Who doesn’t enjoy a drink every now and then…or daily?
Alcohol is probably the second most consumed psychoactive beverage on the planet after caffeine.
It’s estimated that 85% of the population drinks at least one caffeinated beverage each day (R). Whereas the percentage of US peeps who drink alcoholic beverages is 63%, with a range from 55% to 71% (R). The figure was 58% in 1939 and is 63% in the most recent reading, from 2021-2022.
Since most people like to have a little bit of alcohol for whatever reason (social, relaxation, sleep, digestion, etc.) why not mitigate any potential sides it might have?
I polled Peat-ers as to their favorite alcoholic drinks, and here are the results.
Although it’s honorable to live a life as clean as possible, having a bit of alcohol with buds is enjoyable and can be beneficial.
Instead of trying to cut alcohol completely and then feeling guilty when you have some, follow the steps in this article to mitigate any side effects of alcohol.
Some alcohol fun facts
The higher the alcohol concentration of the beverage that you consume, the faster it will be in your blood. Sherry, with an alcohol concentration of about 20% increases the levels of alcohol in the blood more rapidly than beer (3-8%). While spirits (40%) delay gastric emptying and inhibit absorption, thus reducing the speed that alcohol that reaches your bloodstream.
Drinks with carbon dioxide—for example, whisky and soda, and champagne—get into the system quicker.
Food, and particularly carbohydrate, retards absorption: blood concentrations may not reach a quarter of those achieved on an empty stomach. That’s why people say to never drink on an empty stomach…unless you want to feel it! Interestingly, for me, if I eat a meal after I’ve been drinking, it will sober me up quickly as if I haven’t even been drinking.
How long does alcohol stay in your system?
This varies a lot based on many factors, such as:
- How much alcohol you’ve consumed
- How long you’ve been drinking
- How fast you detox alcohol
- If you’ve eaten or not
- Which nutritional deficiencies you might have
- What drugs you might be using
How many calories are in alcoholic drinks
Ethanol specifically has 7 calories per gram. But most alcoholic beverages contain additional calories in the form of sugar.
For example, six pints of beer contain about 500 calories and half a liter of whisky contains 1650 calories.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can dramatically contribute to weight gain. Especially since alcohol can give you food cravings as well.
How alcohol is metabolized in the body
Alcohol is metabolized via three pathways:
- Alcohol dehydrogenase present in the cytosol
- The Microsomal Ethanol Oxidizing System (MEOS)
- Catalase (CAT) contained in peroxisomes
Alcohol usually peaks within the first hour and then decreases over multi hours after you stopped drinking.
The more you drink, the more you can tolerate…usually.
Heavy drinkers metabolize alcohol faster than non-drinkers.
This is until their livers’ are shot and they develop all kinds of nutritional deficiencies. Then alcohol and acetaldehyde start accumulating you can barely tolerate 1 drink anymore. I’ll show you how to fix that in this article.
The toxic effect of alcohol
The toxic effects of alcohol on organs are due to ethanol and acetaldehyde, which causes oxidative stress and inflammation in a variety of ways (R).
Additionally, all three pathways that metabolize alcohol, create free radicals, which can damage lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA. Luckily, we have enzymes that protect the body against these free radicals, including glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase (which creates glutathione), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.
These enzymes depend on vitamins and minerals (selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron). When someone has vitamin and mineral deficiencies, these protective enzymes don’t work as they should and people start getting more inflammation and organ damage.
Why do people get hangovers?
When you can’t properly detoxify ethanol and acetaldehyde, they can damage the body, dehydrate you and excrete valuable vitamins and minerals.
People that have slow alcohol breakdowns tend to suffer from hangovers more frequently.
More than one in three people with East Asian heritage (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) experience unpleasant symptoms of headache, nausea, flushing, and tachycardia when drinking alcohol. This is because they lack a percentage of aldehyde dehydrogenases and accumulate more acetaldehyde.
Drugs that can alter the effects of alcohol
Cimetidine inhibits alcohol dehydrogenase in the gut, thus more alcohol gets absorbed.
Antihistamines, phenothiazines, and metoclopramide enhance gastric emptying and increase the absorption of alcohol (R).
Let’s talk about what can protect against the harmful effects of ethanol by enhancing its breakdown.
Alcoholics tend to have lower levels of vitamin C than non-drinkers.
Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can protect against the harms of ethanol and acetaldehyde.
👍Take 2g of vitamin C before a night/day of drinking.
Chronic alcohol consumption has been demonstrated to lower both the storage and active form of vitamin D as well as cathelicidin/LL-37 expression (R). LL-37 is a natural anti-inflammatory “anti-biotic” created in the gut. Low LL-37 can lead to gut issues.
👉If you drink regularly, be sure to get lots of sunlight to optimize your vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D-related article:
- Do this first for gut health before anything else!
- Get your penis to work with this big, bad steroid
- Viagra not working? Do this!
Alcoholics tend to have lower B vitamins than non-drinkers (R, R, R). This can lead to all kinds of issues, such as skin issues, liver disease, gut dysbiosis, inflammation, autoimmune conditions, neuropathy, mental disorders, low testosterone, sexual dysfunction, etc.
Drinking even 24 g alcohol (either 240 ml red wine or 80 ml vodka)/day for a 2-week period was enough to reduce folate and B12 and increase homocysteine (R). High homocysteine and low folate contribute to low dopamine, low libido and erectile dysfunction.
There are a few reasons for this, namely:
- Eating a nutrient-poor diet (likely the biggest reason)
- Reduced absorption in the gut
- Reduced production by the microbiome
- Reduced storage
- Reduced transport out of tissue
👉Eat more B-vitamin-rich foods such as eggs, milk, meat and organ meat.
🔎Crushing the refractory period: Part 1🔎 (it explains why folate is so important for libido and erections)
Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium
Alcohol consumption promotes the wastage of our electrolytes, namely sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Low sodium is the most common electrolyte disorder seen in people consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, followed by potassium in almost 50% of chronic drinkers.
Iron overload and magnesium deficiency are two common results of excessive and prolonged consumption of alcohol (R).
Interestingly in 1952, O’Brien showed that intravenous calcium administration reduces withdrawal symptoms in alcohol-dependent patients and reduces alcohol craving (R).
👉Take electrolytes before drinking a lot. Alternatively, just eat a nutrient-dense diet, which is what I do.
Low zinc is probably responsible for most of the harms of alcohol.
Approximately 90% of the alcoholics (with or without liver disease) had an inadequate dietary intake of zinc, which sets them up for a lot of issues (R).
Zn deficiency is observed in approximately 30–50% of alcoholics, being the most frequent low mineral in alcohol-related liver diseases.
- Is a cofactor of alcohol dehydrogenase, thus boosting alcohol clearance
- Prevents alcohol-induced leaky gut (R)
- Prevents alcohol-induced endotoxin absorption and subsequent inflammation
- Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation caused by alcohol
- Prevents gut dysbiosis caused by drinking
- Protects the brain against alcohol toxicity
- Prevents neurotransmitter dysregulation induced by alcohol
- Prevents low testosterone
- Inhibits excess estrogen production
- Keeps cortisol in check. Chronic alcoholism is associated with hypercortisolemia and low serum zinc. Hypercortisolemia could be responsible for brain shrinkage and neurotoxicity, leading to brain damage (R).
Restoring optimal zinc levels is also effective at lowering excess iron induced by drinking.
Low zinc induced by poor diet and excess alcohol consumption causes:
|2. Anorexia, altered taste and smell|
|4. Impaired night vision|
|5. Impaired immune function|
|6. Altered protein metabolism, poor wound healing|
|8. Depressed mental function/encephalopathy|
👉Eat a high-zinc diet. Check out why zinc is so important for libido and sexual function.
Similar to zinc, selenium levels are the lowest in the most severe cases of alcohol-induced liver disease.
Selenium supplementation may be considered as a possible antioxidant therapy, slowing down the progression of secondary alcohol diseases. A simultaneous selenium and magnesium supplementation provide enhanced antioxidant defense, being more effective in the prevention of oxidative stress and lowering inflammation.
The best selenium-rich foods are seafood and organ meat. Most people don’t consume enough of either.
Taurine protects against the harms of alcohol by:
- Being a powerful antioxidant. Alcohol damages the liver, whereas taurin prevents that (R).
- Promoting ethanol and acetaldehyde breakdown. Taking taurine before drinking blunted the rise in blood acetaldehyde.
- Accumulating in the brain, liver and testes, where it protects those organs (R).
Pantethine and lipoic acid also promote aldehyde dehydrogenase and can be used with taurine (R).
In this study, oysters (and taurine to a slightly lesser degree) significantly enhance ethanol breakdown and protected against the harms of alcohol (R). The EtOH + OH group is the ethanol + oyster. They have the highest expression of alcohol detox and antioxidant enzymes.
Excess alcohol consumption can contribute to gut dysbiosis by increasing more harmful bacteria, such as Bacteroides and Escherichia coli and lowering beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus.
ZBiotics is a company that genetically engineered a probiotic (Bacillus Subtilis) to express aldehyde dehydrogenase to help with acetaldehyde breakdown. Many users have reported that they now wake up without hangovers.
Compounds that can prevent testicular damage induced by alcohol
Alcohol is a well-known testicular toxicant. It can induce testicular damage, reduce the production of testosterone and shrink the testicles.
Here a are few compounds that can prevent that.
- Milk thistle (silymarin) (R)
- Vitamin E (R)
- Ginger (R, R)
- Tiger nuts (R)
- Taurine, since it accumulates in the testes
- Zinc should also be able to since it prevents leaky gut in the first place
- Selenium, since its boosts glutathione
- Magnesium, which promotes free radical clearance
The main cause of alcohol toxicity is due to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, primarily zinc IMO. And the top reasons why people are deficient in these nutrients are because they:
- Eat a nutrient-poor diet (being afraid of beef or disgusted by organ meat and oysters)
- Have impaired digestion (due to nutrient deficiencies, mainly zinc)
- Have impaired storage (due to nutrient deficiencies)
Supplementation of these nutrients mentioned above reverses the damage induced by alcohol.
Should you be on these supps for the rest of your life or at least when drinking?
No, it just depends on the degree of the deficiency. If it’s a big deficiency and you have elevated inflammation, then yes, supps might be the best first approach. After those deficiencies have been fixed, just eat a nutrient-dense diet so that it doesn’t happen again.
When I started drinking heavily in college, everything was hunky-dory at first. However, just 2 years later, I started to experience flushing and my alcohol tolerance went out the window. From there on, even half a beer would leave me feeling funky. I thought I was done for good.
However, after I replenished my nutritional deficiencies, my alcohol tolerance is back to normal and I can enjoy a few beers without feeling wonky. Plus, my alcohol clearance is really fast and I don’t get hangovers. After I stop drinking, I’m back to normal in 1-2 hours.
- 5g taurine
- 1 serving Zbiotics
- 1 can oysters / 30mg zinc gluconate (I just eat a high zinc diet so I don’t supplement)
- 1 serving electrolytes
- 200mg elemental magnesium (2g magnesium glycinate/malate)
- B-complex (optimal)
The alcoholic diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies
- 400g / 1lbs of red meat daily
- 1L of milk daily
- 3-6 eggs daily
- 4-12oz beef liver weekly
- 3oz oysters x1-3 weekly
If you implement these tactics (and lose excess fat), you can definitely expect an increase in testosterone even while enjoying alcohol (not abusing).
>1000ng/dl Testosterone: My Step-by-Step Guide on How I Do It Naturally!