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But research does suggest that regular alcohol consumption may lower your semen parameters. It’s very important to note that alcohol use has unquestionably negative effects on fetal development, leading to physical, behavioral, and learning challenges. There is no established “safe” level of alcohol use while pregnant, or time during pregnancy when it is “safer” to drink. For this reason, the ASRM and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists both say that pregnant people should not drink any alcohol while pregnant.


Martini A.C., Molina R.I., Estofán D., Senestrari D., Fiol De Cuneo M., Ruiz R.D. Effects of alcohol and cigarette consumption on human seminal quality. Tangsrisakda N., Iamsaard S. Effect of ethanol on the changes in testicular protein expression in adult male rats. Crews F.T., Sarkar D.K., Qin L., Zou J., Boyadjieva N., Vetreno R.P. Neuroimmune function and the consequences of alcohol exposure. However, whereas evidence shows a negative impact of high-dose EtOH on cellular physiology, a low dose seems to reduce the apoptotic rate. In fact, recent data suggests that a low dose of EtOH contributes to the regulation of the expression of the TNF receptor, p75NTR, and a potassium-chloride transporter . While p75NTR is involved in the regulation of apoptosis, KCC2 regulates the cellular electrochemical gradient, and its expression is crucial to maintaining the classic hyperpolarizing GABAergic inhibition in mature adult neurons .

Associated Data

This association was observed in men reporting at least five units of alcohol in a typical week, but was most pronounced for men with a typical intake of more than 25 units a week. This suggests even modest habitual alcohol consumption of more than five units a week can negatively affect semen quality. ► We estimated the associations between last 5days of alcohol intake, semen quality, DNA fragmentation index and reproductive hormones in a cross-sectional study among healthy young men. ► Semen characteristics declined with increasing alcohol intake, but not in a dose-dependent way. ► Results could be due to a causal association, but longitudinal studies are needed to verify this.

association between alcohol

According to the National Alcohol and Drug Knowledgebase, Australian men usually drink more alcohol than women. Kristin Brogaard, PhD is Co-founder and COO of Inherent Biosciences, a molecular diagnostics company at the intersection of epigenetics and AI. Dr. Brogaard is an experienced molecular biologist, study director, and operations manager for early stage biotech startups. She received her PhD in Molecular Biology from Northwestern University developing novel epigenetic technologies. She subsequently worked with Dr. Leroy Hood, a pioneer in personalized medicine technologies, first as a post-doc and then as a colleague launching a novel scientific wellness start-up, Arivale. Dr. Brogaard has broad business experience that includes launching and scaling the health startup, Arivale.

Tobacco smoking and male fertility

Wang H.J., Zakhari S., Jung M.K. Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development. Rivas I., Sanvisens A., Bolao F., Fuster D., Tor J., Pujol R., Torrens M., Rey-Joly C., Muga R. Impact of medical comorbidity and risk of death in 680 patients with alcohol use disorders. In the liver, ethanol is oxidized to acetaldehyde mainly by the enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, while, in the brain, the enzymatic activity of cytochrome P450 2E1 and catalase are more prominent. Acetaldehyde is further oxidized to acetate by the enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

Furthermore, it has been suggested that EtOH induces programmed cell death through the mitochondrial pathway, as the inhibition of caspase-9 resulted in a reduced apoptotic rate . The activity of caspase-3, an apoptotic marker, was also increased in the cerebral cortices of rats after EtOH treatment , possibly because of the depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane by acetaldehyde accumulation . The role of alcohol metabolites as mediators of mitochondrial damage was also demonstrated in knock-out mice for ALDH or ADH enzymes, which showed reduced membrane potential in comparison to the controls . Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alteration in semen quality and reproductive hormones. This study found that when participants drank 3-6 alcoholic drinks per week during the luteal phase, it resulted in a 44% reduction in the chance of conceiving compared to non-drinkers. Whereas, when participants drank more than 6 alcoholic drinks per week the chance of conceiving was reduced by 61%.

In literature, human data on hormone levels following marijuana exposure are conflicting. Referring to animal studies it could be possible that consuming cannabis decrease serum luteinizing hormone and testosterone levels, but in clinical studies a univocal interpretation is lacking. Smoking cessation, on the other hand, improves indices of sexual health for long-term male smokers and, based on finding in animal models, might improve sperm parameters . However, to the present date, no conclusive evidence on the real improvements in male fertility following smoking cessation has been obtained.

control and prevention

Hormones are crucial to male reproductive health and are produced in both the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary gland. Together, the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary gland make many common hormones in the body. Moreover, alcohol consumption can increase oxidative stress through different mechanisms, with serious consequences for human health.

Tips for increasing male fertility

One recent study found the antibacterial agent triclosan can lower sperm count. While repeated exposure to certain chemicals can damage sperm, more studies are needed to confirm the effect of antibacterial agents on sperm. – Cutting down your alcohol intake can be difficult, especially if you are doing it alone. Taking the pledge to stop drinking with your partner (or a friend!) is a great way for you both to contribute to your own and your future baby’s health. Conversely, regarding the effect of cannabis on spermatogenesis, clinical studies showed an effect on volume, number morphology, motility, and fertilization capacity. Smoking also reduces sperm creatine kinase activity, therefore impairing sperm motility and energy homeostasis .

reactive oxygen species

A decrease in sperm motility and an increase in the rate of morphological abnormalities were seen in the experimental and saccharin groups in comparison with controls. We showed that ethanol consumption can disturb sperm DNA integrity and chromatin remodeling and it may also induce sperm apoptosis. The rates of sperm apoptosis were 51.57±7.45 and 42.85±6.76 in the high ethanol dose and low ethanol dose groups, respectively.

This is due mostly to the fact that the data is self-reported and collected by using questionnaires . In fact, the objective estimation of the real volume of alcohol consumed is challenging because of the possibility of an over- or underestimation . Moreover, alcoholics often do not admit to having an alcohol dependence, hence leading to incorrect information about the amount of alcohol and the frequency of the drinking. This can influence the analyzed outcomes and can make it difficult to compare results from different publications .

Gordon G., Southren A.L., Vittek J., Lieber C.S. The effect of alcohol ingestion on hepatic aromatase activity and plasma steroid hormones in the rat. Emanuele M., Tentler J., Halloran M., Emanuele N., Wallock L., Kelley M. The effect of acute in vivo ethanol exposure on follicle stimulating hormone transcription and translation. Salonen I., Huhtaniemi I. Effects of chronic ethanol diet on pituitary-testicular function of the rat. Salonen I., Pakarinen P., Huhtaniemi I. Effect of chronic ethanol diet on expression of gonadotropin genes in the male rat.

Laboratory experiments conducted on the stages of alcoholism & jellinek curve explained have also shown alcohol to shrink their testicles. You’ll notice that typical serving sizes of hard drinks — 12–16 oz of beer, 4–6 oz wine, or a 2-oz shot glass — are more than one “unit” of alcohol. Binge drinking is typically defined as having 5 or more drinks in a few hours.

Ask Your Specialist How Alcohol Affects Your Fertility

Acetaldehyde also impairs the enzymatic activity of superoxide dismutase 2, a powerful endogenous antioxidant . In alveolar macrophages, chronic alcohol consumption and the subsequent onset of oxidative stress alter the expression of the NADPH oxidases , enzymes contributing to the phagocyte-mediated host defense . In the brain, the enzymes, catalase and cytochrome P450 , oxidize 65% and 20% of the EtOH into acetaldehyde , respectively .

Yan T., Zhao Y., Zhang X. Acetaldehyde induces cytotoxicity of SH-SY5Y cells via inhibition of Akt activation and induction of oxidative stress. Heier C., Xie H., Zimmermann R. Nonoxidative ethanol metabolism in humans—from biomarkers to bioactive lipids. Jiang L., Gulanski B.I., De Feyter H.M., Weinzimer S.A., Pittman B., Guidone E., Koretski J., Harman S., Petrakis I.L., Krystal J.H., et al. Deng X.S., Deitrich R.A. Putative role of brain acetaldehyde in ethanol addiction.

Hawkins Bressler L, Bernardi LA, De Chavez PJD, Baird DD, Carnethon MR, Marsh EE. Alcohol, cigarette smoking, and ovarian reserve in reproductive-age African-American women. Emanuele MA, Wezeman F, Emanuele NV. Alcohol’s effects on female reproductive function. Kesmodel U, Wisborg K, Olsen SF, Henriksen TB, Secher NJ. Moderate alcohol intake during pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth and death in the first year of life. Kesmodel US, Eriksen HLF, Underbjerg M, Kilburn TR, Støvring H, Wimberley T, et al. The effect of alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy on general intelligence in children.

ROS play a crucial role as mediators in several biological processes, including cell signaling and pathogen resistance . However, ROS are highly unstable and are reactive with proteins, lipids, and any cellular structures. When ROS are overproduced, they switch the cellular redox status towards oxidative stress, which contributes to several pathological conditions . Combining drugs like marijuana or opioids with alcohol also lowers fertility.