The Myth of Moderation: Can There Be a Safe Level of Alcohol?

The Myth of Moderation: Can There Be a Safe Level of Alcohol?

Mike Dyson, 33, passed away suddenly on Christmas Day after several drinks, before he even had a chance to open his presents.

Dyson went to his neighbor’s house to drink at 1: 30 p.m. After drinking about four glasses of whiskey and some hot water, he lay down on a bed. He was thought to be asleep by everyone. His family and neighbours discovered that he wasn’t breathing at all until 7:15 p.m. They called the ambulance, and also gave CPR to him.

Unfortunately, he still died at around 8: 20 p.m.

The coroner found that Dyson died from central nervous system depression and respiratory depression due to acute alcohol intoxication. The toxicological test revealed that Dyson had a blood alcohol level four to five times the legal limit for driving. This is the equivalent of extreme drunkenness in an average person .”

Dyson is one of many alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol harm is much more prevalent than we realize.

Each year, alcohol kills approximately 95,000 people (68,000 men and 27,000 women) in the United States. The third most preventable cause for death in America is alcohol.

From 2006 to 2014, alcohol-related emergency room visits increased by 47 percent. Of all emergency cases, 18.5 percent were alcohol-related. In 2019, there were 10,142 drunk driving deaths in the United States, accounting for 28 percent of all driving deaths.

Alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen with a safe intake of 0

Did you know there was no “safe consumption of alcohol?”?

Alcoholic beverages are long considered to be Group I carcinogens according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In 2018, top international medical journal The Lancet gave alcohol drinkers a bitter pill to swallow. After a systematic review of alcohol consumption and health effects in 195 countries from 1990 to 2016, this study concluded that the safe intake of alcohol is zero.

According to the study, statistically, one in three people aged 15 years and older worldwide drank alcohol in 2016, including 25 percent of women and 39 percent of men. Alcohol consumption is a major factor in premature death and disability in people aged 15 to 49 years.

The researchers suggested that alcohol intake might be protective against ischaemic and diabetic heart disease in certain cases. However, more research has shown that there are no significant protective effects from alcohol on cardiovascular or all-cause mortality.

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Many people believe red wine is beneficial for their health. This is due to red wine’s high levels of resveratrol. Resveratrol can be found in purple and dark red grapes as well as blueberries, cranberries, peanuts and cranberries. A glass of grape juice can be substituted for resveratrol, which has no negative side effects.

Furthermore, increased risks of developing infectious diseases and cancers are directly linked to alcohol intake. The previously mentioned health benefits of drinking alcohol are negated when you consider the risks to your overall health. No matter how much alcohol you consume, your health will be compromised. Our health will be affected at every stage of life.

How Much Alcohol can the Liver Process Take?

After consuming alcoholic drinks, alcohol is absorbed in the bloodstream. The liver then breaks down the alcohol and processes it.

The human liver can process about one drink per hour, where one drink usually means 12 ounces (about 350 ml) of beer, 5 ounces (about 150 ml) of wine, or 1.5 ounces (about 45 ml) of whiskey.

A person can be considered intoxicated when he/she consumes alcohol quicker than the liver can process.

We determine the level of intoxication by analyzing blood alcohol levels with a blood alcohol testing. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. For instance, a BAC value of 0.1 percent means 0.1 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

In the United States the legal limit for blood alcohol is 0. 08 percent for drivers aged 21 and older.

If the BAC falls between 0. 08 percent and 0.4 percent, the person is considered intoxicated. You may also experience drowsiness, clouding of the mind, nausea and dizziness.

Having a BAC higher than 0.4 percent can cause serious complications and even death.

Alcohol Makes the Brain Atrophy and Increases Its Age by 11.7 Years

The link between alcohol intake and brain atrophy has been established for decades.

Numerous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have demonstrated significant differences in the gray and white matter of the brain in chronic alcohol drinkers compared to healthy individuals.

In a cross-sectional image of the brain’s central portion, you can see that the white matter is the center and gray matter the outer layers. Both have distinct functions. Gray matter contains nerve cells, and white matter acts as a relay between them.

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The gray matter in people who are alcohol dependent generally shrinks in volume. This is due to alcohol intake over time as well as the length of their alcohol dependence. The brain’s white matter also becomes less dense and the microstructure of alcohol-dependent people also changes.

The brain shrinkage caused by alcohol increases as we age. This is most evident in our old age.

However, the reduction in brain volume is not necessarily irreversible, and many early studies have shown that brain volume appears to partially recover after abstinence from alcohol. In people who were previously heavy drinkers (155 drinks per month), reducing their alcohol consumption to an average of 20 drinks per month is sufficient to increase brain volume.

Alcohol also causes the brain to age. Individuals who are dependent on alcohol have brains that are older than their peers. One study found that the difference between the age and biological age of the brain in alcohol-dependent individuals was up to 11.7 years, as determined by their gray matter volume. Another study on brain age found that only daily drinkers had a difference between actual and predicted brain age, while those who drink infrequently or abstained from alcohol had no difference.

A study published in the British Medical Journal also mentioned that people who consumed alcoholic beverages on a weekly basis had a faster rate of cognitive decline compared to those who did not drink. A decline in cognitive ability was seen even among those who consumed only one to seven drinks per week.

What Parts of the Brain are Affected By Alcohol?

When alcohol is ingested into the brain, it causes the following effects:

Cerebral cortex: This processes sensory information. The cerebral cortex is affected by alcohol, which slows down judgment and reduces the ability to perform sensory functions.

Hippocampus: This is the part of the brain that creates memory. A few glasses of alcohol may cause “amnesia” temporarily. If the hippocampus is damaged, memory impairment can occur.

Frontal lobe: Alcohol’s damage to this part of the brain can cause a person to lose self-control, act without thinking, and even commit violence. The frontal lobe can be permanently damaged by chronic drinking.

Central nervous system: When you want to dictate what your body does, it is the central nervous system that transmits the instructions. After drinking alcohol, people tend to think, talk, and act more slowly.

Cerebellum: It coordinates the body. You will feel agitated when you drink, as your hands shake and your legs will be crooked.

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Hypothalamus: After drinking, blood pressure rises, body temperature drops, heartbeat slows down, and urinary urgency cannot be controlled because the hypothalamus is affected.

Medulla: It controls the body’s “automatic” functions, such as heartbeat and body temperature. Drinking a lot of alcohol can cause you to lose your consciousness, and even lead to death.

Alcohol reaches the liver and becomes carcinogenic, increasing the risk of many types of cancer

Only 10 percent of the alcohol we consume is excreted through sweat and breathing, while the remaining 90 percent is broken down and metabolized by the liver.

When alcohol is introduced to the liver, an enzyme breaks it down into acetaldehyde and then another enzyme makes acetic acid. Finally, water and carbon dioxide are formed.

Acetaldehyde can be toxic and potentially carcinogenic. Acetic acid, however, is slightly more toxic. These toxins can build up in the body if the alcohol-breaking enzymes are not properly matched.

Acetaldehyde continues to cause DNA damage to cell membranes. This can also prevent DNA synthesis and repair. Acetaldehyde and ethanol both disrupt DNA methylation. This allows oncogenes, as well as other abnormal genes, to activate, leading to the creation of cancer cells. Further DNA damage can be caused by ethanol, which can cause inflammation and oxidative stresses.

Of all new cancer cases worldwide in 2020, more than 740,000 were attributed to alcohol consumption, of which about 100,000 were caused by light and moderate alcohol consumption.

Esophageal and liver are the most common types of cancer. In descending order, the remaining cancers are: colon, oral cavity and rectum.

A systematic review of over 100 papers by several Australian researchers concluded that excessive alcohol consumption can be associated with damage to all parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Alcohol consumption is believed to increase the levels of hormones that cause breast cancer.

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