Drinking alcohol in small and occasional amounts may increase testosterone production. However, larger or more frequent amounts of alcohol consumption can have the reverse effect.

Alcohol consumption may also reduce sperm counts, although the research on this topic is unclear.

This article details alcohol’s effects on testosterone and related topics. It also explores the symptoms of low testosterone and how someone can manage this. Finally, it looks at the effects of alcohol on sperm production and how to reduce alcohol intake.

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According to a 2023 review, alcohol consumption can reduce testosterone production. This can occur when an individual drinks alcohol more heavily, especially if they do so chronically. However, occasional and light to moderate drinking may actually cause an increase in testosterone production.

Additionally, evidence suggests genetics can play a large role in this process.

A 2022 study looked at the effects of alcohol consumption on the testosterone levels of Korean men. Some of these men experience a flush when drinking alcohol, and this phenomenon has a genetic origin. The study found that heavy drinkers who flush had lower testosterone levels than nondrinkers.

However, the study could not find a meaningful difference in the testosterone levels of nondrinkers and people who do not flush, regardless of how much they drink. There seems to be a genetic link between flushing and low testosterone levels in Korean men who drink alcohol.

Learn about the effects alcohol has on health.

According to a 2022 review, there is evidence that drinking alcohol in moderate to high amounts can reduce sperm concentration, motility, and DNA fragmentation levels. Sperm motility refers to the ability of the sperm to move efficiently.

However, the review authors note major differences in the design of the relevant studies. This makes it very difficult to draw conclusions from them, as scientists cannot easily compare and assess the results of these studies. For this reason, the authors state the need for more research on this topic.

Read about typical sperm count.

Although lower testosterone levels can cause no symptoms, some individuals may develop noticeable signs of low testosterone. Some scientists define clinically low testosterone levels as being less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood. However, others may define this differently.

Low testosterone can lead to the following symptoms:

  • reduced sexual desire
  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • fewer spontaneous erections
  • smaller testes
  • loss of body hair
  • being less fertile
  • reduced bone mass
  • decreased energy and motivation
  • depression
  • memory, concentration, and sleep issues
  • reduced muscle mass
  • increased body fat
  • reduced strength or endurance

These symptoms may be present at different times.

Learn more about low testosterone.

Scientists have conducted much research on how to reverse alcohol-related low testosterone. However, generic treatments for low testosterone could help those whose alcohol consumption has affected their testosterone production.

According to a 2020 paper, these treatments include:

  • managing obesity
  • managing diabetes
  • eliminating opioid use
  • exercise

If these interventions do not help, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be necessary.

TRT is when doctors supplement or replace the testosterone that the body typically produces. They can do so with injections, implants, or topical creams, while oral versions, patches, and nasal gels of TRT are also available.

According to a 2022 review, TRT can improve symptoms of low testosterone. However, it is only safe when doctors monitor how the treatment is affecting an individual’s body. Moreover, doctors do not recommend TRT to some people, such as individuals with prostate cancer or untreated obstructive sleep apnea.

Learn more about testosterone replacement therapy.

Anyone with concerns that they may be drinking in excess needs to seek medical advice. This is especially true if an individual thinks that their drinking is compromising their health, work, or social life.

If a person has concerns about testosterone or sperm levels, they can also speak with a healthcare professional.

A decreased alcohol intake can lead to more positive health outcomes.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides the following tips for reducing alcohol consumption:

  • keeping track of alcohol consumption
  • count and measure alcohol units
  • set specific goals for how much to drink
  • find activities to replace drinking
  • avoid things that can trigger the urge to drink
  • learn to politely but firmly decline a drink

Therapy and support groups can also greatly help with reducing alcohol intake.

The following are answers to common questions about alcohol and testosterone.

Does quitting alcohol boost testosterone?

Scientists have not currently conducted much research on this. However, research has shown that drinking heavily, especially chronically, can reduce testosterone production. Scientists are unsure how much testosterone production may recover after a person abstains from alcohol for a given time.

Which alcohol increases testosterone?

There is no specific kind of alcohol that increases testosterone production. However, evidence suggests drinking occasional low to moderate volumes of alcohol may increase the concentration of blood testosterone.

Drinking in moderation may boost an individual’s testosterone levels. However, more frequent or heavy drinking can have the opposite effect. Genetic factors can also affect alcohol’s effects on testosterone production.

Scientists remain unsure about the most effective way to manage alcohol-induced low testosterone. Generally, however, TRT is a useful treatment option for people who have low testosterone levels.

If an individual has concerns about their alcohol consumption or testosterone and sperm levels, they can speak with a healthcare professional.