Dear Michael: How does alcohol affect your
performance in sports,if you drink about once a month? I
love sports and I play basketball, run track, and I rodeo.
Is drinking hurting my performance?
How much alcohol affects your sport depends on how regularly
it is done and how much alcohol is consumed. Certainly drinking
heavily on the day prior to an event will negatively affect
Dear Michael: Does the red wine "heart
benefit" affect my athletic performance if I have a
little wine with dinner most nights? Is it a positive or
If by "a
little wine" you mean one or two glasses, there should
be no negative effect on your performance.
Dear Michael: Does alcohol affect your body
during sexual inter course?
small amount seems to have a positive effect in that it
can relax you and lower inhibitions. However, in large amounts,
since it is a central nervous system depressant, alcohols
effect is decidedly negative.
Dear Michael: What are the effects of
alcohol on the body if one parties pretty hard once or twice
a week, but the person also regularly lifts weights of does
some other form of work out at least four times a week?
does not alleviate the negative effects of alcohol. As stated
earlier, heavy drinking the day before negatively affects
Dear Michael: Does alcohol contain protein?
does not contain protein. However, some forms of alcoholic
beverages such as wine or beer do contain some minerals.
Wine, for instance, has high potassium content.
Does alcohol affect you while you're trying to get "buffed?"
The buff appearance is a result of attaining a low body
fat percentage. Alcohol slows down some of the metabolic
functions, making you accumulate more fat.
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Does alcohol permanently damage the brain?
todays abstinence can reverse last nights bingeing,
central nervous system (brain) damage is one of the long-term
effects of heavy drinking.
Dear Michael: Does muscle or other tissue decay
when you drink?
this is a question of short term vs. long term. In the short
term, no, long term, definitely yes. You can have everything
from tissue damage in the liver, pancreas and bladder to
the destruction of the prostate and adrenal glands. A form
of slow decay in certain systems is due to malnutrition
in long term drinkers.
Dear Michael: Can I get liver disease from
just a few episodes of binge drinking? Is that cirrhosis
of the liver?
no, respectively. Fatty accumulations, a very early sign
of liver disease can be seen even after one night of heavy
drinking. Cirrhosis is advanced liver disease in
which liver cells have actually died, hardened and permanently
lost function. It is irreversible.
Dear Michael: What about the health benefits
of drinking I heard about?
that in moderation alcohol does seem to offer some health
benefits. However, it appears that it gives benefits with
one hand and takes them back with the other. It protects
from heart disease but increases a tendency toward certain
strokes. It increases absorption of calcium, magnesium,
zinc, phosphorous and potassium but its diuretic effect
causes the elimination of the same nutrients.
Dear Michael: I've been sick a lot lately,
one virus after another. Is it the booze?
a good possibility. The immune system is largely protein-driven.
Alcohol consumption inhibits the synthesis of certain proteins
vital to the immune system. Thus, the bodies defenses are
weakened, making you more susceptible to infection.
Dear Michael: How can I sober up fast after
I've been drinking? Will drinking coffee help sober me up
if I've been drinking?
The rate at which alcohol is processed is fixed and dependent
on the amount of alcohol-fighting enzymes in the liver.
The average person can only process one drink per hour
thats one 12 oz. beer OR one 5 oz. glass of wine OR
a mixed drink containing 1 ounce of hard liquor.
coffee, no dice. You'll change from a sleepy, groggy drunk
to a wide awake one. Remember, alcohol is processed through
the metabolic pathways in the liver at a fixed rate.
does not speed up the process.
Michael: Since beer makes me go to the bathroom,
don't I get rid of the alcohol faster? Can how often I go
affect how drunk I am, or am not?
is a diuretic (makes you go to the bathroom). However, only
about 5% of ingested alcohol is lost this way. The majority
of the rest is absorbed by the tissues. So if you drink
more than your body can absorb, you'll still remain drunk,
no matter how often you go to the bathroom.
Dear Michael: I have heard that even moderate drinking,
over the long term, causes some "brain damage."
If this is true, is there any way to reverse the damage
to the brain caused by alcohol?
on the extent of the damage and years spent in excessive
consumption. Abstinance, combined with excellent nutrition
can reverse most is not all the damage caused by heavy drinking
as long as the drinking lasted no more than a few years.
Dear Michael: Is alcohol really a drug? If so, is
it fair to consider it a "hard drug?"
ethyl alcohol is described as a general depressant of the
alcohol is a hard drug, just more socially acceptable. If
you exclude nicotine addiction, it is the most serious drug
problem in the U.S. and most other countries.
Dear Michael: Alcohol seems to give me an immediate
"head rush". How come? And won't a full stomach
keep me from getting drunk?
Signed, Anne, Chicago
Anne: Alcohol molecules are very small, so small that
they don't require digestion. They are absorbed directly
into the blood stream. From there it is a short trip to
the brain. For this reason some people appear to become
affected by drinking almost immediately. Also, carbohydrates
(rice, pasta, breads) dilute alcohol in the stomach, by
coating the wall of the stomach, slowing absorption. Fatty
foods also slow digestion but are surprisingly not as effective
as a high carb meal. If you drink more alcohol than your
body can metabolize (about 1 beer an hour), you will get
drunk, with or without a full stomach.
Dear Michael: I've been putting on weight lately,
but haven't been eating more. I have been drinking more
beer lately. Should I switch to light beer?
Gettin' a Gut
Gettin': Yes. There is a relationship. Alcohol has the
second highest concentration of calorie (7) after fat (9).
It also slows the metabolism making you store more fat.
Light beer, while slightly lower in calories, is still alcohol
and that's the problem, not the calories. If you're developing
a "beer belly," here's why: Alcohol interferes
with metabolism in several ways, which slow it. A slow metabolic
rate makes for an increase in stored fat. Also, medium term
excessive drinking causes a certain amount of bloating,
which could be what you're noticing.
Dear Michael: After a night of drinking, I'm wiped
out when I'm in the gym, even if I get a lot of sleep. What's
up with that?
Rat: Sleep does not replace water and essential nutrients,
which is just what alcohol forces your body to get rid of.
You need these not only to get a good workout, but also
to remain healthy.
Dear Michael: Why do my joints sometimes hurt after
a drinking binge?
Sore in Cincinnati
Sore: Well, if you have ruled out falls, the culprit
may very well be alcohol. Drinking interferes with the body's
ability to process uric acid. Breakdown in this mechanism
is the same as in an inflammatory joint condition called