Alcohol Might Speed Up Aging

There’s nothing wrong with having the occasional drink that contains alcohol. Some types of alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, may actually make you healthier when consumed in moderation. What is moderation? For women, it’s drinking one 5 ounce glass of 12% wine a day and for men it’s drinking two glasses. Anything beyond those parameters may lead to premature aging, weight gain—particularly around the midsection—and other health issues.

Your skin shows signs of alcohol aging first.

Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. That includes your brain and skin. It’s why sipping water while drinking and between drinks can help prevent a headache. If you drank heavily the night before, you could notice changes to your skin immediately. The body tends to dehydrate from alcohol, which can cause sunken eyes, decreased skin elasticity, dry lips and dry skin. Sipping on water when drinking helps, too. Over time, it can cause rashes, yellowed skin, spider veins, red dots on skin, bulging stomach veins, red skin and more skin infections.

Weight gain and mental signs of aging can occur when you consume too much alcohol too often.

Alcohol not only causes weight to form around the middle, which is indicative of aging, it also causes the slowing of production of testosterone and affects the breakdown of estrogen. It can lead to men experiencing weight gain in areas that women normally have it, on the hips, thighs and breasts. It also interferes with thinking processes that may be affected as we age. One study followed young people that drank excessively compared to a group of elderly individuals. The young heavy drinkers scored worse on a test measuring executive function, which included remembering and learning things, planning, paying attention, goal setting, and self-management.

Alcohol speeds the aging process by increasing stress hormones.

Stress can definitely speed aging. It comes from the hormones released that make the changes. Alcohol consumption can increase the release of stress hormones and that leads to increased speed toward aging. Alcohol also affects various organs, like the liver. It damages them and alters the chemical balance of the body to also lead to aging. Alcohol also increases the free radicals in the body. Those same free radicals damage the skin, which leads to showing signs of aging.

  • Alcohol abuse, like most substance abuse, deters the user from eating healthily and exercising. Not only does the alcohol affect the body, the things the abuser doesn’t do or consume also affects aging.
  • If you have an alcoholic drink right after you workout, you won’t build muscles. The elevated cortisol levels cause testosterone levels to decrease and that may slow or prevent the synthesis of protein to build muscles.
  • Weight gain occurs from drinking alcohol from several causes. One not mentioned is that when alcohol is consumed before a meal, it increases appetite, so people eat more.
  • Alcohol can cause damage to the telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that protect the cells and shorten as the cell divides. It normally lasts 50 divisions, but in people who consumed 4 drinks a day, reached the last division in half the time it took those who didn’t.

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