March 28, 2008

My Own Private Hell

My father was the one who gave me my first drink – a swallow of bourbon – when I was 4 years old. We were at a party together. He thought it was funny and I liked the warm rush it gave me. I remember that feeling so clearly even two decades later….

Read the rest of the story here:

www.drugfree.org/Portal/Stories/My_Own_Private_Hell

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March 26, 2008

Heartburn????

Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption can reduce heartburn or acid reflux. In particular, alcohol consumption in the evening is believed to lead to more symptoms of night time acid reflux, as well as other health problems. While some studies show that a glass of red wine has many health benefits, this is a 4 ounce glass, before a meal, and for those who suffer from acid reflux, even this may be a problem. Alcohol increases stomach acid. Prescription and natural remedies for acid reflux are geared towards reducing or preventing excess stomach acid. It just does not make sense to continue to drink alcohol when you have been diagnosed with acid reflux.

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March 24, 2008

Long term affects of alchol

Long term alcohol abuse does a number of things to your body, including:

  • Increased activity in the liver causes cell death and hardening of the tissue.

  • Brain cells die, thereby reducing the total brain mass.

  • Stomach and intestinal ulcers can form because the constant alcohol use irritates and degrades the linings.

  • Blood pressure increases as the heart compensates for the initially reduced blood pressure caused by alcohol.

  • Male sex-cell (sperm) production decreases 

  • Poor nutrition decreases levels of iron and vitamin B, leading to anemia.

  • Because alcoholics lose balance and fall more often, they suffer more often from bruises and broken bones; this is especially true as they get older.
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March 20, 2008

Preventing Alcohol Cravings

While there are links between what you eat and your cravings for alcohol, it’s important to put the food issues into context, because in some circumstance, foods can do very little to help with alcohol withdrawal or alcohol avoidance, and other lifestyle changes, medical treatment, or therapeutic-dose dietary supplements are needed.

There is a fairly large amount of research about the potential benefits of nutritional supplements during periods of alcohol withdrawal. The greatest focus here has been on the B-complex vitamins, although all of the major vitamins (vitamins A, C, D, and E in addition to the B-complex vitamins) have been found to play a potentially helpful role.

Studies have shown that greatly reducing intake of sugars and caffeine can directly lower alcohol cravings. In the case of sugars, this would mean avoidance of processed desserts and treats with greater than about 10 grams of sugar per serving; avoidance of sodas; avoidance of dried fruits and fruit juices except in limited amounts (like a 4 ounce glass of juice or a few tablespoons of raisins on cereal); and of course, very little use of table sugar. In the case of caffeine, the benefits would come from elimination of caffeinated sodas; elimination of coffee or tea, unless decaffeinated; and elimination of chocolate, except in fairly small amounts (like 3-4 small chocolate squares). Both simple sugars and caffeine can have an impact on your blood sugar regulation, and this connection with blood sugar is interesting, because there has been some evidence in the research that stabilizing blood sugar can help reduce alcohol (sugar) SS cravings. In summary, although it can be difficult to steer clear of these two substances, the research suggests that it’s worth it in terms of alcohol craving.

A second step is to make sure that your diet is filled with nutrient-rich foods so that you can get all the nutrients your body needs to operate at its best including helping to support your liver and other detoxification processes. From our perspective, the very best way to accomplish this goal of nutrient richness is to fill your meal plan with as many of the World’s Healthiest Foods as possible. There just aren’t any foods that can bring in so many nutrients so easily. Alcohol depletes a wide range of nutrients, including B vitamins, and so it is important to ensure that your diet supplies enough.

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March 17, 2008

Biology of a Hangover: Glutamine Rebound

After a night of alcohol consumption, a drinker will not sleep as soundly as normal because the body is rebounding from alcohol’s depressive effect on the system. When someone is drinking, alcohol inhibits glutamine, one of the body’s natural stimulants. When the drinker stops drinking, the body tries to make up for lost time by producing more glutamine than it needs.

The increase in glutamine levels stimulates the brain while the drinker is trying to sleep, keeping them from reaching the deepest, most healing levels of slumber. This is a large contributor to the fatigue felt with a hangover. Severe glutamine rebound during a hangover also may be responsible for tremors, anxiety, restlessness and increased blood pressure.

Because alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach, the cells that line the organ become irritated. Alcohol also promotes secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, eventually causing the nerves to send a message to the brain that the stomach’s contents are hurting the body and must be expelled through vomiting. This mechanism can actually lessen hangover symptoms in the long run because vomiting gets rid of the alcohol in the stomach and reduces the number of toxins the body has to deal with. The stomach’s irritation may also be a factor in some of the other unpleasant symptoms of a hangover, such as diarrhea and lack of appetite.

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March 15, 2008

Biology of a Hangover: Acetaldehyde

A product of alcohol metabolism that is more toxic than alcohol itself, acetaldehyde is created when the alcohol in the liver is broken down by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The acetaldehyde is then attacked by another enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and another substance called glutathione, which contains high quantities of cysteine (a substance that is attracted to acetaldehyde). Together, the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and the glutathione form the nontoxic acetate (a substance similar to vinegar). This process works well, leaving the acetaldehyde only a short amount of time to do its damage if only a few drinks are consumed.

Unfortunately, the liver’s stores of glutathione quickly run out when larger amounts of alcohol enter the system. This causes the acetaldehyde to build up in the body as the liver creates more glutathione, leaving the toxin in the body for long periods of time. In studies that blocked the enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde (acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) with a drug called Antabuse, designed to fight alcoholism, acetaldehyde toxicity resulted in headaches and vomiting so bad that even alcoholics were wary of their next drink. Although body weight is a factor part of the reason women should not keep up with men drink-for-drink is because women have less acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione, making their hangovers worse because it takes longer for the body to break down the alcohol.

Some of the most common hangover symptoms — fatigue, stomach irritation and a general sense of illness all over — can be further attributed to something called glutamine rebound. In the next blog, we’ll see what this aftereffect is all about.

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March 13, 2008

Biology of a Hangover: Congeners


Dark wines and liquors have higher levels of certain toxins.

Different types of alcohol can result in different hangover symptoms. This is because some types of alcoholic drinks have a higher concentration of congeners, byproducts of fermentation in some alcohol.

The greatest amounts of these toxins are found in red wine and dark liquors such as bourbon, brandy, whiskey and tequila. White wine and clear liquors such as rum, vodka and gin have fewer congeners and therefore cause less frequent and less severe hangovers. In one study, 33 percent of those who drank an amount of bourbon relative to their body weight reported severe hangover, compared to 3 percent of those who drank the same amount of vodka.

Because different alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, liquor, etc.) have different congeners, combining the various impurities can result in particularly severe hangover symptoms. Additionally, the carbonation in beer actually speeds up the absorption of alcohol. As a result, following beer with liquor gives the body even less time than usual to process the toxins.

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March 11, 2008

The Biology of a Hangover: Vasopressin Inhibition

When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and causes the pituitary gland in the brain to block the creation of vasopressin (also known as the antidiuretic hormone). Without this chemical, the kidneys send water directly to the bladder instead of reabsorbing it into the body. This is why drinkers have to make frequent trips to the bathroom after urinating for the first time after drinking.

According to studies, drinking about 250 milliliters of an alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water; that’s four times as much liquid lost as gained. This diuretic effect decreases as the alcohol in the bloodstream decreases, but the aftereffects help create a hangover.

The morning after heavy drinking, the body sends a desperate message to replenish its water supply — usually manifested in the form of an extremely dry mouth. Headaches result from dehydration because the body’s organs try to make up for their own water loss by stealing water from the brain, causing the brain to decrease in size and pull on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, resulting in pain.

The frequent urination also expels salts and potassium that are necessary for proper nerve and muscle function; when sodium and potassium levels get too low, headaches, fatigue and nausea can result. Alcohol also breaks down the body’s store of glycogen in the liver, turning the chemical into glucose and sending it out of the body in the urine. Lack of this key energy source is partly responsible for the weakness, fatigue and lack of coordination the next morning. In addition, the diuretic effect expels vital electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, which are necessary for proper cell function.

Different types of alcohol can cause different types of hangover. In the next blog, we’ll look at the differences.

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March 10, 2008

Ways To Cut Down On Your Alcohol

You’ll find that anyone who drinks heavy, will sometime in there life make a decision to cut down on there drinking or even quit it completely. But the big question they always ask themselves is HOW?

Well lets start first on how cutting down or quitting alcohol can and will improve your life, your health and you’ll begin to start to enjoy life again.

You see to cut down on your drinking or quit your drinking you need to have a goal to achieve. So if you want to your going to have to write down reasons for curbing your alcohol consumption. Here’s a few examples which should help you;

Are you seeking to improve your lifestyle?
Do you want to improve your relationship with your family and friends?
Are you looking to improve your health?
What makes you want to drink less?

A recent study showed and was performed on a hundred people. They got 50 people to write there goals down and the other 50 to do nothing accept try and achieve there goals. What the study showed was quite amazing, the first 50 people who wrote there goals down and went through them everyday over a period of 3 months, they found 85% of them reached there goals.

The other 50 they found that a very small percentage (8%) only achieved there goals. The things here is if you don’t know what you want or how to get there then you’re not going to reach your goals, like quitting drinking.

So if you want to quit drinking or cut down on your drinking you must first set yourself goals, but realistic ones. (Remember Drinking Does Not Control You, You Control Your Drinking).

If you’re looking for a good program to follow which will help you with setting your goals to help you quit drinking or cut down on your drinking then I can strongly advise you to take a look at stopdrinkingadvice.org

I have read some great reports from people who have tried there training methods out with amazing results. There even offer you a full money back guarantee if there program doesn’t work for you. They also have a free newsletter which gives you free tips on how to quit drinking.

Remember you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

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March 9, 2008

The anatomy of a hangover

It’s no secret that intoxication has a number of immediate negative consequences. Among other things, it impairs judgement, it impairs the ability to do most things and it can bring on a depressed mood. But even after a drinker has sobered up, alcohol can still be causing the body trouble. More than 75 percent of alcohol consumers have experienced a hangover at least once; 15 percent have one at least every month; and 25 percent of college students feel symptoms weekly.

What is a Hangover?

The formal name for a hangover is veisalgia, from the Norwegian word for "uneasiness following debauchery" (kveis) and the Greek word for "pain" (algia) — an appropriate title considering the uncomfortable symptoms experienced by the average drinker. The common hangover includes some or all of the following:

  • Headache
  • Poor sense of overall well-being
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trembling
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dehydration(dry mouth, extreme thirst, dry eyes)
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weakness

The most common symptoms are headache, fatigue and dehydration, and the least common is trembling. The severity and number of symptoms varies from person to person; however, it is generally true that the more alcohol a drinker consumes, the worse the hangover will be.

It usually takes five to seven cocktails over the course of four to six hours to cause a hangover for a light-to-moderate drinker (a man who drinks up to three alcoholic beverages a day or a woman who drinks up to one). It may take more alcohol for heavier drinkers because of increased tolerance. Other than the number of drinks consumed, hangovers can be made worse by:

  • drinking on an empty stomach
  • lack of sleep
  • increased physical activity while drinking (dancing, for example)
  • dehydration before drinking
  • poor health

The reason for some symptoms isn’t fully understood, but research has led scientists to have a pretty good understanding of the primary causes of a hangover. In the next few days, we’ll find out what’s going on in the body to cause these problems.

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