Sobering Impact Of Alcohol On Your Health and Wellness

It’s ironic that the first celebration of the new year, known for new beginnings, fresh starts and goal planning is marked by having a glass of known toxins. You read that right. Your alcoholic beverage of choice contains toxins that kill your cells. It’s loaded with sugars, fermented ingredients, and/or gluten. All of which are extremely inflammatory.

Not all alcohol consumption will lead to an onset of sudden and irreversible disease. Some people can handle higher consumption, while others should avoid it at all costs. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying social gatherings and having the occasional cocktail. But you should understand how alcohol impacts your health and wellness. Know your limits and understand the risks involved when one cocktail turns into six, before the famous New Year’s Ball drops.

How Alcohol Affects Your Body

It is important to understand the effect that alcohol has on your health and wellness. There are both short-term and long-term effects to many body parts including your brain, liver and heart. The severity depends on the frequency and amount of consumption.

Some of the short-term effects include:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration

Some of the long-term effects can include:

  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Brain Fog
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Liver Disease
  • Digestion Problems
  • Weakened Immune System
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Infertility

Even small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk for liver disease, cancer and diabetes. There are numerous studies that link even small amounts of alcohol intake to breast cancer and other chronic health conditions.

New research even connects alcohol consumption to brain conditions such as dementia. This could be due to alcohol’s relationship with neurogenesis, which is your brain’s ability to grow new, healthy cells.

Additional studies have shown that increased alcohol use inhibits the growth of new cells in areas of the brain like the hippocampus which is responsible for learning and memory, contributing to memory problems and dementia.

Alcohol also increases levels of the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the gut, which is known for inducing inflammation. Patients who report regular alcohol consumption will typically develop leaky gut, which will fuel widespread inflammation in the body and the brain.

The Toxic Hangover

Glutathione is the “Master Antioxidant” and is an important driver in supporting immune function and detoxification. Alcohol depletes your glutathione levels, which increases free radical damage, weakens immune function and allows toxins to build in the body, resulting in toxic overload.

Your liver is responsible for producing most of your glutathione. Alcohol depletes your natural stores and inhibits the detoxification process. Even one drink per day can deplete glutathione levels. Coupled with other factors that reduce glutathione —chronic illness, stress, aging, GMO foods and certain pharmaceuticals, your liver simply cannot keep up with the detoxification demands for glutathione.

For those with a known MTHFR mutation, understanding how alcohol affects you is even more important. A lack of glutathione may have a significant impact on DNA methylation. Glutathione can lead to depleted methionine (the essential, precursor amino acid). This further impairs the methylation process and significantly affects DNA methylation.

Glutathione also plays an important role in protecting vitamin B12 from being damaged by toxins. The interaction between glutathione and vitamin B12 may also protect against diseases related to low vitamin B12. B12 is also an essential precursor in the methylation cycle and the folate cycle. Deficient glutathione may affect the ability of B12 to participate in metabolic functions, which in turn affects both the methylation cycle and the folate cycle.

While the initial hangover symptoms may be fast and fleeting, the lingering effects from binge drinking make it very difficult to detox properly thus leading to chronic, systemic, or genetic health issues.

The Health And Wellness Benefits of Better Choices

A study from the University of Sussex showed that people who participated in “Dry January” reported improvements in their health.  More specifically:

    • 71% slept better
    • 67% had more energy
    • 58% lost weight
    • 57% had better concentration
    • 54% had better skin.

If you believe alcohol might be contributing to chronic inflammation in your body, try going alcohol-free during January. Replace your favorite bubbly drinks with mocktails and adaptogenic elixirs.

Mocktails are a fun opportunity to play around with plant-based herbal medicines, like adaptogens. Adaptogens are a group of natural ingredients with an ability to restore balance in the body. They are most commonly found in a powdered form so you can easily mix these into your drinks.

As you ring in the new year, reflect on 2022 and begin planning how you’ll win in life and in your health and wellness during the new year. Consider keeping your alcohol consumption front of mind. Be mindful of the short-term decisions you make and their long-term effects on your health. If you do overindulge during the holidays, have a plan to help your body bounce back.

Our Detox IV Drip is a great way to replenish essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to assist the body’s major detoxification pathways. It helps with cleansing and repairing cells, reducing inflammation, and improving liver function. If you are an established patient, talk with us about our therapeutic options for detoxing which includes our Detox Support Drip and NAD+.

If your 2023 goals list includes improving your health and wellness, we encourage you to connect with our team. Our New Patient Coordinators would be happy to share more information on becoming an established patient, where you’ll receive personalized Functional Medicine care and a unique treatment plan to get you back to living your best life.

Hope is Here!

Keri Sutton - RN, MSN, ANP-C, AGPCNP-BC

Keri is a Nurse Practitioner and founder at Kare Health & Wellness. Keri's pursuit of personal answers to her own health issues landed her in the top of Functional Medicine. As she utilized functional Medicine to get her own health and life back, she made it her life's work to bring this empowering form of healthcare to as many people as she can.

About Us

Our mission is to create a safe environment for our patients to share their story and be empowered to take control of their health.  We constantly challenge patients to think differently about their health. We never find contentment in simply being disease free. We want to help patients optimize their vitality of life so that they can strive for things that they thought were unattainable.

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