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Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):165-9.

Alcohol's effects on female puberty: the role of insulin-like growth factor 1.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.


Research suggests that alcohol consumption during early adolescence may delay the onset of female puberty. Alcohol's effect on sexual development is associated with altered function of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This hormone, which is produced in the liver, travels through the bloodstream to the brain, where it helps coordinate overall physical growth with the maturation of the reproductive system. Long-term alcohol consumption inhibits the production of IGF-1 in the liver. Short-term alcohol administration alters IGF-1 function within the brain, ultimately suppressing the release of specific reproductive hormones that initiate puberty. Large proportions of young girls develop drinking habits that place them at risk for alcohol-related endocrine disorders at a crucial time in female pubertal development.

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