Association of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity with sex steroid hormone levels in US men

Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Aug;20(6):877-86. doi: 10.1007/s10552-009-9318-y. Epub 2009 Mar 10.


Background: We evaluated the associations of smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity with sex steroid hormone concentrations among 1,275 men > or =20 years old who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).

Methods: Serum concentrations of testosterone, estradiol, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were measured. We compared geometric mean concentrations across levels of smoking, alcohol, and physical activity using multiple linear regression.

Results: Current smokers had higher total testosterone (5.42, 5.10, and 5.26 ng/ml in current, former, and never smokers), free testosterone (0.110, 0.102, and 0.104 ng/ml), total estradiol (40.0, 34.5, and 33.5 pg/ml), and free estradiol (1.05, 0.88, and 0.84 pg/ml) compared with former and never smokers (all p < or = 0.05). Men who consumed > or =1 drink/day had lower SHBG than men who drank less frequently (31.5 vs. 34.8 nmol/l, p = 0.01); total (p-trend = 0.08) and free testosterone (p-trend = 0.06) increased with number of drinks per day. Physical activity was positively associated with total (p-trend = 0.01) and free testosterone (p-trend = 0.05).

Conclusions: In this nationally representative sample of men, smoking, alcohol, and physical activity were associated with hormones and SHBG, thus these factors should be considered as possible confounders or upstream variables in studies of hormones and men's health, including prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis*
  • Smoking / blood*
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • United States


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol