Alcohol and it’s effects on the body
Who doesn’t enjoy a friend’s summer BBQ, girl’s night out, a birthday celebration, a holiday party or relaxing with a nice glass of wine? We all do! And well… sometimes all that fun socializing leaves us feeling not so hot the next day. What causes that yucky hangover? What exactly is happening in that body of yours?
Here’s how alcohol can affect your brain, heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys.
Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways and can affect the way your brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior and make it harder to think clearly. That’s why it’s common for people to feel kind of blue the day after a big night of drinking. It might feel like a stimulant when you are out and drinking, but alcohol is actually a depressant.
Drinking a lot over a long period of time or too much on a single occasion can also damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Research shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease, but the key word here is moderate, people!
Alcohol reduces the amount of digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas, thereby inflaming and leaking digestive enzymes, which subsequently attack the pancreas itself. This can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that will prevent proper digestion.
It is the second largest organ in your body and performs many jobs. It processes what you eat and drink and turns it into energy and nutrients your body can use. The liver also filters out harmful substances from your blood. Alcohol consumption can damage or destroy liver cells. The liver breaks down alcohol so it can be removed from your body, but your liver can become injured or seriously damaged if you drink more alcohol than it can process. Heavy drinking takes a toll on your liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations, more toxic than alcohol itself.
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Prolonged heavy drinking can actually cause kidney failure. The primary functions of kidneys are to regulate the composition and volume of the fluids and electrolytes circulating through the body. The kidneys regulate water, acid/base balance, certain hormones and minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, etc.) in the body. Alcohol can influence or compromise the balancing functions of the kidneys, and thus cause severe consequences on your kidney’s function and consequently the body.
The ethanol that is contained in alcoholic beverages has a dehydrating effect which causes headaches, dry mouth and tiredness. This is why you feel sluggish and have a headache the next day.
SO… while, it’s always fun to go out and whoop it up, perhaps we should make it our goal to practice moderation. Drinking is socially fun, but the effects it has on our body in the long run are ugly. Instead of 7 drinks per week, try enjoying 2-3. Do it for the sake of your health – your body will thank you for it. And if you do plan to head out for an evening of libation, stop by and pick up some Livco before you do.
It will help to protect your precious liver and it also helps with the hangover too. Cheers! 🙂