What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, Heart, and Muscles

Men’s Health

What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, Heart, and Muscles

See how drinking affects every part of your body.(Image: Thinkstock)

Just one sip of beer, wine, or whisky hangs out in your body for about 2 hours. Once it quickly enters your bloodstream, it touches down on nearly every organ and system in your body.

Thanks to its job breaking down toxins, your liver bears the brunt of heavy drinking. But even if you don’t imbibe enough to cause cirrhosis—the dangerous liver scarring that marks the final stage of alcohol-induced liver disease—your bar nights may start taking their toll on your health. (To make sure you stay healthy for

Now, we like alcohol, so we’re not finger-wagging. Moderate drinking—about two servings per day for men—brings a slew of health benefits, from lowering your risk for diabetes to boosting your creativity.But if you start to overdo it, alcohol can certainly have negative effects. Here’s what happens in your body when you throw down more than a few.

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1. Your Brain

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t actually kill your brain cells, says David Sack, M.D., CEO of addiction-treatment company Elements Behavioral Health.

But hooch does alter levels of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that control your mood, perception, and behavior, he says.

 

Alcohol impairs brain areas such as the cerebellum—the control site for your balance and coordination—and your cerebral cortex, which is responsible for thinking, memory, and learning, says Kimberly S. Walitzer, Ph.D., deputy director of the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

Plus, University of Michigan researchers found the amygdala—an area of the brain involved in fear and anger—showed less of a reaction to threatening faces after a single drink, potentially explaining why you’re prone to risky behavior (like fighting a bouncer) under the influence.

2. Your Skin

Sure, beer goggles may make other people appear hotter—but booze doesn’t do your own mug many favors. Alcohol dilates blood vessels on your face, making them more prone to breakage.

 

This gives you bloodshot eyes and worsens a ruddy-skinned condition called rosacea, says dermatologist David E. Bank, M.D., of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Your heart pumps more fluid into surrounding tissues to balance out those alcohol-widened arteries and veins, leaving you with a bloated, puffy face.

3. Your Muscles

Hit the gym as hard as you want—if you hightail it to the bar afterward, you may never get the arms you want. 

Alcohol tinkers with your hormonal and inflammatory responses to exercise, making it more difficult for your body to repair damaged proteins and build new ones (essential steps in getting ripped), according to a recent review in the journal Sports Medicine.

You’ll compound this effect if you reach for a beer before a recovery snack or shake, says study author Matthew Barnes, Ph.D., of Massey University in New Zealand.

So take the time to get some protein, carbohydrates, and non-boozy fluids into your system post-workout before cracking open your first cold one.

4. Your Heart

Moderate drinking might protect your ticker due to the blood vessel-relaxing polyphenols that alcohol contains or by raising your levels of HDL, (“good” cholesterol), says researcher Kirsten Mehlig, Ph.D., of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

But her recent study in the journal Alcohol suggests these effects may only benefit the 15 percent of the population with a certain genetic profile affecting HDL levels. It’s too soon to recommend genetic testing to guide your alcohol consumption, she points out.

Meanwhile, those same two drinks per day can raise your risk of atrial fibrillation by 17 percent, according to a study in theJournal of the American College of Cardiology.

 

This type of irregular heartbeat approximately quadruples your risk of having a stroke and triples your risk of heart failure.

5. Your Stomach

Just one night of bingeing—that’s five drinks or more for guys in about 2 hours—increases what’s called your gut permeability, according to University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers.

Harmful toxins and bacteria leak from your digestive system into your bloodstream, prompting a dangerous immune-system response that can eventually lead to liver disease and other health problems.

At lower doses, alcohol irritates your stomach, increases acidity, and relaxes the muscle at the end of your esophagus, causing heartburn, Dr. Sacks says.

6. Your Penis

Having as few as five drinks a week decreases your sperm count and percentage of healthy swimmers, perhaps by affecting levels of sex hormones like testosterone, Danish researchers recently reported in the journal BMJ Open.

And while you may find a glass of vino sets the mood, anything more than that could wreck your performance in the bedroom, Dr. Sacks says.

Almost three-quarters of men with alcohol dependence have at least one sexual health issue, such as low desire, erectile dysfunction, or premature ejaculation, say Indian researchers. (Find out the other Weird Things That Can Wreck Your Erection.)

By Cindy Kuzma

 

 

Ocean on Saturn moon resembles habitable lakes on Earth

image: http://cdn.rt.com/files/news/3e/c0/d0/00/saturn-moon-life-space.si.jpg

Enceladus, shown in this recent image captured by the Cassini spacecraft, one of Saturn's moons (Reuters / NASA)

 

Enceladus, shown in this recent image captured by the Cassini spacecraft, one of Saturn’s moons (Reuters / NASA)

The newly-discovered subsurface ocean on Saturn’s icy moon of Enceladus is similar in makeup to some of the life-bearing salt lakes on Earth, a new US study suggested.

Astrobiologists believe this small moon is the best place to search for alien life in the Solar System.

The 505-kilometer-wide satellite is geologically active, with powerful geysers blasting through its ice shell.
Those geysers contain water which researchers suggest comes from an ocean located beneath the moon’s icy surface.

A new paper entitled ‘The pH of Enceladus,’ published on Wednesday in the journal ‪Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, looks into the chemical reactions that occur as Enceladus’ ocean water comes into contact with its rocky mantle.

The authors based their research on data gathered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.

They used mass-spectrometry measurements of the gases and ice grains in Enceladus’ plume to develop a model that estimates the saltiness and pH of the water in the moon’s inner ocean.

According to the US team’s findings, the ocean on Enceladus is likely salty and has a basic pH of 11 or 12, neutral pH being 7.

The same pH levels are found in ammonia-based glass-cleaning solutions, but some organisms on Earth are still capable of living in such conditions.

The high concentration of sodium chloride (NaCl) makes Enceladus’ ocean resemble terrestrial ‘soda lakes,’ such as ‪Mono Lake in California.

 

It’s good news for the those hunting alien life as a the fauna of Mono Lake includes brine shrimp and many different microbes.

The team’s model suggests that the ocean’s high pH is explained by serpentization, a process where metallic rocks from Enceladus’ upper surface are transformed into minerals due to contact with water.

Serpentization also leads to the production of molecular hydrogen (H2), which is a potential source of chemical energy for any life form in the ocean’s water, the paper said. ‪

“Molecular hydrogen can both drive the formation of organic compounds like amino acids that may lead to the origin of life, and serve as food for microbial life such as methane-producing organisms,” the study’s lead-author Christopher Glein, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, said in a statement.

Glein described serpentinization as a link between geological processes and biological processes on the moon.

“The discovery of serpentinization makes Enceladus an even more promising candidate for a separate genesis of life,” he stressed.

The hidden ocean was discovered on Enceladus earlier this year by Italian scientists from Sapienza University in Rome, who also analyzed Cassini data.

They said that active hydrothermal vents are likely to exist on Enceladus’ seafloor, providing conditions similar to those that gave rise to some of the first life forms on Earth.

Read more at http://endthelie.com/2015/05/08/cradle-of-alien-life-ocean-on-saturn-moon-resembles-habitable-lakes-on-earth/#aYHUOIUcJpEW18zX.99

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