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Impacts of alcohol that might make you pause


I’m all about making informed choices from a place of love for your body but also so you can enjoy your life. Let me start by saying this blog is not about me convincing you to give up alcohol! I still enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail time and again.


But I’d be remiss if I didnt say after learning more about the effects of alcohol on my body and really embracing being sober-curious, I find myself reaching for alcohol less and less.


Here are just some really eye-opening facts about alcohol & the impact they have on your body and overall health. This way you can make informed decisions around consumption.


 

1. Alcohol, is a toxin in the body.

Without getting too sciency, according to Dr. Andrew Huberman on his podcast where he goes into depth around the breakdown of alcohol in the body, consuming any form of alcohol leads it being broken down in the body into acetaldehyde (which is poison for the body and kills cells). The body then has to convert this into acetate so it can be used as energy. But depending how quickly your body can do this process, it can be damaging on the body. Long story short - processing alcohol produces stress and damage to the cells in the body!


2. Can pass into ALL cells in the body

It doesn’t discriminate on any part of the body because alcohol passes through fat and water soluble cells. This means alcohol can pass through the blood-brain barrier, directly impacting your brain cells.


3. Alcohol kills bacteria

Like I said before, alcohol doesn’t discriminate so it can kill both good and bad bacteria. This is why it can be so disruptive to the gut microbiome! It kills a lot of the beneficial bacteria we have that support the body. But it also can contribute to leaky gut (when the harmful bacteria pass out of the gut into the bloodstream) showing up as digestive issues, inflammation, food sensitivities and so much more!


4. Drinking can increase anxiety and stress

Now you may be grabbing a drink to take the edge off or feel better after a long stressful day. But it's only for a brief moment. The more you drink, the more cortisol your body is going to have at its baseline leading to you feeling more stressed and anxious when you aren’t drinking. You might feel that little dopamine hit when you have your first drink but the come-down is a lot longer and often lower than where you started.


5. Lower levels of quality sleep

You might be grabbing alcohol as a way to help you fall asleep quicker but the quality of sleep you are getting will be seriously impacted even just by one alcoholic drink. Instead of falling into deep sleep or REM sleep, you are falling into more of pseudo sleep that doesn’t allow your body to really go into the state of rest-and-digest (where all of the recovery & recharge happens). And this is just one of the many symptoms of a hangover (like headache, anxiety, stress, stomach ache, fogginess etc).



 

Is there room for alcohol in a healthy lifestyle - yes! Like anything it's about balance!


If you are someone who finds themselves having 1-2 drinks a night on average (or even 7 drinks in one night, averaging out to about the same), I would recommend exploring ways to lessen your amount of alcohol intake and explore more ways to bolster your immune system, liver support, manage stress, and support a healthy gut.


Here are some simple tips and swaps that might help get you started!

  • bolstering pre and probiotic-rich foods to support your gut bacteria

  • supplementing with a pre or probiotic (I love SEED which is a Sybbiotic that has both!)

  • hydrating before, during, and after alcohol consumption with electrolytes

  • Limiting alcoholic drink within hours before bed

  • introducing mocktails / non-alcoholic options

  • stress management tools like meditation, journalling, and gentle movement


AGAIN - this isn’t me saying you should never drink alcohol ever. I think its important to know how it impacts your body, to improve awareness so you can make informed choices.









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