How Alcohol Affects Your Gut
There are many ways that alcohol can affect your gut. As your gastrointestinal system comes into contact with alcohol, it has a greater risk of contracting diseases like cancer affecting anywhere from your mouth to colon.
Drinking too much or too frequently will likely negatively affect your stomach in some way.
Effects Of Alcohol and Stomach Acid
Alcohol can compromise your stomach acid. Drinking alcohol can lead to acid reflux in your chest area, which can worsen an already existing heartburn problem. Over time, constant exposure to stomach acid from alcohol and other chemicals can lead to esophagitis, (inflammation of your esophageal lining), and can even result in permanent damage.
Drinks like red wine, beer, and spirits contain high levels of acids, which is why they are such a common cause of heartburn and acid reflux. Additionally, alcohol causes our stomachs to produce more mucus and digestive juices to help break down the food. These acids then escape into our esophagus when the gastric acid secretions become too high.
Other Negative Effects of Alcohol on Your Gut
Alcohol makes your intestinal tracts less reliable at absorbing healthy nutrients yet making it much more absorptive to contaminants like endotoxin, for example, where it penetrates the intestine right into the bloodstream, where it can damage organs, especially the liver. One common ailment among alcoholics is malnutrition due to the inability to absorb good nutrients, causing them to eat more healthy food to get the very same level of vitamins as well as minerals as a non-drinker or modest drinker. This cause of malnutrition can lead to other diseases.
Alcohol Disturbs Your Gut Bacteria
Recent research has shown that intestinal bacteria play a much bigger role in our health than anyone thought. Unfortunately, alcohol disrupts gut bacteria in a bad way. It allows more bacteria to pass from the stomach into the small intestine and it promotes the growth of harmful bacteria that produce endotoxin, a compound, which, as the name suggests, is toxic. Alcohol also feeds bacteria that metabolize alcohol into acetaldehyde, a carcinogen that can damage the intestines and colon.
Alcohol may also suppress lactase production. Since lactase is the enzyme that helps digest dairy, heavy drinking can temporarily or permanently increase lactose intolerance.
For people that do drink in large quantities, the effects of alcohol can be even worse. Because it is impossible for the body to break down alcohol at all, it becomes stored in the fat cells instead of being absorbed into the body. This means that once the person stops drinking, the liver does not have anywhere else to turn for all of the nutrients that it needs to function properly. When this happens, the person will start to feel sluggish and fatigued. In addition to weight gain, the person may also start to feel tired in other areas of the body. These symptoms can eventually lead to depression, fatigue symptoms. So it is very important for anyone who is currently experiencing these symptoms to stop drinking.