Many people have started to wonder whether giving up alcohol may have a positive impact on their lives. And more and more individuals have started quitting drinking altogether.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a wellness movement away from alcohol as more people realize the impact drinking has on their mental and physical wellbeing. This trend has been labeled “sober curiosity.”
Being sober means that you’ve chosen to avoid or limit alcohol for personal or wellness reasons – and not because of dependency or addiction. People who have jumped on the bandwagon, may not have the intention to give up alcohol completely, but they may want to cut it out for some time or see if limiting their alcohol intake may benefit their health.
This trend is one that many may want to follow, as it’s become quite clear that excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to a host of adverse health outcomes. Let’s explore some of the most impactful effects that alcohol can have on our bodies.
Alcohol & Your Brain
Anyone who has had too many drinks knows that alcohol has effects on the brain in the short term, which are very clear from the slurred speech, the poor decision-making, and the forgetfulness that may follow a night of overconsumption. But there are also much scarier consequences of alcohol on the brain.
Chronic alcohol use has been shown to alter the brain’s structure and communication pathways. Studies done that image the brain show that chronic, heavy drinking (meaning 3 or more drinks for women and 4 or more drinks for men on a given day) is associated with many structural changes in the brain affecting many different areas and functions. The brain volume actually decreases in size with regular drinking, and these changes start to become noticeable in people who drink an average of only 1-2 standard drinks daily. This can lead to learning and memory problems, dementia, poor performance, and even mental health problems, as anxiety and depression.
Alcohol & the Microbiome
Some of the adverse effects of alcohol on the brain are actually caused by the impact of alcohol on the gut. There is something called the gut-brain axis and this connection explains the association between the health of the gut and our brain. The gut communicates with the brain through nerve cells and chemical signaling.
Now when we want to sterilize a wound, we pour alcohol on it to kill any bacteria and prevent infection; this is exactly what happens in the gut when we drink alcohol. The gut microbiome is changed in people who drink alcohol, no matter how much they drink.
Also, when the liver, which is a key organ in the digestive system, breaks down alcohol, it leaves behind substances that cause inflammation. When combined with a changed microbiome, this can lead to leaky gut, alcoholic liver disease, generalized gut inflammation, systemic inflammation, cognitive dysfunctions, tissue damage, and so much more.
Since our microbiome is a key player in our immune system, we now know that alcohol can impair immune function, which after these past few years should be quite an important finding for us all! Drinking too much alcohol can weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to things like the common cold, pneumonia, and other illnesses. Binge drinking can also slow the body’s ability to fight off infections, which has been found to last for 24 hours after drinking.
Alcohol & the Menstrual Cycle
The effects of alcohol are different for men and women, and although this may be seen in the brain and the gut, the differences become very clear when we discuss hormones, the menstrual cycle, and fertility. When you drink alcohol often, your body turns more testosterone into estrogen. This can cause your estrogen levels to rise or at least throw off the ratio of testosterone to estrogen.
Alcohol has been linked to irregular menstrual cycles, not ovulating, not having periods at all, and having trouble getting pregnant. Due to the rise in estrogen, drinking alcohol can also make periods more painful and heavier, make PMS symptoms worse, and cause mood swings, irritability, endometriosis flare-ups, less sex drive, and weight gain.
One study of healthy, nonalcoholic women found that a large portion of even social drinkers stopped cycling normally and became at least temporarily infertile, due to a change in their hormone secretions that cause ovulation. When we discuss the impact on fertility alone, it has been shown that consumption of as few as four alcoholic drinks per week decreases the chance of having a healthy pregnancy with IVF, compared to non-drinkers.
It’s clear that drinking alcohol often or too much can have real effects on our health as a whole. These are only a few of the systems that can be impacted by alcohol, but it is no wonder that the movement of “sober curiosity” has picked up a lot of steam.
Try Mocktails made with Flora’s ACV Instead:
Telling you to cut out alcohol without giving you a healthy, tasty, and alcohol-free option instead just wouldn’t be fair. You can throw together a simple mocktail with Flora’s Apple Cider Vinegar Wellness Tonics, soda water, and your choice of garnish in just a few minutes and it sure won’t disappoint. The unique flavours to choose from such as Ginger & Lemon, Turmeric & Cinnamon, Red Beet, and Elderberry are all unique health tonics that combine apple cider vinegar with herbs that help with digestion, fight free radicals and clean the body. The result is a daily wellness tonic with complex, tasty flavors that are easy to drink.
Here are a few more reasons why we’re loving Flora’s ACV:
- Safe to take every day
- Carefully made in small batches
- Made in the USA with apple cider vinegar of the highest quality
- Include the cleansing herbs of our classic herbal formula, Flor-Essence, and enticing flavors that refresh while they revitalize.
- Organic + Non-GMO + Gluten-Free + Vegan + Caffeine-Free
Say cheers this holiday season with
WELLDAILY15 for 15% off at