Impact of Moderate Alcohol Consumption – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 510
Please see below for a complete transcript of this episode.
Impact of Moderate Alcohol Consumption – InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 510
Hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
InVite Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!
Amanda Williams, MD, MPH: [00:00:40] We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t over consume alcohol. Today, I want to talk about the physiological impact that alcohol consumption actually has on the body and the different nutrients that can be impacted or influenced by the consumption of alcohol. And then obviously, if you’re going to be consuming alcohol, what nutrients would certainly be advisable to to have on board to help your little cells recover from that. I’m Amanda Williams, MD, MPH, and this is an important topic, and I have a lot of people who will ask me this question, “You know, I… Oh, I, you know, have social drinks once or twice a week. And you know, what concerns should I have?” Obviously, we always want to focus on the liver, but we have to look at the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is, is that we know certainly when it comes to alcohol consumption in the United States, it’s pretty high. You know, according to surveys and statistics, we know that it’s probably about 86% of people over the age of 18 have, you know, at some point in time their life consumed alcohol and then you’re going to have, you know, different periods in people’s lives where perhaps alcohol consumption is greater or less. And there’s always concern when it comes to binge drinking or, you know, heavy alcohol use at one given time like they used to always have, you know, Blackout Wednesdays, which was the the Wednesday before Thanksgiving where all college, you know, kids were back in their hometowns and hitting up the local bars. And so you could see these trends that occur and we we can even see just based off of alcohol sales, you know, New Year’s obviously is going to be the biggest, but we just, you know, have to look at the the impact of social drinking, as we shall say, because we know what happens when we have chronic abuse of alcohol, so alcoholism itself. But when we’re just looking at, say, social drinking, and if someone is doing that responsibly, we still have to think about the long-term implications that can occur from the intake of alcohol and how the body’s actually metabolizing that.† [00:02:59]
[00:03:00] So all of these things are important factors because there’s many moving parts. We know that most of the alcohol passes into the small intestine and it’s absorbed rapidly into the blood, which is why blood alcohol levels, you know, for the most part, are pretty good indication as to how fast your body is taking in that. We know that the conversion of alcohol into acetaldehyde occurs predominantly in the liver through an enzymatic pathway regulated through something called alcohol dehydrogenase. So the alcohol dehydrogenase converts into acetaldehyde. Now remember, acetaldehyde is not our friend. This is oftentimes what creates that headache or that nauseousness that people can get after consuming or overindulging in alcohol. Or if we think about a hangover, this is because of acetaldehyde, this toxin, this neurotoxin that builds up, and we can see that that acetaldehyde that’s produced from the alcohol, it’s converted by an enzyme known as aldehyde dehydrogenase into acetate, and the acetate can be utilized for energy throughout the body. So there’s a lot of moving parts, and the main thing to focus in on is what is actually happening, what is occurring. So we know that there’s these different pathways. You know, you go in, you get your wine, you get your vodka, you get your beer, whatever it is that you’re choosing to drink. And this is going through the intestinal absorption, the, you know, immediate release of that alcohol into the bloodstream. If you have these different moving parts, these different pathways for the breakdown. And then we have this byproduct that’s created, that acetaldehyde.† [00:04:49]
[00:04:51] Now the problem is, is that many people when they get a unwanted side effect from overconsumption of alcohol, they right away want to turn towards like a NSAID, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like, you know, ibuprofen or, you know, taking aspirin. But we know that, you know, this can lead to issues in terms of, you know, GI issues. And if someone already has underlying GI inflammation, it’s probably not the best. Now, acetaminophen is definitely the worst because acetaminophen is directly detrimental to, to the liver itself. So when we think about liver toxicity, acetaminophen or your Tylenol is the, is the one that will create the most havoc when it comes to liver. So if the liver is already stressed out because you just poured in a bunch of alcohol into your system, the last thing you want to be turning to is acetaminophen. So this is key.† [00:05:55]
[00:05:56] I’m talking about the subject ’cause I get so many questions about this on a regular basis is, “What should I do? I’m not going to not have a drink with my friends. I’m going to go out and I’m going to, you know, be around family or friends or whatever, be the case, and I’m going to have one or two drinks and this may happen one or two times a week or whatever the case may be. So what do I need to be doing?” So this is when we look at, you know, finding out which nutrients in particular can become depleted through alcohol use. We know that B-vitamins… yes, 100%. You can see this in alcoholism, where B1 in particular really takes a hit. And this is a major concern even in the setting of social drinking. So B-vitamins is something that, if you are going to be indulging in your alcohol, make sure that you are taking your B-vitamins. But we can also look at how other nutrients minerals such as selenium, for example, Vitamin E can also take a hit when it comes to the way that that alcohol is being processed in the body. So these are all things just to to be cognizant of.† [00:07:07]
[00:07:08] The biggest problem that many people will recognize when it comes to alcohol consumption is a hangover. So when we get that buildup acetaldehyde and you, you get that dizziness, you, you know, maybe have a headache, there’s a, you know, irritability, there’s a lot of different ways in which a hangover can present from one person to the next. But we certainly know that a hangover can impact your normal functional status and through the way that the alcohol itself is being metabolized in that buildup of that toxin, that actual toxin that is created, acetaldehyde, this is what is incredibly problematic. So how do we rid the body of this? This is kind of the key thing. Well, we know that our B-vitamins are important when it comes to metabolic detoxification for enhancing our natural antioxidants. So clearly, we have to look and say OK, if our antioxidants are not able to keep up with the demand that the alcohol is putting on that, then obviously we need to be looking at antioxidants putting those back in, including things such as glutathione. And so we would then look at more than likely we’d be looking at utilization of N- acetyl cysteine. This is going to be usually the best option when it comes to the reestablishing proper glutathione on stores. But we also want to look at things like Vitamin C, your B-vitamins, Vitamin E, for example.† [00:08:39]
[00:08:41] Inflammation is key when we think about alcohol consumption. Many times people don’t recognize the dangers, and this is why I say, you know, even social drinking can lead to harmful effects within our vascular system. But understanding that inflammation is going to be generated through the consumption of alcohol. So the alcohol itself creates this increased permeability within the intestinal lining. So when we talk about leaky gut, for example. So this is allowing these different endotoxins to pass into the bloodstream, which is then going to trigger an inflammatory response. So when we have these inflammatory cytokines traversing through the body along with the alcohol, now we’ve created a real problematic situation. So through the stimulation of the inflammatory system, this is where a lot of that cellular injury can occur. And it’s not just limited to the liver. We can look at the vascular system in particular. We can certainly look at our nervous system and within the brain. So looking at how we can minimize this, how do we minimize this? Well, number one, try to not drink or if we’re drinking very moderately. Obviously, having foods that can offset the acetaldehyde, things such as green tea is a really excellent choice when it comes to the mitigation of the harmful effects of acetaldehyde and the buildup of that. So if someone’s going to be drinking, I always say it may not be a bad idea to be considering green tea in conjunction. So maybe switch on and off. You have your alcoholic drink and then you have your green tea, so Green Tea TxⓇ, White Tea TxⓇ, excellent options for you.† [00:10:36]
[00:10:36] And then we want to look at those key nutrients, so we have to look at the B-vitamins. We know that those B-vitamins are so critical to so many different functions in our body when it comes to our immune defenses, when it comes to the way that our brain and the neuronal connections work when it comes to the release of certain key neurotransmitters. So definitely a B-complex is incredibly advantageous. And even if you’re one of those folks where maybe you just go out and you’re drinking, you know, once a week or once a month, make sure that around that time that you are going to be consuming your alcohol, that at minimum you are on your multivitamin. But I would definitely advise being on the methylated B. So the InViteⓇ Methyl-B, the activated B-vitamins to really try to help to offset that would certainly be advantageous. Then we have to think about the antioxidant response, and this is where NAC would come into play to really give the the liver that support when it comes to bolstering up its antioxidant defense system via glutathione. So N-acetyl cysteine, certainly important. We have to look at how Vitamin E is known to be depleted in the presence of alcohol. So having natural Vitamin E as part of a supplementation routine, if you are more of that moderate social drinker, then definitely, you know, Vitamin E is something that you would want to be having into your routine. I had mentioned the mineral selenium. This is another thing. If we have inadequate selenium, we are once again going to disturb the proper functioning of how glutathione is processed and released. So in the absence of selenium we’re once again setting our body up into a state where we have a lower antioxidant defense system. So taking the multivitamin, which contains that selenium, will help to cover that basis as well. Your Vitamin C certainly is going to be beneficial.† [00:12:44]
[00:12:45] Thinking about the different targeted nutrients that we know are very friendly to our little hepatocytes, our liver cells, things like milk thistle, for example. The flavonoids contained within that milk thistle certainly can be very beneficial when it comes to targeting the inflammation that is driven up within the body. And then obviously looking at things like resveratrol, grape seed extract are all excellent choices, and we have to also look at the structural damage that can occur within the cells, not only just within the liver, but when we think about, you know, throughout the brain, throughout the vascular system. So we want to make sure that we have good omega-3 fatty acids on board. Certainly going to be quite advantageous to to maintain the health of that cellular membrane. So in combination, there’s a lot of different nutrients we have to look at, you know, the big ones being your B-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, NAC, milk thistle are all really excellent options. But the key thing is is to to just be wise, be smart, don’t overindulge. We can see the long lasting impact in that negative way and who wants to have a acetaldehyde building up in their system? I certainly don’t. When we understand what acetaldehyde is actually doing and the harmful effect that it has within our system, we don’t want to be the the cause of that. If we know how we can make our body make acetaldehyde is through drinking, we should probably not be doing that. So this is that highly reactive compound has a, you know, very detrimental effects. And as I mentioned, most people the way that they feel the acetaldehyde is through kind of those known factors with the with the hangover, but definitely just be be smart. If you’re going to be taking an alcohol, make sure you have the right nutrients on board. Have your green tea to help combat that acetaldehyde and those key vitamins and minerals, as well as your fatty acids, very important.† [00:15:05]
[00:15:06] So I want to thank you so much for tuning in to the InViteⓇ Health podcast. Remember, you can find all of our episodes for free wherever you listen to podcasts or by visiting invitehealth.com/podcast. Now, do make sure that you subscribe and you leave us a review. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and we will see you next time for another episode of the InViteⓇ Health podcast.† [00:15:06]