The Health Effects of Alcohol
It is five O’clock somewhere and the caps, corks and cares are all about to hit the floor. Maybe you are carefully considering your drink choice, maybe you can barely read the menu and will calculate the consequences later.
Well let us take a shot of truth and learn more about the health effects of alcohol.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much Per Day
The consumption of alcohol has been around for quite some time and I am not here to change that. Alcohol has been used to celebrate, disinfect and frankly at times, to keep up moral. Alcohol has a great ability at keeping us in the moment and inspiring our more laid-back selves.
Like most things in moderation this can be enjoyed but overindulgences are what lead to health issues. A correlation between reduced risk of heart attack and moderate alcohol consumption has been shown in both men and women. We need to define moderate though. In the studies this is one drink a day. While 4 drinks a day has the adverse effect. To contrast, if you are 30 years of age the risk is going to outweigh the benefit, but if you are 60 plus the benefit of a glass a day is in your favor.
1-2 Drinks here and there are not going to kill us. It’s our other decisions and frequency that will. If you attend happy hour here and there, and just because you are drinking doesn’t mean all sensible eating is out the window, then you probably won’t see a negative impact in the mirror at the end of the year.
If you are consistently going to 1-2 happy hours weekly and you always eat poorly (such as fried foods), not only will you see this at the end of the year, but it will exponentially get worse.
What Does Alcohol Do To Your Body
When it enters our body, the bouncer lets our brain know that poison has arrived, and all tasks must be put on hold until it has left the building. This my friends, is why alcohol makes you exponentially less healthy.
When we consume alcohol, we stop digesting food, breaking down fat and repairing our body. Our body shifts its attention to clearing this poison. It can be debating back and forth what foods make you fat and what you should or should not eat while drinking.
The bottom line is that all food ingested must be stored for processing later until alcohol is metabolized.
How Your Body Metabolize Alcohol
Well first you need to know how long that poison takes to break down. A beer, glass of wine or a shot will metabolize in about one hour. This may shift your thinking as to when you consume alcohol.
Example #1 - A Casual Drink or Two BEFORE Dinner
You are leaving work and meeting up with friends at 4, having a drink or two and then eating a few hours later at home. Your body should have metabolized the alcohol by the time you eat, and your body will be ready to break down the food you consume.
Example #2 - A Casual Drink or Two WITH Dinner
You stop at happy hour after work. Have a few drinks as well as some fries and wings. When you get home a few hours later you have dinner. Having a drink with the food means that your body must work on the alcohol first. The fried food creates havoc from an inflammatory perspective which does not make any process easier on our body.
This food is also pushed to the back burner to be broken down, and when food it put on the “back burner” that means that it is stored as fat. Fat is stored energy that we are not moving any closer to burning when we are consuming alcohol.
You can see in the two examples how you could drink the same thing but wear it very differently.
The Health Effects of Alcohol
As mentioned, alcohol is poison and getting rid of poison is taxing on our organs. Our liver deals with the brunt of this and metabolizes all the alcohol in the system.
Over time consistent consumption overworks the organ and causes cells to die. Eventually enough cells die that our liver becomes inefficient and cannot keep up with the demand.
Alcohol's Effects on Recovery
Maybe you’ve “passed out drunk before”. Although you may hit the hay hard due to the drowsiness that alcohol produces, you do not sleep well. Once the alcohol wears off our body is very aware of the poisons coursing through our body, so it turns up the heat to help you sweat it out, makes your nauseous to puke it out and also hasn’t been breaking down food to give you blood sugar so let’s add some shakes. Not getting deep sleep or getting in REM sleep, will both stop us from releasing all the necessary hormones to build and repair our body. Think of your bodies night shift as showing up only to do what the day shift did not finish. Instead of moving forward and progressing at night, your body will maybe get back to baseline.
Alcohol's Effects on Memory Loss & Anxiety
With consumption of alcohol comes and decreased ability to move events short term to long term memory. When we wake up in the morning and cannot recall certain chunks of the night, this creates anxiety as our brain struggles to fill in what happened. It feeds you all the different possibilities. This constant hampering of neural activity makes it hard for our brain to create new pathways and cement new memories. B1 or thiamine deficiency from constant drinking can lead to serious complications and even death.
Alcohol's Effects on Muscle Loss & Weakness
If you tried building muscle before you probably have experienced that it is not easy. A big reason is because muscles are metabolically expensive, that means it cost a lot to keep them on our body. So, when we are consuming heavy amounts of alcohol, we rob our bodies of necessary nutrients. We usually are not supplying an excess of protein to allow our bodies to build muscle. If we consistently take in less food, common in alcoholics, our bodies turn to their muscles for fuel. Alcohol also literally weakens our muscle fibers and can eventually cause damage in them.
Alcohol's Effects on Your Heart
Drinking raises our blood pressure. As this happens consistently, it wears out our heart and can potentially lead to stroke and congestive heart failure. The disruption to our liver’s hormone production and lack of nutrients both impact our blood pressure.
How to Mitigate the Effects of Drinking Alcohol
Saying no once does not mean saying no all the time. Is the drink more important than your end goal? More important than what really makes you happy?
If you know you are going to indulge, plan for it. Prep prior to drinking with supplements such as chlorella, spirulina, and coconut water. Chlorella removes heavy metals and toxins from your blood. Spirulina has powerful anti-inflammatory properties to mitigate any damage you might feel in the morning. Coconut water contains abundant levels of electrolytes without the dyes and sugars of sports drinks. Get rest and sweat out the toxins.
If you are in San Diego or Scottsdale and want to learn more about your body and health, get in touch with us at Fix Body Group today. From personal training to chiropractics, we offer full body and holistic solutions to live a better more healthy life.