Alcohol is a double-edged sword: from a neurochemical point of view alcohol temporarily reduces the control that the frontal lobe exerts on our instinctive behaviors, including sexual ones. The problem occurs when the quantity of alcohol increases and this abuse is carried on for long periods: in this case, in fact, not only at the moment do we more easily put into action dangerous or even antisocial behaviors, but also our long-term sexual desire is slowed down and testosterone production is inhibited, reducing overall sexual function.
The command to produce testosterone is given by a gland located at the base of the brain, called the pituitary gland, which uses two “helpers” to transmit orders: the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and the LH (luteinizing hormone). Their stimulatory message reaches the testicles, where testosterone is produced.
Alcohol acts both on the testicles, negatively interacting with the Leydig Cells; both at the pituitary level, inhibiting the ability to produce the LH hormone. At testicular level, alcohol interacts with the outer membrane of cells, rich in fatty acids; alcohol oxidizes these fats, causing the membrane to rupture, resulting in cell death; without Leydig cells, testosterone can no longer be produced.
But alcohol also acts in another way: the researches showed that it inhibits the function of the protein Kinase C, which is fundamental for the production of LH; in addition, alcohol can also bind with the same molecules of LH, reducing their ability to stimulate testosterone production.
No wonder, therefore, the results obtained at the end of a study conducted in 2006 by Dr. Marc Walter, who has shown how the level of testosterone in the blood of some patients during alcohol detoxification increases as the period of abstention from alcoholic beverages increases. In another study, conducted with a daily dose of alcohol calibrated for weight (3 grams of alcohol per kilo) a drop in the level of testosterone in the blood was observed within a few days. The continuous intake of alcohol, therefore, causes an interruption of testosterone production, reducing sexual desire and at the same time increasing the risk of infertility and hypogonadism. Both acute and chronic exposure to alcohol causes impotence in humans. About 50% of chronic male alcoholics have erectile dysfunction and show signs of testicular feminization and gynecomastia (breast formation in men).