The Truth About Alcohol
In the modern world, alcohol has and remains to be part of many social occasions ranging from family dinner, sporting events, and when one is out with friends at night. The effects associated with heavy drinking or alcoholism are known to many but what people still do not understand are the effects of moderate drinking. To tell the truth, alcohol is not an essential element in an individual life. According to Gentry (2011), people only consume alcohol when socializing, celebrating, or when they need to relax. There are instances where drinking alcohol may be of benefit to one’s health, but this only depends on a number of factors such as health, age, and the amount one consumes. There are various truths about alcohol that need thorough research to determine if alcohol may have some benefits or hazards to one when consumed in moderation. Some of the claims that will be central to this research paper are alcohol has an effect on the brain, cancer is related to alcohol, and red wine is good for the heart.
Red wine is good for the heart.
Red wine is good for the heart is a claim that is very appealing, but it needs proper back-up to cement the claim (BBC, 2016). Red wine, when taken in moderation, has essential benefits to the heart. Latruffe and Rifler (2019) asserted that alcohol in combination and antioxidants contained in the wine play an important role in preventing coronary artery disease, thus reducing the chances of one suffering from heart diseases. Even though the relationship between red wine and fewer heart attacks has not been discovered fully, it is clear that the antioxidants in red wine may boost the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which prevents cholesterol build-up in the heart arteries. Individuals should not get it twisted and start consuming alcohol for heart benefits since the known fact is that alcohol is very addictive, and when taken in excess, its health hazards surpass all the possible benefits. Moderate drinking of a glass or two once in a while after evening meals may be of greater benefit than imagined.
According to BBC (2016), red wine is good for the heart since the antioxidants it contains, which are also called polyphenols, help in protecting the lining of the heart’s blood vessels. According to Latruffe and Rifler (2019), the polyphenol substance called resveratrol contained in the red wine is essential since they protect these vessels from damage by reducing the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This prevents blood from clotting in the veins. The resveratrol is also believed to prevent inflammation in the blood vessels, but it is still a debate that needs further studies to prove.
Latruffe & Rifler (2019) claimed that the resveratrol in the red wine comes from grapes skin that is used in making the wine. The red wine contains more resveratrol since it is fermented with grapes for longer periods during processing. The doctors also recommend drinking grape juice or consuming the grapes since it is one way of getting resveratrol without consuming alcohol. Besides the grapes, blueberries, peanuts, and cranberries also contain resveratrol that can be beneficial to the heart. Doctors also may recommend resveratrol supplements since the body can absorb most of it faster.
It is also important to note that various studies have confirmed that drinking moderately other types of alcohol such as beer may produce similar impacts as red wine when it comes to the protection of the heart against inflammation and blood clots (Latruffe & Rifler, 2019). The potential benefits of red wine to the heart are promising, but individuals should not start indulging in alcoholism using this basis to defend their drinking. Drinking in moderation is highly recommended.
Cancer is related to alcohol.
Many individuals probably know the dangers of smoking and its relation to cancer. Still, they do not realize how drinking alcohol each day may lead to the development of cancer cells in the body (BBC, 2016). Drinking alcohol may cause both physical and chemical changes in the body that may lead to cancer. According to Gentry (2011), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized alcoholic beverages as group one carcinogens, and consumption of these products may lead to breast cancer, liver, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreatic, larynx, colorectal, and pharynx cancers. Gentry (2011) claimed that approximately 3.5% of all cases of cancer and 3.4% of cancer deaths in the whole world are caused by alcohol consumption. In this case, it is important to note that even drinking alcohol in moderation still increases the chances of one contracting cancer. This is the reason most nations require manufacturers to label packaging warning messages on alcohol cans to create awareness on how consumption of alcohol is harmful to health.
It is important to note that the risk of cancer due to alcohol consumption is greater in the closest contact of ingestion of the drink, such as the oral cavity, esophagus, and pharynx. This can be attributed to the lethal effects of ethanol that can cause mouth, throat, and oesophageal cancers as well as skin cancers. According to Gentry (2011), ethanol concentrations in alcoholic drinks can cause the death of cells in the body. The cells may find it difficult to survive when exposed constantly to ethanol; thus, they may undergo genomic changes that can lead to carcinogenesis. This is the formation of cancer since normal body cells are being transformed into cancer cells.
According to Dunty (2011), an increase in alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus since the alcohol promotes the cell division in the stem cells that maintain the tissues in homeostasis. This is simply because the cytotoxic effects of ethanol depend on its level of concentration. Thus it means that the risk of cancer will increase by both the increase in the amount of ethanol consumed and also increase in its concentration in the body. When one consumes an ounce of alcohol without diluting it, the high concentration of alcohol in the drink will be toxic to the cells of the body, thus increasing an individual’s chances of suffering from cancer. There are various types of cancer.
Cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, and larynx
Dunty (2011) claimed that an increase in alcohol intake, even in moderation, can lead to cancer. Also, using tobacco and alcohol increases the risk of cancer even more. Moderate drinking is having one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men, but heavy alcohol intake is defined by having more than three drinks in a single day. It is important for individuals to reduce their amount of alcohol intake if they really need to increase their chances of avoiding cancer.
According to Dunty (2011), a woman whose alcohol intake surpasses two units a day has an 8% chance of developing breast cancer than a woman who drinks one unit each day. Most of the breast cancers could be avoided if women checked the amounts of ethanol and other alcoholic beverages they consume each day. This would also reduce on chances of relapse in breast cancers.
An increase in alcohol intake causes damage to the leaver leading to liver cirrhosis. It occurs from the formation of a scar in the liver after long instances of chronic alcoholism. Approximately 6% of individuals with liver cirrhosis develop cancer of the liver. According to Dunty (2011), cirrhosis occurs when the liver cells are worn out due to constant exposure to alcohol; thus, these cells are replaced by scar tissue. Studies indicate that one has chances of developing liver cancer when he or she drinks more than five drinks in a day.
Alcohol has an effect on the brain.
It is important to note that alcohol has a damaging effect on the brain of an individual. This is because one may experience difficulties in walking; the vision that is blurred is common, slurred speech, the memory may be impaired, and finally, one may experience slow reaction times (BBC, 2016). Some of these defects may be experienced after two or three drinks and are resolved immediately when one stops drinking (Dasgupta, 2011). On the other hand, if an individual drink heavily for a long period of time, he or she may experience brain deficits that may persist even when sober.
Each individual is aware of the consequences of heavy drinking on the brain that ranges from simple memory lapses to permanent loss of memory that may need one to be taken care of by a custodian. Dasgupta (2011) claimed that moderate intake of alcohol might also cause short term brain impairments. There are a number of factors that influence the amount of damage alcohol can cause to the brain. Some of these factors include:
There are various impacts alcohol can cause to the brain that may have far-reaching consequences such as:
Blackouts and memory lapses
According to Alling et al. (2012), alcohol can lead to detectable impairments in memory after intake of only a few drinks and then progresses as the number of intake increases. This is the same way impairment works since one tends to lose memory as he or she continues to indulge in alcoholism. When alcohol is consumed in large amounts on an empty stomach can cause one to experience blackouts. Individuals at this instance cannot recall events that transpired when they wake up from the blackout. Blacking out is common among social drinkers, and it does not depend on a person’s age or level of education.
Alcohol, whether taken in small quantities or large, may have its own consequences on the health of an individual. As earlier noted, alcohol intake is most common when people are attending social events, celebrating, or they are just relaxing. Other individuals may make it a habit of taking alcohol on a daily basis and without moderation. This may have detrimental effects on the brain of an individual since one may experience brain impairment. To the extreme, one may blackout to an extent he or she may not remember anything. This is the reason I regard alcohol has a negative effect on the brain of the individual. Alcohol also may lead to cancer since ethanol, and other alcoholic beverages may be toxic to the cells of organs leading to various types of cancer such as liver, mouth, and esophagus cancers. This is because a higher intake of alcohol causes cancer. Lastly, red wine is good for the heart since it has resveratrol that prevents the heart vessels from inflammation and blood clotting. This prevents one from suffering from high blood pressure. Despite everything, alcohol, when taken in hire amounts, may be toxic to the body,
Alling, C., Diamond, I., Leslie, S. W., Sun, G. Y., & Wood, W. G. (2012). Alcohol, cell membranes, and signal transduction in the brain. Springer Science & Business Media.
BBC. (2016). The truth about alcohol. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNq-JcVlYD4
Dasgupta, A. (2011). The science of drinking: How alcohol affects your body and mind. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Dunty, W. C. (2011). Alcohol, cancer genes, and signaling pathways. Alcohol and Cancer, 93-126. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-0040-0_6
Gentry, R. T. (2011). Alcohol and cancer epidemiology. Alcohol and Cancer, 19-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-0040-0_3
Latruffe, N., & Rifler, J. (2019). Wine and vine components and health. MDPI.
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