T Nation

John Berardi...Testosterone quesions

First off, loved your article in today’s issue of T-mag. How much is 200ml of alcohol in reference to 80 proof alcohol, wine or beer? If testosterone levels are lowered by 25% for up to 16 hours after blood alcohol levels returned to normal, could that be changed with Tribex? How much, when, how often? would ZMA at night help? Thanks.

Bodz-thanks for the feedback.

Although the article gave T data for what I would call “the sake of knowing” and not for alot of practical applications, guys ask me questions about those kind of things all the time.

I dont think Tribex, ZMA, or the like would affect alcohol induced changes in T levels. Remember, T is shut down at the level of the nads, not the the pituitary. The pituitary is where Tribex probably works. And I dont think the minerals in ZMA would correct the testicular inhibition. Antiestrogens, and LH boosters wouldnt help either.

Bottom line…if you drink, you crush T and there is nothing you or I can do about it besides chase our beers with a big 3 cc pin of cypionate.

As far as the dose of alcohol, it all depends on % alcohol. I think the study administered 200ml of pure ethanol. This is equal to a fifth of whiskey or 3 liters/quarts of wine.

But, in another study it was 1-2g of ethanol/kg or 70g ethanol for a 70kg guy. 1 - 12 oz regular beer, 1 shot of whiskey, and 1 - 4oz glass of wine all have about 12-15 g of alcohol. So therefore, 5 of one of these should get you about 25% less T for your efforts. Not to mention that each gram of alcohol has about 7 calories…so that’s about 500cal+ from your 5 drinks too. Or more than 1000 for your fifth.


Thanks John, “You are the man”

John Berardi, your article has caused me to re-evaluate my weekend habits.
I enjoy a night on the town as much as the next guy, or a good tailgate
before the game, or a wedding reception (free beer), or a day at the
lake drinking beer and skiing, or fishing (and have to take that
cooler), and softball (the league that sells beer at the park),
and golf (better get a cart for the cooler). I kind of knew I
was reaching the point in my training that these weekend alcohol
orgies were starting to inhibit gains – and prevent fat lose –
without really knowing how or why. But wow,
25% lower T-levels. Its not terribly clear how this 25% would affect
my efforts, but it obviously cannot help much.

I recall a study from about 2 years ago (sorry, no reference),
where the results were suggesting that alcohol in someway causes
the body to retain fat by an amount more than the extra calories
in the alcohol. This T-level depression would collaborate those results,
assuming increased T causes muscle gain and fat loss.

I have a question related to Bodz’s. In your answer to Bodz, you
said that about 5 drinks could result in this T-level depression.
I want to point out that your average 200-220 lb male needs about
5 drinks in 1 hour to get intoxicated (lets say BAC of 0.10 %).
I suspect, based on my experiences with alocohol (and I have lots
of “experiences”), that this decline of T is a funciton of intoxication
or BAC. So if 5 drinks lowers you by 25%, does 1 drink lower you by 5%,
or is it more of an all or nothing threshold situation?
In other words, is it likely that if you space those
same 5 drinks over 4 hours, assuming the body can rid itself of
approximately 1 drink per hour, that your BAC is unlikely to
get above 0.02 %, and T-levels would take no more than a 5% hit?
Of course, what fun is there in 1 drink per hour?

I’m glad that you’re reevaluating your weekend habits. I, by no means, am opposed to alcohol use. Im just a bigger fan of other stuff like cocaine. JUST KIDDING!

No, actually, I will drink on occasion. I may drink an average of 1 time a month or every 2 months. And each occasion is moderate. Since I get drunk from 1-2 drinks, I dont have to drink too much and usually stop there. Gosh, I’m making myself sound like a big puss but whatever. I’m pretty big, strong, and lean, so I’ll take the trade-off. Anyway, there appears to be a dose response curve. The higher the BAC, the lower the T levels. I think as little as 1-2 drinks may affect T levels but I couldnt even speculate how much. It sucks knowing that any liquor you pour down your throat is going to suppress T. But ignorance is not bliss when your drinking progressively increases and your physique progress stalls out. I like the gym more than the bar so I don’t have a problem. A few drinks per night probably won’t hurt if you pace yourself like you said. But, as you also pointed out, no one really stops when they say they are going to (the no-fun concept). Anyway, best of luck with your training and T!

John if you had the choice between having ectacy and alcohol which would you choose and why ? The reason i ask is because ive got a big party coming up and im tossing up between the two .

John, this may sound like some stupid question, but here it goes: I heard somewhere that just a bit alcohol can actually promote health and gains. Is there any proof at all in this? And while listening to those huge negative benefits of drinking, it’s kind of strange that some of my friends who party a lot, still make great gains. Is there perhaps more than loss of T in alcohol? I mean, like some other hormone who’s increasing? Am i completely out of line here?

Alcohol or E? It’s up to you, man. I’d just go sober, wait till all the chicks get drunk then be totally aware so that I could take full advantage of the situation. :slight_smile: No, seriously, neither is ideal. Drinking on occasion wouldnt be a big problem, nor would E. Excessive use of either would be a problem. So it’s your call…

About alcohol and T, sure alot of guys can make progress with T levels being transiently low from drinking. Hell, some of these guys may have high T already and the suppression wouldnt do much. But personally, I dont want the extra calories or the potential T suppression. So the bottom line is that alcohol will not always slow progress. But it might, and that is enough for me not to drink. I dont frequently drink for other reasons as well but this plays a role in that.

And about the “health benefits of alcohol”. There are some. But those benefits are due to some of the phytonutrients in alcohol, not due to the alcohol itself. So therefore, you could get the same benefits from other foods/drinks without the negative effects associated with the alcohol.

Neo, my response to that is: How much bigger/stronger/leaner would they be if they skipped the partying or at least cut back on the booze? If they can make progress with it, imagine what they could do without it.