Background: We have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption (15 g/d, 30 g/d) for 8 weeks resulted in significantly increased levels of serum estrone sulfate and DHEAS in 51 postmenopausal women in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. We now report on the relationships between serum estrone sulfate and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) levels after 4 weeks of moderate alcohol supplementation, and compare the results to the 8 weeks data to elucidate time-to-effect differences.
Methods: Postmenopausal women (n = 51) consumed 0 (placebo), 15 (1 drink), and 30 (2 drinks) g alcohol (ethanol)/ day for 8 weeks as part of a controlled diet in a randomized crossover design. Blood samples were drawn at baseline, at 4 weeks and at 8 weeks. Changes in estrone sulfate and DHEAS levels from placebo to 15 g and 30 g alcohol per day were estimated using linear mixed models.
Results and discussion: At week 4, compared to the placebo, estrone sulfate increased an average 6.9% (P = 0.24) when the women consumed 15 g of alcohol per day, and 22.2% (P = 0.0006) when they consumed 30 g alcohol per day. DHEAS concentrations also increased significantly by an average of 8.0% (P < 0.0001) on 15 g of alcohol per day and 9.2% (P < 0.0001) when 30 g alcohol was consumed per day. Trend tests across doses for both estrone sulfate (P = 0.0006) and DHEAS (P < 0.0001) were significant. We found no significant differences between the absolute levels of serum estrone sulfate at week 4 versus week 8 (P = 0.32) across all doses. However, absolute DHEAS levels increased from week 4 to week 8 (P < 0.0001) at all three dose levels.
Conclusions: These data indicate that the hormonal effects due to moderate alcohol consumption are seen early, within 4 weeks of initiation of ingestion.