In this episode, I discuss the physiological effects that drinking alcohol has on the brain and body at different levels of consumption and over time. I also describe genetic differences that predispose certain individuals to alcoholism, binge and habit-drinking. I explain alcohol metabolism in simple terms and how it effectively acts as a poison, leading to cellular stress and damage. I then explain that it impacts neuronal function and changes our thinking and behavior – hallmarks of inebriation. I also discuss how alcohol consumption of different amounts impacts inflammation, stress, neurodegeneration, and cancer risk and negatively impacts the gut microbiome, brain thickness, hormone balance, mood and feelings of motivation. Additionally, I discuss the biology of hangovers and describe science-based strategies to mitigate the severity of a hangover. Since alcohol is one of the most widely consumed recreational substances, this episode ought to be of relevance to everyone. Indeed, even low-to-moderate alcohol consumption negatively impacts the brain and body in direct ways. The goal of this episode is to help people make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption that are in keeping with their mental and physical health goals.
- Associations between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volumes in the UK Biobank (Nature Communications)
- Gut Microbiota at the Intersection of Alcohol, Brain, and the Liver (Journal of Clinical Medicine)
- Tolerance to alcohol: A critical yet understudied factor in alcohol addiction (Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior)
- Associations Between Drinking and Cortical Thickness in Younger Adult Drinkers: Findings From the Human Connectome Project (Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research)
- Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer (The New England Journal of Medicine)
- Can alcohol promote aromatization of androgens to estrogens? A review (Alcohol)
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