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How Alcohol Affects Your Metabolism

August 22nd, 2015

The ill effects of alcohol go beyond weight gain and liver disease.

While research has shown that the occasional glass of wine could actually be good for your health, drinking to excess can be very harmful. Beyond the well-known consequences of alcoholism, such as liver disease, drinking too much can affect your metabolism in several ways, slowly but surely contributing to problems like weight gain or nutritional deficiencies.

What is Metabolism?

Before we dive into the specifics of how alcohol affects the metabolism, it’s important to clarify what exactly we mean by the term “metabolism.” Most people associate this term with how quickly the body burns calories. In reality, metabolism is a much more complex phenomena including a whole range of biochemical processes. It includes both anabolic functions (building up or storing of nutrients in the body) and catabolic functions (breaking down food into energy).

3 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Metabolism

  • Alcohol Takes Priority: Unlike protein, carbs, and fats, the actual alcohol content of a drink does not have any nutritional value and cannot be stored anywhere in the body. This means that it is given first priority in the metabolization process so that it can be flushed from the body. While the body is busy metabolizing alcohol, it will actually stop all activities necessary for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, including hormonal responses such as insulin production. In heavy drinkers, this can result in glucose intolerance or diabetes.
  • Alcohol Reduces Fat Metabolism: As alcohol passes through the liver on its way out of the body, acetate is formed. This acetate will be burned by the body in place of the fats that would normally be burned for energy. The end result is increased fat storage and weight gain.
  • Alcohol Wastes Vitamins and Minerals: One final way that alcohol interferes with a healthy metabolism is by preventing the proper absorption of vitamins and minerals. While the liver is busy producing acetate, it will not be able to process vitamins and minerals as it normally would. Instead, these nutrients will pass out of the body through the urine without being used. Calcium and magnesium are particularly likely to be lost in this way.

Want Help Improving Your Metabolism and Your Health?

If you have noticed your metabolism seeming to “slow down” as you age, Renew Man™ can help you create a comprehensive strategy for losing weight, increasing muscle mass, and getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Your treatment plan will be personalized to your unique needs and goals and will likely include measures to balance your hormones as well as diet and exercise advice from certified professionals.

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