Moderate alcohol consumption offers perceived benefits for our health in terms of stress management, relaxation and social enjoyment but the reality maybe quite the opposite. Additionally, the definition of “moderate” can vary wildly from one person to the next.
Excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking negatively impacts our bodies in a multitude of ways.
Here is just a few of the main ones.
Alcohol acts as a competitive inhibitor of the activation of vitamin A into retinoic acid, which has a direct impact on cell growth and differentiation.
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of a variety of cancers (1).
It has a negative impact on the B vitamins (Thiamine, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine) and Vitamin D, E and K.
Minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium are also affected. Alcohol is a diuretic and has been shown to increase the excretion of magnesium in urine, resulting in diminished reserves of this important mineral.
Hypomagnesemia, or magnesium deficiency can play a role in a host of issues ranging from muscle cramps and mental disorders to osteoporosis (8) and high blood pressure.
The liver is one of the body’s hero organs but it can become overworked and exhausted by excessive alcohol intake. When the liver is processing alcohol, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde which can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring in a condition known as liver cirrhosis.
While the booze may first appear to be beneficial in terms of helping us relax, in my experience so far going alcohol free, it actually has the opposite effect. I am far more relaxed, calm and much clearer without the alcohol so while the effects above are very real, it is worth re-examining the perceived benefits that you have attributed to alcohol too as my experience has shown me that none of them are actually real.
What you gain by removing the alcohol is far greater than what you give up. In fact, there really is no sacrifice here in removing alcohol from your life and the only gains are positive ones.
Yours in health and happiness,