Nov 27 2016

Think before you drink this holiday season

Published by at 2:01 pm under Alcohol

Think before you drink this holiday season.
Drinking too much alcohol is detrimental to your gut health, so it’s better to act in moderation.*

The holidays are right around the corner! This is the time of year where people love to celebrate and with that comes a tendency to overindulge and forget about their diets for awhile. We eat more, drink more, stress more and sleep less. Holiday parties and family get-togethers often cause us to drink more alcohol than normal, and heavy alcohol intake can alter gut health, disrupting the balance of friendly to unfriendly bacteria. Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system, not to mention leave you feeling bloated, hung over, and emotionally depressed, (as the brain’s gaba receptors are also negatively affected). 1*

What is moderation when it comes to alcohol?

According to the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate alcohol consumption is “…up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men…” The NIAAA defines binge or heavy drinking to be “…a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours…” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts an annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and defines binge drinking to be when a person drinks 5 or more alcoholic drinks during the same occasion on at least one day within a 30 day period…”2*

What are the repercussions on our gut?

Research shows that when we abuse alcohol, it can affect the gut microbiota, disrupting the equilibrium of the microbiome. Not only does it affect this delicate balance, but chronic overuse, can alter the gut to the point that is leads to gut permeability, or leaky gut syndrome, a topic we have covered in the past. When gut bacteria and food particles “leak” to other parts of the body, it can lead to a series of negative health issues including inflammation and autoimmune diseases. This can be detrimental to the liver and other parts of the body. “…Abusing alcohol can increase the permeability of the gut to macromolecules, which facilitates the “translocation” of toxins from the gut, into the bloodstream. This increases the liver’s exposure to toxins, increasing its risk of injury…” 3*

Alcohol can also interfere with the communication pathways of the brain. It affects behavior, mood and coordination, and can affect brain cell development. Alcohol abuse has been associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and other memory issues. It also can damage the heart, lead to fatty liver and cirrhosis of the liver, is hard on the pancreas and wreaks havoc on the entire immune system. Have you ever noticed if you drink too much over a few days that sometimes you will end up “coming down with something”. If your microbiome is disrupted, it affects your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illness. 3*

On the bright side, many studies show that moderate alcohol consumption may positively impact health when done right. Among these benefits are lowered risk for heart disease and death due to heart disease, as well as the risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when the brain’s arteries narrow or become blocked, reducing blood flow. It is also thought to decrease the risk of diabetes.(3,4)*

In one study, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel observed 224 individuals with well-controlled Type-2 diabetes and with a low risk for alcohol abuse. For two years, they drank five ounces of either mineral water, dry white wine or dry red wine, while following a Mediterranean diet, with no calorie restrictions. The results showed that the red wine drinkers “…had significantly increased their levels of good HDL cholesterol and had a more beneficial cholesterol ratio compared to the group that drank water. They were also the only group to experience a significant drop in components of metabolic syndrome…”5*

So as you enter this holiday season, listen to your body. Drink and eat in moderation. If you do find you drink a little too much, make sure to increase your intake of Body Bioticsâ„¢ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortiaâ„¢ to help replenish the friendly bacteria lost, and help to restore the delicate balance of the microbiome. The delicate equilibrium of the gut is to be respected and cared for, so think before you overdo it!*

Healthiest wishes!





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