The True Health Journal March/April 2017 - Page 5

Alcohol - Effects on the Body

By Mary Esther Gilbert ©2017, All Rights Reserved

The Brain

Drinking regularly over many years contributes to permanent changes in brain functioning, and reduces the amount of brain tissue while increasing the size of the brain’s small cavities or ventricles. Alcohol also deprives the brain of normal oxygen delivery to its cells and prevents the absorbing and utilizing of essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that would otherwise enhance and maintain optimal brain functioning. Alcohol is highly addictive, and chronic, long-term drinking results in permanent brain damage.

Chronic deficiencies in the B vitamin complexes, for instance, disrupt nerve transmissions and regulating hormones, and can lead to mental health problems or other serious psychological disorders. Alcohol impairs concentration, memory, coordination, cognition and perception. Alcohol also impairs the brain’s controlling centers of behavior and emotions, causing euphoria, emotional outbursts or extreme mood swings, loss of inhibition and impaired judgment.

Alcohol is a sedative, depressing the normal high speed firing of nerve cells in the brain and nervous system, drastically impairing motor skills and slowing the ability to respond. Alcohol impairs sexual performance, vision, hearing and the sense of taste and smell, and ability to speak clearly. Alcohol also alters one’s sense of space where one is unable to perceive the direction from which sounds come, and alters one’s sense of time. Large doses induce sleep and anesthetize, rendering one less able to perceive pain.

The body attempts to rid itself of dangerously high levels of alcohol in the body by inducing vomiting. In its diminishing effect on the immune system, alcohol inhibits the production of white blood cells, and can lead to anemia through impairing red blood cell production. Consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the likelihood of cancer of the throat, liver, brain, kidneys, and blood (leukemia). High levels of blood alcohol can lead to respiratory and heart failure, coma or death.

The Heart

Drinking alcohol has long been associated concurrently with a chronic lack of proper nutrition. However, more recent studies indicate that even with a nutrient rich diet, the processing of alcohol in a person’s system results in nutrient deficiencies to the extent that it affects the functioning of all body systems, especially the vital organs The pumping action of the heart, for instance, is weakened and its normal rhythmic heartbeat are disturbed in the presence of alcohol. The combined effects of alcohol increase the risk of heart failure.

The Liver

Liver damage is one of the most serious effects of drinking alcohol. The liver, one of the detoxifying organs, can be overloaded or saturated as it tries to absorb and convert the alcohol in the blood as rapidly as possible to body fat. Converted fats are then stored in the liver and in various fat cell deposits under the skin, or remain in the circulatory system and damage blood vessel walls that in turn form obstructive clots. Normal blood clotting is impaired, as the production of important blood-clotting factors is decreased, which can lead to uncontrolled bleeding.

The detoxification process of eliminating alcohol out of the blood stream in the body’s attempt to avoid damaging other vital body systems can overwhelm Read more...