It’s the last day of 2015. Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we suffer.
But that hangover could be a really good thing: motivation to stick to no booze for Dry January.
Here’s some information that may increase that motivation …
Ultimately alcohol will age you faster, your skin will look older, you will put weight on more easily, it can affect your sex life and fertility, make you anxious and depressed and with regular consumption, can potentially cause damage to one of the most important organs of the body, the liver. The liver is our master toxin remover, and needs to last our lifetime for us to be in optimum good health!
But it’s very easy for us to consume over the recommended 2-3 units per day – that one large glass of wine after work may equal this.
Women are also more physiologically sensitive to alcohol than men. This is because women have a lower body content of water and a higher fat content, therefore alcohol becomes more concentrated in female systems and is retained in their bodies for longer.
As a result, women develop liver disease at lower levels of alcohol intake than men do, and are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, due to reduced absorption of nutrients.
Your All Year Round Dry Jan Plan:
- Optimise your nutrient absorption and prevent excess ageing
Repeated consumption of alcohol inhibits the liver’s production of digestive enzymes, which then majorly reduces the body’s ability to absorb proteins, fats and the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, D, E and K), as well as the B complex vitamins especially B1 (thiamine) and folic acid. Many essential nutrients are not retained by the body and are ‘washed out’ rapidly through the urine. This means that alcohol consumption causes a major loss of valuable nutrients and antioxidants. Without these vital elements, we may not have the adequate ingredients to make collagen, meaning we may produce wrinkles more easily. With the loss of antioxidants, we may age much more quickly, losing our vitality and looks.
- Protect your liver
The liver is an amazingly robust organ, and is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself after certain types of damage.
Unfortunately alcohol is one of the toxins that the liver doesn’t handle as well as other toxins, and it cannot regenerate after being severely damaged by alcohol. The liver processes 95% of alcohol ingested. Alcohol is seen as a toxin and therefore the body will preferentially process it before anything else.
As a result alcohol is absorbed and processed before nutrients and food; therefore it’s not a good idea to consume alcohol whilst eating!
- Alcohol can negatively affect your sex life and fertility
Alcohol reduces the body’s storage of the essential mineral zinc. Zinc is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, so without it, many processes suffer, including your hormonal balance and fertility.
For men it can reduce testosterone production and cause erectile dysfunction, and for women it can disrupt your menstrual cycle, and if you’re thinking about having a baby, alcohol consumption can increase your chance of miscarriage and birth defects.
- Avoid excess weight gain, especially around the middle
Because alcohol prevents the body’s ability to digest fats properly, excessive amounts of fat may accumulate in the liver. Leptin is a hormone involved in the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism. High levels of leptin are known to contribute to a fatty liver.
Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver and can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels). This drop in blood sugar often produces a craving for foods, especially foods that raise blood sugar such as more alcohol or sugar – not good for anyone, especially those concerned about weight gain, especially fat around the middle! For anyone with diabetes and are taking insulin, this can have very serious negative results.
- Alcohol may be making you depressed and anxious
As alcohol reduces the absorption of many essential nutrients, it may be having a major impact on your brain chemistry in a negative way. For example, those consuming excessive alcohol may have lower levels of tryptophan (the amino acid that is converted to serotonin).
Low serotonin is a major feature of depression. Selenium deficiency may occur as a result of alcohol intake and is associated with depression, anxiety, confusion and hostility. The absorption of B vitamins is majorly affected by alcohol consumption, and deficiency in these crucially important vitamins will add to stress, nervous tension and energy levels.
Sign up for Dry January here.
In the meantime, it’s Hogmanay. Slàinte Mhath!