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Every time you take a sip of alcohol, it travels throughout your whole body and harms every part of your body in one way or another.  This section explains in detail how alcohol harms every specific part of your body, the increased risks associated with drinking and the supporting study:

Cancer risk - increased by drinking any amount of alcohol. It doesn't matter if it's beer, wine or whiskey, and the best way to protect yourself from alcohol-related cancers is not to drink. Alcohol increases cancer-causing free radicals. Cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus and larynx develop when sensitive tissues are directly exposed to alcohol in beverages.{"Alcohol/Cancer Link Is Solid," American Institute for Cancer Research (AIRC) Newsletter -aicr.org - October 2001} Exposure to chemicals is just one environmental factor that combines with a person's genetic predispositions to cause cancer. Others include diet, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and exposure to sunlight, radiation, and viruses. Most cancers arise in people who were born with healthy genes: environmental factors play a role in perhaps 80% of all cancers. Prevention could greatly reduce this. {"Cancer and the Environment: A Primer for Primary Care Physicians," www.psrus.org - April 2002}

A U.S. Government report on what causes cancer now includes alcoholic beverages. {"New Cancer Report removes saccharin and adds alcohol," Reuters, nutrition.about.com - June 2001}  

Toxin - The National Toxicology Program at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services now warns that alcoholic beverages are “known to be human carcinogens.” The NTP now lists alcoholic beverage consumption along with arsenic, asbestos, benzene, and others as cancer-causing. This was based on three years of study and may call for future labeling of all alcoholic beverages to have warnings about cancer risk.{Center for Science in the Public Interest Bulletin, May 2000}


Tumors- Alcohol is a tumor-promoter and a carcinogen. The use of alcohol increases cancer risk and has a profound effect. For the lowest possible cancer risk, alcohol should be avoided. Alcohol use alters certain DNA proteins. Individuals who consumed about 7.5 ounces of wine, or 35 ounces of beer, or 3.75 ounces of hard liquor per week week, or the equivalent of one drink per week for over 20 years were 60% more likely to develop a tumor with a genetic defect.{"Alcohol ups risk of genetic defect in colon cancer," HealthCentral.com -Aug. 2001}


Vitamins - Alcohol damages cells, thereby promoting cell division; stimulates enzymes that activate other carcinogens; robs the body of cancer-protective nutrients such as Vitamin A, folate and selenium; it irritates delicate organ linings; diminishes the body’s ability to eliminate dangerous cancer-causing particles called free radicals, and harms enzymes that repair damaged DNA. Some forms of alcohol also carry their own arcinogens, such as nitrosamines, into the body. A seemingly small amount of alcohol is a very potent carcinogen. Avoid alcohol to prevent cancer and cancer recurrence: alcohol can greatly speed up the disease of cancer.


Melanoma - A Harvard University study found that one alcoholic drink daily led to an eighty percent higher melanoma risk. {in the book, “Skin Deep,” Carol Turkinton and Jeffrey Dover, MD, 1998}  Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer. It begins in melanocytes— cells that make the skin pigment called melanin. Although melanoma accounts for only about 4% of all skin cancer cases, it causes most skin cancer-related deaths.  The American Cancer Society estimates that about 53,600 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States during 2002. About 7,400 people in the US are expected to die of melanomas during 2002.


Wine - Many wines have been found to be contaminated with cancer-causing urethane.{Nutrition Action Health Letter, April 1988)  Alcohol acts as a co-carcinogen; that is it can increase the effectiveness of other cancer-causing agents: it damages cells, thereby promoting cell division; robs the body of cancer-protective nutrients such as Vitamin A, folate and selenium; and harms enzymes that repair damaged DNA. Some forms of alcohol carry their own carcinogens, such as nitrosamines, into the body. “We consider alcohol a toxin,” says Dr. Moshe Shike, Director of Clinical Nutrition at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The protective effects of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables appear to be lost on drinkers (of alcohol).{Cancer Smart, March 1996}


Diet -  The physicians at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center warn that alcohol is a ‘toxin’ and that the protective effect of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are lost on those who drink alcohol. {“Cancer Smart,” newsletter, 1996} Ingestion of alcohol, which is known to promote folic acid deficiency, has been linked to an increase of colon cancer. {American Journal of Epidemiology, 1998} Physicians stress a low-fat diet, regular exercise and an avoidance of alcohol and tobacco as the best prevention for most cancers. {"Aspirin may lower cancer risk," by Marta Adrich, associated press writer, Nashville, Tenn., stopgettingsick.com, May 25, 2001} An article published by The American Institute for Cancer Research in 1997, "Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective," stated that a plant-based diet and the avoidance of alcohol, together with the maintenance of recommended body mass and regular physical activity, may decrease the incidence of breast cancer by about 35 to 50%.{"Complementary Approaches to Breast Cancer," William Bergman, MD, healthology.com - Oct. 2001} A study in the journal Epidemiology reported that women whose diets were lowest in folate faced no greater cancer risk than women with higher-folate diets, if they were nondrinkers. But if they drank more than two alcoholic drinks a week, their breast cancer risk increased almost 60 percent. Almost one in three cancers could be prevented through healthier eating, and researchers have published preliminary study results showing that an increase in consumption of vegetables (especially cooked vegetables) show the greatest reduction in DNA damage levels from which cancer can potentially develop. Eating more vegetables and fruits while eating meats in moderation has a positive effect. I don't believe anyone disputes the effectiveness of vegetables in promoting health. {www.mercola.com - June 2001}  


Pancreatitis - Alcohol is a common cause of pancreatitis. {from book, "Good Foods for Bad Stomachs," by Henry Janowitz, MD, 1997, in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients}


Insulin - Insulin seems to be one of the main drivers for cancer. Alcohol use increases insulin levels.  So if you want to prevent cancer, or want to treat cancer, it is absolutely imperative that you keep insulin levels as low as possible. This will also slow down the aging process and decrease your risk for just about all degenerative diseases. {mercola.com - October 2001}   Author's comment: The use of alcohol increases insulin levels.


Nutrients - Author's comment: Alcohol robs the body of cancer-protective nutrients and researchers have found that the protective effects of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are lost on those who drink alcohol.{Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute}.  Alcohol consumption has a strong anti-folic acid effect, and deficiency of this nutrient enhances intestinal cancer.{"Alcohol, colon cancer, and folic acid," "Nutrition Hints," by Betty Kamen, PhD, and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, MD, Source: Journal of Nutrition (2002)  It is no less than shocking to realize that 60 to 80 percent of cancer worldwide can be prevented through a practical nutritional approach coupled with the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco products. {Barry Bittman, MD, “Cancer Prevention: What We Need to Know,” HealthWorld Online, Feb. 2002}Several studies associate the intake of alcohol, including beer, with increased cancer risk.{“Diet and Cancer: Food Additives, Coffee, and Alcohol,” Nutrition and Cancer, 1983 & Editorial Staff: “Beer Drinking and the Risk of Rectal Cancer,” Nutrition Reviews, 1984} Also note that tannic acid found in wines is linked to liver cancer.{In alternativemedicine.com - October 2002}The effects of alcohol consumption on the risk of various types of cancers have been studied extensively. An analysis of 123 studies found not only higher risks for cirrhosis, but also relationships for colorectum, liver, and breast cancers.{“Alcohol Effects on People,” U.S. Department of Transportation (NHTSA), 2002}


Colon and Rectal Cancer -Alcohol consumption was strongly related to the risk of colon cancer in both men and women.{"Alcohol and nutrients in relation to colon cancer in middle-aged adults," American Journal of Epidemiology, 1993, The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health} According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol has been linked to rectal and colon cancers. The strongest link is between beer drinking and rectal cancer in men.{“Cancer and the American Man,” A 90’s Survival Guide, Stephen Austin, ND, in Let’s Live magazine, 1997}


Breast Cancer - One of the reasons alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women is that the alcohol competes with the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen because it is already busy converting the alcohol to glucose. Therefore the amount of estrogen increases. Dr. Northrup expressed amazement that we stress alcohol for heart disease prevention, yet ignore the risk-free benefits of supplements.{Dr. Christiane Northrup, Health Wisdom for Women newsletter, April 1998}Alcohol raises the blood levels of the hormone estradiol and other reproductive hormones. Those women who averaged one drink a day were 2 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not drink. Alcohol consumption also hastens the loss of calcium from the body, setting the stage for osteoporosis.{‘Alcohol, Women, and Heart Disease,” Robert Haas in his book, Permanent Remissions}One of the reasons alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women is that it competes with the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen, since it is busy converting the alcohol to glucose. Therefore, the amount of estrogen increases. Don't drink (alcohol)!{Dr. Christiane Northrup, Health Wisdom for Women newsletter, April, 1998}Alcohol boosts estrogen levels and if you drink it daily, you may elevate it more than you realize. Researchers are concerned that prolonged exposure to high levels of estrogen may increase breast cancer. {The News and Observer, NC, August, 1998, Joe Graedon’s column} Although many women worry about pesticides and toxic chemicals, the chemical most clearly shown to affect breast cancer risk is alcohol.{‘Making Risk Personal,’ washington Post Health, June 2000} Breast cancer patients with high levels of insulin in their blood seem to be eight times more likely to die of their disease than other women, and almost four times as likely to have their cancer recur at a distant sight, Canadian Researchers have found. Evidence shows that in the breast, insulin spurs the growth of both normal and cancerous cells.{“Insulin level may help predict cancer survival,” HealthCentral.com - June 2000}  Author’s comment: Alcohol use raises insulin levels. Alcohol has an estrogenic activity. I think breast cancer results from a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors, in which lifestyle choices, such as diet, use of alcohol, and exposure to estrogenic toxins have much more influence than emotion.{Dr. Andrew Weil, ‘Spontaneous Healing’} Alcoholic beverages are now a "known" human carcinogen, which indicates that there is a cause and effect relationship between the exposure and human cancer, and there are studies that show a specific link to drinking and breast cancer. Epidemiologic research has shown a dose-dependent association between alcohol consumption and certain types of cancer. According to JAMA, reducing alcohol consumption is a potential means to reducing breast cancer risk.{"Alcohol and Breast Cancer," alcoholism.about.com - Feb. 2002}For most women, low intakes of B-vitamins do not represent a major risk factor for breast cancer. People who have adequate folate intake, however, may have a better capacity to repair DNA damage caused by the acetaldehyde."When the body breaks down alcohol it produces acetaldehyde, which has been known to cause cancer.{"Drinking plus low folate linked to breast cancer," Epidemiology 2001, womenshealthchannel.com - April 2002}There is good evidence of an increased risk of breast cancer in women who drink alcoholic beverages, regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage they choose. {"Diet and Breast Cancer," Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter, Aug. 2002} Moderate physical activity over the course of a lifetime can reduce a young woman’s risk of breast cancer by 33 percent, and after menopause by 26 percent. This exercise should begin in the teen years. Exercise reduces insulin levels, which are associated with an increased risk in cancer.{“Exercise and cancer revention,” Nutrition Hints # 994, Betty Kamen, PhD,and Michael Rosenbaum, MD, from Psychooncology 2002 - Additional comments about this report on mercola.com}

The results of fifty-three studies worldwide show that daily consumption of alcoholic beverages, equivalent to ten grams a day, raises the chances of developing breast cancer. This analysis includes data on 150,000 women, and shows a clear link between alcohol and breast cancer. It is believed that the pathway may involve changes in estrogen levels. {British Journal of Cancer 2002}Ten grams is approximately ‘one’ alcoholic drink. Every drink you take causes thiamine loss, impaired B6 activation, folate loss, and increased magnesium excretion. If you are on hormone therapy, one or two glasses of wine causes a three-fold increase in estrogen circulating in the blood, and the levels begin to rise within ten minutes of taking a drink. Increased blood levels of estrogen heighten the risk of breast cancer.

{From the book “Hormone Replacement Therapy: Yes or No,” by Betty Kamen -



Prostate Cancer-The risk of prostate cancer was found to be increased according to the amount of alcohol consumed.{US TOO International, Inc., Prostate Cancer Survivor Support Groups, 1996}Like saturated fat, alcohol appears to raise prostate cancer by increasing the circulating levels of sex hormones, and men who drink the most alcohol were the most likely to die from prostate cancer, said a University of Massachusetts study.{Self Healing newsletter, Andrew Weil, MD, April 1999}Ways to lower risk without the use of alcohol: In the journal Cancer Causes and Control, UCLA research shows that, in a short time, exercises and dietary changes (Pritikin approach) can have a dramatic effect on inducing prostate cancer cells to die.{healthy.net, Jan. 21, 2003}


Judgment - When Impairment Begins -Impairment in performance begins at below 0.02% BAC (1/2 drink can result in this level).{NIAAA - Alcohol Problems and Aging: 1998 U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.At low doses the effects of alcohol may include alterations in mood, cognition, anxiety level, and motor performance. It may also impair performance several hours after the blood alcohol level has gone down. Even slightly elevated levels result in more fatal accidents, and the majority of individuals who experience a problem related to alcohol use are light and moderate drinkers.{Department of Health and Human Services in their reports to Congress 1990 and 1993}One to two drinks of alcohol impair mental and physical abilities; mental processes such as restraint, awareness, concentration and judgment are affected, reaction time slowed, and an inability to perform complicated tasks.{“The Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs,” Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Irvine, CA, 1991}Any blood alcohol level, even a BAC of 0.02%, the result of just one drink, increases the risk of a crash. Alcohol impairs nearly every aspect of the brain’s ability to process information, as well as the eye’s ability to focus and react to light.{University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Jan. 1998} Alcohol ingested in any quantity reduces cardiac output and destroys a vital enzyme necessary for muscle contraction.{in the book, “Guidelines to Safe Drinking,” Nicholas Pace, M.D., an expert on the effects of alcohol, 1984}


Liver/Brain - Overwhelming evidence has proved that alcohol itself is toxic to the liver, even when nutrition is adequate. Acetaldehyde, the primary metabolic product of alcohol in the liver, appears to be the key generator of free radicals.{“Alcohol and the Liver,” Alcohol Alert, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Jan. 1993} Normal liver function is essential to life. Alcohol-induced liver damage disrupts the body's metabolism, eventually impairing the function of other organs. Multiple physiological mechanisms, discussed in the following sections, interact to influence the progression of ALD. Medications that affect these mechanisms may help prevent some of the medical complications of ALD or reduce the severity of the illness. Alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD) is a major cause of illness and death in the United States. Fatty liver, the most common form of ALD, is reversible with abstinence. More serious ALD includes alcoholic hepatitis, characterized by persistent inflammation of the liver, and cirrhosis, characterized by progressive scarring of liver tissue. Either condition can be fatal, and treatment options are limited. During the past 5 years, research has significantly increased our understanding of the mechanisms by which alcohol consumption damages the liver. When you consume alcohol, the body immediately begins to break it down. In the process, breakdown products called ethyl esters speed the movement of positively charged potassium ions from brain cells through the outer membranes, creating a negative charge within the cell. This impairs calcium channels - a bad thing since the brain cells rely on calcium to communicate with other cells throughout the body. When calcium concentrations decrease, so does brain cell communication, resulting in the behaviors we recognize as intoxication. It slurs speech, decreases your cognitive ability, and even relaxes inhibitions by breaking down inhibitory pathways, which then leads to inappropriate behavior.{Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dec. 20, 1996} The activity of a particular subtype of a glutamate receptor, called the NMDA receptor, known to be critical for the memory deficits that people experience after drinking, is very powerfully inhibited by alcohol - even in very low doses. While that drink will promote relaxation it will compromise learning and memory. Studies indicate that certain parts of the brain are more vulnerable to the damage done by alcohol, such as the cortex, which endows us with consciousness and controls most of our mental functions.{in the book “Buzzed,” Cynthia Kuhn, 1998} The blocking of inhibitions is caused by alcohol's action on the higher centers of the brain's cortex, particularly the part of the brain that controls reason and judgment. It then acts on the lower centers of the limbic system that rule mood and emotion, and even at low-to-medium doses can increase self-confidence, sociability, and sexual desire, but can also result in aggression, violence and sexual assault. This disinhibition is mostly due to the interference with GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.{Alcoholmd.com - October 2001}

Weight Gain - February 1999 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that, compared with juice or water, having one alcoholic drink before a meal led to eating 200 extra calories, on top of the extra calories in the drink itself. Subjects ate faster, took longer to feel full, and continued eating even after they were no longer hungry, which lead to an increase in weight gain{‘ Drink Less, Eat Less,’ Prevention magazine, Jan. 2001} The use of alcohol contributes to weight gain and increases the chance that you will use tobacco. Then it plays havoc with self-discipline and will-power while trying to lose weight or trying to quit smoking. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of heart disease and late-onset diabetes, as well as result in slower cognitive abilities, increased pain and decreased mobility. Just the use of alcohol alone can also cause slower cognitive abilities, diabetes and weight gain, adding to these problems of being overweight.  {A Swiss study in the NEJM in May 1997, Reader's Digest} Alcohol is high in calories and devoid of nutrients, so it can contribute to a weight problem. Besides the issue of calories, alcohol consumption can make you overeat, since it anesthetizes your taste buds, makes your food less satisfying and can make you eat more than you would if you hadn't imbibed.{“Preventing Heart Disease,” The New Pritikin Program, 1998} Alcohol is listed as the worst drink if you want your belly to be flatter. Beer and liquor tend to raise levels of cortisol, a hormone that appears to steer fat toward the tummy. You're also more likely to get the munchies when you've been drinking.{Prevention, Dec. 1999}Fluid calories add to your caloric intake, but with little effect on your satiety or feeling of fullness, says Richard Mattes, PhD, nutrition professor at Purdue University. Alcohol slows down the breakdown of fat. Fat is burned in our liver, but when we drink alcohol, the alcohol burns instead of fat, cautions Charles Lieber, MD, Director of Alcohol Research, Bronx Veterans Administration Center.{"Anatomy of a Pigout," marieclaire.women.com - Oct. 2001} Metabolism is the energy our body uses while at rest. The BMR (basic metabolism rate) is the rate at which calories are expended for basic activities such as keeping the heart beating, lungs breathing, etc.). People who are more muscular, with a lower percentage of body fat have a higher metabolism. One of the recommendations to increase BMR and keep it elevated is to avoid alcohol, which can depress your metabolism and stimulate your appetite. 

Medication - Alcohol, even in small amounts, when mixed with medications has the potential to cause problems. Also, a chemical in some beers and wine, interacts with some anti-depressants and produce a dangerous rise in blood pressure.{Alcohol Alert, NIAAA, 1995}


Light drinking - Light drinking is harmful, say researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Death rates for young adults and middle-aged women increased with the amount of alcohol consumed, even as little as one drink per week. This study in the July 27, 2002 British Medical Journal stated that the amount of alcohol that was associated with the lowest death rates was no alcohol for women under 35.{"Even light drinking can be harmful," Food and Fitness Advisor, The Center for Women's Healthcare, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, October 2002}Even one beer (or one drink) can slow your reactions and confuse your thinking. This means anything that requires concentration and coordination -like driving - is more dangerous when you’ve had a drink. Drinking is a problem if it interferes with how you think or feel.{familydoctor.org - May 2003}


Dose-related Effects of Alcohol - In general, the less alcohol we drink, the better off we are,” says Don Nelson, Pharm. D., Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and

Cell Biophysics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, a

researcher of the biological effects of alcohol. “In any quantity, alcohol

kills cells in every organ in the body.”{“Why Drinking and Living Longer Don't Mix.” Longevity magazine, Jan. 1994}


Effect on Allergies and Allergic Individuals -Avoid alcohol during the allergy season. The worst drink you could possibly have? Red wine, because it actually stimulates histamine. Alcohol can escalate symptoms because it can dilate blood vessels, including those in your nose, causing the nasal passages to swell.{Seasonal Allergy Update, by Hoecht Marion Roussel advertisement, makers of Allegra, 1996}  Eliminate alcohol for the first 90 days of the Optimum Health Program and reduce use to only occasionally afterward. Limit alcohol if you have allergies.  People who drink alcohol are more likely to have food allergies.(James Braly, "Food, Allergy and Nutrition Revolution") Avoid alcohol during allergy season. The worst drink you could possibly have? Red wine, because it actually stimulates histamine. While people with seasonal allergies are not allergic to alcohol itself, it can escalate symptoms. Alcohol dilates blood vessels, including those in your nose, causing the nasal passages to swell.(Seasonal Allergy Update, by Hoechst Marion Roussel advertisement, makers of Allegra. 1996)Avoiding ‘triggers’ can eliminate 50% to 70% of allergic reactions. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increase in allergies in the U.S., from the most prevalent disorder to food allergies and allergy-related ailments such as asthma and sinusitis. Allergies seem to increase with the Western lifestyle with possible correlates: smaller families, use of antibiotics early in life, diesel-exhaust particles and changes in diet toward more processed foods.(“Living With Your Allergies,” Reader’s Digest, April, 2000) A new study finds that drinking alcohol may trigger stronger-than-normal reactions to everyday allergens like dust mites. About 30 percent of the population has a genetic tendency to be allergic to something. Alcohol can increase our natural sensitivities to allergens, says Arturo Gonzalez-Quintela, associate professor of internal medicine at the Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago in Spain. His study is in this month's 'Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.' The focus was on the possible influence of smaller amounts of alcohol and normal amounts. "Alcohol seems to interfere with the immune system - and even moderate amounts have a subtle effect on immunity," he tells WebMD.("Booze Could Be Tied To Allergy Blues," webMD.com, Jan. 2002) In the U.S. alone, 50 million individuals suffer from allergies. (James

Kemp, M.D., President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, March 2000) Headaches and breathing problems can result from drinking red wine, and the culprits seem to be sulfites, histamine and possibly tannins. Alcoholic beverages may spell trouble for asthmatics. Australian researchers suggest that wine appears to be a particular culprit in triggering asthma attacks. Wines, both white and red, were most commonly cited as a cause, and

reactions were usually seen within an hour of taking the drink. The authors note that although most asthma attacks triggered by alcohol are mild, the study findings suggest that severe attacks may also occur. ("Alcohol may prompt asthma attacks," Reuters Health, source: Journal of Allergy and Medicine.)


Noise-induced Hearing Loss - The use of alcohol causes vasodilation and actually makes you more sensitized to noise-induced hearing loss and once your hearing is gone...it’s gone! There are 28 million people with significant hearing loss, one-third of these from noise-induced hearing loss.{Dr, Harold Pillsbury, Professor of Surgery and Otolaryngology at the University of NC School of Medicine}


Lung Infection - Alcohol makes the lung liable to injury and infection by producing a decrease in alveolar epithelial levels of glutathione, an antioxidant, as well as inhibiting the response to bacterial infection. In a recent study by Australian researchers of asthmatics, 42% have reactions to alcoholic drinks - wine being the most frequent cause. Asthmatic reactions generally appeared quickly and were moderate in intensity. Drinking alcohol dramatically boosts the risk of common gene mutation in smokers developing lung cancer. (Alcohol Research Center, alcoholresearch.Isumc.edu - August 2002)


Sinus Infection - Drinking alcohol causes the nasal-sinus membranes to swell. When this swelling involves mucous membranes of the sinuses, air and mucus are trapped behind the narrowed openings of the sinuses. If the sinus openings become too narrow to permit drainage of the mucus, then bacteria begin to multiply. Vasomotor rhinitis, caused by alcohol use, can be complicated by sinus infections. ("Causes of Sinusitis, seniorhealth.about.com - Dec. 24, 2001)


Arthritis - There are 50 million Americans suffering with arthritis. (“Health and

Healing” newsletter by Julian Whitaker, M.D., Aug. 1997) There are 68% of the women older than 65 who have osteoarthritis. Almost everyone over the age of 60 (43 million Americans) has some form of osteoarthritis, although only about 1/2 have symptoms of pain or stiffness. (People’s Medical Booklet, 1995) Avoid alcohol, which promotes swelling and causes joint inflammation. (“Out of Joint, Easing Arthritis Pain,” Healthwell.com, Sept. 24, 2000) The Arthritis Foundation booklet on, “How to Manage Your Pain,” (1966) lists drinking alcohol as an unhealthy practice for decreasing pain. 40 million in the U.S. are affected by arthritis. 15.5% of Americans suffer from some form, including 1/2 of those who are 65 and over. The cost each year is $149.4 billion. "Joint Venture: Maintaining Healthy Joints as We Age." Anything the body perceives as an 'offending substance,' such as alcohol and cigarette smoke, may activate the inflammatory process and make the condition more persistent. (Jeffrey S. Bland, President of Healthcomm, Inc., in Gig Harbor, Washington, in Delicious! magazine - May/June 1992) For those with arthritis, avoid alcohol (he mentions wine) as well as red meat because of the problem resulting in uric acid. In the 1989 book, “Arthritis:What Works,” by Sobel and Klein: Top rated techniques for fast relief.” Many arthritics report that they suffer increased joint pain after even a small amount of alcohol.  Toxins, most commonly alcohol, can also cause muscle disease.


Alcohol and the Sense of Reality - "We can more easily be fooled when we drink alcohol or smoke. I want to be sure of the real world around me as possible, and they can fuzz the edge of rationality and reasoning powers - I do not use either of them.” {James Randy, The Amazing Randy, the magician, is famous for his investigations of psychics and exposing deceit. He wrote the book, “The Truth about Uri Geller.”}{“Addicted,” Time magazine, May 5, 1997}


Measurements of Cognitive Function -  Research shows that alcohol adversely affects the brain. Statistically significant decreases in test performance have been found for people whose self-reported alcohol consumption was in the range of what was considered social drinking. {“Alcohol Alert,” Alcohol and Cognition, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, May 1989} One or two drinks of alcohol impair mental and physical abilities. Mental processes such as restraint, awareness, concentration and judgment are affected, reaction time is slowed and there is a resulting inability to perform complicated tasks. {“The Effects of Alcohol and Other Drugs,” Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Irvine CA, 1991}Alcohol has been shown to disrupt the processing of new information in the brain (cognitive processing). Alcohol may then be particularly disruptive to people with cognitive deficits.{“Alcohol Research and Health,” Department of Health and Human Services, 1999}Statistically significant decreases in test performance have been found in social drinkers. Certain deficits are correlated with alcohol consumption.{‘Alcohol Alert’ from NIAAA - OnHealth.com - August 2000} Relatively small amounts of alcohol impair processes in your brain that would normally detect errors in performance and help you instigate adjustments. {Nutrition Hints, "Alcohol and error performance," Hint #1020, Betty Kamen, PhD, and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, MD Source: Science 2002, scienceexpress.org}


Cellular Effects and Related Behavorial Effects - Alcohol anesthetizes the brain long after leaving the blood, as much as twenty-four hours later. {Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Newsletter, March, 1986} Alcohol can cause a short-circuit in the brain’s communication networks that can give rise to seizures, depression, manic-depressive episodes and a host

of mental problems. {Robert Post, Researcher and Chief of the Biological Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health. Washington Post Health, Aug. 1993} Alcohol and caffeine are two chemicals that have been documented to trigger either panic attacks or acute anxiety in susceptible individuals. Sixty-five million Americans suffer annually from anxiety and insomnia according to Harold Bloomfield, MD, in his book, “Healing Anxiety with Herbs,”1998.{“Can Diet and Nutrition Affect the Mind?” by Joshua Leichtberg, MD, in Let’s Live magazine, April 1995} Unlike other intoxicating substances, alcohol doesn't attach to specific brain receptors, but instead has far-reaching effects on many areas of the brain. One study suggests that moderate amounts of ethanol (the type of alcohol in beer, wine, and spirits) suppress activity in the hippocampus, a key area of the brain for learning and memory. However, alcohol increased activity in areas of the brain involved in emotion, processing sensory information, drug-seeking behavior, and areas activated by stress. {Reuters Health Information Service, Dec. 1996}When you consume alcohol, the body immediately begins to break it down. In the process, breakdown products called ethyl esters speed the movement of positively charged potassium ions from brain cells through the outer membranes, creating a negative charge within the cell. This impairs calcium channels; a bad thing since the brain cells rely on calcium to communicate with other cells throughout the body. When calcium concentrations decrease, so does brain cell communication, resulting in the behaviors we recognize as intoxication. It slurs speech, decreases your cognitive ability, and even relaxes inhibitions by breaking down inhibitory pathways which then leads to inappropriate behavior.{Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dec. 20, 1996} Many of ethanol's effects on learning and memory stem from altered cellular activity in the hippocampus and related structures. Evidence suggests that ethanol disrupts activity in the hippocampus by interacting directly with hippocampal neurons and by interacting with critical hippocampal afferent neurons (nerves). Mounting evidence suggests that cognitive abilities might be particularly sensitive to the effects of moderate doses of ethanol. Moderate doses of alcohol disrupt the acquisition and performance of spatial reference memory tasks, and reduce the overall level of glutamate released at synapses within the hippocampus.{"Ethanol, Memory, and Hippocampal Function; A Review of Recent Findings," Aaron White and Phillip J. Best (from the Dept. of Psychology and Center for Neuroscience, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio) and Douglas B. Matthews (Dept. of Psychology, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN} Wiley-Liss, Inc., 2000}Another mechanism that connects alcohol and violence is that alcohol can cause a drinker to misjudge social cues causing a person to perceive a threat where none existed. The alcohol disrupts the judgment and reasoning center of the brain. {Miczek, 1997} In some men alcohol can release their aggressive tendencies and they become violent when they drink, but the violence was inside them before that first drink.{alcoholmd.com - Oct. 2001}Alcohol literally goes to your head faster than other foods. Unlike carbohydrate, fat, and protein, which must pass from the stomach to the small intestines before being absorbed into the blood stream, about 20% of the alcohol drunk goes directly from the stomach to the blood, and from there to the brain.{Special supplement to the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, Feb. 2002}Alcohol also disrupts the function of various other neurotransmitters including serotonin, endorphins and acetylcholine. Serotonin affects moods, appetite and sleep. The obvious effect of long-term alcohol consumption is the loss of muscular coordination.{"Effects of Alcohol on the Brain," Alcohol Research Center, LSUHSC - Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, August 2002} Ethanol is a two-carbon alcohol and can be considered an active brain-drug and an all-purpose cellular toxin. Even moderate alcohol abuse distorts the personality, emotions, and intellect of the ‘social drinker, which is a direct consequence of brain dysfunction caused by ethanol and other chemical pathogens in alcoholic beverages. Even low doses of alcohol interfere with memory and make it difficult for the hippocampus to process new information. As a brain drug, ethanol acts to depress the brain function from the top down, very much in the style of an anesthetic. Acetaldehyde is particularly toxic. {nutramed.com - April 2003}It has long been accepted that alcohol severely affects the ability of the brain to function. The senses are suppressed along with inhibitions and decision-making skills. Alcohol can have subtle effects on personality and emotions, and impairing cognitive abilities such as perception, learning and memory. The brain is flooded with alcohol whenever you drink, and one of the direct toxic effects of alcohol is its ability to change the production of neurotransmitters. There is sufficient research to support the fact that even in small doses, alcohol has an inhibitory effect on glutamate (causing

the glutamate receptor to be up-regulated, especially in the hippocampus, and area of the brain responsible for memory and is related to epileptic seizures). GABA over-activity occurs as well.{"Effects of Alcohol on the Brain," Alcohol Research Center, LSUHSC - Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, August 2002}


Brain Cell Death and Changes in Brain Function -Alcohol drinking does kill brain cells. Alcohol may promote relaxation but it will compromise learning and memory.{in the book “Buzzed,” Cynthia Kuhn, PhD, et al., Duke University Medical Center. 1998}As little as a few days of drinking can lead to loss of brain cells.{U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their 10th report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health, 2000}Men lose brain tissue almost three times faster than women, and this loss may cause declines in memory, mood and abstract reasoning.{ Associated Press, “Men’s brains shrink as they age, study finds,” The Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Virginia, April 11, 1996, and “Health and Healing” newsletter, Dr. Julian Whitaker, May 2000} Alcohol use would increase this. Alcohols are all toxic to humans. The effects of alcohol on the brain can occur by both direct and indirect means; indirectly through alcohol-induced deficiencies in nutrition, liver disease, and through alterations of the function of other bodily systems (e.g. immune, hormonal), which produce substances that end up in the blood and get transported to the brain. The brain is the organ most sensitive to alcohol. It also receives less oxygen when alcohol is present, which adds to the feeling of fatigue the following morning.{"Prevention Tips: Causes of a hangover," www.mbhealth.org - Oct. 2002} The level of impairment begins with your first alcoholic drink.{NCADI - Oct. 2002}


Brain Tissue - One of the permanent effects of alcohol on the brain is to reduce the amount of brain tissue and to increase the size of the ventricles instead. Another way in which alcoholic drinks affect the brain is through depriving it of food substances such as vitamins. Alcohol acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, depressing the nerve cells in the brain, dulling, altering and damaging their ability to respond. {"Alcohol - Effects on the Body," Drinksense Fact Sheets, gurney.co.uk - Nov. 2002}


Risk of Stroke Increased - Even light drinking can double the risk of stroke (hemorrhage of the brain).{JAMA 1986} Moderate alcohol consumption increases the potential risk of strokes caused by bleeding, although it decreases the risk of strokes caused by blocked blood vessels (CAMARGO, C.A., "Moderate alcohol consumption and stroke: the epidemiological evidence," Stroke 1989) {Alcohol Alert, NIAAA, 1992} Each year, 500,000 Americans suffer a stroke. A stroke is a hemorrage of a blood vessel in the brain, that kills millions of brain cells, or a spasm pinches a major artery, depriving the brain of oxygen. Strokes kill 150,000 people annually. Limit alcohol or don't drink.{“What Medicine Will Conquer Next,” Nov. 5, 1995, Parade}Safe Ways To Maximize Brain Functioning If you are wanting to reduce memory loss and learning problems, here is a much safer way: vitamin E intake is associated with less cognitive decline with age. In The Archives of Neurology, an AMA publication, those consuming about 258 mg a day had a 36 percent reduction in memory loss than those taking only 4.5 mg.{HealthWorld Online, September 2002}   Author's comment: Exercise and eating fruits and vegetables will also improve memory and learning problems, and

will not have the risks of alcohol. Staying physically fit can reduce a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions known to be associated with poor mental function in older adults. Cardiorespiratory fitness may be

directly associated with blood flow to the brain.{"Physically fit, forever alert," Nutrition Hints - No. #1154, Betty Kamen, PhD, and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, MD - Source: Journal of the American Geriatric Society 2003} 


Alcohol and Hangovers-

A hangover is actually a toxic reaction or even a mild form of alcohol poisoning. Toxins can result from chemicals in the alcohol. Methanol and acetone can be found in drinks which some believe to cause hangovers worse than the alcohol.
{"Natural Hangover Help," herbsforhealth.about.com - July 2002}

Headaches or other ailments that arise after wine consumption usually have less to do with the alcohol, and more to do with the unseen chemicals floating in the glass. . .
{"Fruit of the Vine," www.garynull.com, excerpted from E/The Environmental Magazine, July 2002}

Many wines have been found to be contaminated with cancer-causing urethane.
{Nutrition Action Health Letter, April 1988}

The headaches from wine have a scientific reason: the headaches are caused by a reaction to certain chemicals found in black grape skins, but it doesn't happen to everyone. Certain people are also particularly sensitive to sulfur dioxide, an anti-oxidizing agent added to just about all wines in an attempt to keep them fresh. Of course the best cure for a hangover is not to drink in the first place.
{"Wine and Hangovers," www.ivillage.co.uk - Sept. 2002}

Pesky toxins are the culprits responsible for the feeling of a hangover. The exact origin of the toxins is unknown: they may be present in the alcoholic beverage itself, or get created as a metabolic by-product by the body in some fashion, or some combination of the two. The toxins involved in a hangover are:

Ethanol — produced naturally during fermentation, the making of alcohol;
The by-products of metabolism — When the liver breaks down the alcohol, enzymes produce a by-product called acetaldehyde. This highly toxic substance enters the system and can make you feel extremely ill.
Congeners — by-products of the alcohol fermentation and distillation process. These are present in the drink itself. The level of congeners helps explain why certain drinks give you a worse hangover than others. More expensive alcohol generally contains fewer congeners because it goes through a more rigorous distillation process that filters out a higher percentage of congeners. Darker colored drinks, such as whiskey, brandy and red wine have more congeners than lighter drinks such as vodka, gin and white wine.
{"Hangover Biology 101," Biology of hangovers and their causes, all-about-hangovers.com - Sept. 2002}

Congeners are found essentially in all alcoholic beverages, and how they work isn't known, but they're closely related to the amount of pain you experience after drinking, says Kenneth Blum, PhD, chief of the Addictive Diseases Division of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. Red wine can be a problem because it contains tyramine, a histamine-like substance that can produce a killer headache.
{"Hangovers - Causes, Prevention, and Remedies," beekmanwine.com - Sept. 2002}

Most hangover remedies are ineffective. The primary cause of hangovers is congeners which are byproducts of the fermentation process that give alcoholic beverages flavor, aroma and color.


Disruption in Sleep - “Double Whammies” can occur when a person consumes even small amounts of alcohol. Double Whammies happen when one area of health is adversely affected because of alcohol use, resulting in other areas also being negatively affected. For example, when alcohol consumption causes an interruption or decrease in restful sleep. Studies show that not having adequate sleep can hasten aging and increase some diseases, like diabetes. Mental agility often diminishes by middle age in those who have diabetes. A lack of sleep resulting from alcohol use, or for other reasons, can also cause a reduced production of thyroid stimulating hormone and an increased blood level of cortisol which is associated with memory impairment.


Depression - One study reported that depressed patients have worse heart function after a heart attack, which could be the source of their increased risk of death. Past research has linked clinical depression with an elevated amount of stress hormones in the blood. {"Depression Affects Nervous System and Can Cause Heart Attacks," Circulation, Oct. 23, 2001 on www.mercola.com - Jan. 2002}  Author's comments: Alcohol can cause or contribute to depression and cause an increase in stress hormones. Researchers have found that even mild depression may suppress an older person's immune system. Lead study author Lynanne McGuire, PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says the results of the study printed in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2002, suggests that depressive symptoms can exacerbate and accelerate the immunological declines that accompany aging. {"Depression Affects Immunity," www.ivanhoe.com - Feb. 2002}   Author's comment: Alcohol consumption depresses the immune system as well as causes or contributes to depression.In depression, which is the most common serious brain disease in the U.S., the neural circuits responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly, and critical neurotransmitters are out of balance. Alcohol can be the cause of these symptoms in some people, or worsen the symptoms already present. The following illnesses are thought to be connected to the development of depressive symptoms; nervous system disorders, vitamin deficiencies, congestive heart failure, strokes, infectious hepatitis and endocrine disorders (such as diabetes), all of which are negatively affected by the use of alcohol. The many health problems that are caused from alcohol use - digestion, depression, anxiety, fatigue, lowered immunity, elevated triglycerides, etc., can result in unnecessary medical tests and medications, not to mention the added stress and added expense involved.


Gum/Periodontal Disease - The National Cancer Institute says that regular use of mouthwashes containing alcohol increases the chance of developing cancer.{Daily Progress, April 24, 1991}Alcohol (and caffeine) have a drying effect on the mouth. Many women going through menopause complain of a dry mouth and nearly 400 drugs reduce saliva flow as a side effect.{“The Better Way,” Good Housekeeping, Sept. 1995}Alcohol can irritate sensitive mouth tissues, and some studies have suggested that long-term use of alcoholic rinses is associated with an increased risk of oral cancers. The alcohol is used to dissolve ingredients, not to disinfect, says Warren Scherer, DDS, a professor at the New York University College of Dentistry in New York City.{“Check Your Toothpaste and Mouthwash Labels,” Natural Health magazine, September 2000} Saliva’s chemicals neutralize tooth-decaying acid{Health magazine, Oct. 2000} When alcohol dehydrates the body it lessens the amount of this helpful saliva.The most popular mouthwash uses a 27% concentration of alcohol (more alcohol than in a six-pack of beer), and this is enough to dry the mouth, resulting in less saliva. Without the high concentration of oxygen from the saliva, the anaerobic bacteria go wild and there is an instant increase in sulfur production. The same thing happens when you drink alcohol.{"Gum Infections, Gum Disease, Periodontal Diseases and Bleeding Gums Can Kill You," Therabreath.com - Dr. Harold Katz, LLC, June 2003}If diabetes is poorly controlled, higher glucose levels in the mouth fluids will encourage the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease. [See topic below.] A dry mouth can make tasting, chewing, and swallowing food difficult and impede speech, as well as cause mouth infections and tooth decay. To avoid a dry mouth, avoid alcohol. {"Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease," Methodist Health Care System, Houston, Texas, www.methodisthealth.com - June 2003} Alcohol is a known irritant to the membranes of the mouth and stomach. {in 1993 lecture from a pharmacist from People’s Drugstore, Charlottesville, VA, at the Senior Center}It is estimated that up to 90% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of gum disease.{Tech Update, Dec. 1998}According to a national study, gum disease raises stroke risk (a 21-year follow-up).{HealthCentral, October 27, 2000} People with gum disease have almost twice the risk of stroke.{Oct. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine - http://archinte.ama-assn.org/ Washington Post Health, Oct. 24, 2000}Bad gums or damaged and bleeding gums allow 350 types of bacteria to enter your bloodstream.{“Your Gums or Your Life,” Modern Maturity, July/Aug. 2000}There is a direct dose-response relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed weekly and the severity of gum/periodontal disease. Research showed that when alcohol consumption increased from zero to five drinks per week, the risk of periodontal/gum disease rose from 10 percent to 20 percent; for 10 drinks a week the risk rose to 20 percent; for 15 drinks per week the risk rose to 30 percent; and for 20 drinks it rose to 40 percent. "When we see that kind of relationship, we know the findings are solid," says Sara Grossi, DDS, senior research scientist. Grossi theorizes that that alcohol may increase the risk by decreasing the ability of the neutrophils to fight, interfering with the clotting mechanism, decreasing the formation of new bone, and causing deficiencies in vitamin B complex and protein - components necessary for healing.  {"Caution: Alcohol May Be Hazardous to Your (Oral) Health,"www.research.buffalo.edu - 1999}  Author's comment: This article also cautions that low levels of vitamins increase the risk of gum disease significantly, and this antioxidant reduction compromises the ability of the gum tissue to overcome oxidative stress, to maintain normal tissue and to control the bacterial damage. Alcohol consumption depletes vitamins/nutrients. For additional information see Alcohol -



Bad Breath - Over 80 million people worldwide suffer from bad breath, or halitosis.  Alcohol dries out the mouth and worsens this condition.{"Technology Update," Prevention magazine, March 2000}Ten percent of the alcohol discharged from the body is through the breath, sweat, and urine.{Northern Lights Edu, June 2000}One of the causes of bad breath include alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol you more than likely have bad breath, even though you may not be aware of it. Mouthwashes containing alcohol are not recommended. They tend to dry out the delicate tissues of the mouth, which studies show may contribute to cancer of the mouth.{"Bad Breath," Flora ParsaStay DDS, HealthWorld Online, Nov. 2001}


Heartburn - Alcohol is the major culprit in heartburn. An article in the March 18, 1999, New England Journal of Medicine reported a link between chronic, long-term heartburn and cancer of the esophagus.{American College of Gastroenteritis, October 2000}There are 100 million consumers who suffer heartburn and acid indigestion.{HealthCentral, Oct. 17, 2000} Alcohol increases the amount of stomach acid you produce; with a late meal, it’s a double whammy.{“Preventing heartburn Natural remedies for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): Avoid foods and substances that can irritate the digestive tract. Alcohol is one that tops the list.{Prevention magazine, Aug. 2000} {One in five Americans have IBS, according to Marvin Shuster, MD, Johns Hopkins newsletter, April, 1998}Heartburn can often be controlled with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol.{“New OTC Medications for Heartburn,” Health After Fifty, Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Nov. 1995}Dr. Lennon Smith, MD, a general, gastrointestinal, and vascular surgeon and Brenda Watson, founder of Renew Life Health Clinics in Tarpon Springs, Florida, suggests reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption as one of the ways to prevent heartburn. The advice to patients is cut out the CCRAAPP: cigarettes, coffee, refined sugar, aspirin, alcohol, pop, and processed foods.{"Ease the burn - promote acid production," Complementary Therapies in Chronic Care, American Health, Jan. 2001}Heartburn occurs in males three to four times more than females for reasons unknown. One of several ways to control symptoms is to avoid alcohol as it worsens reflux.{"When Heartburn Turns Serious," Digestive Health and Nutrition (a publication of the American Gastroenterological Association), May/June 2002}If you take a drink of alcohol/wine at night, Dr. Freston, MD, PhD, says it will make nighttime heartburn worse. Alcohol can provoke heartburn attacks.{Healthology Newsletter, 2002}Wine has an acidic pH, and can cause heartburn and other digestive symptoms in overly acidic people. As a substitute use de-alcoholized wine, sparkling water or cider, mineral water with a twist of lime or lemon.{"Food Substitutions for Acidic Foods," www.drlark.com - June 2002}The insert for Pepcid AC warns that the use of alcohol is more likely to cause heartburn (2002). 


Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease --- As many as ten percent of Americans have heartburn every day, and approximately a third of otherwise healthy Americans will suffer from heartburn at least once a month. Alcohol is a common trigger for GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease). Americans take far too many drugs. It makes no sense to ingest pills and risk side effects if the same result can be achieved by lifestyle choices.{Arthur Feinberg, MD Associate Editor, HealthNews, May 1997}An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from GERD, a condition in which stomach acid regularly flows backward into the esophagus and can lead to difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and perhaps even esophageal cancer. In some cases chronic nausea can be a symptom of GERD. Drinking less alcohol can lessen symptoms.{“When Nausea Signals Something Serious,” Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter, July 1997}GERD refers to a condition in which contents from the stomach flow back into the esophagus (reflux), usually due to abnormally frequent relaxing of the muscular valve meant to prevent this. Heartburn is the burning sensation experienced when reflux occurs. Severe or untreated GERD can cause esophageal ulcers and a precancerous condition.{HealthNews newsletter, May 2000} Anything that weakens or loosens the sphincter (LES) can cause GERD. Alcohol can make it worse. Sixty million suffer from GERD at last once a month, and 15 million may have it every day. {“Indigestion: when is heartburn serious,” CBS Healthwatch - Library, June 2000}Alcohol increases the likelihood of having symptoms of GERD, and alcohol can exacerbate reflux symptoms by irritating the esophageal lining, increasing gastric acid secretion or relaxing the LES (lower esophageal sphincter).  For those with acid reflux (GERD), the worst damage is often done during sleep, concludes a new study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s annual meeting in Seattle. An estimated 15 million Americans experience heartburn, a common symptom of acid reflux, and 60 percent of them have symptoms during the night, when their bodies are least prepared to deal with them, said the lead researcher. This esophagitis may cause bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus, and the resulting damage is believed by doctors to be a precursor to esophageal cancer, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  If you have acid reflux during sleep, you have double trouble; not only do you wake up at night but if this stomach acid dwells in the esophagus, it may spill over into the lungs and create breathing problems. If there is a problem of reflux at night, the risk for cancer goes up. People don’t flush their systems during sleep by frequent swallowing or salivating.{“Acid Reflux Can Be a Night Stalker: Sleeping lets stomach acid collect in the esophagus,” healthscout.com - October 2002}  Author’s comment: Alcohol not only increases reflux or GERD, but is the major culprit in heartburn, and interferes with a restful sleep. For additional information see Alcohol - Sleep. GERD sufferers are encouraged to avoid alcohol because it may interfere with the proper function of the LES valve, the valve that joins the stomach and the esophagus (that allows food to pass, but prevents acid from returning). The risk of esophageal cancer is more than seven times higher among people who regularly suffer acid reflux.{"Is it really heartburn?" Prevention magazine, March 2002}


Ulcers ---One in ten people ulcers some time in their life. Ulcers kill 15,000 a year. {NBC News - TV, Dec. 18, 1995 Tom Brokaw}Alcohol increases tissue inflammation and can therefore worsen ulcers.


Effects of Alcohol on the Stomach, Esophagus, and Intestines ---Alcohol slows gastric emptying, interferes with the action of gastroesophageal sphincters, stimulates gastric secretion and often injures the gastric lining, especially when combined with aspirin. Alcohol also produces alterations in intestinal mobility and mucosal function that results in malabsorption.Seventh Special Report to Congress, Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1990}Use of alcohol damages the lining of the stomach and the small intestines. It alters gastric-acid secretion, first increasing it and then decreasing it. {The Mount Sinai School of Medicine Complete Book of Nutrition, Victor Herbert, MD and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, 1995}Certainly alcohol will make stomach acid far worse: it stimulates acid and encourages overeating, says Grant Thompson, MD, Chief of Gastroenterology in Ottawa, Canada and author of many books, including "The Ulcer Story," and "The Angry Gut." Alcoholic beverages with a low alcohol content, such as wine or beer, strongly increase gastric acid. Alcohol can also interfere with the workings of the muscles surrounding the stomach and change the time it takes for food to move through it. This may lead to enough time for bacteria to start to work on the food, and for gases which are produced during this time, to lead to stomach pains. Also alcohol slows down the breakdown of food into usable chemicals by lowering the amount of digestive enzymes released from the pancreas.{alcoholresearch.lsumc.edu - August 2002}Alcohol can cause a wide range of problems, including gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach), diarrhea and weight loss. These interrelated problems are due to the effects that alcohol has on the lining of the stomach, as well as impairment of intestinal enzymes and transport systems.  {“Healthy Lifestyle,” intelihealth.com - Harvard Medical School’s Consumer Health Information, Nov. 2002}A complex mesh of hundreds of millions of nerve cells spread like chicken wire throughout the walls of the digestive tract.{Discover magazine, December 2002}  Author’s comment: Alcohol is toxic to the nerves, and those who drink alcohol have a higher risk of nerve damage. We spend $85.5 billion dollars annually to treat stomachaches in the U.S.{Health magazine, Oct. 2002}  Author’s comment: The use of alcohol increases the risk for stomach aches. Constipation: keep the colon hydrated. Alcohol actively dehydrates the body instead of replenishing necessary fluids. {Christine L. Frissora, MD, FACP, Healthology.com - Nov. 2001}


Constipation - Many factors can lead to a constipated colon: coffee, refined sugar and

starch, alcohol and processed food (C.R.A.P.). We need more essential fatty acids to lubricate the intestines. According to the Lancet twenty years ago, women who are constipated are four times more likely to develop breast cancer. When digestion is poor and bowel movements are infrequent, toxins from the bloodstream settle into the tissues creating many disease states, including autoimmune disorders. "Constipation is a Serious Health Concern," a pamphlet by RenewLife, the Digestive Care Company, www.renewlife.com - 2002}


Hemorrhoids - Estimates vary, but hemorrhoids may affect as many as one-third of Americans - some 75 million people. {Natural Health magazine, Mar./Apr. 1998} 

To help avoid hemorrhoids, cut down on alcohol and caffeine, both of which

can make the stool dry and hard. {"The Bottom Line On Hemorrhoids," Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, Parade Magazine, July 29, 2001}  Author's comment: Many other medical articles suggest limiting or eliminating alcohol and caffeine because they dehydrate.


Leaky Gut Syndrome ---Alcohol causes increased gut permeability.Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco need to be avoided because they irritate the digestive tract.{“Natural Remedies for IBS,” Prevention magazine, Aug. 2000}Anything that continuously irritates the intestines, including alcohol and caffeine, can cause "leaky gut."{"Digestion Problems," Women's Health Letter, Nan Katherine Fuchs, PhD, Feb. 2002}Author's comment: Alcohol not only can cause leaky gut, but the alcohol itself is an irritant to the gut, both of these place an extra burden on the liver. Statistics on the Occurrence of High Blood Pressureone in four Americans has high blood pressure, and those over 60, one in two.{Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1996}Nearly one-third of Americans who have high blood pressure are unaware of it, which puts them at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.{HealthCentral.com - June 2000}


High Blood Pressure/Stroke/Heart Attack- Alcohol destroys a vital enzyme necessary for muscle contraction when ingested in any quantity. It is also risky for people with heart problems to drink at all since alcohol can reduce cardiac output.
{in the book, “Guidelines to Safe Drinking,” Nicolas Pace, MD, 1984}

Alcohol inhibits enzymes needed for heart contraction. Alcohol use is associated with deleterious effects on virtually every part of the body. Eliminating alcohol can reduce the symptoms of heart failure and improve the quality of your life.
{Alcohol Health and Research World, 1989, and Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1990}

Alcohol interferes with calcium absorption which is needed for heart contraction, so it is likely to impair the strength of the heart muscle.
{Alcohol Health and Research World, 1990, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services}

Alcohol makes every kind of irregular heart rhythm worse, says Paul Hopkins, MD, doctor of internal medicine, University of Utah, Cardiovascular Genetics Research Center in Salt Lake City. Eliminate alcohol and you may be able to reduce or prevent symptoms of palpitations.
{“Getting Healthy Now,” book by Gary Null, 1999 - www.sevenstories.com}

Low to moderate doses of alcohol cause blood vessels within muscles to constrict, while causing those at the surface of the skin to dilate. Blood cannot reach the muscles where it is needed and performance is diminished.
{Health and Human Services, pamphlet no. (CDC) 89-8414, DHHS publication} 
Editor's comment: The heart is a muscle.

The adverse effects of alcohol on the heart muscle, or myocardium, have been known since the 1700's, and although the reason is unclear, acetaldehyde (the first product of alcohol oxidation), may induce myocardial damage (Screiber et al.). Alcohol has been shown to diminish myocardial protein synthesis (Bing).
{"Role of Alcohol in the Diseases of the Liver," NIH.gov - September 2002}

High Blood Pressure

One in four adult Americans has high blood pressure.
{Reader’s Digest, “High Blood Pressure,” Jan. 1996}

High blood pressure can be triggered by alcohol consumption.
{Family Guide to Stroke, Heart Association, 1994, and Nutrition Action Health Letter, April 1998}

Alcohol consumption at any level significantly increases the risk of stroke, especially in women. Medical studies show that those with high blood pressure who drink alcohol should stop consumption because doing so results in a decrease in blood pressure. Men are more susceptible than women to the high blood pressure effect of alcohol.
{"The Effects of Alcohol on the Heart," Alcohol Research Center, LSUHSC, August 2002}


Even light drinking can double the risk of hemorrhagic strokes.

To reduce stroke risk, lower triglycerides as well as cholesterol. According to the Dec. 11, 2002 issue of Circulation, high triglycerides raise your risk of stroke, independent of your cholesterol levels.
{Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Focus on Healthy Aging newsletter, February 2002}  
Editor's comment: Even small amounts of alcohol increase triglycerides.

Alcohol seems to interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize hormones, such as renin and angiotensin, which are important for maintaining blood pressure control. There is also some evidence that alcohol interferes with steroid production which is instrumental in maintaining blood pressure.{Washington Post Health, Feb. 10, 1987}Eliminate alcohol, as regular alcohol use correlates with elevated blood pressure. Alcohol taxes the liver and reduces the ability to detoxify blood, thus causing more oxidizing and damaging substances to remain in circulation where they can harm blood vessels. Further, if the liver is busy processing alcohol, it is less able to process fats, leading to elevated cholesterol levels. If the liver becomes congested, stagnation in the portal veins, those that deliver blood to the liver, can increase blood pressure in all other vessels downstream.{ JAMA 1985 study in Nutrition Science News, March 1999}Studies suggest that regular consumption of alcohol raises blood pressure during the hours that alcohol is not consumed, and can reduce magnesium levels which can increase blood pressure. {U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in their 10th Report to Congress on Alcohol and Health. 2000}Limited accuracy because this survey only covered the diets of the 17,000 adults for the previous 24 hours. This is how the media can manipulate figures and report that blood pressure is reduced by the use of alcohol. Two Japanese studies from Alcohol: Clinical Experience and Research, have shown that even modest amounts of alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in blood pressure. This effect is more pronounced in older men. According to the CDC, almost one in four Americans has high blood pressure, but many don't know it because often there are no symptoms. More than 17,000 people die from complications of this disorder each year.{"Teetotaling Best for Blood Pressure," healthscout.com - July 2002} A study in the journal “Circulation” found that alcohol can impair the body’s ability to maintain a steady blood pressure. After drinking alcohol, people have wider blood vessels and lower blood pressure, and these changes impair the body’s ability to pump fresh blood to the brain, says Dr. Virend K. Somers, a co-author of the study. As a result, drinkers who suddenly stood up often felt lightheaded and sometimes fainted.{HealthCentral.com - May 2000}Both alcohol use and stress appear to increase blood pressure, in addition, stress is associated with increased alcohol use. When stressed, a person is motivated to drink in an effort to cope with negative feelings, which in turn are made worse by alcohol use. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher among daily drinkers than those who drank only once a week, which significantly increased risk of stroke and coronary disease.{Russell et al. 1991}{“Alcohol Research and Health,” Journal of the NIAAA, Department of Health and Human Services, 1999}Lowering blood pressure can reduce the chance of stroke by as much as a third (ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke}{Published in July 2000 in JAMA - five year study of 4,736 older men and women - HealthCentral.com}High blood pressure raises the risk for stroke and heart disease. One recent study linked it to Alzheimer’s, too.{“Simple Ways to Curb Memory Loss and Preserve Brain power,” Bottom Line Health newsletter, April 2001}Younger men should be just as concerned about high blood pressure as middle-aged and older men because it puts them at significant risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes later in

life, says a study from Northwestern University Medical School study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.


Kidney Disease - High blood pressure is a serious medical problem, but unchecked high blood pressure may also put you in danger of developing kidney disease.{Healthology Kidney Health Focus, Jai Radhakrishnan, MD, and Leonard Stern, MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons}High blood pressure can lead to heart or kidney disease and is the biggest risk factor for stroke. Some patients can prevent or control high blood pressure by changes in diet or habits , by losing weight, and by restricting sodium and alcohol. {“Controlling High Blood Pressure,” March 28, 1995 Washington Post Health}“Getting blood pressure down could reduce headaches.” {HealthCentral.com - June 20, 2000}


Vision - High blood pressure is linked to vision loss due to age-related macular

degeneration(AMD}{“High Blood Pressure Linked to Vision Loss,” Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, and June 2000 in “Taste for Life” magazine, Nov. 2000}Because of the relationship between vascular and retinal health, it is not surprising that high blood pressure might threaten vision. Increased blood pressure can cause small blood vessels to burst and bleed into the retina. Studies have shown that high blood pressure in people with diabetes increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, diseased retinas in people with diabetes.{"What You Can Do to Protect Your Eyes," Harvard Health Letter, October 2001}  Author's comment: Since alcohol use is a risk for high blood pressure, then alcohol consumption is also a risk for diabetic retinopathy for those who have diabetes.


Impotence - Hypertension increases the risk and severity of impotence. {Journal of Urology, Oct. 2000, in Washington Post Health, October 10, 2000}Prevention and Control of High Blood Pressure There is now evidence to suggest that diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption are the three major environmental influences on blood pressure levels.{Journal of Hypertension, in the book "Overcoming Hypertension," by Lawrence Beilin)  High blood pressure can be triggered by alcohol consumption. Evidence that people who completely abstain from alcohol consumption have a lower risk of heart disease. {“Family Guide to Stroke,” American Heart Association, 1994} Reduce alcohol. Lowering alcohol consumption can be just as beneficial as pharmaceutical drugs in some cases of high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes can even prevent high blood pressure, says Lawrence Appel, investigator of a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore.{Let’s Live magazine, May 1997 and Nov. 19, 1996, Washington Post Health}The following things can replace pharmaceutical drugs in treating some cases of high blood pressure, or prevent it from developing; a daily diet rich in fruits and vegetables, weight loss, increased exercise, reduced salt and alcohol.{Washington Post Health, 1997, "Diet Lowers Blood Pressure"} The control of blood pressure is done primarily through diet, including avoiding alcohol. {Alan Gaby, MD, Professor of Therapeutic Nutrition and a member of the clinical staff at Bastyr University, past president of the American Holistic Medical Association, and the author of many health books - on Ronald Hoffman, MD, "Health Talk," WINA radio, Aug. 27, 2001}


Triglycerides - Alcohol can raise blood pressure and the level of triglycerides in the blood.{“Living Well, Staying Well,” 1996 book by the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. A study reported that wine consumption in patients who had experienced a heart attack resulted in not only higher HDL levels, but also higher LDL and triglyceride levels. High blood levels of triglycerides often go hand in hand with low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, and in a number of cases, high “bad” LDL cholesterol. The lifestyle steps necessary for improving the levels of these various substances in the blood often overlap, but not always. Alcohol reduces the amount of the enzyme that breaks down triglycerides.{Steven Inkles, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA Medical School and physician at Pritikin Longevity Center} Alcohol spurs the liver to make more triglycerides, and even light drinking (two ounces of wine a week) can raise triglycerides.{Diabetes Organization, Feb. 2000, and Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, July 1997}If your triglycerides are high, eliminate wine/alcohol. Alcohol is the most potent substance for raising plasma triglycerides, and those who have high triglycerides are prone to diabetes over time - over the next few years. In addition, the alcohol will potentiate the toxicity of cholesterol-lowering medications much more than the drugs would do alone. Actually the major problem with the statins and liver problems are because of the use of alcohol. Blood triglycerides are a marker for heart disease, and likely an independent risk factor as well. People with high triglyceride levels or Syndrome X should severely limit their consumption of alcohol, or abstain from it altogether. Even a small amount can have a dramatic effect on triglyceride levels.{Harvard Health Letter, webpoint.com - Sec. 2001} Triglycerides are only accurately measured after an 8 to 12 hour fast. High triglycerides and low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) that usually co-exist are important risk factors for the main type of stroke (called the ischemic stroke) among patients with heart disease.{from 'Circulation,' on mercola.com and Dr. Mercola's comments, Dec. 2001} Alcohol, even more than sugar, may increase blood triglycerides. Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients: avoid alcohol.{College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Holly Alley, MS, RD, LD - nutrition specialist, Dept. of Food and Nutrition. Dec. 2001} If you do not require insulin, or are not diabetic, you may be able to manage your elevated triglycerides by avoiding alcohol. Alcohol also poisons the liver.{nutrition.cornell.edu - Dec. 2001} A study in 'Circulation' suggests that levels of triglycerides in the blood may predict heart attack risk, as well as other more well-known blood fats such as LDL and HDL cholesterol. High triglycerides alone increase the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold, according to this report. The ratio of triglycerides to HDL was the strongest predictor of a heart attack, even more accurate than the LDL/HDL ratio reported the Harvard lead study.{"Triglycerides May Predict Heart Risk," Dr. Mercola on mercola.com - Aug. 29, 2001} Author's comment: Even light drinking, two to three times per week, can elevate triglycerides. Alcohol is the most potent substance for raising plasma triglycerides, and those who have high triglycerides are prone to diabetes over the next several years. If you have a triglyceride disorder you will harm yourself if you drink alcohol, even in small quantities. In addition, alcohol will potentiate the toxicity of cholesterol-lowering medications; actually this is a major problem with the statins.{Dr. Robert Rosenson, director of preventive cardiology at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, People’s Pharmacy, Public Radio, Show #284, Oct. 1999} A high triglyceride level is anything over 2.0 mmol/l. Alcohol intake can contribute to high triglycerides, which may increase the risk of coronary disease and stroke.{‘Frequently asked questions,” www.bhf.org.uk - September 2002} Because alcohol can increase triglycerides, reduce or eliminate alcohol if you have high triglyceride levels. {“Should You Drink Wine?” Dr. Weil’s Self Healing newsletter, December 2002} LDL (bad) cholesterol rose even when the amount of alcohol consumption was fairly small.{Prevention, Nov. 1987} Alcohol taxes the liver and reduces the ability to detoxify blood, causing more harm to blood vessels. If the liver is busy processing alcohol, it is less able to process cholesterol.{JAMA, 1985 study in Nutrition Science News, March 1999}


Hypertension - Drinking significantly increases the risk of hypertension, according to the results of a recent U.S. study. Those who consumed alcohol daily had the highest level of hypertension at 39%.{Research presented at the U.S. Society for Epidemiology on June 13, 2001, "Time of alcohol consumption affects blood pressure," www.health-news.co - June 2001}Casual drinking can put extra stress on the body, countering the claims that moderate alcohol consumption can be healthy. Researchers at Penn State University said that drinking small amounts of alcohol before work or exercise makes the body work harder to perform. "Practically speaking, after drinking, it takes more energy to do the same job," said researcher Dr. Mary E. Nicholson. People with high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems may be particularly at risk.{"Healthy Drinking Debunked," Join ogether;HN3078@handsnet.org - May 2001}Blood pressure drugs may reduce the numbers but you still have high blood pressure, and drugs do nothing to eliminate the cause of the problem. In addition to losing weight and exercising, eliminate smoking and alcohol use.


Bleeding - Research from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, says that

alcohol impairs the body’s ability to maintain normal blood pressure even after minor bleeding. When you suffer even a small amount of bleeding, the brain takes action to restore normal blood pressure. It does this by releasing chemicals, including adrenaline, into your circulatory system, but alcohol seems to blunt that response. {“Booze Throws Blood Pressure for a Loop,” healthscout.com - October 2002}Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to tighten the blood vessels, a natural process that maintains blood pressure when a person moves from a sitting to standing position. This study demonstrated that alcohol consumption in social drinkers causes low blood pressure upon standing because of impaired constriction of blood vessels, said the lead author, Krzysztof Narkiewicz, MD, PhD, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland. He conducted the study as a National Institutes of Health fellow at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.{"Scientific Explanation Found For Link Between Fainting And Drinking Alcohol," American Heart Association Feb. 2000 in sciencedaily.com - Oct. 2002}


Immune System/Colds and Flus - An alcoholic drink, which must be detoxified by the body, makes extra demands on the immune system, which causes drinkers to be more susceptible to and thus increase the number of common illnesses such as colds, flus and coughs. {in the book, “Beyond Antibiotics,” by Michael Schmidt, 1994}  Author's comment: A couple of drinks can affect the immune system for up to four days, according to Jean Kinney, in her book, “Understanding Alcohol,” 1992  What Prevents or Reduces the Effects of a Cold It is extremely helpful if you are able to either prevent or greatly reduce the effects of a cold. The approach to fighting colds is twofold. First strengthen your resistance to infection so you won’t come down with a cold, and then follow a course of action to lessen its length and severity. For prevention, eat a wholesome diet, take a good daily vitamin, exercise regularly, control stress, and get enough rest. If you have a cold, eat smaller, lighter meals, which contain immune-boosting phytochemicals, and little or no meat, so that the body can put more energy to fighting off the virus. Drink lots of water, as it will help ease a dry throat, improve your blowing possibilities, and will encourage washing out the sinuses. Medical advice warns to avoid alcohol when you have a cold because it swells the bronchial tissues and makes congestion worse. Alcohol is a diuretic, resulting in increased urine output which can dehydrate the body and make the mucus dry and thick. This diuretic effect may result in blockages to the openings of the sinus cavities, and when air is trapped with an obstructed sinus, along with pus and other secretions, it can cause pressure and intense pain. Alcohol interferes with the body’s temperature control mechanism, stealing crucial warmth from the internal organs while dilating peripheral blood vessels. The use of alcohol increases the body’s stress, and has been shown to decrease antibody production resulting in a weakened immune system. This winter, making healthier choices can help you prevent or lessen the symptoms of a cold.{Sources: Alternative-medicine-and-health.com - October 2002; wholehealthmd.com - October 2002;  familydoctor.org - October 2002;  seniorhealth.about.com - October 2002;  sciencenews.org - October 2002;  Alcohol, Health & Research World (Division of Infectious Diseases 1992);  Sinus Survival, book by Robert Ivker, D.O., 1995}


Diabetes - The American Diabetes Association tells us that alcohol is a toxin and that the diabetic’s body reacts to alcohol like a poison. Although one in every 18 Americans has diabetes, half of them are unaware they have it, and all diabetics, 14 million Americans, are at substantial risk when using any alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to the nerves as well and can make some diabetic problems worse. Alcohol affects how the liver clears fat from the blood and even two- to four-ounce glasses of wine a week can raise triglycerides. Alcohol spurs the liver on to make more triglycerides, which is already a problem for many diabetics.In addition to the risks of hypoglycemia, nerve damage and diabetic eye disease, alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrition, factors that are contrary to dietary recommendations.


Role of Alcohol in Suicide ---Every year in the U.S. there are over 30,000 deaths from suicide. The use of alcohol may increase the risk of suicide by deepening depression, negatively affecting the ability to make decisions under stress, and interfering with the treatment of mental illness. ‘Don't drink and drive’ is not enough. Far better is ‘don't drink.’{Dr. David Hemenway, MD, researcher from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. September, 1999 issue of the American Journal of Public Health}If you're depressed, don't drink. Even non-problem drinkers had an elevated risk of suicide in a Harvard Medical School study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. The study also found that the odds of attempting suicide are almost two times greater if you drink than if you are a teetotaler, even if you don't drink to excess. Alcohol relaxes inhibitions and makes it easier for thoughts to become actions. Alcohol is a depressant. Even relatively casual drinking or drug-taking is dangerous for people who are thinking of killing themselves. The problem is that people who are depressed or suicidal are often among those most likely to turn to alcohol or drugs, says Ronald C. Kessler, co-author of the study. {"Alcohol fuels suicidal tendencies," WOR Health Center, Oct. 2002}--- Relationship of Dietary Fats in Suicide Rates ---A study of suicide rates in Europe found that countries with the highest per capita fat intakes also had the highest suicide rates. The majority of research, however, shows that essential fatty acids help to alleviate depression and boost moods.{Natural Medicine Chest, Conquer Depression without Drugs, "Food and Mood," Let's Live magazine, Jan. 2000} Author's comment: Essential fatty acids are a different class of fats and they are the ones that help restore balance in the body.


Alcohol and Cortisol - Hormones are chemical messengers that control and coordinate the functions of all tissues and organs. Each hormone is secreted from a particular gland and is distributed throughout the body to act on tissues at different sites. Two areas of the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary, release hormones as do glands in other parts of the body, for example, the thyroid, thyroid glands, gonads, pancreas, and parathyroid. In order for hormones to function properly, the amount and timing of their release must be finely coordinated, and the target tissues must be able to respond to them accurately. Alcohol can impair the functions of the hormone-releasing glands and of their target tissues, thereby causing serious medical consequences.{“Alcohol and Hormones,” Alcohol Alert from NIAAA, about.com - Jul. 2000}Beer and liquor tend to raise levels of cortisol.{Prevention magazine, Dec. 1999} Alcohol encourages cortisol surges and hormone imbalances.{"Keeping your Adrenals Healthy," Healing Foods and Movements, Catherine Fahey, letsliveonline.com, Apr. 2003}Cheating on sleep for only a few nights increases brain levels of cortisol, a potentially harmful stress hormone, and high levels of cortisol can damage brain cells in areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Adequate exercise and regular sleeping hours facilitate sleep, while caffeine, alcohol and stimulant drugs impair sleep and raise cortisol levels.{"Wake Up To the Need For Sleep," San Francisco Examiner, June 7, 1998, excerpted from Spectrum magazine, on GaryNull.com - Apr. 2003}The Importance of Cortisol.  Chronic stress causes an over-production of a hormone called cortisol, which has a profound negative effect on the brain. It contributes to the death of brain cells, interferes with the functioning of neurotransmitters, and starves the brain of its only source of fuel, glucose.{“Physical Fitness for Your Brain,” New Age Journal, 1997- 1998 Special Edition}The adrenals secrete the body’s four main stress hormones: adrenaline, norepinephrine, DHEA and cortisol. These hormones are secreted cyclically, with the highest levels dispatched in the morning and the lowest levels at night. Any disruption in the amount of adrenal output can cause serious health problems. Cortisol, the body’s principal anti-inflammatory hormone, rises during periods of stress, as we grow older, and during periods of chronic pain. Some of the deleterious effects of cortisol imbalance on health are low energy, muscle atrophy, poor bone repair and increased bone loss, thyroid dysfunction, depressed immune system, poor sleep quality, poor skin regeneration and impaired growth hormone release. Studies show that prolonged depression or stress leads to elevated levels of cortisol, a ‘stress’ hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This in turn appears to shrink or atrophy the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with many kinds of memory and learning. This process is particularly damaging in the elderly {Reviews in the Neurosciences}, but there is no strong evidence that the hippocampus shrinks as a part of normal aging. Studies show that all people with Alzheimer’s disease have damage to the hippocampus, but their cortisol production varies.{“Fact or Fiction? All Memory Loss is Age-related,” Vitamin Research Products, June 2000}Cortisol is a natural steroid that raises blood sugar levels and suppresses inflammation, but it also suppresses the immune system.{"Treating Adrenal Exhaustion," yogajournal.com - May 2003}Cortisol, the hormone produced by your body in times of high stress, can interfere with your ability to remember words, phone numbers and other

details.{"Mental Fitness," seniorhealth.about.com - Jan. 2003}To reverse the consequences of aging you need to reduce the hormones such as insulin, cortisol and eicosanoids and there is no magic pill to reduce these hormones, only a consistent dietary program on a lifetime basis. {Dr. Barry Sears, author of the "Zone Diet," Dr. Sears, June E-magazine, June 16, 2003}


Alcohol and Alzheimer’s Disease - Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disorder characterized by a progressive loss of memory and other detrimental cognitive changes as well as lowered life expectancy (Morris 1999). It is the leading cause of dementia in the United States.  Alcohol consumption is one possible risk factor for AD. Alcoholism is associated with extensive cognitive problems (Evert and Oscar-Berman 1995), including alcoholic dementia (Smith and Atkinson 1997). Because alcohol's effects on cognition, brain disorders, and brain chemistry share some features with AD's effects on these three areas, it is plausible that alcohol use increases the risk of developing AD (Tyas 1996).


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - You may be shocked to learn that alcohol use by pregnant women is one of the leading causes of mental retardation in the western hemisphere. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) results from the toxic effect of alcohol and its byproducts on the unborn child's developing brain. The seriousness of FAS depends on the pattern and extent of alcohol exposure in the womb. Some common features of FAS include growth deficiencies in both prenatal and postnatal periods, such as: Facial defects (small head, small eyes, flattened cheekbones, pug nose); Central nervous system defects (attention problems, seizures, learning disabilities, hearing problems). Although doctors aren't sure of how much alcohol is a danger to a fetus, research shows there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The only proven technique for avoiding FAS and related birth problems is abstinence.


Drinking by Men or Women Affects Miscarriage Risk - NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who are thinking about becoming pregnant are usually advised to stay away from alcoholic beverages. Now, new research suggests that their partners should do the same. In a Danish study, alcohol drinking by men or women during the conception period increased the likelihood of a miscarriage. Studies in animals have suggested that high doses of alcohol given to males and females around the time of conception or early in the pregnancy increase fetal death, but the association has been less clear in humans. Dr. Tine Brink Henriksen, of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and colleagues followed 430 couples who were attempting a first-time pregnancy. The study participants were all 20 to 35 years old. A total of 186 pregnancies occurred during the study period, of which 55 ended in spontaneous abortion and 131 resulted in childbirth, the investigators report in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Women who reported consuming 10 or more drinks per week at the time of conception were nearly three times more likely to experience a miscarriage than those who had not consumed any wine, spirits, or beer at the time of conception. When men consumed 10 or more weekly drinks at the time of conception, their partners' risk of spontaneous abortion was up to five times greater than it was for women whose male partners did not drink, the report indicates. The reason for the association between drinking among males and spontaneous abortion is not fully understood. However, studies have shown that alcohol consumption is associated with chromosomal abnormalities in sperm cells, and many aborted fetuses are known to have chromosomal abnormalities. What's more, the concentration of alcohol in semen -- where its presence can be detected relatively quickly after it is ingested -- is similar to its concentration in the blood, the researchers note. "In conclusion, we found that both male and female alcohol intakes during the week of conception increased the risk of spontaneous abortion," Henriksen and colleagues write.


Skin Cancer - studies have shown that if you average two days a week, your chance of developing skin cancer is 2 1/2 times greater than people who don't drink.  Alcohol prematurely ages the skin because it dehydrates, robbing precious moisture. Alcohol impedes circulation so oxygen and vital nutrients are restricted in their ability to reach the skin. Alcohol consumption can lead to broken or distended capillaries, especially over the nose and cheeks. For good health and the sake of a beautiful complexion, alcohol consumption should be eliminated.
{Energy Times, March/April 1995}


HIV- Drinking may increase vulnerability to HIV infection. Studies show that even occasional alcohol consumption impairs the response of white blood cells when exposed to the virus; Among persons already infected with HIV, alcohol consumption may accelerate the effects of AIDS-related illnesses. Again, because of the impairment of white blood cells, AIDS-related illnesses develop more easily.


Osteoporosis -  Studies indicate that risk factors of developing osteoporosis includes alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and physical inactivity, and these are much more important factors than calcium deficiency. Osteoporosis affects over 28 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. (“Osteoporosis Affects More People Than You Think,” laurushealth.com - May 2001) Alcohol consumption increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. (American Medical Association, 1994) Alcohol detracts from bone mass.(“Why Milk Matters for Children and Teens,” Building Strong Bones, stopgettingsick.com, May 2001) Alcohol is a contributing factor for bone disease. (Effects of Alcohol on Osteoporosis: ‘Milk - The Deadly Poison’ by Robert Cohen) The person who drinks alcohol (among other risks, like smoking) is most likely to suffer from osteoporosis. (drmirkin.com - Aug. 2001. Taken from the American Journal of Medicine, May 1995) Alcohol disrupts calcium balance in many ways. Alcohol exposure increases parathyroid hormone (which can put a strain on the body’s calcium reserve), increases magnesium excretion (which can further negatively impact bone health), and can inhibit the production of enzymes found in the liver and kidney that convert the inactive form of vitamin D to its active form. Excessive levels of cortisol have been linked to decreased bone formation and increased bone resorption, and alcohol exposure can stimulate osteoclasts (cells responsible for the resorption or breakdown of bone). Alcoholic consumption is linked to different types of fractures, including those of the wrist and ribs. The most effective treatment for alcohol-induced bone changes is abstinence. (NIH, Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases, July 2000) Author’s comment: Overproduction of cortisol is caused by alcohol use as well as stress. Alcohol is toxic to the bone marrow cells. (in the book “Total Nutrition,” Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Victor Herbert, M.D., 1995)In a study of 84,000 women, consumption of alcohol was associated with an increased risk of both hip fractures and forearm fractures, also a negative influence on bone strength, Women are more vulnerable than men because they have a smaller bones than men, therefore less bone mass to lose before they reach a critical level of bone strength. Alcohol leeches calcium from bone, reducing bone strength. (Carol Popkin, Program Manager of Highway Safety Research Center at Univ. of N.C., in her presentation of “Healthy People/Healthy Environments. In Prevention File - Special Edition 1992. Publication of the Univ. of Calf. at San Diego. “Alcohol and Other Drugs.” Cigarette smoking and alcohol use raise the risk of developing osteoporosis. Bone loss is a silent condition and young people may not realize they have lost bone density until they fracture something. Those who max out their bone capacity while young build up a reservoir of strength that they can draw upon as they age. (HealthCentral.com - “The Silent Enemy of your Bones.” June 6, 2000) 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and it is estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans have bone densities that are less than optimal. (Osteoporosis, Vitalcast.Com - Feb. 2000) Men are more likely to suffer a hip fracture from osteoporosis than to develop prostate cancer. Two million American men have osteoporosis, and an estimated 3 million more are at risk - and men are more likely to be permanently disabled and even die after an osteoporotic hip fracture than are women. (Anne Alexander, Editor-in-Chief, “From the Editor,” Prevention, July 2000) According to the Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and one in five men will fracture a bone weakened by osteoporosis during their lifetimes. Over 50,000 Americans - mostly women - die each year from complications with osteoporosis-caused fractures (e.g. blood clots, pneumonia). The numbers are expected to skyrocket with today’s aging population. Osteoporotic fractures can occur from simple routine actions such as changing a bed sheet or sitting on the toilet. ( Osteoporosis called “Silent Killer,” Compassion Net Connection Lane Labs - Winter 2000) Cutting out alcohol can significantly reduce the risk of a fracture. Osteoporosis affects an estimated 28 million Americans, 80% are women. An estimated 20% of elderly people who break a hip die within a year of the fracture. (“Use of osteoporosis diagnostic test on the rise,” Daily Progress, March 22, 1999)  Avoid the “bone robbers” which includes alcohol. (Nutrition Advisor, “Can Calcium Prevent Osteoporosis?” Delicious! magazine, Jan. 1998) Research has linked both smoking and alcohol consumption with increased risk of osteoporosis. (“Help for a Crippling Disease,” Reader’s Digest, Aug., 1998) Alcohol may be as bad for the bones as it is for the liver. Even small amounts of alcohol increase calcium loss and adversely affects Vitamin. D metabolism (Reader’s Digest, “Osteoporosis,” Nov. 1985) Alcohol limits the stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid which is necessary for the absorption of calcium and other nutrients. It also interferes with the absorption of magnesium and contributes to its removal from the body. When magnesium is lost in the urine, it takes calcium with it. (Women’s Health Connection, “Boning Up on Osteoporosis.” July 1997) Calcium absorption and metabolism for the purpose of building bone is virtually impossible without the correct form of calcium, plus proper balances of several other vital nutrients that work hand in hand with calcium. (Bio/Tech News, Fall 1999) In a study of 84,000 women, moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with an increased risk of both There are 30,000 deaths in a year in the U.S. from 1.3 million fractures from thinning bones (osteoporosis). (Newsweek, June 26, 1995) . Alcohol also has a negative effect on the absorption of calcium and other needed nutrients that work together with calcium to prevent osteoporosis. As a living tissue, bone is susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol consumption. While drinking during adolescence increases the risk of bone disease in later life, adult drinking weakens the skeleton by intefering with the remodeling of bone that continues throughout life. Alcohol appears to weaken bone largely by inhibiting the function of specialized cells that deposit new layers of bone during remodeling. ("Alcohol's Harmful Effects On Bone," NIAAA 1998) Alcohol creates a negative calcium balance in the body. ("The Truth about Osteoporosis," John Lee, M.D., March 2002 - www.johnleemd.com) Because it decreases levels of calcium and vitamin D in the body, alcohol use can reduce bone mass. ("Osteoporosis," Women's Health Letter, Nan Katherine Fuchs, PhD, Feb. 2001) Alcohol should be reduced or eliminated, says Janet Zand, L.Ac, O.M.D., in an article on "Healthy Bones." (HealthWorld Online Feb. 2002) Alcohol use depresses bone formation. ("Taking a Look at Women's Health," Nutrition News, 1997).


Falls and other injuries - Every year, more than 140,000 Americans die from injuries, and almost one person in three suffers a non-fatal injury serious enough to require medical attention or cause temporary disability.  Research indicates that alcohol is associated with: Up to 64% of fires and burns, 48% of hypothermia and frostbite cases, approximately 20% of completed suicides and 60% of boating fatalities.  Also 40% or more of falls and almost 50% of homicides (victim or perpetrator) are caused by alcohol. In addition, studies show that between 20-37% of all emergency room trauma cases involved alcohol use, and that between 20-25% of all persons hospitalized with an injury can be identified as using alcohol at the time of their injury.  Alcohol increases their risk of accident in two ways: greater likelihood of injury and greater seriousness of injury. First, an alcohol user is more likely to be involved in a trauma event than a sober person; in other words, drinkers have a higher risk for accidents than non-drinkers. Second, there's a greater chance that a drinker will be hurt more seriously than a non-drinker. Most research findings indicate a relationship between alcohol use and severity of injury. (This goes against the common belief that drunk persons are less likely to be seriously hurt in an accident because they are "relaxed.") Some other trauma statistics show that alcohol is associated with: 70% of attempted suicides, 47-65% of adult drownings, and 59% of fatal falls are contributed to alcohol use. Among drinkers, the risk of accidental death is estimated at 2.5 to 8 times greater than among the general population. Further, drinkers are nearly 5 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes, 10 times more likely to be fire or burn victims.


Effect of Alcohol on Lungs
Alcohol makes the lung liable to injury and infection by producing a decrease in alveolar epithelial levels of glutathione, an antioxidant, as well as inhibiting the cytokine and chemokine response to bacterial infection. Of all alcoholic drinks, wine was the most frequent cause of asthmatic reactions (37.7%).
{"Lungs," AlcoholResearch.Isumc.edu, Aug. 2002}

Alcohol could reduce a person's defense against the pneumonia-causing organism, and smoking may exacerbate this effect. The trachea leads from the nasopharynx to the lungs is lined with cilia calls, which normally sweep mucus and harmful microorganisms upward to prevent their movement into the lungs. This does not occur in the presence of alcohol and/or tobacco.
{Alcohol and Clinical Experimental Research, 2005, as cited in "Alcohol increases pneumonia risk," Nutrition Hints #1834, e-mail from Betty Kamen, PhD (a leading authority on alternative health) and Michael Rosenbaum, MD, May 2005}

Wine and Lungs
The headlines reported: "Drinking wine, particularly white wine, may help keep lungs healthy, University at Buffalo study finds." Holger Schunemann, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Social and Preventive Medicine at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, reported that drinking wine, particularly white wine, recently and over a lifetime was associated with better lung function. However, he also stated that the researchers, including himself, attributed the better lung health and function to the antioxidants in the wine, the flavonoids and phenols. He also noted that evidence suggests that alcohol may increase the oxidative burden.
{"Alcohol - Lungs," University at Buffalo, www.buffalo.edu, organtx.org, May 2002} Editor's comment: This oxidative stress plays an important role in the chronic complications of insulin-dependent diabetes, which can lead to an increase in oxygen-derived free-radicals (according to the Journal of Diabetes Complications, 2002). While emphasizing the positive effects of alcohol on the lungs (although the researchers attributed the effects to the antioxidants) the media reports failed to include the problem of the wine increasing the oxidative burden . . . . which then increases free-radicals and complications of diabetes.
{Betty Kamen and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, MD, "Nutrition Hints," Aug. 2002, Hint #943}

Alcohol makes the lung liable to injury and infection by producing a decrease in alveolar epithelial levels of glutathione, which is an antioxidant, as well as inhibiting the response to bacterial infection. In a recent study by Australian researchers of asthmatics, 42 percent had reactions to alcoholic drinks, wine being the most frequent cause. Asthmatic reactions generally appeared quickly and were of moderate intensity. Drinking alcohol dramatically boosts the risk of common gene mutation in smokers developing lung cancer.
{Alcohol Research Center, alcoholresearch.itsumc.edu, Aug. 2002}

Effect of the Metabisulfite Preservative
When wine reaches the stomach, the preservative metabisulfite is degraded in the stomach, resulting in the product sulfur dioxide. This sulfur dioxide gas is passed back through the esophagus and is inhaled into the lungs, which can cause an asthma episode. Also since wine is fermented, a person with a mold sensitivity could have a worsening of symptoms from drinking wine (or beer).



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