Smoking And Testosterone
For decades, it has been known that smoking is a silent killer! Although, cigarette smoking is not traditionally considered as drug addiction, but you must know that cigarettes wrapped in nicotine are not only addictive but can also pose life threatening consequences on your health. But it is somewhat surprising that smoking cigarettes do not really affect serum testosterone levels! There are numerous research studies which have supported this astonishing statement.
What Does Research Say About Smoking Impact On Testosterone Levels?
According to a new comparative research study that was designed to compare testosterone levels in both smokers and non-smokers, results indicated that both groups had almost same T levels on an average. Investigators also hypothesized that testosterone levels probably remains unaffected by cigarette smoking (1,2)
A similar research study was carried out between heavy chain smokers and non-smokers. It was found that the serum levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and androgen levels were almost the same in both groups (1)
Another research study that yielded even surprising results was conducted on 71 men who decided to quit. After a few months of withdrawal, slight increase in testosterone levels was observed. However, after one year, their testosterone levels dropped back to the same level as it was when they used to smoke. In fact, some men also experienced a significant dip in their testosterone levels.
How Can Smoking Affect The Hormonal Metabolism?
Historically, it has been observed that men with elevated T levels have greater odds of getting involved in jeopardizing situations such as gambling, drinking and smoking. This brought researchers to a hypothetical assumption that smokers have high levels of testosterone, which is responsible for their daring activities. In simple words, men with high testosterone levels are more likely to end up as smokers as compared to those with low T levels.
Another research study suggested that cigarettes metabolizes testosterone very quickly. This also means that smoking makes testosterone metabolism from the liver more efficient. However, it is strange to know that this metabolizing effect does not alter the total testosterone levels in the serum of smokers!
With several studies supporting the harm-free effects of cigarettes on the testosterone levels, one study provided a bit baffling results. As per this study there is no significant difference in the testosterone levels of smokers and non-smokers. But, smoking does reduce zinc levels which is one of the principle mineral required to produce testosterone. This suggests that men with poor diet and smoking habit can have zinc deficiency which may lead to low T levels.
Does That Mean Smoking Is Not Bad For Your Health?
Though there is massive research that proves smoking doesn’t harm testosterone levels but, it does affect “erections” by accelerating vascular damage due to atherosclerosis. Moreover, cigarettes have a harmful impact on the wellness of your vital organs including lungs and heart. Thus, either directly or indirectly smoking does affect sexual and overall general health. According to another study reported in the Human Reproduction (3) journal, investigators concluded that smoker males have lower ejaculate volume and seminal fluid regardless of high serum testosterone levels. Likewise, smokers are also more likely to face fertility issues.
Therefore, continuation of smoking with a thought that it won’t harm your testosterone levels, is not a sensible choice. Because if your overall health is not satisfactory, you won’t be able to cherish your raging T levels for a longer period of time. Speak to a doctor if you need help quitting smoking.
- Zhao, J., Leung, J. Y. Y., Lin, S. L., & Schooling, C. M. (2016). Cigarette and testosterone in men and women: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Preventive medicine, 85, 1-10.
- Wang, W., Yang, X., Liang, J., Liao, M., Zhang, H., Qin, X., … & Mo, Z. (2013). Cigarette has a positive and independent effect on testosterone levels. Hormones (Athens), 12(4), 567-577.
- Lotti, F., Corona, G., Vitale, P., Maseroli, E., Rossi, M., Fino, M. G., & Maggi, M. (2015). Current smoking is associated with lower seminal vesicles and ejaculate volume, despite higher testosterone levels, in male subjects of infertile couples. Human Reproduction, 30(3), 590-602.