Kayla Slater, Columnist
Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. Many college students may not consider their alcoholic drinks a drug, but alcohol is not an essential nutrient needed by the body and has performance enhancing effects. The consumption of alcohol can lead to harmful effects on the body depending on someone’s age, gender, weight, how much is consumed and how often.
Alcohol metabolizes at the same rate, regardless of someone’s age, gender or weight. Since the body has nowhere to store alcohol, the substance absorbs in the gastro intestinal tract quickly. The body makes it a priority to metabolize alcohol before other nutrients through the oxidation process. Other processes are shoved aside quickly, so the body can get rid of the toxins. Through the oxidation process, the body detoxifies and removes the alcohol from the body. Alcohol primarily metabolizes in the liver, but some absorbs in the stomach, the brain and intestines. The rest of the alcohol may excrete through urine, sweat or your breath.
The consumption of alcohol has many harmful effects on the body. The toxic substance alters intake, absorption and utilization of nutrients. Many of the essential nutrients from a healthy diet will not process or store in the body. Over time, malnutrition can occur. Since alcohol has high calories, but no nutrient value, weight gain can also occur. Alcohol also affects blood sugar levels, inhibiting the body to make glucose.
Alcohol affects many organs, including your brain, heart, stomach, liver, pancreas and intestines. The toxic substance inhibits the brain’s communication pathways. The stomach, pancreas and intestines may become inflamed, which contributes to the lack of absorption. Consumption of high alcoholic intake overtime can increase the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, cirrhosis, pancreatitis and cancers and can weaken your immune system.
These effects can become serious and life threatening. In some cases, over drinking on merely one occasion can lead to the harmful effects mentioned above. Essentially, you are making your body work harder to get rid of a toxin. Before you take that next drink, think about how alcohol is metabolized and its effects on your body.