Alcohol: Balancing Its Risks and Benefits

It’s actually the season where most people – if not all – are attending parties, reunions and other forms of gatherings and celebrations. And alcoholic beverages like wine, beer or distilled spirits are definitely part of the ‘guest list’. Well, it’s fine as long as these alcoholic drinks are ingested in moderation. And once it is abused or taken excessively, expect something that you’d regret over time – either the hangover, relevant effects to your health, or something that you said or did while you were sober.

As they say, alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. What sets them apart, you ask? The difference technically lies in the dose – the amount of alcohol intake. Alcohol, in general, is not totally harmful. It also has a handful of health benefits that have been proven and recognized by science. With that in mind, we thought of emphasizing the following risks and benefits of alcohol to one’s health:

Possible Risks if Abused or Taken Excessively:

Worst Case Scenario: Causal Factor in over 200 Diseases and Alcohol-Related Injuries

According to a recent health advisory published by a reputable online medical bulletin, senior investigator and School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the U.K. professor Paul Elliott said that excessive alcohol drinking is a major public health problem worldwide.

Health practitioners, medical experts, the government and other private institutions should join hands as they all find new ways of reducing the harmful effects of alcohol not just to the drinkers themselves but also to the people around them. The infographic as shown here itemizes the dangers of alcohol if, again, abused or ingested irresponsibly.

Alcohol Risks Infographic

A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2012 stated that about 3.3 million deaths or 5.9 percent of all deaths worldwide were attributable to alcohol consumption, which is also scientifically deemed as a causal factor in over 200 diseases and injury conditions. Some of which are unintentional and intentional damages, ranging from road traffic collisions, road accidents, violence, and attempted suicides, not to mention some fatal alcohol-related injuries being more common among younger people.

Alcoholism or Alcohol Dependence Syndrome

This is considered a risk as frequent and excessive drinking can lead to alcohol addiction, which physical and psychological effects require professional and medical help. This lets someone feel a strong “driving force” to drink fermented beverages.

He or she also experiences loss of control where the patient finds it really difficult to stop drinking once he or she has already started. Physical or mental dependence and tolerance or the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect have been some of alcohol use disorder’s consequences.

Surprising Health Benefits of Moderate Consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol Benefits

It’s more than just a downer! Drinking under control and sipping in moderation, alcohol can actually offer some notable benefits to one’s health. As a matter of fact, there have been some clinical studies that have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol has a handful of useful health benefits. And here are some of them:

Beer has vitamins.

Many people all over the world drink beer. Known for its high calories, this “liquid carb” is loaded with B vitamins riboflavin and thiamin, not to mention its high levels of magnesium and calcium. Remember this tip: The darker the beer you drink, the better benefits you reap, thanks to its high iron content, which helps oxygen circulate around the body more efficiently.

Alcohol can protect your brain.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported in 2015 that xanthohumol, a compound found in beer, could protect brain cells from damaging that slows down the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

Hence, in a separate research, alcohol is said to protect the brain from the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The findings stated that a decrease by more than 30 percent was noted if a light-to-moderate amount of alcohol, roughly one to three drinks a day, was taken.

Alcohol may boost better thinking and memory.

Researchers also found out that alcohol may have direct a benefit on thinking and memory by stimulating the release of a brain chemical called acetylcholine. This substance is known to be involved in memory and learning. However, findings also showed that drinking large amounts of alcohol can decrease the said chemical production.

The thing here is to never overdo drinking alcoholic beverages. There you go! Clinical studies got you covered – giving you the “permission” to drink one to three drinks a day – BUT certainly not more. Cheers!

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