does also seem like phytoestrogens are the main reason for this effect.

 


Which Alcohol Increases Estrogen The Most?

It looks as though the phytoestrogens in the plants we use to make alcohol end up in the finished product. 

But if the phytoestrogens are coming from the plants, and not simply from ethanol itself, then wouldn’t different alcoholic drinks have different phytoestrogen content?

YES!

Different alcoholic drinks do seem to have vastly different phytoestrogen levels, which means that they will have wildly different effects on the body. 

So which drink has the biggest impact on estrogen levels? Which form of alcohol raises estrogen the most?

We’re sure you already know…

 

Beer raises estrogen more than any other drink

Of all the drinks you might regularly consume at the bar, beer has far and away the biggest impact on estrogen levels. 

This is due to the hops used in the manufacturing of beer. Studies have found that hops have an absolutely enormous phytoestrogen content. As this paper points out, there is a particular phytoestrogen in beer called 8-prenylnaringenin. This stuff is extremely potent, having “an activity greater than other established plant estrogens. The estrogenic activity of this compound was reflected in its relative binding affinity to estrogen receptors from rat uteri.”

So it isn’t just that beer contains lots of phytoestrogens. It’s that it contains a particularly powerful phytoestrogen known to be extremely active at the estrogen receptors. 

This makes perfect sense. 

Nothing causes man boobs as quickly or as reliably as man boobs – except maybe estrogen injections! The growth of man boobs has even been given the name “brewer’s droop” because of how much of an effect hops have on the human physiology. 

If you want to stay lean, muscular and sexually virile, then it might be a good idea to knock the beer on the head, if not stop drinking altogether!

 

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