14 Nov 2013
Hey, Can a Girl Get a Drink Over Here??
When your hormone symphony is playing off-key and you’re stressed to the max, the temptation to pop the cork on a bottle of Pinot Grigio can be great.
After all, what’s the harm in a couple of glasses of good vino to take the edge off?
As it turns out…plenty.
So What’s the Big Deal?
Women are more affected by alcohol than men due to a number of factors, including having less water in their bodies to dilute the alcohol; fewer enzymes to digest the alcohol; usually smaller body size; and hormonal differences that may affect absorption. As women age, they metabolize alcohol less efficiently so blood alcohol levels stay higher longer.
Think Before You Drink
Alcohol can have a protective effect when it comes to heart disease. But the list of negatives far outweighs the positives. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Weight gain. At 100 calories per glass of wine…it’s easy to run up the caloric scoreboard. Do the math. Take the number of drinks you have per day and multiply by 365. Take that number and multiply by 100. Then divide by 3500.
The resulting number is the number of pounds you could lose over a year by not drinking. Plus, alcohol has no nutritional value and raises your cortisol…which contributes to further weight gain.
Bottom line: if you want to lose weight, skip the booze. Really.
- Breast cancer. Alcohol increases breast cancer risk. One potential explanation is that alcohol consumption increases estrogen production. This prolonged exposure to estrogen has been shown to up the risk. One drink per day increases risk by 7%. Three drinks a day ups your risk by 51%.
- Insomnia. Alcohol use contributes to insomnia in 2 ways. One is an increase in cortisol production. The second is that alcohol disrupts sleep patterns (even though you may fall asleep more easily).
- Osteoporosis. Alcohol can increase the risk of osteoporosis by increasing parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels. This throws off the body’s calcium balance. In cases of chronic alcohol abuse, blood levels of PTH stay elevated which puts a strain on the body’s calcium reserves in bones.
Alcohol also inhibits the production of enzymes found in the liver and kidneys that convert the inactive form of vitamin D to its active form. This interference with the body’s vitamin D also affects calcium absorption.
- Hot flashes. Many women report that alcohol is a trigger for hot flashes. One explanation for this connection is that alcohol causes estrogen to rise. Once the alcohol has been metabolized, the estrogen level drops and VOILA! You have a hot flash!
Understanding the impact that alcohol has on your body is important. Once you know the risks, you can make informed decisions about your choices. Current recommendations for women include limiting intake to one drink or less per day with a maximum of seven drinks per week.
About Dr. Anna
Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.
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