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Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Levels?

Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Levels? Harmful Effects & Alcoholism Treatment

What Exactly Is The Thyroid And What Does It Do?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland. Its location is in the inferior, anterior neck, and it is responsible for the formation and secretion of the thyroid hormones as well as iodine homeostasis within the human body. The thyroid produces approximately 90% inactive thyroid hormone, or thyroxine (T4), and 10% active thyroid hormone, or triiodothyronine (T3). Inactive thyroid hormone is converted peripherally to either activated thyroid hormone or an alternative inactive thyroid hormone. [1] Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Stay in this article to learn more.

Globally, high-income countries of the developed world have the highest alcohol consumption, with 50.1% of the US population (adults over 18 years of age) being current regular drinkers. In contrast, findings from the Indian National Survey suggest that around 21% of adult males in the country are current drinkers. Yet, the apparent advantage in proportion is lost in the sheer number of population, as even a conservative estimate puts the number of alcohol users in the country at around 61 million, of whom around 10 million have alcohol dependence. In view of the magnitude of the problem, it becomes necessary for us to understand the effect of alcohol on various body systems. [2]

Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Thyroid?

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes, in fact, alcohol is one of the commonest illicit psychoactive substances consumed globally and is the world’s third-largest risk factor for disease and disability. It has been reported to have multiple effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and the functioning of the thyroid gland.

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. It has been reported to cause direct suppression of thyroid function by cellular toxicity, and indirect suppression by blunting thyrotropin-releasing hormone response. It causes a decrease in peripheral thyroid hormones during chronic use and alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol use may also confer some protective effects against thyroid nodularity, goiter, and thyroid cancer. [3]

Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Levels?
Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Heavy alcohol use also reduces thyroid hormones.

Alcohol Effect On Thyroid

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Indeed, alcohol affects almost all organs and systems of the human body. The hypothalamic-pituitary axis, through the chemicals of dopamine and serotonin, is intricately linked with the development and continuation of dependence on all chemical substances, and therefore it is not surprising to find that most substances of abuse in return have multiple effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis and thyroid function.

Alcohol And Thyroid Volume

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Alcohol is known to have a direct toxic effect on thyroid cells, which is used therapeutically in ethanol ablation therapy of thyroid nodules. Alcohol-induced direct toxicity may account for the reduction in the thyroid volume in alcohol-dependent patients (as compared to healthy controls) as seen in multiple ultrasound studies.

A significant reduction in thyroid volume has been reported in ultrasound studies in alcohol-dependent patients without liver cirrhosis when compared to healthy controls. Additionally, patients with non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis show no differences in thyroid volume when compared to controls. Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes, the toxic effect of alcohol on the thyroid appears to happen independently of alcohol liver damage. [4]

Alcohol And Thyroid Cancer

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels and cancer risks? Yes. The current meta-analysis of observational studies found that, unlike most other types of cancer, alcohol intake decreased the risk of thyroid cancer. However, their findings should not be interpreted as indicating that alcohol intake can be recommended to prevent the development of thyroid cancer because alcohol intake is still a major risk factor for the development or aggravation of other various diseases such as several types of cancers (oropharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer), liver diseases, and alcohol abuse.

According to the experts who conducted an investigation about the correlation between alcohol consumption and risks of thyroid cancer, the definite biological mechanism for the association between the two remains uncertain. Further research is required to confirm the association between alcohol intake and the risk of cancer. [5]

Alcohol And Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases

Alcohol consumption has been identified as a protective factor for some autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. [6] Even the experts’ research backs up this finding.

But, by default, drinking alcohol impairs immune cells in key organs. Also, alcohol makes it harder for the immune system to gear up and defend the body against harmful germs and different diseases.

Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Levels?
Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Alcohol is also known to affect thyroid cancer. 

Thyroid Medication And Alcohol

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. If you are currently taking thyroid medication, you need to make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids, and you do NOT drink TOO MUCH alcohol. Some thyroid medications have side effects that alcohol may intensify or worsen, so it is not entirely safe.

Moderate Alcohol Drinking

To determine if you are in moderate drinking and not overly harming your body, we need to examine BAC. Your BAC is determined primarily by how much alcohol you drank, the rate of consumption, your weight, and your gender. Other influences include other drugs in your system, hydration level, food in the stomach, and type of drink. [7]

Your BAC level measures the amount of alcohol in your blood, therefore traveling through your body to every organ, including your brain. In its simplest form, calculating a person’s BAC level is based on how much alcohol went into what kind of body over a period of how much time.

  • .01 -.07 You feel mildly relaxed, a little lightheaded. Your inhibitions are loosened and you feel less cautious. Judgment abilities are slightly impaired. No real feeling of depressant effects of alcohol seen yet. Your behavior may become exaggerated and your emotions intensified.
  • .08-.13 Your motor skills start to become impaired and your sense of balance may be compromised. Your emotions become a bit exaggerated – perhaps loud, perhaps aggressive. It is dangerous (and illegal) for you to drive. Your judgment is impaired and you may have difficulty evaluating sexual situations. You believe you are functioning better than you actually are.
  • .14 -.19 The “good feelings” of euphoria begin to give way to some negative feelings such as anxiety and restlessness. You may begin feeling tired because the depressant qualities of alcohol begin to take effect. (If you are a man, you will have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.) You will have trouble walking or standing and are at a greater risk of hurting yourself physically. You may get nauseous.
  • .20 -.24 You feel confused and disoriented. At this point, you may experience nausea. You have trouble standing. You may not realize that you hurt yourself because you might not feel pain. Alcohol blackouts become likely at this point.
  • .25 -.29 Almost all aspects of your brain are severely impaired. You may have passed out by this point. Vomiting is likely and the chance of asphyxiation on your own vomit is greatly increased. If you haven’t passed out, the risk of personal injury is high because you have little to no physical control. You are emotionally numb.
  • .30 – .34 If you are still conscious, you are in a stupor. You likely have no comprehension of where you are or what you are doing. There have been numerous cases of alcohol poisoning and death in this range of BAC. You are in need of medical help.
  • .35 & up You have reached the level of surgical anesthesia. Coma is possible. The lungs and heart rate are slowing to the point of stopping. You need immediate medical help.

Alcohol Abuse

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Unfortunately, treatment for alcoholism isn’t as easy as taking a pill and waiting for the effects to kick in. Overcoming addiction requires time, energy, and commitment that has to come from within. Most treatment programs favor a step-down process, starting with a strict and restrictive environment and gradually phasing down to help those in recovery to assimilate back into daily life.

1). Detox: Detox is the first stage of treatment, lasting around three to seven days based on the substance. In detox, users go through drug withdrawal in order to move past the physical components of alcoholism. For those with long-term or severe substance abuse, medications and other therapies may be used to minimize side effects.

2). Inpatient: For three to four weeks following detox, patients reside in an inpatient care facility with limited access to the outside world. During this time, patients work with counselors and other addiction professionals in individual and group settings to facilitate healing, productive coping mechanisms, and a healthy attitude toward sobriety.

Breaking alcoholism is necessary to achieve a healthier life and a stronger mind, and we have seen this breaking of said alcohol abuse being the most essential part of anyone’s recovery. Although not everyone who detoxes from drugs will experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms, it is never an easy process. For instance, alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal are the most dangerous, especially in combination. Medication-assisted treatment in our time-honored and effective setting will reduce the pressure and anxiety that comes with the first few days of the process and heavily increase the possibility of avoiding relapse.

Does Alcohol Affect Thyroid Levels?
Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? Yes. Unfortunately, alcoholism and hypothyroidism are an especially bad combination.

We Level Up compassionate team proactively guides clients in ways to stay focused on their goals for sobriety and recovery. The approach at We Level Up treatment is holistic; meaning we provide a comprehensive experience that addresses clients’ physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health & wellbeing. If needed, we provide over-the-counter medicine, as well as short-term medication-assisted alcohol treatment prescriptions for substances including Suboxone, Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. These medications can be used to manage the more severe side effects, symptoms, and cravings that present during the alcohol detox. This is all a part of our team’s role in relapse prevention.

Does alcohol affect thyroid levels? If you are looking to take the first step toward sobriety and for understanding more about the alcohol effects, call us at We Level Up today.


[1] Physiology, Thyroid Function – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[2-4] Impact of alcohol use on thyroid function – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[5] Alcohol Intake and Risk of Thyroid Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[6] Alcohol Consumption as a Risk Factor for Autoimmune Thyroid Disease: A Prospective Study –
[7] Levothyroxine –