A study carried out by the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMASS) has revealed that bingeing on alcohol causes bacteria to leak from the gut which in turn leads to an increased level of toxins in the blood. What was perhaps most interesting about this study was the amount of alcohol that causes this to happen – four glasses of wine for women and five glasses of wine for men (consumed over a two-hour period).
Research leader Professor Gyongyi Szabo said,
“We found that a single alcohol binge can elicit an immune response, potentially impacting the health of an otherwise healthy individual. Our observations suggest that an alcohol binge is more dangerous than previously thought.”
The study in question involved 11 men and 14 women who were given enough alcohol to raise their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to at least 0.08g/dl in one hour. Blood samples were taken every 30 minutes for four hours and once again 24 hours after.
The results showed that one alcohol ‘binge’ was enough to rapidly increase endotoxins in the blood; these toxins make the body produce immune cells typically involved in inflammation, fever and tissue destruction.
Researchers also found evidence of bacterial DNA in the bloodstream – a clear sign that bacteria had leaked from the gut. This leakage means the bacteria is able to travel through gut walls to other parts of the body.
Compared with men, women were found to have higher blood alcohol levels and higher endotoxin levels, suggesting that binge drinking could be more damaging for women. Increased endotoxin levels and gut permeability have been linked to a range of health complications, including liver disease.
If you are struggling to reign in your drinking habit or are worried about the amount you’re drinking, you may benefit from seeing a hypnotherapist. To find out more, please visit our alcohol abuse page.
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