Alcohol and your health

Posted on Feb 2, 2017 in Blog

ALCOHOL AND YOUR HEALTH:   Standard drink definitions.

Beer or wine cooler (about 5% alcohol)

12 oz. = 1 standard drink

16 oz. = 1.3 standard drinks

22 oz. = 2 standard drinks

40 oz. = 3.3 standard drinks

Table wine (about 7% alcohol)

5 oz. = 1 standard drink

25 oz. bottle = 5 standard drinks

80-proof spirits (about 40% alcohol)

1.5 oz. = 1 standard drink

1 mixed drink = 1 or more standard drinks (depends on recipe and amounts)

1 fifth = 17 standard drinks

*Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

For those who choose to drink, here is MY recommendation as to “amount”.  Males up to age 65: one drink six times weekly (e.g. one drink 6 of 7 days).  Females up to age 65:  one drink 3 times weekly (1 drink 3 days weekly).  Age 65 and above, decrease the above recommendations by 50%, as your ability to metabolize alcohol decreases and your blood level of alcohol/drink increases.   Who should never drink: + family history of (h/o) alcohol or drug abuse (includes biological parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents), personal history of alcohol or drug abuse, history of atrial fibrillation (AFib)-unknown if having a + family history of AFib should also be considered in this decision, personal history of cancer (especially cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon, rectum, basal cell- squamous cell-melanoma cancer of the skin), h/o high blood pressure- stroke-liver disease (e.g. fatty liver or hepatitis)-gastro-esophageal reflux, stomach ulcers, heart failure-peripheral neuropathy-pancreatitis-depression-sleep disorders (including insomnia, sleep apnea)-balance problems-osteoporosis-erectile dysfunction, and diagnosis of “cognitive decline”.

Excess alcohol DECREASES absorption and utilization and or blood level of Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene), selenium, vitamins C, E, K, folic acid, thiamin), glutathione (the primary intracellular antioxidant), magnesium, zinc, and choline.

Alcohol consumption appears to have NO benefit in preventing Myocardial Infarctions (heart attacks) in people who EXERCISE, EAT FRUIT AND VEGETABLES, AND DO NOT SMOKE.  J Epidemiology Community Health 2008; 62: 905.

Beware of alcohol consumption when you are taking a medication in the following categories: Antihistamines and cold remedies, Statin drugs, Enlarged prostate, Sleeping aids, Heartburn drugs, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Anticoagulants, Anti-anxiety drugs, and NSAID pain relievers.

You are pregnant and (for fertility issues, I recommend all those “trying to become pregnant”- BOTH partners, male and female, stop alcohol consumption at least one month prior to starting the “get pregnant quest”), 2. Driving 3. Operating heavy machinery 4. Using medications that interact with alcohol-ask your pharmacist.

I want to discuss atrial fibrillation (AF) in more depth than listed in PART II.  AF is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, especially in those over age 65.  A recent article in the American College of Cardiology reported that compared to alcohol abstinence, one or more drinks daily increased the risk of AF by 8 to 17%.  Drinking 3,4 or 5 drinks daily, raised the risk of AF by 26%, 36%, and 47%!!

BINGE DRINKING:  The age of onset of regular (>once/month) drinking has been reported to be between 15.2 -16.5 years.  Of the total 10.8 million underage Americans (12-20 years) who reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, 7.2 million (about 19%) were binge drinkers in the last 30 days.  As one would expect, early onset of binge drinking or exposure to binging has been linked to an increased risk of binging in adulthood.  Men account for about 81% of binge drinking.

College students who are frequent binge drinkers (in this study 3 or more occasions in the last 2 weeks) had a 19 times greater odds of being classified with alcohol dependence and 13 times greater odds of being classified with alcohol abuse compared with non-heavy episodic drinkers.