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Does Drinking Really Make You Warmer?

alcohol, neurotoxinAlcohol may seem like the perfect cold-weather beverage, because it creates a sensation of warmth. But it actually decreases core body temperature and increases your risk of hypothermia.

In cold weather, blood flows away from your skin and into your organs, causing a sensation of coldness but increasing core body temperature. Alcohol reverses this process, increasing the flow of blood to your skin. This causes a sensation of warmth, but sets off a sharp drop in body temperature.

Alcohol also reduces your ability to shiver, which is one of your body’s way of creating warmth, and increases sweating, which further decreases body temperature.

Several studies have found that alcohol often plays a role in hypothermia-related injuries and deaths.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Despite being widely promoted as healthy in small quantities (especially red wine), the health risks of alcoholic drinks outweigh the benefits, are not good for you, in any quantity.

Why the Health Risks Outweigh the Benefits

For starters, alcohol is a neurotoxin, which means it can poison your brain, and that of your unborn child. This is why alcohol should be avoided entirely during pregnancy, to prevent damage such as fetal alcohol syndrome.

Drinking in excess can also cause other major problems, including liver damage. 

Even moderate amounts of alcohol are not recommended, because alcohol can leave you more vulnerable to various preventable cancers, such as cancer of your:

  • Mouth, larynx and esophagus
  • Liver and colon
  • Pancreas
  • Lungs  

According to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the more alcohol you consume, the higher your risk.

Alcohol can also harm your body's delicate hormonal balance. For example, consuming large amounts of wine or other alcoholic beverages will increase your insulin levels, which will eventually have a negative impact on your health.

Other health problems caused by alcohol, which definitely detract from any claims of health benefits include:

Reduces your body’s ability to handle stress -- Alcohol exposure can result in abnormally low levels of your key stress hormone, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). CRF is produced by your hypothalamus and helps trigger your body's reaction to stress. Rats exposed to a stressor, such as an injected toxin or light electric shock, have shown a blunted stress response, namely less reaction in their hormonal and nervous systems, if they were first exposed to alcohol.

An impaired stress response is believed to affect several body systems, including the ability of your immune system to fight infection, and of brain cells to learn and remember.

Increases your allergic reactions – According to scientists in Spain, there’s a link between moderate alcohol consumption and an increase in antibodies found at high levels in people prone to develop allergies.

These antibodies, known as IgE antibodies, cause allergic symptoms by overreacting to generally harmless substances inhaled from the air such as pollen, mold or animal dander.

Therefore, if you drink moderate amounts of alcohol you are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to something.

Promoting Health Benefits of Alcohol is Big Business

Close to half of the U.S. alcohol industry’s revenues come from abuse or misuse of the product, as researchers find that this portion of revenues come from underage drinkers or adults who drink excessive amounts.

According to a 2007 Time article, the amount of alcohol consumed by Americans in 2006 would amount to 7 bottles of liquor, 12 bottles of wine, and 230 cans of beer per person. Considering the fact that one-third of Americans don’t drink, that’s quite a bit of alcohol distributed among the rest. (For a quick look on how you and your home state measures up, see their state-by-state breakdown.)

In 1999, over $116 billion was spent on alcohol in the United States, with $22.5 billion linked to underage drinking and $34.4 billion linked to excessive adult drinking. By 2002, retail sales for alcohol had climbed $137.2 billion.

Do You Drink Too Much?

Most alcohol misuse and abuse stems from deep emotional challenges. Addressing these issues at a deep level is imperative to avoid the negative health consequences--both physical and mental--that inevitably result from excessive drinking.

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) works remarkably well in resolving these types of underlying problems. I use this psychological acupressure technique routinely in my clinic and find that it works better than any other traditional or alternative method I have tried.

However, if you try the technique yourself and find that you are not improving, consider consulting a trained EFT therapist to facilitate the process. You can review EFT founder Gary Craig’s list of EFT therapists to find a practitioner near you.

+ Sources and References