How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Bottles-of-alcoholThe physical effects of alcohol on your body vary from short-term effects like dehydration and a hangover to long-term effects like permanent liver disease. The effects of alcohol on your body are far more damaging than a headache or empty calories.

Here are a few examples of the Effects of Alcohol on Your Body

Increased Body Fat – Alcohol contains more calories per gram than virtually any other food except sugar. Any excess calories are often stored as body fat. To compound the situation, when this is metabolized in the liver it is converted to acetate which is then burned as fuel instead of body fat. It creates additional body fat, like a beer belly, and also blocks body fat burning.

Increased Appetite – Have you noticed the need to snack when you drink? Beer and wine are often associated with food from pizza to fine dining. To compound the situation, it reduces inhibitions and clouds your judgment leading to a lack of self-control and overeating.

Dehydration – A short-term effect, dehydration is caused by the diuretic effect of alcohol. Drinking coffee after will only compound the problem as you eliminate what fluid remains in your system. The only cure is to drink more water, or intravenous fluids in advanced stages.

Hormone Imbalance – Alcohol produces a significant decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol, the hormone responsible for storing fat. It is directly responsible for more fat around your waist and reduced overall muscle mass.

Nutrient Absorption – If your liver is processing alcohol, it is too “busy” to metabolize vitamins and minerals. Any food in your stomach will be forced to compete with it (ethanol) for absorption into your bloodstream. This also stimulates the elimination of calcium and magnesium that may lead to deficiencies of both.

Sleep Disruption – Alcohol consumption can disrupt your normal sleep cycle and cause sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of your sleep and by altering your total sleep time as well as the time it takes to fall asleep.

Decreased Brain Function – It directly affects your central nervous system, blocking signals from your brain to your body. This disconnect is first noticed when your speech becomes slurred, followed by a loss of balance and a lack of coordination. Alcohol destroys memory and reduces your ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. Long-term use leads to frontal lobe damage, the area of the brain responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, and judgment.

Immune System – Alcohol reduces your body’s natural immune system, making it difficult for your body to fight off pathogens (invading germs and viruses). Its use over time results in an increased risk of pneumonia and tuberculosis over that of the general population.

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