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The Drinking Game:

After Effects of Alcohol Intake


Science, Technology, and Society

Group 20
2012-39444
2013-73608
2012-47377
2013-14232
2013-40224
2012-15776
2012-14453
2013-70901

Francis Renzo Bangoy


Russel Christine Corsino
Martha Inna Embalsado
Alyanna Cecilia Heramia
Stephanie Ann Lopez
Darvy Ong
Melvin Rei Roque
Jon Zedon Tungpalan

Submitted To:
Ernesto G. Sonido Jr.
Submitted On:
July 14, 2016

ABSTRACT
Imbibement of liquors have been documented across many
societies -- the earliest dating back to the Egyptian civilization.
Continuing its consumption to the present societies, drinking of alcoholic
beverages has now become one of the many favorite past times, with the
Philippines being the third of the worlds heaviest drinkers (Lozada,2014).
With this kind of activity, are individuals aware of its effects and possible
repercussions? This paper aims to critically provide an overview on the
mechanisms and consequences of drinking alcohol.

INTRODUCTION
Alcoholic drinks are observed in many cultures to promote
conviviality and social cohesion as well as generally enhance the pleasures
of life. With its consumption being a widely practiced social norm, it has
been a staple not just in social gatherings; for some, its consumption is part
of everyday life. In the Philippines, for instance, an average of 5.4 shots of
any spiritvodka, gin, rum, brandy, lambanog is drank by Filipinos per
week, placing us third among the worlds heaviest drinkers (Lozada, 2014).
This may not be a surprising fact considering how the production of liquors
is one of the most profitable industries in the country, with transnational
corporations established since the Spanish colonization period (Valbuena,
2006).
Tracing its history, alcoholic drinks have been fermented and
consumed for thousands of years. The chemical analysis of residues found
in pottery jars in Jiahu, northern China, reveals that since 7000-6600 BC,
humans have been converting some of their produce into brews. The
fermented drink was found to have been made with rice, grapes, honey, and
hawthorn berries (Gately, 2008). Alcohol was produced and consumed
around the world as humanity gradually understood the science of
agriculture and established sedentary communities.
Hanson (2013), who has studied the major developments and
historical evolution of alcohol consumption, reports that laborers building
the pyramids of Giza were given a daily ration of one and one-third gallons
of beer, Hebrews during their captivity in Egypt began drinking wine, the

Babylonians worshiped wine deities and used beer and wine as religious
offerings, the Mayan civilization was a mead-drinking society, and in
ancient China, an imperial edict from around 1116 BCE ordered the
moderate consumption of alcohol as a religious obligation. By 1501 CE to
the present, there has been a general recognition of the benefits of
moderate alcohol consumption along with the concern of the personal and
societal harm brought by its negative effects.
Taking two forms a relaxing elixir and an intoxicating poison
alcohol has been loved and despised due to its effects on the human body
and consciousness. Advances in science from the Islamic societies have
contributed to mankinds existing knowledge of the effects of alcohol. Al
Zahrawi (936-1013), considered the greatest surgeon in the Islamic medical
tradition, was able to identify its detrimental effects to the human body:
convulsions, gout, paralysis, apoplexy, dementia, difficulties in articulation,
and disturbances of the liver (Gately, 2008).
As for the variation of behavior after drinking alcohol, what seem to
defy common sense are the findings of both cross-cultural and controlled
experiments. Alcohol is associated with violent behavior in the UK,
Scandinavia, and the US while in other societies such as those in the
Mediterranean and South America, drinking is rather peaceful and
harmonious and not as equated with antisocial behavior. This enormous
variation in behavior was found to be largely determined by socio-cultural
factors rather than attributable to genetic differences or different levels of
consumption (Social Issues Research Centre, 1998).

Over the years, more and more personal, economic, and societal
problems have been attributed to alcohol intake and its after-effects. The
aim of this paper is to provide an overview and analysis of extant research
on the effects of alcohol during intake, immediately after consumption and
its long-term effect on individuals. Although a review of this nature can
never be definitive or exhaustive, we provide a comprehensive list of
studied effects of alcohol intake with the aim to explore how alcohol affects
the human body.

FINDINGS
Alcohol is a known depressant of the central nervous system (Vale,
2007; Upile et al., 2007), slowing down the brains activity and thus
affecting most of the functions in the body. It is mainly metabolized in the
liver, though it can also be easily absorbed by the stomach and intestines,
but the body can only metabolize a limited amount of alcohol at a time,
leaving the rest to either enter the blood and be circulated around the body
or be converted to other chemicals which are still toxic for the body (Upile
et al., 2007; Halperin et al., 1983). Both the toxicity of alcohol and the other
chemicals it can be converted to, could alter the bodys functioning,
resulting to different physical and behavioral changes. These effects may
depend on certain characteristics of a person like race, gender, tolerance,
among others, which will be discussed further.
Alcohol is immediately absorbed into the blood right after swallowing
a drinkwherein 20% is absorbed in the stomach and 80% is absorbed in
the small intestine. Right after drinking, effects are felt 5-10 minutes after,
while it peaks in the blood after 30-90 minutes after consumption. The liver
breaks down 90% of the alcohol from a toxic substance into water and
carbon dioxide. The remaining 10% is excreted into the lungs (which makes
alcohol breath tests possible), the kidneys (urine), and in sweat. The
average persons liver can break down one standard drink per hour. (Health
Promotion Agency, n.d.)
The level of alcohol in the body is measured by the blood alcohol
concentration (BAC). When alcohol is drunk more rapidly than the liver can

metabolize it, the BAC rises and one begins to experience the drunkenness
feeling. However, the symptoms of drunkenness manifest in different
people at different BAC levels. An individuals reaction to alcohol and their
BAC level are affected by the following (Lohr, 2005):
1. the ability of the liver to metabolise alcohol (which varies due to genetic
differences in the liver enzymes that break down alcohol)
2. the presence or absence of food in the stomach (food dilutes the alcohol and
dramatically slows its absorption into the bloodstream by preventing it
from passing quickly into the small intestine)
3. the concentration of alcohol in the beverage (highly concentrated beverages
such as spirits are more quickly absorbed)
4. how quickly alcohol is consumed
5. body type (heavier and more muscular people have more fat and muscle to
absorb the alcohol)2
6. age, sex, ethnicity (eg, women have a higher BAC after drinking the same
amount of alcohol than men due to differences in metabolism and
absorption since men have, on average, more fluid in their body to
distribute alcohol around than women do, some ethnic groups have
different levels of a liver enzyme responsible for the break down of alcohol)
7. how frequently a person drinks alcohol (someone who drinks often can
tolerate the sedating effects of alcohol more than someone who does not
regularly drink).

I.

EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL DURING

DRINKING

A.

Tolerance to Loud Sounds

This usually happens in parties or bars and refers to the insensitivity


of the ears towards loud music, shouting, or high frequency of sounds. It
may lead to deafness depending on the intensity of the sound, on the age of
the person, and the integrity of his/her auditory system.
This tolerance dulls speech discrimination power, as shown in a study
by Upile et al. (2007) where adults around 27 years old were tested for their
hearing threshold under the influence of different concentrations of
alcohol. Hearing threshold increased in all individuals, reaching beyond
1000 Hz, which is the maximum frequency needed for speech
discrimination. It was also observed that women, older individuals, and
heavy drinkers were the most affected.
The intensity of sound needed to trigger the middle ear to resist
vibrations (called the acoustic reflex threshold) also increases in increasing
alcohol consumption (Robinette and Brey, 1978). The middle ear resists
these vibrations by contracting the stapedius muscle of the ear, causing the
ear bones to stiffen, thus lowering the vibrations reaching the cochlea to
prevent damage. Blood alcohol levels of 0.07%-0.09% is needed to produce
a noticeable reflex threshold shift and is probably due to the weakened
control of the brain to the contraction of the stapedius (Robinette and Brey
1978). This is dangerous because it can damage the cochlea when the
vibrational energy reaching it is way above its threshold, causing deafness.
B.

Blurred Vision

Most people experience blurry and tunnel vision upon reaching a


certain blood alcohol concentration. This could be due to the decrease in
electric impulses between the front (cornea) and back (retina) of the eyes,
as measured using electrooculography (EOG). These electric impulses
represent the exchange of signals between the eye and the brain. In a study
by Halperin et al (1983), there is a significant reduction in the EOG (3%79%) that persists for around 60-130 minutes in subjects with blood alcohol
levels higher than 0.12%. This reflects that alcohol affects the epithelial cells
of the retina.
Still from the same study, there is also increase in errors in the color
discrimination tests of the individuals after alcohol intake. It was
hypothesized that this is due to the effect of alcohol in the blue-sensitive
cones of the eyes, the cells sensitive to different shades of blue, especially
that blue-sensitive cones are more sensitive to toxic chemicals than redand green-sensitive ones. Alcohol also affects regeneration and decay of
photopigment cells, which can alter the activity of the retina.
C.

Slurred Speech

Slurred speech is mainly characterized by mispronunciation of words


or syllables, suprasegmental changes, and in other times, change in the
language used by the drunk person.
Most people who act drunk emphasize slurred speech, especially the
change in pronunciation of the /s/ sound to // (sh), referred by
linguists as the palatalization of [s]. Many studies were conducted in

the relation of this pronunciation with alcohol influence (Lester and


Skousen, 1974; Tanford et al., 1992; Johnson et al., 1990; Johnson et
al., 1993; all mentioned in Heigl, 2011), and all studies found out that
some words with [s] are palatalized by drunk people. This was analyzed
further by Heigl (2011), observing that [s] that is adjacent to a consonant
or found in a cluster of consonants are more likely to be palatalized than
those adjacent to a vowel. This is said to be normal among sober
speakers. As she concluded, there is a possibility that drunk/sober speakers
palatalize [s] but not in all instances. This is due to difficulties in controlling
the articulators needed to pronounce [s] properly. She also mentioned that
drunk/sober people know that they have been mispronouncing [s] and are
making efforts to correct it but being under the influence of alcohol makes
it difficult for them to do so.
Suprasegmental effects in speech, which include change in the
speaking rate, frequency and pitch of the voice, were also noticed in the
Exxon Valdez ship accident, where the recordings of transmissions and
speech made by ship captain Joseph Hazelwood were analyzed phonetically
in order to see whether he was drunk before, during, and after the oil spill
incident happened (Johnson et al., 1990). Aside from [s] palatalization,
there was also an observed slower speaking rate, lower frequency, and
higher pitch variation in the voice of the captain, though the authors
presented fatigue or emotion as an alternative reason for these changes.
D.

Flushing

Flushing is said to be caused by a rush in blood flow in the blood


vessels of the skin. Low concentrations of alcohol (~4.6 g/L) or blood
alcohol

concentrations

in

moderately-drunk

person

can

cause

vasodilation where the muscles of the blood vessels are relaxed, widening
the vessel and allowing blood flow in many vessels to speed up (Howes &
Reid, 1986; Altura & Altura, 1983). Acetaldehyde also results to the same
effect (Howes & Reid, 1986), thus there is a suspected correlation between
flushing and the ability or speed to digest ethanol and acetaldehyde.
In the body, alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde by the alcohol
dehydrogenase (ADH) while acetaldehyde is converted to acetic acid, the
non-toxic product of ethanol metabolism, by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase
(ALDH). Both ADH and ALDH are called enzymes, which are proteins that
speed up metabolic reactions inside the body. Like other enzymes in the
body, they are produced using the genes that code for the different subunits
of each enzyme, and there are studies showing that there are variations of
these genes, resulting to the difference in how fast people can metabolize
alcohol and acetaldehyde and affecting their sensitivity to alcohol.
ADH has three subunits coded by three different genes, and according
to a study by Stamatoyannopoulos et al. (1975), one of these genes has two
variations. One of the variations resulted to the normal ADH while the
other variation resulted to a mutant/atypical ADH. On the other hand, in a
study by Xiao et al. (1996), ALDH has two types of subunits, one of which
having a shorter lifespan than the other and is part of the mutant version of
the enzyme. Its shorter life causes the early disintegration of ALDH,
decreasing the amount of ALDH in the liver. The resulting mutant ALDH

was also found to have a low affinity with acetaldehyde, further decreasing
its ability to metabolize it (Goedde et al., 1979).
It is surprising that both mutant ADH and ALDH subunits were
found only in Asian people (Goedde et al., 1979; Stamatoyannopoulos et al.
1975), which could be the major reason why there are more Asians who
exhibit alcohol-induced flushing than Caucasians (Wilson et al., 1978;
Goedde et al., 1979). A study also showed that alcohol-induced flushing has
a correlation with the drinking habits and drunk behavior of humans, with
non-flushers usually exhibiting violent behavior and hepatic disease
(Suwaki & Ohara, 1985).
E.

Biphasic Effect of Stimulation and Sedation

The effect of stimulation and sedation is said to be dependent on both


the blood alcohol concentration of the body and the time from intake. In a
study by Addicott et al. (2007), stimulation was reported by persons who
took an alcohol dose of 0.6 g/kg (grams alcohol per kilogram person). Also,
stimulation and sedation were both reported by persons who took 0.8 g/kg
alcohol dose, but only sedation persisted in the when BAC was starting to
decrease. Previous studies show that maximum stimulant effect is reached
withing 15-45 mins depending whether one is a heavy, moderate, or light
drinker (King et al., 2002; Chi & de Wit, 2003).
This effect is correlated to the probability of a person to be addicted to
alcohol. Increased drinking levels of heavy drinkers could be due to the
reward system of their brain or the tolerance to sedative effects of alcohol.
Neurobiological systems involved in this process include dopaminergic,

opioidergic, and serotonergic neurotransmitter systems, all involved in the


mood changes of the person (King et al., 2002).

II.

EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AFTER DRINKING


A. Vomiting
People who cant control their consumption of alcohol tend to vomit
after their drinking session, in the bathroom, at the backyard, inside the
car, or even on their friends lap. Alcohol irritates the digestive system,
especially the stomach. Drinking makes it more difficult to digest food and
absorb necessary nutrients that a human body needs, especially a number
of vitamins and proteins. That is because alcohol reduces the amount of
digestive enzymes which help people to break down fats and carbohydrates.
Drinking can also, even just a little bit, make a persons stomach produce
acid more than the usual, which can turn into gastritis. Gastritis is the
inflammation of the stomach lining, and it causes stomach pain, diarrhea,
and vomiting. When people are very drunk and already have no selfcontrol, vomiting usually carries different risks (Lieber, 2003).
Vomiting causes an individuals gag reflex to stop functioning
properly, resulting to choking and inhaling vomit into a persons lungs.
Excessive or violent vomiting can lead to vomiting blood, because it causes
tearing of the throat. Bleeding can be severe but can be settled on its own.
B. Drowsiness

Researchers have observed through time that sleep can be affected by


alcohol and how much an individual consumes it. Whether it is a glass of
wine, a shot of vodka, a bottle of beer, most people are aware of the sleep
inducing effect of alcoholic drinks. Some people usually stop drinking when
they feel sleep or drowsy because they want to rest already, but to some
people, they get so caught up in the moment, that they ignore their
drowsiness.
We have two systems that are involved with a persons drowsiness:
the circadian system and the homeostatic system. The circadian system is
the reason why we stay awake. A stronger circadian rhythm means feeling
more awake. The circadian system gets weaker as the day goes by, a person
being alert and awake early in the morning to being tired and sleepy late at
night. Opposing the purpose of the circadian system is the homeostatic
system, which is responsible for making an individual sleepy and wants to
rest. Several brain chemicals are the reason why this system increases the
sleepiness of a person throughout the day. The two systems balance the
desire to be awake and to sleep.
Alcohol causes the homeostatic system to act up, because it uses up
and builds up enough chemicals to make an individual drowsy. It causes the
system function earlier than expected, so a person would probably be
sleepy. The problem now is, your circadian cycle is still normal, so it tries to
balance the overpowering homeostatic system, and this leads to people
being alert and awake. That is why people wake up early after a night of
heavy drinking, even though they slept late compared to the normal
because of being drowsy by consuming alcohol (Oz, 2014).

C. Emotional Changes
Alcohol is one of the most common forms of addiction. Being
addicted means having no self-control over a certain action, and when they
crave, it increases the desire of an individual to drink excessively, and this
can lead to affecting a persons life. Drinking influences peoples
personalities in many ways. Some people get extremely happy, some
become violent and impulsive. People have all been the emotional kind of
drunk, a condition where an individual lets their emotions run wild and be
exposed to others and makes them cry in the middle of a fun and loud
event. Alcohol affects every system in a persons body, but its effect on the
brain is what determines the unusual behavior of a person. Peoples
emotions usually get exposed. Similarly with physical symptoms, an
individual

may

also

experience

worse

anxiety,

regret,

shame,

embarrassment, as well as depression.


Drinking causes the alcohol to dissolve into the individuals water in
the blood, and then goes inside the liver where it will be processed before
excreting the liquids. But the dangerous side of this is it can go straight to
the brain. At this point, a persons behavior will change and their thought
process as well. The moment the alcohol reaches the cerebral cortex, it
interrupts the flow of the neurotransmitters between synapses. This results
to having a hard time interpreting information and having jumbled thought
processes. The limbic system, which makes peoples emotions stable, will
now then be disturbed and they will be having mood swings. This can result
to misunderstanding other peoples intentions, or exaggerating and
amplifying your own feelings and emotions, or simply doing something

embarrassing in public. Peoples emotions and behaviors when drunk are


usually the exaggerated versions of each individuals normal state
(Kampwirth, 2013).
D. Dehydration
The term dehydration is used to describe a disparity between fluid
needs and fluid loss in the body. When a huge amount of fluid is lost
compared to what is required for normal body processes, dehydration may
occur. Some of the symptoms indicating dehydration include feeling thirsty,
dizzy, weak, or the eyes or mouth feel unusually dry. Although it may seem
appropriate to replenish fluid loss with any kind of beverage, some
beverages, like those that contain caffeine or alcohol, may actually cause or
worsen dehydration (Goldenholz, 2015).
A diuretic is a substance that causes the body to produce an increased
amount of urine. An alcohols diuretic effect is fairly significant: drinking
four 2-oz. shots of liquor can result in the elimination of up to 1 quart of
liquid as urine, according to Dr. Robert Swift and Dr. Dena Davidson. This
occurrence is due to alcohol blocking the release of a hormone that is
needed for water reabsorption. Without this hormone, called antidiuretic
hormone or ADH, the kidneys are not capable of reabsorbing the water,
instead they excrete it as urine. The connection between diuretic substances
and dehydration is simple: any substance with diuretic effects, whether
alcohol, caffeine or even a prescription medication, can result in
dehydration (Goldenholz, 2015).
A

lot

of

people

have

already

experienced

the

unpleasant

repercussions of drinking too much alcohol like feeling nauseous, or even

vomiting, afterwards. Continuous or frequent incident of vomiting in a


short amount of time can also contribute to the dehydrating effect of
alcohol. Vomiting causes an additional fluid loss, in addition to increased
urinary output caused by alcohol consumption. As explained before,
excessive caffeine intake can result in people feeling nauseous and vomiting
but ironically, people who have consumed too much alcohol are often
advised to sober up by drinking a cup of coffee. This combination of
beverages may worsen an already existing state of dehydration of the body.
Intake of other beverages such as water or juice is the most advisable thing
to do to rehydrate (Goldenholz, 2015).
E. Hangover (Veisalgia)
Hangover, with scientific name Veisalgia, usually happen the morning
after a night of heavy drinking. Its severity depends on how much alcohol
was consumed and the amount of sleep taken, normally less sleep causes
worse hangover. Also, the drinkers circumstances that day such as how
tired they were before drinking, whether they were already dehydrated
before the drinking began, and whether they drank plenty of water while
drinking were also factors to consider (Nordqvist, 2015).
Even though hangover is a very common health phenomenon, up
until now, scientists still dont fully know and understand what causes a
hangover. Before, most of them believe that it is driven by alcohol
interfering with the bodys natural balance of chemicals but was later
disproved by studies and experiments conducted. Another theory
considered is that hangovers result from a buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxic
compound, in the body. As the body receives and processes alcohol,

acetaldehyde is one of the byproducts, and it is estimated to be between 10


to 30 times as toxic as alcohol. Its been found to cause symptoms like
sweating, skin flushing, nausea, and vomiting. Another angle that they look
at is that hangovers could also be forced by how alcohol messes with the
bodys immune system. According to studies, there seems to be a strong
correlation between high levels of cytokines, molecules that the immune
system uses for signaling, and hangover symptoms. Under normal
circumstances, the body use cytokines to trigger a fever of inflammatory
response to battle an infection, but excessive alcohol consumption can also
provoke cytokine release when it is not needed, leading to symptoms like
muscle aches, fatigue, headache or nausea, as well as cognitive effects like
memory loss or irritation, one of the factors why some heavy drinkers tend
to not remember some of the things that happened the night before
(Stromberg, 2013).
Of course, there are some who are more prone to hangovers than
others. This is due to the mutation in their gene for the enzyme alcohol
dehydrogenase that makes it much more effective in converting alcohol into
the toxic acetaldehyde. Unfortunately, most of them also has a mutation in
the gene for the enzyme that performs the next metabolic step, leading to a
much slower conversion of acetaldehyde into acetic acid. As a result, excess
buildup of acetaldehyde can happen very quickly. This seems to be the
cause for an immediate alcohol flush reaction or Asian glow, and also play
a role in hangovers the day after drinking. Another factor is the body
weight. Some people tend to conclude that women are more likely to
experience hangovers than men but gender is not a factor. This is because

women generally have lower body weights than most men (Stromberg,
2013).
Different alcoholic drinks gives different levels of hangover intensity.
Drinks that pack more alcohol into a smaller volume, or more concentrated
in other terms, are naturally more likely to give a hangover. Shots of liquor
are more likely to cause a hangover than mixed drinks, beer, or wine.
Another reason is that some drinks have higher levels of congeners traces
chemicals produced during fermentation that contribute to hangovers.
Usually the darker the color of the drink, the higher the congener content.
Dark-colored liquors like bourbon and whiskey may lead to more severe
hangovers than light-colored or clear liquors like vodka, which has none.
One particular congener called methanol found in highest levels in
whiskey and red wine can stay inside the body even after all alcohol has
been eliminated, accounting for the enduring effects of a hangover
(Stromberg, 2013).
Avoiding hangover is not impossible. The most effective solution is
don't drink alcohol, or at least don't drink excessively. But if drinking a fair
amount cant be avoided, just remember to not drink quickly if on an empty
stomach, full stomach, or while eating. Food does not literally absorb the
alcohol, but having a full digestive tract decreases the rate at which the
body absorbs and processes the drug. Additionally, staying hydrated while
drinking alcohol can help (Stromberg, 2013).

III. LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL


Alcohol consumption, which has a negative connotation for most
people,is in actuality, not necessarily a health risk. It is the individual's
drinking habits that determine what kind of effect alcohol will have upon a
person. Whether or not alcohol consumption will yield a positive or
negative effect on a person mainly depends on the amount of alcohol a
person drinks. In the long run, a person may or may not experience the
following positive and negative effects due to alcohol intake:
POSITIVE EFFECTS
A.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

More commonly known as a heart attack, cardiovascular disease is a


serious condition wherein in plaques, a substance which builds up in artery
walls, cause artery narrowing and blood clotting, leading to a stop in blood
flow (American Heart Association, 2016). This process is called
atherosclerosis, and can cause a heart attack or stroke.
A popular belief is that red wine is good for the health. In particular,
it is said that drinking red wine regularly in moderate amounts can help in
a number of things, including the prevention of Cardiovascular diseases.
This belief is widespread throughout the world, from the French who
regularly drink red wine to the Chinese who believe that wine have

medicinal value. According to the School of Public Health in Harvard


University, moderate alcohol intake can help in the prevention of
cardiovascular diseases. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol raises highdensity lipoprotein (HDL) levels, a good cholesterol which provides greater
protection from heart diseases. It has also been found that moderate
drinking has a link with changes in the consumer's system, such as better
sensitivity and reaction rates to insulin, and an improvement in blood
clotting factors, such as tissue type plasminogen activator, fibrogen,
clotting factor VII, and von Willebrand factor (The Nutrition Source). These
changes help in the prevention of blood clot formation that blocks arteries
in the heart, neck, and brain, thus lessening the risk of heart attacks and
strokes.
B.

Reduced Risk of Gallstones

Gallstones are a type of gallbladder disease wherein hardened


substances which can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball
block the passageway of the gallbladder, causing the gallbladder to stop
functioning correctly. Gallstones are made up of hardened or crystallized
bile, salt, or bilirubin (discarded red blood cells). They can be quite difficult
to detect since only 3 out of 10 cases show symptoms of having gallstones
(BBC News, 2009).
It is a well known fact that alcohol intake reduces the risk of gallstone
formation. Researchers from University of the East Anglia have found that
drinking two units of alcohol per day reduces the risk of gallstone formation
by as much as a third (Press Release Archives, 2009). This is due to the fact
that alcohol reduces the cholesterol in the bile from which gallstones are

formed. And according to the Harvard Health Publications, cholesterol


makes up 80 percent of gallstones, while the other 20 percent is made up of
salts and bilirubin. Therefore, it is not a wonder that regular intake of
alcohol can help in the prevention of gallstone formation.
C.

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes, or hyperglycemia, is the most common form of


diabetes. It occurs when the body is unable to use insulin to properly
moderate the level of blood glucose (sugar) at a normal rate. Blood sugar
levels rise higher than normal, and the pancreas creates more insulin to
lower the blood sugar level, but in the long run fails and wont be able to
make enough insulin to maintain a normal level of blood glucose (American
Diabetes Organization).
A Dutch study showed that the probability of contracting diabetes by
individuals who drink one or two glasses of alcohol on a daily basis are 30
percent lower than those who do not drink alcohol regularly. (Bachai,
2013). It was also found that drinking more than two glasses of alcohol help
no further in the decrease of probability of getting type 2 diabetes (Koppes,
2005). A hypothesis for this phenomenon may be attributed to the fact that
while moderate alcohol intake helps increase insulin sensitivity in the
system, which can help in controlling the blood glucose level, the amount of
insulin produced is still the same, therefore, even if more alcohol is
introduced into the system, if there are no more insulin to react to it, then
no change will occur.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS
A.

Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD)

Morbidity and mortality rates related to alcohol abuse is attribute to


alcohols toxic effects on the major organs of the body. Alcoholic liver
disease (ALD) is one of the primary causes of chronic medical illness and
death. Liver is the second largest organ in the body. It serves many
functions, which include removal of harmful substances in the blood,
secretion of bile that aids in digestion, and also makes proteins that are
important for blood clotting and other more functions. Excessive intake of
alcohol could damage or destroy liver cells. Alcohol is broken down by the
liver so as it could be flushed out from the body. However, the liver might
become injured or seriously damaged while breaking down amounts of
alcohol more than it can normally process. The pathophysiology of ALD
makes up the following disorders; fatty liver (hepatic steatosis), alcoholic
hepatitis, and cirrhosis.
Alcoholic fatty liver is the earliest stage of alcoholic liver disease. With
this, there are usually no symptoms. This is characterized by a deposition of
fat in the liver cells. Most heavy drinkers have fatty liver disease. This could
be reversible with cessation of alcohol consumption.
Alcoholic hepatitis, on the other hand, is characterized by a
deposition of fat in liver cells, as well as inflammation and mild scarring of
the liver. Symptoms of this disease may include nausea, loss of appetite,

vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and jaundice. Alcoholic hepatitis could be


categorized as either mild or severe. Those with mild hepatitis may be
reversed with abstinence from alcohol. Those with severe hepatitis,
however, may occur suddenly and may lead to serious complications such
as liver failure or worse, death.
Lastly, alcoholic cirrhosis is then the most advanced alcohol-induced
liver disease. It is characterized by severe scarring and disruption of the
normal structure of the liver wherein hard scar tissues replaces the soft
healthy tissues. This cannot be reversed with abstinence from alcohol.
However, this may only help alleviate or improve symptoms and signs of
liver disease and prevent further damage to the liver.
B. Cardiovascular Diseases
Around 25% of heavy alcohol drinkers develop an early onset of
cardiovascular disease. Among these include cardiomyopathy, coronary
heart disease, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, and increased risk of
stroke. ..
C. Cancer
Risk of cancer s related the amount consumed. Thus, the heavier and
more alcohol consumed, the greater the risk. Research shows that a regular
long-term alcohol consumption increases risk for mouth, throat,
esophageal, bowel, breast, and liver cancer.

D. Musculoskeletal Damage
Long-term use of alcohol affects bones and muscles of the body. It
decreases bone density and mass, making them more fragile and have an
increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Moreover, long-term
alcohol consumption also causes wasting and weakness of the muscles.
E. Changes in Reproductive Hormones
In men, alcohol hampers with the production of testosterone and may
lead to shrinkage of the testes. Along with this are problems in relation to
decreased ejaculate volume, sperm count and motility, as well as low libido,
impotence, infertility, and reduced male secondary characteristics (e.g.
reduced facial and chest hair, breast enlargement). In women, on the other
hand, long-term alcohol consumption is known to alter a range of
hormones important for reproductive function. This may lead to menstrual
irregularities, lower libido, and an increased risk for miscarriage.
F. Changes in Digestive System
Alcohol has a toxic effect on the digestive system, more so on the
stomach, pancreas, and small intestine. Long-term alcohol use can be
linked to increased rates of ulcer disease and gastritis or the inflammation
of the stomach. These can cause loss in appetite, nausea, and stomach pain.
Heavy consumption can also lead to pancreatitis or the inflammation and
scarring of the pancreas. Digestive efficiency of the small intestine can also

be damaged. Alcohol interferes with absorption and storage of a number of


essential vitamins and minerals, which in the long run can contribute to
malnutrition.

CONCLUSION
Variations of these alcoholic beverages from culture to culture draws
pertinent indications of its importance back from the primitive ages to the
present. From foreign wines to local lambanog, consumption has become
quite a social norm for any given society. Its promotion towards stronger
social cohesion through less inhibited social interactions pave ways for
more fruitful attachments.
Nevertheless, these beverages, drinks and liquors have always have
their innumerable tradeoffs. Chemical alterations brought about by these
complex substances greatly affects one's outlook towards themselves,
others and their environment
Bodily responses during drinking may become perilous for many
individuals as it may affect primary senses. Tolerance towards different
sound

intensities,

discomforts

to

flushing

anyone.

and

Speech

blurred
slurs

vision
and

gives

other

accountable

communication

impediments also rises due to the uncontrolled articulators.


Suffice to say that drinking does not only take effect at the time it has
been taken. Vomiting, Mood/Emotional Changes, Dehydration and
Hangovers (Veisalgia), are common consequences of such activity. If
peaked, these effects would have ramification on ones health.
Long-Term effects of drinking have gone from mild symptoms to fatal
diseases and addictions causing death. Ultimately, organs such as the liver,

kidneys and heart are usually hit due to byproducts of alcohol intoxication.
Illnesses such as Alcohol Liver Disease (ALD), cardiovascular diseases,
diabetes and cancer may be experienced. Bodily system malfunction and
alterations may also occur due to toxic levels of alcohol intake -- such as
changes in reproductive hormones and digestion.
However, it should also be known that alcohol drinking does not
entirely promote negative effects in the human body as positive effects
shows promise in its consumption. Alcohol helps reduce cardiovascular
diseases as it raises good cholesterol for the protection from heard
ailments. Alcohol reduces risks of gallstones in the gallbladder and also
reduce risk of Type Diabetes.
Tracing liquor use from early societies until now, it is likely that
liquor consumption, regardless of its negative effects to anatomical
processes, would still continues. A critical presupposition on what influence
alcohol drinking are seen to be geared towards social norms, cultural mores
and preferred activities.
Drinking, as identified, has its underlying effects on the biological
functions of the human body. Moderations of its imbibement are thus
already advocated and prompted by many health groups and organizations.
Laws and regulation on its banning and increased taxations are also
supported, yet expenditure of citizens towards these products are still
influx. Despite numerous negative repercussions, alcohol is neither fleeting
nor flowing away from society. It has become an epitome of both desolation
and merriment. The extremity of it thus perpetuates the idea that alcohol

has now become a gradient of day-to-day experience which many are


influenced by.

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