Do you enjoy the pleasure of sipping wine with friends, or enjoying a toast of bubbles for a celebration? If yes, me too! Yet, while I protect this enjoyment with consciousness, I do imbibe in knowing how it may be serving my mental health (for the good), but also my digestion (the less good).

In my write-up today, I do not want to create any negative feelings if you enjoy alcohol, but I want to educate you on how it’s serving us, and how it could be impacting your gut health overall. 

How Does Your Body Process Alcohol?

When you drink alcohol, it is first absorbed into the small intestine. From there, it is then transported to the liver where it is broken down and metabolized. Alcohol can tax the liver, and over time, in abundance, it can damage the liver cells.

However, alcohol doesn’t just impact the liver, it can also affect your stomach and intestines as it passes through your body too. Alcohol can cause stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. It can also lead to diarrhea and other digestive problems.

What Impact Does Alcohol Have On Gut Health?

  • First, alcohol is sterilizing, and it can kill the good bacteria in your gut. In simplest terms, alcohol is a toxin and it can damage the gut lining, leading to an increase in bad bacteria.
  • Second, alcohol can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food. This is because alcohol inhibits the production of digestive enzymes and reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
  • Third, alcohol can cause inflammation in the gut. This is because alcohol is a pro-inflammatory agent and it can increase inflammation in the gut. Lastly, alcohol can damage the intestinal lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the intestinal barrier becomes compromised, leading to the leakage of toxins and undigested food particles into the bloodstream.

All of these factors together can lead to a host of digestive problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. It also upsets the balance of bacteria in your gut and has a negative impact on your health as a whole.

How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink?

This is a difficult question because any quantity of alcohol will have an impact on your gut health. You also need to consider your mental health and your overall wellbeing. If you are drinking excessively, you need to seek addiction treatment as soon as possible. If you drink occasionally, the impact on your gut will be fairly minimal, as long as your diet is good otherwise. However, if you are already experiencing gut health problems, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether.

Your body knows what is best for you, so listen to it. If you find that you have digestive issues after drinking alcohol and it is disrupting your gut health, it’s best to reduce your intake and to evaluate the quality of alcohol you are drinking. I personally seek out Dry Farm Wine for my wine of choice as it’s forgiving on my blood sugars and does not contain the 70+ perservatives allowed in alcohol.

If you have any questions, please let me know! Health and nutrition, is not about perfection. It’s finding a healthy balance in pleasure and nourishment and knowing how certain vices influence your end goal.