The Grapevine

Do Hoppy Beers Cause Man Boobs, Higher Estrogen Levels, And ‘Brewer’s Droop’?

hops
Ah, the fresh, bitter smell of... man boob-causing hops? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The stereotype is that girls tend to drink wine or lighter beers while men prefer darker ales or hoppy brews. Recent trending online information, however, claims that hoppy beers might contain a feminine product that can increase estrogen levels and man boobs, as well as contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant and have high levels of phytoestrogen, or estrogen for plants. This is what Stephen Harrod Buhner, an herbalist and author, believes is causing the problem. In his book, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers (which came out in 1998, by the way, and somehow ended up in several trending pieces online recently), Buhner notes that hops found in your favorite IPAs could potentially lead to man boobs.

Hops were historically used in herbal medicine pre-1500s to treat insomnia and as a source of phytoestrogen to help with menopause and endometriosis among women. Hops might have also been used to reduce sexual desire among monks, though it’s difficult to substantiate whether it really worked. Of course, we’ve all heard that when you’re too drunk, you can’t keep it up — and this is where the term “Brewer’s Droop” comes from.

But is this information really scientific? There haven’t been any studies done to provide evidence to Buhner’s claims. Yes, hops contain phytoestrogen, but to what extent can consumption of IPAs lead to man boobs or other estrogen-related issues in men? Is “Brewer’s Droop” caused by hops or just by drinking too much?

Of course, don’t let this prevent you from drinking IPAs if you’re a dude. The amount of phytoestrogen actually consumed in a few IPAs isn’t going to directly give you man boobs. Besides, phytoestrogen is frequently found in foods like soybeans, wheat, beans, carrots, potatoes — and even coffee and marijuana. It’s unnecessary to steer away from hoppy beers, and the only concern a man should have when drinking a lot of beer is the calorie intake (which is likely the biggest contributor to the beer gut and man boobs).

If you suffer from man boobs and you drink a lot of beer… Quit blaming the estrogen and go for a run.

Loading...