I wish I had learned the following information years ago, or had at least been more mindful of it. While I do believe it is common knowledge that alcohol is not particularly good for us, I don’t believe very many of us know just how bad it is. I myself was shocked to learn that it is a known carcinogen, and was further surprised to discover that regular alcohol consumption actually inhibits the body’s natural ability to produce crucial vitamins.
Since alcohol is a depressant, the information you’re going to read will make it completely clear how it can truly have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, many times people use alcohol as a self medication. So let us describe the long term negative effects alcohol has on the body.
Many studies clearly correlate alcohol consumption and cancer development, linking moderate to regular alcohol consumption to the following types of cancer: Head and neck cancer, Esophagal Cancer, Liver Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and more.
“Based on extensive reviews of research studies, there is a strong scientific consensus of an association between alcohol drinking and several types of cancer.” National Cancer Institute
Decreased Vitamin B12 Production
Researchers have discovered that when a person drinks an excessive amount of alcohol it effects the vitamin B12 levels; if you are already deficient of this vitamin then your health can be at great risk. Current studies has also proven that even regular and moderate use of alcohol can affect your B12 levels.
Decreased Vitamin D & Calcium Absorption
Alcohol interferes with the pancreas and its ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. Alcohol also affects the liver, which is important for activating vitamin D, necessary for proper calcium absorption. This cascade of effects can lead to difficulties with bone regeneration.
Liver Damage (Cirrhosis)
Liver cirrhosis i a condition that scars the liver, one main cause of this occurring is alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis in the liver is very serious and can be fatal, in most cases the only way to reverse this by going through a surgery.
As appealing and even empowering as the feeling of lowered inhibitions and increased confidence can be, alcohol is a depressant which lowers serotonin levels in the brain. Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate depression, but many actually develop it because of alcohol, hence why this can become a very vicious cycle for some people.
When a person consumes alcohol it slows down the brain, which leads to memory loss. Consuming an excessive amount of alcohol makes a person blackout; which is when a person forgets what they were doing, where they were and who they were with. After some time this causes people to forgets things even when they’re sober.
What Happens To The Body Right Away And Especially The Next Day?
Alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines, which causes an inflamed stomach lining and delayed stomach emptying.
You are becoming dehydrated, the consumption of 50 g of alcohol in 250 milliliters (mL) of water (i.e. approximately 4 drinks) causes the elimination of 600 to 1,000 mL (or up to 1 quart) of water over several hours.
Alcohol inhibits glutamate production, glutamate is a stimulant whose job is to keep us awake. However, when our alcohol blood-levels reach zero (i.e., hangover time), our body reacts by overproducing this stimulant, which results in broken sleep.
According to this research, a possible explanation for alcohol induced hangovers is that alcohol effects the neurotransmitters, histamine, serotonin and prostglandins.
How Much Is Too Much?
The Canadian Center For Addiction and Mental Health explains that, women shouldn’t drink any more than 10 drinks a week and no more than 2 drinks in one day. Men on the other hand shouldn’t drink any more that 15 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks per day. Many people in the United States to be clear ever one out of six adult binge drinks four time a month, which is on average 8 drinks for each binge.
Some Personal Thoughts On The Matter
By learning how dangerous alcohol really is for one’s health it really pushed me to know why it is still promoted so much on mainstream media. It’s quite unusual to see a show without one person consuming alcohol regularly, both actors and advertisements are portrayed, to vary degrees, as sexy, cool spontaneous and fun. Between 2002- 2009 it has been reported that 8 billion dollars has been spent on alcohol advertisement alone. Although there has been knowledge on alcohols dangers it still doesn’t come close to the dangers of smoking which is still in the dark. A lot of the information that comes these days explains how sugar is the new tobacco of the 21st century, but it seems the truth about alcohol’s dangers are largely being ignored.
Even many popular alternative health blogs don’t seem to pay too much attention to the idea. Is this because so many people enjoy alcohol and the way it makes them feel and would rather turn a blind eye? Or is there a vested interest in keeping this information quiet? Not to be a total Negative Nancy, but this all reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 and how the deprived characters of the story were just given alcohol as a way to keep them happy and help them escape their otherwise miserable existence.
Please don’t get me wrong — I enjoy alcohol as much as the next person, or maybe even more, as it can be a great way to let loose, have fun, or even just relax, but this information has really got me thinking lately. Especially after abstaining from alcohol for the month of February, realizing how much better I felt on a day-to-day basis and seeing how much more I was able to accomplish, I think this is something we could all benefit from examining more closely.
What Do You Think?
If you are someone who enjoys the occasional glass of wine or a couple of beers every now and then, you can pretty much disregard this article. It is likely that if you are living an otherwise healthy lifestyle, these negative effects won’t have much of an impact on you. But if you are someone who drinks regularly, or who uses alcohol as an escape, this information is really worth taking into consideration. Why not take a break from alcohol and see if your mood improves? If you find you are using alcohol as a means to deal with stress, consider an alternative, like going for a run or walk, spending a few minutes in the sauna, or even meditating. Try doing something positive to deal with the stress rather than escaping it with alcohol.
Some Benefits Of Cutting Back Or Quitting Alcohol
- Increased mood
- More savings
- Less or no hangovers
- More time to get things done
- Not having regrets from something stupid you may have done
- Better memory
- Healthier lifestyle