The Effects of Alcohol by Anni DahmsNils Lind
By Anni Dahms, Owner of the retail chain ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
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Under the guise of festive occasions, business dinners, as a pick-me-up, or due to stress, or many other excuses, it’s easy, in an imperceptible manner, to slip into excessive alcohol consumption.
Despite many other substances, alcohol is still our preferred intoxicant. When you drink alcohol, it passes from the blood into all the body’s organs, so every tiny cell, such as in the brain, muscles, and skin, also contains alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to the liver. It is an organic solvent that breaks down in the liver. During this breakdown, toxic substances are formed. It is these substances that make you feel ill and eventually cause liver damage. When the liver suffers, it is also unable to perform the many other tasks it has for our body, including detoxifying all the toxins we ingest throughout the day. Depending on how much alcohol you drink, there will eventually be progressive damage to the liver. In the early stages, liver values may only be slightly elevated and can easily regenerate if the situation is addressed. If you ignore the liver’s initial warnings, fat is gradually deposited in the dying liver cells, and you end up with a fatty liver, which in the later stages is called cirrhosis, where scar tissue forms in the liver while the liver shrinks. In this stage, many people die of liver failure. As the condition progresses, we become tired, sleep poorly, gain weight, develop a tendency for type 2 diabetes, experience mood swings, damage to the nervous system, mental disorders, depression, skin and hair problems, bone demineralization, impotence, vitamin deficiency syndromes, heartburn, heart pain, and destruction of the heart muscle, as well as various forms of cancer, such as liver cancer, and cancer in the throat and mouth. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause premature death due to conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and more.
Consuming more than 5 units of alcohol daily increases the risk of ischemic heart disease because it leads to obesity and high blood pressure. It is also believed that excessive alcohol affects men’s ability to become fathers.
On the more cheerful side, it seems that 2 units of alcohol daily slightly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, and studies show that people who have a moderate alcohol consumption, i.e., 1-2 units daily, live slightly longer than those who are completely abstinent. The line is thin because people who drink more than 3 units daily, on the other hand, die faster than others. Small amounts of alcohol can contribute to a festive mood and increase the desire for sex, while the ability to perform sexually decreases with a rising blood alcohol level.
Alcohol and Women
There are researchers who believe that more than 1 unit of alcohol daily promotes breast cancer in women. The Danish Cancer Society reports that for each unit of alcohol women consume per day, they increase their risk of getting breast cancer by 3%. The explanation is that alcohol increases the production of estrogen, and women who drink alcohol have higher estrogen levels in their blood. Additionally, the breakdown of alcohol itself releases a substance that is carcinogenic.
Women metabolize alcohol less efficiently than men do. This is partly because their liver and body weight are smaller than men’s, but also because alcohol is absorbed in the parts of the body that contain water, and men’s bodies have more water than women’s. While a man takes 1 hour to metabolize 1 unit of alcohol, a woman takes 1.5 hours.
It is recommended that both women and men consume no more than 10 units of alcohol per week.
Research shows that women have a greater risk of becoming alcoholics than men, who can drink much more before reaching a danger zone.
Alcohol is packed with calories. A glass of wine provides 100 calories, while half a liter of beer provides 200 calories. If you have weight problems, studies have shown that alcohol reduces normal fat metabolism.
If you are pregnant, you should completely abstain from alcohol. Studies have shown that pregnant women who drink more than 7 units per week have up to an 80% risk of premature birth. There are other studies that show that even in smaller amounts, alcohol can cause brain damage, heart defects, low birth weight, reduced intelligence, growth retardation, and deformities in children. Therefore, the health authorities recommend that pregnant women totally avoid alcohol. If you drink alcohol while pregnant, the alcohol is absorbed into your blood, and the fetus receives the same concentration of alcohol in the blood as you because the alcohol goes directly from you into the placenta. Alcohol is an organic solvent and is therefore harmful to the child. Any damage that occurs from the mother’s consumption of alcohol is lifelong and cannot be reversed. Children of alcoholic parents have a significantly greater chance of developing a substance abuse problem than children whose parents have a moderate alcohol consumption. 40% of alcoholics receiving treatment for alcohol abuse grew up in homes where alcohol was a problem.
The Role of Parents
As parents, it is important to be aware of being good role models for young people. Alcohol habits appear to be contagious, and therefore, it is never good for children to see their parents heavily intoxicated. It should be clear that children should not have alcohol. It has been shown that the earlier children start drinking, the more they tend to consume. For children under 16 years old, it is recommended that they do not consume any type of alcoholic beverages. For young people between the ages of 16 and 18, it is recommended to drink as little as possible. These strict recommendations exist because the bodies of children and young people, especially their brains, are not fully developed. Unfortunately, these young individuals often feel like adults who just need to ”go along with the crowd” and that they are ”in the know” when they drink with their friends. It deeply saddens me to see how many young people consider it a social norm to ”drink to excess,” often many days a week.
Are you an alcoholic?
It is estimated that between 5-7% of all of us could easily become alcoholics if we are not careful. If your thoughts revolve around alcohol and dominate your daily life, and you feel unwell if you haven’t consumed alcohol for a few hours, then honestly think, reflect, and assess whether you have an issue with alcohol. Because until you recognize it yourself, there is no one who can help you.
Alcohol The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of how much alcohol you have in your bloodstream.
When you consume alcohol, it is absorbed into the body from the stomach or small intestine. Within a few minutes of ingestion, it can be detected in the blood.
The absorption of alcohol can be slightly delayed if you consume fatty foods, but the metabolism remains fairly constant.
Tobacco and alcohol are a particularly unhealthy combination because the harmful effects of alcohol are heightened by tobacco.
In Denmark, 1 unit is defined as the amount of alcohol found in a Danish pilsner, which is 12 grams.
It is estimated that there is 1 unit in a 12 cl glass of wine.
In a glass of fortified wine, 1 unit is found in 8 cl.
In spirits, 1 unit equals a 4 cl glass.
A 75 cl bottle of wine at 12% alcohol contains 6 units.
A 70 cl bottle of spirits contains 18-20 units.
The purest form of alcohol is vodka.
Whether you decide on detoxification or simply reducing your alcohol intake, it is extremely important to be very conscious of what you consume.
There are certain foods that can increase the craving for alcohol. These are the same types of foods that trigger low blood sugar, as all alcoholics suffer from low blood sugar. If you feel that your alcohol consumption has become excessive, you can start by working on your diet.
Avoid milk, white bread, chocolate, meat, and all sugary foods, as well as coffee and other caffeine-containing drinks.
Never eat sweets while drinking alcohol; it causes your blood sugar to spike. The same goes for drinking or mixing any kind of juice with alcohol. It is important to eat a liver-friendly diet that is also blood sugar-stabilizing.
In this context, it is recommended to consume plenty of nuts, whole-grain bread, cheese, and fruit. Incorporate wheat germ and avocados into your diet. Good vegetables include artichokes (which are especially liver-friendly), broccoli, beets, celery, onions, garlic, radishes, cucumbers, and more. Drink wheatgrass juice, as it detoxifies the liver.
Be cautious about consuming too many acid-forming foods.
Ensure you have a good intake of fiber and make sure to drink plenty of water. For instance, drink a glass of water for every glass of wine. This is helpful for the liver. Water is nature’s cleanser.
Feel free to drink green tea and certain diluted juices without added sugar. Dandelion, wormwood, and milk thistle are strong liver-cleansing herbs.
Be cautious about consuming fatty meats, burgers, sausages, fatty cheese, rich desserts, cream, and filled chocolates – all of these put a strain on the liver.
Never drink coffee when you are drunk. Coffee is a diuretic, which can make alcohol even more concentrated in the body.
First and foremost, ensure a good foundation of multivitamin/mineral supplements such as Omnimin, OmniX, Spektro +50, or Mivitotal. Combine this with a high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplement like Cardiomega, Krill oil, or Pikasol. It is essential to take reasonably large doses, as fish oil may help protect the brain from alcohol-related damage.
If you have alcohol cravings, it may be a good idea to consider the amino acid L-glutamine. You can take a dosage of one 500 mg capsule on an empty stomach twice a day or use it in powdered form before bedtime. Glutamine is well-known for reducing cravings and the need for alcohol, even in cases of addiction.
Additionally, it’s beneficial to supplement with a strong B-vitamin complex such as Omni-B Active, B-Complex 75, or Mega B-Stress, which contains all B vitamins. Alcohol is diuretic and can flush essential vitamins and minerals, especially the vital B-vitamin group, which helps maintain our nervous system. Lars Okholm once wrote in one of his books that rats can become alcoholics if they lack B vitamins.
B1 vitamin at approximately 300 mg daily is good to add to the complex of B vitamins.
It’s also advisable to supplement with about 2 grams of vitamin C daily, as C vitamins are also flushed out of the body.
Consider adding vitamin E and extra vitamin A to your regimen.
For additional mineral supplements, taking 200 mcg of selenium is recommended.
Take zinc at 40 mg before bedtime. Zinc plays a role in alcohol breakdown.
Chromium is very important. Take 200 mcg of chromium, as it counteracts blood sugar fluctuations that can otherwise increase alcohol cravings.
Magnesium should be consumed daily. It helps prevent cramps and has a relaxing effect. Many people with even moderate alcohol consumption lack magnesium. Minerals are essential because alcohol is acid-forming, which can contribute to osteoporosis over the long term.
Aid in liver cleansing and regeneration with Milk Thistle.
Many men often experience reduced testosterone due to alcohol. Terrestis Tribulum may help with testosterone levels.
Some people experience itching of the skin when they drink alcohol. If that’s the case, have your liver function checked. It could also be related to age-related intolerance, in which case, you might be lacking the amino acid taurine.
Be cautious about drinking alcohol if you’re taking medication. It’s rarely a good combination.
If you have diabetes, you should be extra careful with alcohol consumption, preferably not more than 1-2 units daily. If you drink more than that, remember to have a late-night snack before going to bed.
Before going out, decide to drink a glass of water for each unit of alcohol. This will help prevent dehydration.
Eat a good meal before going out to drink. Never drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol is less harmful when consumed with food.
If you start vomiting, stop drinking. It’s a clear signal from your body that it can’t handle any more.
It’s better to have 1-2 units daily than to indulge heavily on the weekend.
If you know you’ll be drinking when you go out, you can largely prevent hangovers by taking plenty of essential oils – Omega 3/6/7/9 – before heading out. Bring a couple of capsules and take them during the party, finishing with a few more before going to bed.
Before your night out, add 1 gram of vitamin C, a strong B-vitamin complex, and a couple of Milk Thistle capsules, along with a large glass of water.
According to Chinese medicine, the liver detoxifies between 1-3 in the morning. So, your liver will be thankful if you stop drinking before then.
To stabilize your blood sugar the next day, honey can be very helpful. Bananas, sunflower seeds, and grated apples can also be beneficial.
If you have Aloe Vera at home, a few large sips can be beneficial.
Be cautious about drinking while flying. The cabin pressure, combined with alcohol, can be extremely dehydrating for the body.