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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2003 Apr;27(4):682-5.

Testosterone increases in men after a low dose of alcohol.

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Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.



Heavy acute alcohol drinking decreases blood testosterone in men due to an effect on the testicular level. An acute increase in blood testosterone levels after a low alcohol dose has, however, recently been reported in women. The objective of this investigation was to study the effect of a low alcohol dose on testosterone in men and further elucidate the mechanism behind the effect by using 4-methylpyrazole, an inhibitor of alcohol metabolism.


A double-blind placebo-controlled interventional crossover trial in random order (n = 13).


After intake of alcohol (0.5 g/kg, 10% w/v), an acute increase in plasma testosterone (from 13.5 +/- 1.2 nmol/liter to 16.0 +/- 1.6 nmol/liter, mean +/- SEM; p < 0.05), a decrease in androstenedione (from 5.1 +/- 0.4 nmol/liter to 4.0 +/- 0.3 nmol/liter; p < 0.05), and an increase in the testosterone:androstenedione ratio (from 2.8 +/- 0.3 to 4.2 +/- 0.4; p < 0.01) were observed. The effects were not observed during pretreatment with 4-methylpyrazole (10-15 mg/kg orally), which inhibited the ethanol elimination rate by 37 +/- 3%.


Alcohol intake affects the androgen balance in men through an effect mediated by the alcohol-induced change in the redox state in the liver.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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