By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Most people enjoy a few drinks a few times a week while relaxing in the evening or while socializing. Alcohol is a part of society and culture in most parts of the world. Drinking too much obviously has negative health effects. The quantity differs among individuals; some people can get away with heavy drinking all their life and live to a ripe old age. Other people experience health consequences from light to moderate drinking fairly early in life. They tend to be people with underlying poor gut and liver health. If you choose to drink, please be aware of potential adverse effects on your gut health.
How alcohol is metabolised
Once you swallow a drink, alcohol starts getting absorbed through your stomach and small intestine into your bloodstream. How quickly your body absorbs alcohol is determined by the amount you drink, if it’s carbonated, if you’ve eaten anything beforehand, and genetics. Most people’s body can process one standard drink per hour. A 5 ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one standard drink, and so is a 12 ounce beer. Your liver is responsible for 90 percent of the metabolism of alcohol into carbon dioxide and water. The rest is removed via sweating, urinating, and exhaling.
Alcohol can stay in your body for hours and blood alcohol concentration varies from person to person. It is affected by age, weight, medications a person takes, liver disease, and the number of drinks you have in a time frame. The longer alcohol stays in your body, the more harm it may potentially cause. That’s because alcohol is considered a toxin and your body tries to remove it as quickly as possible.
The effects of toxins on your body accumulate. The more toxins your body is exposed to, the greater your risk of developing disease. Toxins damage cells in your body. If your immune cells don’t recognize components of your own body because of this damage, they may begin to attack it as a foreign invader. This may trigger autoimmunity. Exposure to toxins can trigger an inflammatory response from the immune system. Chronically elevated inflammation causes wear and tear to the body.