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May 1976

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Alcohol and Virility

Many of these items are contrary to AA philosophy. Their publication here does not mean that the Grapevine endorses or approves them; they are offered solely for your information.

Prolonged drinking of alcohol, which alters male sexual behavior, accomplishes these changes by stimulating the liver to drastically step up its destruction of the male sex hormone, according to results of a scientific study.

The study showed that the toxic effects of the alcohol led the liver to produce up to five times the amount of the liver enzyme that normally breaks down testosterone, the male sex hormone. There was no compensatory increase in the body's production of testosterone under the test conditions, according to the report that the journal Science published.

The research, on men who volunteered to drink the equivalent of a pint of 86 proof whiskey a day for four weeks, was done [in New York City] by a group of researchers at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, and New York Medical College.

Dr. Emanuel Rubin, a pathologist at Mt. Sinai and the senior investigator, said in an interview: "The findings go long way toward explaining the sex problems of alcoholics. It is not a reaction peculiar to some chronic alcoholics. Anybody who drinks continuously can get the effect. This is a pure effect of alcohol in any form you take it--whiskey, wine, or beer. The total amount of alcohol is the only thing that counts."

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