The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Your Body


| 8/16/2016 3:49:31 PM


Tags: alcohol, drinking, health, Akshata Mehta,


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Almost all of us have tried some form of alcohol at some point. Studies show that more than 85% of adults in the US consume alcohol, yet very few of us pause to think about what exactly goes on in our body while drinking. Even though we are complex organisms, you might be surprised to find out how various parts of our bodies instantly react to consuming alcohol. Here’s a quick rundown that will help you better understand the after effects of drinking, and why alcohol makes you feel the way it does.

Stomach

The stomach is where alcohol is first broken down. Breaking down alcohol takes up a significant amount of energy, making it a hard substance to digest. The enzymes in the stomach convert alcohol into a substance called acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen which is toxic for our bodies. Acetaldehyde is also a known carcinogen.

Liver

You’re probably well aware that alcohol takes a toll on the liver. Well, that’s because acetaldehyde is a harmful substance, and the liver is what immediately converts it into something that is less dangerous for our bodies. The liver has enzymes that convert acetaldehyde to acetate, which is similar to vinegar. There’s a catch though - the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of acetaldehyde at a time. If acetaldehyde starts to accumulate in the liver, our bodies start to adversely react, especially in response to heavy drinking. That’s why chugging drinks, or doing many shots one after another can quickly lead to excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting and other short-term effects.

Heart

On a normal basis, our hearts maintain a fairly steady pulse rate. Consuming alcohol puts the body in conditions of stress, and so the heart rates tend to increase. Frequent consumption of copious amounts of alcohol can cause the heart to become very stressed, and lead to many heart problems later in life.




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