In this month’s blog I’ll expand a little more on the FB live that I did back in June, about how alcohol can influence menopausal symptoms – anxiety, weight gain.
Alcohol is broken down in the liver, as everything else you ingest is. When you have low intake of alcohol, this is not such a burden on the liver. But when you have more than is recommended, this is when your body starts to protest. This is because alcohol becomes a priority for your liver to breakdown, affecting other compounds that need to be metabolised. You can read more in my previous blog about liver detox support
Other compounds that need to be metabolised, are ‘placed on hold’, such as
- Oestrogen detoxification
- Fat metabolism
- Clearance of other ‘toxins’
Alcohol also increases your levels of oxidants, which can cause other health issues if you do not have enough antioxidants in your diet. Which short term is not an issue, it is in the long run where you may encounter health issues.
What does Alcohol affect?
Alcohol stimulates oestrogen production in adipose fat, which predisposes you to develop breast cancer. This is because there is an increased activity of an enzyme, in the liver, that converts other androgens into oestrogen. At the same time, it slows down the breakdown of sex hormones; again increasing your levels of oestrogen.
Excess alcohol intake can also affect your ability to absorb Vitamin B. Reduced levels of Vitamin B’s affects many processes in your body. This can affect energy levels, as Vitamin B helps to produce energy. They are also needed to support brain function and nerve health.
Alcohol can produce anxiety, as it affects areas in your brain that ultimately stimulate the release of cortisone. What cortisone does, is it tells your body that it’s in a stressful situation. This is turn causes your body to go into fight or flight mode – it increases your heart rate, dilates your blood vessels, makes your body produce more glucose (as the muscles will need extra energy to fight or run away), it slows down your digestion (as this is not important now) and, raises your blood pressure. By the way, this will also make your hot flushes worse!
Drinking more than 2 glasses of alcohol per day, increases the amount of melatonin that is broken down. This means that melatonin levels are reduced the following day, which can affect your sleep. And if you are already having difficulty sleeping, this may cause you some stress. This stress will only make your symptoms worse, due to increased cortisol levels.
1-2 standard drinks per day, is deemed acceptable if you feel that you need to have a glass. But caution is still needed, as you could still experience some health issues later on due to poor liver function.