If you are like most people then you probably know that alcohol is not good for your health, but you also probably believe that it is not very harmful either. However, it turns out that alcohol is actually a carcinogen and drinking alcohol on a regular basis can block our body’s ability to create essential vitamins.
In addition, we should also mention that alcohol is a natural depressant which makes it even worse because besides our physical health consumption of alcohol has negative impact on our mental health. Now let’s highlight some of the negative consequences of drinking alcohol in the long run.
6 Negative Consequences of Drinking Alcohol
1. Well-known carcinogen
Numerous scientific studies have confirmed that there is a clear link between drinking alcohol and emergence of different types of cancer. Regular and moderate alcohol consumption can result in development of some of these types of cancer: esophageal cancer, neck and head cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer etc. According to the NCI (National Cancer Institute), reviews of scientific studies focused on alcohol have shown that alcohol is associated with cancer.
2. Reduced production of vitamin B12
In addition, scientific studies suggest that alcohol consumption in high amounts disrupts the levels of vitamin B12 in the body. In case you already lack vitamin B12 or you have just found that you are suffering from B12 deficiency, you can expect many negative consequences. A study conducted not while ago has confirmed that even moderate consumption of alcohol on a regular basis can affect the production of vitamin B12.
3. Reduced absorption of calcium and vitamin D
It was also confirmed that alcohol disrupts the work of the pancreas especially its efforts to absorb both vitamin D and calcium. Alcohol has negative impact on the work of the liver and this organ activates and manages vitamin D which allows adequate calcium absorption. In the end, this cycle of negative effects can result in problems linked to regeneration of bones.
4. Cirrhosis (liver damage)
Liver damage appears in cases where the liver is scarred. On the other hand, there are many different things that can lead to this situation and alcohol consumption is one of these reasons. Cirrhosis is a very complex and serious disease which can sometimes be deadly. In many cases, the only way to stop it and heal it is to perform a surgery.
This information may be a shocker for some people since alcohol makes them feel stronger and more confident for a short period of time, but alcohol is actually a depressant that ultimately reduces the presence of serotonin (hormone of happiness) in the brain. There are a huge number of people who start drinking alcohol heavily in order to suppress depression, but there are even more people who trigger depression due to alcohol abuse.
Drinking alcohol makes all the processes that take place in our brain slower and in many cases it leads to forgetfulness. Alcohol abuse can lead to total blackouts which means that people forget where they were, what they were doing and who was there with them. If this heavy drinking continues, people will start forgetting things even when they are completely sober.
What’s going on in our body while we are drinking and the next day?
Alcohol causes irritation in the intestines and stomach, which leads to inflammation in the stomach lining and postponed stomach clearing. In the beginning, you become dehydrated – taking 50 grams of alcohol per a cup (250 ml) of water which equals about four drinks leads to removal of up to 1 quart of water in a period of just a few hours.
In addition, alcohol blocks production of glutamate. This compound is a natural stimulant that keeps the system awake. But, when once the blood cleanses the alcohol (hangover) the body starts making more of these stimulant and we have sleeping difficulties.
A scientific research has provided an explanation for the hangovers. It seems that alcohol has direct impact on the work of histamine, neurotransmitters, prostaglandins and serotonin.
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How much alcohol is too much?
The CCAMH (Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) claims that women should not drink more than ten drinks in one week and no more than twice a day. On the other hand, men should not consume more than 15 drinks in one week and no more than three times a day.
In addition, people should not drink every day. If you are like most people, then you probably drink more than 2-3 drinks when you are out in a bar or a club. According to some statistics, about 15% of American adults drink excessively four times a month and during these days they drink about eight drinks in one day.
Learning more about alcohol
By learning how alcohol can affect your health, you will be able to limit alcohol consumption. On the other hand, it is very odd that mainstream media almost never talks about the negative consequences of drinking alcohol. As a matter of fact, it seems that mainstream media support drinking alcohol.
If you take a close look at the movies and TV shows you will see that many of the characters are drinking on a regular basis. There are also commercial dedicated to different alcoholic beverages where the people who drink alcohol are portrayed as fun, entertaining, cool and even smart. In the last decade, this industry has spent more than 9 billion dollars on ads.
Even though the risks of drinking alcohol are fewer and smaller compared to those of smoking cigarettes it is still a mystery why they are not highlighted. In the last two decades the world’s population has become aware of the dangers of sugar and tobacco, but the risks of drinking alcohol are kept aside.
What is even more interesting is that even the majority of blogs dedicated to alternative medicine and health, don’t talk much about alcohol. It almost looks like some of them are sponsored by this industry while some of them know that the general public is in favor of this practice, so they don’t want to irritate the audience.
This situation makes us wonder whether we are already living in the popular dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell where people were given alcoholic beverages for free just to make them feel happy for some time and prevent free thinking.
Let’s be clear, we don’t want to say that alcohol is not enjoyable, on the contrary – it can make us feel relaxed, but we should really take the negative consequences into account. Many people say that they no one can know the difference until they stop drinking for a month. After a month you should feel reenergized, happier and healthier.
In case you are a person that really enjoys drinking a few beers or glasses of wine from time to time, you can skip this article. There is a great chance that if you are following a healthy lifestyle the negative impact of alcohol consumption to be annulled.
However, if you are not following such lifestyle and you are drinking on a regular basis or you use alcohol to forget your current situation, you should definitely take this article seriously. Can you take a small break from your habit and check whether you will feel better or not?
In case you use alcohol to deal with stress, you should know that there are many other things that can help you like going to the sauna, running, walking or meditating. Just focus on doing positive things to cope with stress instead of opening a bottle of alcohol.
A Few Advantages of Reducing or Quitting Alcohol
- More time and energy to finish tasks;
- Saving money;
- Better mood;
- Less or absence of hangovers;
- Improved memory;
- Not dealing with the consequences of the stupid things you’ve done the previous night;
- Healthy lifestyle.
In case you want to cut back, manage or completely stop alcohol consumption, you can rely on many sources found online.
Have you ever stopped drinking for a while? How did you feel? Share your thoughts with us.