PBRC Publication # 59 Alcohol Awareness October 2009 Alcohol — Negative EffetsIt is common for stimulates the activity Parkinson’s diseasepeople to drink of enzymes that pro- and Alzheimer’s dis-alcoholic beverages mote free radical pro- ease, and vitamin defi-while socializing. The Inside this issue: duction. Further, alco- ciencies.question is, how hol can alter the levelsmuch alcohol is too Binge Drinking of certain metals in 2much? About Alcohol the body, and reduce Binge drinking is de-Alcohol metabolism the levels of agents fined as having more that can eliminate free Risks from Alco-causes free radical than three or four 2formation in the body radicals. The resulting hol Consumption drinks in a short peri- state is known as od of time. Did You KnowFree radicals are oxidative stress which 3small and highly That... can lead to cell injury. Binge drinking mayreactive molecules increase a persons About Pennington 4that are naturally Due to the oxidative risk of a stroke,generated in small stress and cell injury cardiomyopathy,amounts during the caused by alcohol, fetal heart syndrome,body’s metabolic drinking can increase or cardiacreactions and can your risk for many arrhythmia.react with and types of cancers, Binge drinking has alsodamage cellular fats, stroke and heart been shown to lead toproteins, or DNA*. disease. increased risk forAlcohol promotes cardiovascular disease It can also increasethe generation of free and hypertension. your risk for diabetes,radicals, particularly neurodegenerative * NIHin the liver. It also diseases, includingAlcohol — Cardiovascular BenefitsThe American Heart day. Men metabolize (2003) found that allAssociation recom- alcohol faster and they types of alcoholicmends that women have larger body mass beverages have thedrink no more than and can therefore same potential to re-one alcoholic drink metabolize a higher duce the risk of havingper day. Higher in- dose. These values are a heart attack.take has been linked guidelines for alcohol Moderate alcoholto an increased risk consumption as it consumption has beenof breast cancer. It is relates to decreasing linked to increasingrecommended that the risk of a heart HDL (good cholester-men consume no attack. A large study ol) levels by aboutmore than two by the New England twelve percent!alcoholic drinks per Journal of Medicine
Page 2 Alcohol Awareness Sources: American Heart Association National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism About alcohol Alcohol consumption can have Liver disease Do not mix alcohol and med- detrimental effects and even a ications, either over the coun- moderate intake can lead to Porphyria ter or prescription. Alcohol serious side effects in certain is a depressant that slows Heart Failure individuals. People should not down brain activity and reduces consume alcohol if you have Pregnancy or if you think inhibitions. Some medications the following: you may become pregnant cause you to become sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Drink- Personal or family history If you take aspirin reg- ing alcohol while taking medi- of alcoholism ularly; it may cause blood cines can intensify these ef- to become too thin with fects. Alcohol can reduce the Uncontrolled high bloodAlcoholism alcohol consumption. effectiveness of some medica- pressurecontributes to tions, and it can combine with If you use medication that other medications tohepatitis, cirrhosis High blood triglyceride can have adverse cause or increase side ef-of the liver, levels reactions when mixed fects.malnutrition, Pancreatitis with alcohol.pancreatitis,stomach ulcers,fetal alcohol Risks from alcohol consumption*syndrome, heartdisease, and some It is important to understand alcohol. Babies with FAS have Alcoholic hepatitiscancers. that excessive alcohol intake distinctive facial features, they is linked to weakening of the are born small, and many have More common in women than heart muscle, hemorrhagic behavioral impairments as well. in men. stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, The brain damage that occurs Brain disease pancreatitis, certain types of with FAS is lifelong resulting in cancers, trauma, suicide, and learning, memory, attention, Loss of mental function, homicide. Alcohol has also and problem solving reduced brain size, and chang- been shown to increase blood impairment. It is not known if es in the function of brain cells. pressure. The following are there is any safe drinking level Cancer serious conditions that can during pregnancy; nor is Many studies report that heavy occur with alcohol there any stage of pregnancy in drinking increases the risk of consumption. which drinking—at any level— breast cancer, cancers of the is known to be risk free. If a digestive track and of the head Fetal Alcohol Syndrome woman is pregnant, or and neck. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) wants to become is the most common known Heart disease pregnant, she should not preventable cause of mental drink alcohol. Chronic heavy drinking is a impairment that occurs when a leading cause of cardiovascular pregnant woman consumes * CDC disease.
Page 3Publication # 59Did You Know That... One ’drink’ is defined as: including those who drank HDL cholesterol. less than once a week, 12 ounces of beer also had a decreased risk As we age, it takes longer of heart attack. for us to metabolize any 5 ounces of wine given amount of alcohol. Men who drank two 1.5 ounces of spirits Large consumption of drinks per day were fifty percent less likely to die alcohol may raise of any cause, when triglyceride levels and lead compared to those who to high blood pressure, drank once per week or heart failure, and less. increased caloric intake. Women who drank Drinking more alcohol alcohol about one to six increases the risk for drinks per week or less alcoholism, breast cancer, were twenty-eight high blood pressure, percent less likely to die obesity, suicide and Liver is the most Alcohol may protect of any cause, when accidents. against heart attacks by affected organ by compared to those who Heavy drinking is defined alcohol due to its inhibiting constriction of drank less frequently. the coronary arteries, as having more than one central role in which limits clot formation Alcohol, or a substance drink a day for women metabolizing it. and decreases the level of such as resveratrol, which and more than two dinks homocysteine, an amino is found in red wine, may a day for men. acid that is commonly prevent platelets in the Drinking more than linked to an increased risk blood from sticking to one three drinks per day has of heart attack. another. This may reduce a direct toxic effect on the clot formation, thus In a study from the journal heart and other organs. decreasing the risk of a Addiction, 427 men who heart attack. Heavy drinking can recently had a nonfatal damage the heart and lead heart attack were The best known beneficial to high blood pressure, compared with 905 similar effect of alcohol is that it alcoholic cardiomyopathy, men who had never had a causes a small increase in congestive heart failure, heart attack. The men the levels of HDL and stroke. who drank alcohol daily in cholesterol (good the previous two years, cholesterol); however, Heavy drinking can cause were 59% less likely to regular physical activity is cirrhosis of the liver and have a heart attack than another way to raise HDL destruction of liver cells. life long abstainers. Those cholesterol levels. Niacin who drank alcohol less supplements may also frequently than daily, cause a further increase in
Facts About Alcohol bloodstream. Individuals with a defect in activity which can impede alcohol alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme metabolism. Individuals who have im-Metabolism*: metabolize alcohol slowly, it can build paired alcohol metabolism are at a low in the bloodstream, and it’s metabolic risk of becoming an alcoholic due to theAlcohol has 7 calories a gram. Alcohol intermediate can lead to unpleasant unpleasant side effects, however, thosegets priority in metabolism over symptoms such as facial flushing, that metabolize alcohol effectively are atcarbohydrate and fat. This priority is light-headedness, palpitations, and a higher risk of becoming alcoholics.one of the reasons that alcoholics can nausea. Alcohol metabolism may be Alcohol absorption varies with theget fatty liver. Fat has the last in priority reduced in individuals from Native concentration of alcohol in thefor metabolism and it can build up in the American, Japanese, Chinese, and beverage, the rate at which alcohol isliver. Alcohol metabolism is controlled Korean backgrounds, mainly due to vari- consumed, and the presence of food inby an enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. ation in the amount and activity of alco- the stomach or whether alcohol isSome individuals have low level of alco- hol dehydrogenase enzyme, making it consumed together with meals.hol dehydrogenase enzyme and alcohol less effective. Some Caucasian groups ascan therefore build up in the well have variations in the enzyme * http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/ About PenningtonMission:To promote healthier lives through research and education innutrition and preventive medicine. Pennington Nutrition Series No 59, 2009 Authors:The Pennington Center has several research areas, including: Clinical Obesity Research Beth Kalicki Experimental Obesity Functional Foods Heli J. Roy, PhD, RD Health and Performance Enhancement Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Nutrition and the Brain Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging Division of Education Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenance Pennington Biomedical Research CenterThe research fostered in these areas can have a profound impacton healthy living and on the prevention of common chronic 8/10diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes,hypertension and osteoporosis. The Division of Education provides education andinformation to the scientific community and the public aboutresearch findings, training programs and research areas, andcoordinates educational events for the public on various health Pennington Biomedicalissues. Research Center 6400 Perkins Road We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate inthe exciting research studies being conducted at the Baton Rouge, LA 70808Pennington Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like (225) 763-2500to take part, visit the clinical trials web page at www.pbrc.edu www.pbrc.eduor call (225) 763-3000.