I know I know. But I do get asked a lot about alcohol – all sorts of questions – you can imagine. But before I even start, please know that this article is based on scientific evidence, I’m not out to spoil your fun, nor to judge you nor to stop you drinking! We’re human, after all, and sometimes have to ‘live a little’. I simply want to bring you information and you may do with it what you wish. However if you are facing a health crisis, maybe you should read this.
The body can only process a limited amount of alcohol at a time – around 28g an hour – and women metabolise alcohol at a much slower rate than men do. Your ability to process alcohol also depends on how much alcohol dehydrogenase is present in your liver, which is genetically determined. But here are some ‘alcohol facts’ you may be interested in:
- It inhibits uptake and distribution of both nutrients and oxygen to liver cells
- Causes stomach cells to over-secrete both histamine and stomach acid
- Absorption of the all-important thiamine (B1), folate, B6 and B12 is prevented
- The ability of the liver to activate vitamin D is dramatically reduced
- You may begin to develop protein deficiency
- Blood triglyceride levels rise with alcohol intake (heart disease risk)
- The body’s immune system is compromised
- Amino acid metabolism in the liver is altered
- Owing to increased urine output large amounts of important minerals are excreted via the kidneys like potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc
- The red photoreceptor cells (cones) in your eyes are affected
- All medications are affected by alcohol intake
Excess alcohol promotes liver fat storage, effectively saturating the liver with fats – and we know this is called ‘fatty liver’. This is stage one of more sinister and serious liver disease and blood lipid readings will rise. Unfortunately during alcohol metabolism, a mutagenic agent is produced called acetaldehyde – and this has the potential to trigger a variety of cancers. Add to this the amount of free radicals produced during alcohol’s metabolism and the way these rogue molecules steal hydrogen ions from fatty acids in the cell membranes and you have triggered a chain reaction damaging and destroying cell membranes, a process called ‘lipid peroxidation’.
The metabolism of alcohol causes a dramatic increase in the activity of cytochrome P450 liver enzymes, especially a subset enzyme called 2E1, and these liver enzymes are 4-10 times higher in people who have recently consumed alcohol than those who haven’t. The problem is that this enzyme converts various compounds to toxic metabolites – which means one of the side effects of alcohol consumption is the production of these toxic metabolites. Many pesticides we are exposed to are normally converted to non-carcinogenic compounds in the livers of non-drinkers, however in alcohol drinkers they are converted to carcinogens, compounds known to promote cancer.
We all know regular alcohol consumption does damage the brain, but I won’t go into the complicated way this happens. We do know though that regular alcohol consumption:
- Makes you more vulnerable to a variety of preventable cancers
- Harms the body’s delicate hormonal balance
- Causes liver damage and fatty liver
What about Red Wine? Often cited as a good source of the antioxidant resveratrol, there are plenty of far better ways to get resveratrol, such as grape seed extract, raspberries, nuts, blueberries and green tea. They all come without the damaging effects of the alcohol itself. Large amounts of any kind of wine including red wine, will increase insulin levels which will impact your health in a negative way.
So how to reduce dependency and/or help your body to return to health if you drink a lot?
- Take Glutamine* – this will often reduce your cravings significantly. Around 2-3g a day or more – it eliminates even the psychological craving for alcohol (and carbs, sugar and other drugs too by the way!) – a great way to deal with this naturally.
- Take plenty of Vitamin C* – 10-20 grams a day if need be – the more the better. Vitamin C helps to increase the liver’s ability to reverse fatty liver! So you can see how this would help with weight loss too. To make it easy, take 1g (1000mg) every hour. When you get diarrhoea (if you do) this is a good sign you’ve reached saturation level, a very good state, then reduce the dose to 1g every 4 hours.
- Take B Complex* (a good one) as you will have been stripped of many B’s by alcohol
- Take 200mcg Glucochrom*once to three times a day – great for reducing cravings for sugar, and helps to balance blood sugar
- Use Magnesium Citrate Powder*– a spoon in water a day is amazing at helping you balance blood sugar and get over addictions of any kind.
*These products are all available from my online store here.