Influence of ethanol consumption and food intake on serum concentrations of endogenous steroids

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterContributedpeer-review


  • Detlef Thieme - , Institute of Doping Analysis and Sports Biochemistry Dresden (Author)
  • Aniko Krumbholz - , Faculty of Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Institute of Doping Analysis and Sports Biochemistry Dresden (Author)
  • Martin Bidlingmaier - , Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich (Author)
  • Christoph Geffert - , Labor Staber (Author)
  • Annika Hameder - , Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Author)
  • Andreas Stöver - , Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Author)
  • Matthias Graw - , Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Author)
  • Annekathrin M Keiler - , Environmental Monitoring and Endocrinology (Research Group), Institute of Doping Analysis and Sports Biochemistry Dresden (Last author)


Steroid biosynthesis and biotransformation are based on a cascade of enzymatic processes being highly sensitive to various external influences. Amongst those, ethanol was shown to affect testosterone metabolism. For doping analyses, athlete steroid profiles comprise seven urinary steroid metabolites, of which relevant ratios are significantly increased following ethanol consumption. This effect is presumably based on the lack of hepatic NAD+-coenzyme as a consequence of ethanol oxidation. Only recently, testosterone (T) and androstenedione (A4) blood profiles have been introduced as additional approach for doping control. However, a potential influence of ethanol intake on testosterone biosynthesis and thus on blood steroid profiles has not been investigated so far. Therefore, steroid concentrations from 10 males and 10 females receiving an ethanol infusion up to a breath alcohol concentration of 0.5mg/L which was hold as a plateau for two hours were conducted. Blood samples were drawn every 15minutes for steroid quantification. An ethanol-dependent T/A4 increase up to 385% resulting from A4 suppression was observed in 14 volunteers. In addition, we observed sporadic A4 increases coinciding with cortisol and ACTH pulses pointing to a meal-induced adrenal stimulation. While testosterone levels in males showed diurnal variation solely, testosterone levels in some females were found to be susceptible to ethanol- and ACTH-dependent perturbations, which is thought to be due to its predominant adrenal synthesis in females. In conclusion, the results of the present study emphasize the importance of blood sampling at a sufficient time interval from food and ethanol intake. This is of interest if T and A4 are used for diagnostics in doping control.


Original languageEnglish
Article number109331
Early online date3 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-2157-4711/work/146167091
Scopus 85176355546
Mendeley 77e2eb8f-2153-3c76-80f5-04a5b46b404c



  • Eating, Testosterone/pharmacology, Ethanol, Androstenedione/metabolism, Humans, Testosterone Congeners, Female, Male, Steroids/metabolism, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone