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Excessive alcohol can affect physical and mental health — Photo: Reproduction/Internet
First, let’s understand what constant alcohol consumption can do.
- Weight gain;
- Mood swings: irritability, impatience, depression;
- Memory loss;
- Insulin resistance and diabetes;
- Arterial hypertension;
- Acute myocardial infarction and stroke – stroke.
In the long term, alcohol damages all organs, especially the liver (the liver is overloaded to metabolize it), and causes:
- Alcoholic hepatitis;
- fatty liver;
- Early cell aging;
- Cancer – especially of the breast, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver and intestine.
For those who practice physical activity:
Endocrinologist Guilherme Renke explains that alcohol reduces muscle recovery capacity. In addition, it is known that associating exercise with alcohol can increase the possibility of:
- Drop in concentration;
- Loss of muscle mass;
- Income drop;
- Poor muscle recovery.
– The first few hours after exercise are crucial for muscle recovery. So what you consume, especially after training, makes a big difference. One study has shown that drinking alcohol impairs muscle glycogen synthesis rates after exercise. This result appears mainly due to the indirect effects of alcohol consumption: as the athletes were drinking, they did not ingest carbohydrates, as recommended, for an optimal recovery – adds Renke.
What happens when you stop drinking:
Did you know that alcoholic beverages are high in calories? — Photo: Disclosure
- sleep improvement – the metabolism of alcohol interferes with the production of hormones such as melatonin, preventing the sleep cycle from being complete so that it can repair cells.
- more energy – Alcohol causes inflammatory reactions in cells, causing the body to spend a lot of energy to metabolize alcohol, which is why the energy level is so directly affected.
- Lower net retention for better balance of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone), responsible for controlling the reabsorption of water by the body.
- Glycemic indexes decrease by an average of 15%, that is, there is a decrease in the amount of sugar in the blood responsible for the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Leverages the process of slimming, for decreasing inflammatory responses and optimizing fat burning.
- improves the skin, as cell dehydration caused by alcohol consumption accelerates the aging process.
- Lowering Cholesterol Levels, contributing to heart health and decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Less chance of cardiac arrhythmias;
- Lowering blood pressure, helping to treat hypertension, another risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
- Reduction of hepatic steatosis, which is liver fat, between 15% to 20%. Excess fat in the liver can lead to more severe organ dysfunction, causing irreversible liver cirrhosis.
In the long term, explained the specialist, in addition to assisting in the weight loss process, alcohol is a toxic substance to the body that accelerates the catabolization process (protein breakdown mechanisms that directly affect the body at a metabolic level). For this to happen, the metabolic pathways are all altered, and among the consequences, there is a favoring of fat accumulation, especially in the abdominal region, due to the activation of cortisol secretion, which stimulates cells to store these fats!
– Our liver metabolizes alcohol in the same way as sugar, as both serve as a vehicle to convert dietary carbohydrates into fat, promoting insulin resistance, fatty liver and dyslipidemia (abnormal levels of fat in the blood), so we eliminate alcohol of the diet implies so many benefits – added Genaro.
- Greater emotional balance, with less mood swings and antisocial behavior, as alcohol negatively interferes with the stress level through the regulation of cortisol. Thereby, fight risk factors for anxiety and depression.
- Reduced insulin resistance, helping to prevent diabetes;
- Decreased risk of developing some types of cancer, especially those of the mouth, esophagus, intestine and rectum.
Why is alcohol bad?
A hangover is just the tip of the iceberg: stress, anxiety, depression are among the harms caused by excessive alcohol consumption — Photo: istock
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is no pattern of alcohol consumption that is absolutely safe.. The alcohol intake threshold required for brain damage is unknown. The impact of moderate drinking is also unclear regarding the effects of alcohol on cardiovascular and brain outcomes. There are still two problems: toxicity and caloric surplus. From a caloric perspective, alcohol consumption makes a big difference in a person’s total caloric intake. Alcohol has a higher energy density (7kcal/g) than carbohydrates, for example (4kcal/g), so the excessive consumption of alcohol, even with food restriction, can harm the body composition of an athlete. That is, alcohol is fattening.
– Speaking of toxic effects, the big problem is acetaldehyde. After drinking alcohol, two liver enzymes, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), begin to break down the alcohol molecule so that it can be eliminated from the body. ADH helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde only remains in the body for a short period of time because it is quickly converted to acetate by other enzymes. However, although acetaldehyde is present in the body for a short period of time, it is highly toxic and is known to be a carcinogen. – Explica Renke.
For Roberta Genaro, a physician working in the field of nutrology and integrative medicine, speaker and biohacker, alcohol consumption directly affects our health, and there is research that demonstrates a strong association between consumption and neurodegenerative diseases at the DNA level. In an observational study done by Oxford researchers with more than 25,000 people, it was shown that there is a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and the premature cellular aging process.
– Alcohol is a psychoactive drug, that is, it acts directly on the brain as a toxic substance for the body, regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed – comments Roberta.
The recommendation, according to the doctor, is to choose not to drink or drink in moderation, limiting intake to a maximum of two drinks (example: two long necks or two glasses of wine) per day for men or one drink a day for women , on the days when alcohol is consumed.
– In fact, by stopping drinking, we prevent the development of chronic diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and digestive problems and mental health problems caused by alcohol including depression and anxiety – Completa Renke.
Another benefit pointed out by the endocrinologist is improved sleep, which also benefits the recovery of athletes. Other studies have shown effects on cognitive function in the morning and have suggested an increased risk of muscle damage in people who drink alcohol.
According to physician and biohacker Roberta Genaro, when we eliminate alcohol from the diet, in the short term we improve our liver’s metabolic capacity, bringing more energy, energy and well-being to the body and, in the long term, favoring a healthy and decreasing the risk of developing diseases that can be activated by alcohol consumption.
– In the short term, eliminating alcohol and the famous hangover there is an improvement in our cognitive ability, thinking ability and logical reasoning. In addition, it reduces fluid retention, thus improving the sensation of swelling in the body caused by the accumulation of water that leaves the vessels for the subcutaneous tissue – complete.
Roberta reinforces that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) establishes 14g of pure ethanol as a standard dose and advises women to limit their consumption to one dose a day and men to up to two doses a day. Intake above this amount can already be considered “drinking too much”.
According to the Ministry of Health, just a “yes” to some of these questions suggests a possible problem and signs of alcoholism, and it is important to seek help:
- Do you ever feel like you should cut down on drinking?
- Have people ever pissed you off when they criticized your drink?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had alcohol in the morning to “warm up” your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
– Alcohol directly affects brain cell receptors and the level of DNA linked to the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, implying a deficiency of these neuro-hormones essential for happiness and well-being. Therefore, the greater the consumption of alcohol, the greater the chance of getting worse or developing some degree of depression – concluded the specialist.
William Renke he is an endocrinologist, a member of the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (SBEM), and a sports doctor, a member of the Brazilian Society of Sports Medicine (SBMEE) and the Brazilian Society of Medicine and Obesity (SBEMO).
Roberta Genaro is a physician active in nutrology and integrative medicine, a lecturer in Biohacker and founder of MAP, the first Master Mind of Health in Brazil. Postgraduate in Quantum Biophysics and Orthobiomolecular Therapy and Master Health Coach in Systemic Integrative Health.