Should You Stop Drinking IPA Beers? Truth Behind IPA Beers And Gynecomastia
Apart from sports, one thing that binds men amazingly well in every part of the world is beer! It’s something that can unite the male species quickly in the right spirit of good times.
A beer actually serves as the best combo to make any boys’ night out memorable, and all those ballgames even more enjoyable! There isn’t one small or big occasion that can’t be improved by including beer in it!
Drinking beer is actually treated as a rite of passage into adulthood in some countries.
No matter how strict the alcohol and underage drinking laws governments might make, teenagers still find ways to get the fill of their favorite drink!
However, lately, a lot of men have been showing concerns about their favorite drink actually becoming a cause for the loss of their masculinity.
Drinking beer regularly, especially the IPA (India Pale Ale) variant can do a lot of damage to the men’s masculine looks.
What is IPA Beer?
If you’ve ever tried drinking IPA beers, you’d know they can be extremely bitter and strong. Not everyone can have them. IPA is the short form of India Pale Ale, which was invented by the Britishers during their reign in India.
They figured that the beer they’d sent to their troops wouldn’t endure the sea voyage around the Cape of Africa. The prolonged storage and high temperatures in those areas, without any provision of refrigeration used to make the beer go bad.
They had to find some workaround to avoid such spoiling during those trips.
Working with a couple of tools – Hops and alcohol (both used as preservatives), Bow Brewery’s (from East London) George Hodgson created the first-ever IPA.
Although it was very strong and bitter, it nevertheless sustained the extra-long ocean trip.
Slowly many breweries opened up in different parts of the world, and refrigerators also came around in no time.
The original purpose for which IPA was created no longer remained an issue, but IPA stuck around and made its diehard fans.
The IPAs produced today are essentially three kinds – English style, American style, and the Imperial or Double. They are full of different types of hops used to varying stages of the brewing process.
It is these hops that bring out the bitterness of these IPAs and give them their unique flavors, pine or citrus-like smell. Many sub-styles and subcategories of IPA have also involved over the past few decades.
So, Where’s The Problem?
A large majority of men are already well-acquainted with the harmful effects of beer, ranging from potbellies to putting themselves in embarrassing social situations.
However, many are now realizing another disturbing side-effect of not just IPA beers, but beers in general, known as man boobs or gynecomastia. It’s a condition that has led to a pretty lousy correlation between the words boobs and beer.
Gynecomastia is essentially the enlargement of male breast tissues, giving men a somewhat undesirable feminine appearance.
A rumor spread all across the Internet in the year 2015 that regularly consuming beer leads to male breast enlargement. This resulted in many conversations related to the ever-increasing correlation between boobs and beer.
This rumor can be traced back to a piece authored by a popular author and herbalist called Stephen Harrod Buhner.
His 1998 book ‘Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers’ included a section wherein he had accused hoppy beers, also popularly known as IPA or India Pale Beers, of causing man boobs, thereby coining the term IPA man boobs.
Going by his theory, hops comprise of a specific natural compound that can potentially lead to enlarged breast tissues in men.
It’s the same compound that causes temporary male impotence after a man has drunk too much. It is also referred to as the Brewer’s Droop.
If you look closely hops are actually contained in a large majority of beers, in one form or the other, however, in IPA beers they are the dominant ingredient.
IPA beers that have been in production for more than 175 years now, contain Humulus Lupulus or the hop plant’s female flowers. It’s these which make the India Pale Ale so bitter in taste.
Statistics show that IPAs are actually the bestselling beers among the craft beers, contributing to almost 25% of the entire craft beer sales in the US.
Estrogen Increase and Gynecomastia:
Hops, the primary ingredient of the IPA beers have been conventionally used for treating conditions like insomnia. They’ve also been always considered a very good source of phytoestrogen, making people wonder if there's estrogen in beer.
Phytoestrogen is the hormone that helps women during menopause and endometriosis.
For those who may not be aware endometriosis is a painful feminine condition that impacts over 6 million women throughout the world. It involves the excessive growth of the tissue lining the interior area of the uterus.
Although not considered harmful in general, phytoestrogen has a structural similarity with the estrogen hormone, causing the same side effects that are usually seen because of excessive intake of estrogen, for instance, the formation of man boobs.
A good number of female-targeted products, including medicines prescribed for the alleviation of menopausal side effects and many sleep aids, consist of phytoestrogen.
Do IPA Beers Cause Estrogen Spike and Gynecomastia in Men?
Studies which suggest that IPA Beers don’t cause Gynecomastia
Studies indicate that consumption of IPA beers cannot be considered 100% cause of gynecomastia.
Even though hops contained in IPA beers contain phytoestrogens (plant chemicals that are similar to estrogen), Richard Van Breeman, the professor of medicinal chemistry at the College of Pharmacy in the University of Illinois confirmed that their levels are too low to cause any type of hormone disruption.
Also, some studies have revealed that these estrogen-like compounds can indeed have a major impact on the hormone balance in humans.
Mr. Breemen is also actively conducting research on a potential natural alternative to the conventional hormone replacement therapy, based on a supplement derived from hops.
However, since the percentage of phytoestrogens in regular beers is pretty small, it’s not expected to impact male sexual functioning unless one really goes berserk with his daily beer consumption.
Studies which suggest that IPA Beers are indeed one of the causes of Gynecomastia
There is a certain group of scientists who have done thorough research on the long-term side effects of IPA Beers.
These researchers from Colombia’s Santo Tomas University and Spain’s University of Granada found that the side effects caused by daily consumption of India Pale Ale beers are not temporary.
They found significant evidence of erectile dysfunction and brewers droop among the subjects who daily consumed IPA beers, even after they had stopped the alcohol consumption for quite some time.
Why You Should Stop Drinking IPA Beers:
Gynecomastia or man boobs is not the only single concern with the regular consumption of IPA. You might suffer from various other harmful effects that occur naturally because of excessive alcohol intake.
Let’s go over some of these effects below, confirming that one would be better-off stopping drinking IPA beers altogether.
Ever heard about green tea belly? No, because there’s no such thing! Beer belly on the other hand, as evident, is caused because of regular consumption of beer.
Alcohol, when consumed through the beer, is notoriously associated with significant weight gain, especially in the midsection of the body.
As per statistics revealed by the UK Department of Health, a person who consumes 4 pints of beer each week puts as many calories into his body as someone who eats as many as 221 extra doughnuts each year.
In fact, a pint of lager beer has the same number of calories as one pizza slice.
The relation between belly fat and alcohol consumption has also been proven by the researchers at the Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
Effects on the Liver:
Consuming alcohol on a daily basis, including through IPA beers, can lead to liver damage over a period of time. Liver diseases resulting from alcohol abuse are a reason for a large number of deaths and illnesses in the US.
Apart from that, daily alcohol consumption also permanently alters the liver cell structure, hampering its natural fat metabolizing abilities. This fat metabolism, also known as fat burning, when hampered leads to gradual fat/weight gain in the body.
Liver cirrhosis is a medical condition that occurs because of scarring of the liver tissue, caused directly because of excessive alcohol intake. Gradual liver damage over a period of time leads to the formation of scar tissue on the liver, eventually leading to complete impairment of this important organ.
Once your liver stops functioning properly, the toxic substances it was expected to filter out, start accumulating inside the body, causing further complications and significantly increasing the death risk for the patient.
Increasingly being termed as nature’s way of terminating the human life, cancer can send shivers down the spine of any patient. Although one cannot avoid certain cancer types, many can actually be traced back to alcohol abuse.
Conditions like throat cancer, stomach cancer, esophageal cancer and liver cancer are all usually related to alcohol consumption. A study conducted in Lithuania revealed that the alcohol type doesn’t really matter (whether it’s hard liquor or beer) when it comes to cancer development in the body.
Everyone knows that regular alcohol consumption can lead to short-term memory loss or dementia. However, the long-term impacts of alcohol can be equally damaging for the human brain.
A British study published in Age and Ageing revealed a solid connect between alcohol abuse and dementia.
Blood Circulation Problems:
Body’s blood circulation suffers majorly whenever you subject it to large amounts of alcohol. It can be experienced in the form of that warm feeling you get when you gulp down that Tequila shot or glass of IPA beer in one go.
A major link has been found between human body’s circulatory issues and excessive alcohol consumption by the researchers at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
They have also successfully found the connection between high blood pressure and regular alcohol intake.
Other commonly known health problems caused by regular consumption of alcohol and IPA beers are:
- Muscle Atrophy
- High Blood Pressure
- Reduced Sperm Count
- Muscle Cramps
- Pancreatic Pain
- Leaky Gut
- Nerve damage
- Kidney Malfunction
- Mental Decline
How to Tackle The Harmful Side Effects Caused by IPA Beers?
If you’re heavily into drinking IPA beers and have started showing symptoms of gynecomastia, as well as performance issues in bed, it could be related to regular beer intake.
On the other hand, if IPAs have landed you in more serious health issues like the ones detailed above, it would be wise to cut down your daily IPA intake significantly.
A better idea would be to gift all those extra IPA bottles to your girlfriend or wife, as she won’t mind that extra estrogen-boost, and of course the buzz!
A good way to enjoy beers that are free of hops is by seeking conventional gruits (normally found in brewpubs and microbreweries).
It would be better if you buy bottle-conditioned beers as they contain live yeasts and are carbonated inside bottles. Such yeasts, which in most cases are Saccharomyces Cerevisiae have high nutritional value.
They are very rich in B vitamins (particularly B1 and niacin) and protein apart from having high glucose tolerance factor. All these help in better regulation of the blood sugar levels, thereby eliminating any risk of diabetes.
No matter what the researchers might have discovered or what is the stance of Stephen Harrod Buhner in this regard, there is sufficient scientific evidence available which suggests that hops contained in IPA Beers and other beers are fairly less to cause any man boobs worries.
It is also true that excessive alcohol intake causes weight gain, which can lead to pseudogynecomastia or chest fat man boobs. Regular alcohol consumption also prevents weight loss, thus making man boob’s reduction even more difficult.