Author: Alex Thompson

Alcohol use: Weighing risks and benefits

what happens if you drink alcohol everyday

So, your system prioritizes getting rid of alcohol before it can turn its attention to its other work. If alcohol continues to accumulate in your system, it can destroy cells and, eventually, damage your organs. But when you ingest too much alcohol for your liver to process in a timely manner, a buildup of toxic substances begins to take a toll on your liver.

The combination of a damaged GI lining and dysbiosis (when the ratio of beneficial to negative gut bacteria tilts towards negative bacteria) can lead to digestive problems, poor mood, skin issues, and weakened immunity. The pancreas helps regulate how your body uses insulin and responds to glucose. If your pancreas and liver don’t function properly due to pancreatitis or liver disease, you could experience low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Past guidance around alcohol use generally suggests a daily drink poses little risk of negative health effects — and might even offer a few health benefits. Your brain helps your body stay well-hydrated by producing a hormone that keeps your kidneys from making too much urine. But when alcohol swings into action, it tells your brain to hold off on making that hormone.

what happens if you drink alcohol everyday

Each of those consequences can cause turmoil that can negatively affect your long-term emotional health. The connection between alcohol consumption and your digestive system might not seem immediately clear. The side effects often only appear after the damage has happened. But more recent research suggests there’s really no “safe” amount of alcohol since even moderate drinking can negatively impact brain health. That cotton-mouthed, bleary-eyed morning-after is no accident.

Like a clog in a drain, those thickened fluids can jam up your ducts. That can lead to pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Cirrhosis, on the other hand, is irreversible and can lead to liver failure and liver cancer, even if you abstain from alcohol.

You may experience a disruption in mood

Knowing your personal risk based on your habits can help you make the best decision for you. That said, it’s easy to drink more than a standard drink in one glass. If you have two of those glasses during a meal, you are consuming about three standard drinks.

what happens if you drink alcohol everyday

A robust immune system is essential for fighting off illness and immunity is negatively affected by chronic alcohol consumption. A large portion of the immune system is housed in the gastrointestinal tract and the GI tract is alcohol’s first point of contact after consumption. Alcohol directly impacts the lining of the GI tract and the damage that is done from frequent alcohol consumption can lead to leaky gut which triggers inflammation throughout the body. Alcohol also affects the immune system but altering the positive bacteria in the gut and damaging immune cells in the GI tract. People who binge drink or drink heavily may notice more health effects sooner, but alcohol also poses some risks for people who drink in moderation.

For many people, drinking plays a huge role in socialising with friends (and how we make new ones as an adult), relaxing in the evening, and enjoying time with a significant other. Research by the NHS suggests that 49% of adults in the UK drink alcohol at least once a week with 21% drinking more than 14 units a week, the organisation’s recommended amount. The evidence for moderate alcohol use in healthy adults is still being studied.

Inflammatory damage

“While alcohol may help some individuals fall asleep initially, it disrupts the sleep cycle by affecting various stages of sleep, leading to fragmented and less restorative rest,” says Dr Tang. In the lungs, one of the body’s first immune defences, alcohol damages cells and the hairs that clear the potential viruses away. We live in a world, like it or not, where alcohol is part of daily existence.

  1. Getting into the habit of drinking every day can change the composition of our gut bacteria and help to grow more of the “harmful” bacteria and less of the “good” bacteria, he says.
  2. Furthermore, the CDC states that daily consumption of as little as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men can increase the risk of developing cancer.
  3. For example, any amount of drinking increases the risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
  4. Excessive drinking may affect your menstrual cycle and potentially increase your risk for infertility.

On the other hand, long-term heavy drinking boosts your blood pressure. It makes your body release stress hormones that narrow blood vessels, so your heart has to pump harder to push blood through. One night of binge drinking can jumble the electrical signals that keep your heart’s rhythm steady.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink. That’s because alcohol can weaken your immune system and make your body more susceptible to infection. In reality, there’s no evidence that drinking beer (or your alcoholic beverages of choice) actually contributes to belly fat. With continued alcohol use, steatotic liver disease can lead to liver fibrosis. Eventually, you can develop permanent and irreversible scarring in your liver, which is called cirrhosis.

Your gut microbiome is a hotbed of bacteria that help keep your digestive system happy and healthy. The trillions of microbes in your colon and large and small intestines are critical to proper digestion. They also help fend off inflammation and support healthy metabolism. You probably already know that excessive drinking can affect you in more ways than one.

Alcohol use: Weighing risks and benefits

That means you have to go more often, which can leave you dehydrated. When you drink heavily for years, that extra workload and the toxic effects of alcohol can wear your kidneys down. The NHS and other public health bodies recommend 14 units per week as low-risk drinking, not “safe” drinking. But as you’ll also know, binge drinking – defined as six or more units in a single session for women – is best avoided too to avoid overloading the liver, and the inevitable hangover that comes with it. If you want to know more about alcohol units and how to calculate them, visit Alcohol Change UK’s calculator.

Having a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at a party here and there isn’t going to destroy your gut. But even low amounts of daily drinking and prolonged and heavy use of alcohol can lead to significant problems for your digestive system. Steatotic liver disease develops in about 90% of people who drink more than 1.5 to 2 ounces of alcohol per day. Another way alcohol affects weight is by its caloric content.