I wish I had learned the following information years ago, or had at least been more mindful of it. While I do believe it is common knowledge that alcohol is not particularly good for us, I don’t believe very many of us know just how bad it is. I myself was shocked to learn that it is a known carcinogen, and was further surprised to discover that regular alcohol consumption actually inhibits the body’s natural ability to produce crucial vitamins.
Considering alcohol is a depressant, this information makes clear how negatively it can impact both mental and physical health, often leading to a vicious cycle of self medication. Let’s take a look at some of the long term negative effects of alcohol on the body.
Many studies clearly correlate alcohol consumption and cancer development, linking moderate to regular alcohol consumption to the following types of cancer: Head and neck cancer, Esophagal Cancer, Liver Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and more.
“Based on extensive reviews of research studies, there is a strong scientific consensus of an association between alcohol drinking and several types of cancer.” National Cancer Institute
Decreased Vitamin B12 Production
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol in excess compromises your vitamin B12 levels; if you are already or become deficient in this crucial vitamin, your health may suffer greatly. Recent studies have also concluded that even regular, moderate use of alcohol can impact your B12 levels.
Decreased Vitamin D & Calcium Absorption
Alcohol interferes with the pancreas and its ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. Alcohol also affects the liver, which is important for activating vitamin D, necessary for proper calcium absorption. This cascade of effects can lead to difficulties with bone regeneration.
Liver Damage (Cirrhosis)
Liver cirrhosis occurs when the liver becomes scarred, and while a number of things can cause this, a common cause of this is alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis of the liver can be very serious, even fatal, and often the only way to reverse it is through surgery.
As appealing and even empowering as the feeling of lowered inhibitions and increased confidence can be, alcohol is a depressant which lowers serotonin levels in the brain. Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate depression, but many actually develop it because of alcohol, hence why this can become a very vicious cycle for some people.
Consuming alcohol slows down processes in the brain, often resulting in memory loss. Excessive drinking, moreover, can result in complete “black-outs,” causing you to forget where you were, what you did, and even who you did it with. Over time, this can make it difficult to remember events that happen even while sober.