Think Before you drink

With the pandemic appearing to be somewhat under control and the warm summer months quickly approaching, most of us are ready to move on from the necessary safety restrictions. It's likely going to be tempting for folks to go overboard with their alcohol intake. All indications show that there will be more celebratory relief with increased outdoor activities and traveling. 

Excessive use of alcohol has been linked to depression, anxiety, societal withdrawal, violent behavior, impotence, increased unprotected sex, car accidents, accidental drowning, and domestic abuse. The adverse effects of alcohol on the brain, liver, heart - on just about every organ in your body - have been well documented. 

Why does drinking alcohol have such a large effect on the whole body?

When a person consumes more alcohol than they can handle, your blood alcohol content (BAL) can quickly lead to toxicity and even death. BAL is dependent on the person's general health, history of medication use, age, gender, and weight.

While about 33% of alcohol gets absorbed into the blood through the stomach lining, the remaining amount gets very slowly absorbed into the blood in the small intestines. In the bloodstream, it diffuses to all tissues in the body.


7 Surprising things that can happen to your body after a night of drinking.


The recommended maximum intake of alcohol is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Consuming more than this is considered problematic drinking. Five or more drinks per day for men (four for women) is believed to be the beginning of binge drinking and hence alcohol dependence.  


In other words, excessive alcohol intake, even "healthy" ones like wine, can take a toll on your whole system. That's because alcohol impacts every part of your body – not just your liver. And even a single night of heavy drinking could contribute to: 

1- Brain Damage: As some of you have experienced, drinking too much can cause you to make bad decisions. But it can do so much more damage. Studies have shown that even a single night of binge drinking can kill brain cells, and even cause brain shrinkage and frontal lobe damage. 


2- Digestive Distress: Maybe you've struggled to keep food down after a night of drinking. That can be uncomfortable, but that's not the only way your alcohol intake can destroy your gut. Over-consuming can throw off the balance of good bacteria in your GI system. Even worse, it can break down the mucous lining in your digestive system, making it easier for waste and other particulates to enter your bloodstream, causing long-term health issues. 


3- Heart Problems: Have you heard the term "holiday heart?" That's when your heart starts beating a bit faster at holiday parties. It turns out drinking is to blame. In fact, heavy drinking affects your heart's ability to regulate its rhythm. And in most cases, it dies down after a day or two – but for anyone with underlying heart problems, it could lead to hospitalization or more severe problems down the road. 


4- DNA Damage: Yes, you read that right – that extended happy hour could damage your DNA. A 1997 study found that drinking alcohol changed people's DNA, making it more difficult for your cells to repair themselves. And that can leave you more prone to illness and make it harder for you to recover from injuries, sickness, or hangovers. 


5- Bone Weakness: Can drinking destroy your bones? Yes, especially if you've been overdoing it since a young age. And even 1-2 nights of heavy drinking a month counts as overdoing it. You see, drinking too much alcohol has led to osteoporosis. How? It blocks your body's ability to absorb and use calcium efficiently, leading to weaker, more brittle bones.  


6- Reduced Immune Function: Binge drinking affects your immune system quickly – some experts say immediately. According to a Loyola University study, heavy drinking almost immediately led to a pro-inflammatory state, meaning the immune system was revving up. But when it realized it had revved up for no reason, it became slow, sluggish, underperforming, and not as efficient at helping you heal. Frequent drinking can lead to more colds, flu, and other illnesses, and this is because alcohol makes the body more susceptible to infections.


7- Decreased Libido: Alcohol's significant effects on sexual physiology decrease sexual activity, but paradoxically it also suppresses psychological inhibitions, which may increase the desire for sex and leads people, primarily men, to resolve to use more illicit drugs in an attempt to increase sexual performance.


How Can a Whole-body RESET help your body and brain recover from the side effects of alcohol?

Having too much alcohol? As I've summarized above, the effects of alcohol on your body and brain can be significant and devastating. Realizing that your drinking may be out of control is the first step. Seeking medical help is the second and may save your life.

For those who do not feel they've not yet gotten to the "addiction curve," our Akasha RESET PROGRAM will help you take a step back, work on your physical health, eating habits, and be more aware of the triggers of your drinking. 


Assuming that you do not have a medical condition that can be worsened by drinking alcohol, are not taking any medication, and will not be operating a vehicle, you may choose to indulge in alcohol but drink it wisely. 

Stick to 1-2 drinks max, and go for lower-sugar options like a spirit mixed with soda water or polyphenol-rich red wine; eat while you're drinking, and drink PLENTY of water (add a few drops of lemon for enhanced "cleansing) - AND stay safe out there for your sake and those you're sharing the road with. Because when drinking, your life and those out there depend on your ability to make the right decision.

About the Author:

Edison de Mello MD, Ph.D. -  Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the Akasha Center for integrative Medicine is a board-certified integrative physician with over 25 years of experience in the field of Integrative Medicine.

His recent book, BLOATED? Outlines Dr. de Mello's approach to medical care. With his signature approach: "I meet my patients before I meet their diseases." Dr. de Mello has helped thousands of patients across the globe. 

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