Binge Drinking Health Dangers
A new study has shown that binge alcohol drinking has adverse health effects for healthy people who do not normally “binge” or consume four drinks or more in a short amount of time. Unfortunately, this is the most common drinking pattern in the world, and is popular with minors and young adults who often turn drinking alcohol into dangerous games that can be life altering.
While the behavioral consequences of binge drinking are well documented, little is known about its effects on various organs and on immune responses. It turns out that binge drinking may be similar to acute alcohol use, which has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects, reduces antiviral immunity and causes liver injury. A study demonstrated that an “alcohol binge increased serum levels of bacterial products, which might contribute to innate immune responses and potentially to the behavioral effects of alcohol binge drinking.”
The University of Massachusetts Medical School tested the effects of binge drinking in healthy adults. The researchers gave drinks, 2 ml vodka 40% v/v ethanol/kg body weight in a total volume of 300 ml juice, to 11 males and 14 females with no history of alcohol abuse. After consumption, blood was drawn at 30-minute intervals for the first four hours and again at the 24th hour. Blood was also drawn from volunteers that were alcohol abstinent, for a control group comparison.
The blood alcohol level (BAL) reached maximum after one hour and gradually declined. Women had a slower decrease in BAL and higher levels in the blood after 24 hours compared to men. An elevation of bacterial products indicated microbial translocation in the gut might result in immune activation thereby resulting in inflammation and initiation of alcoholic liver disease. Blood alcohol and serum endotoxin levels remained constant in the control group.
These results suggest that acute binge drinking has significant adverse health effects even in healthy individuals.
Alcohol binge drinking can cause altered immune functions that can also contribute to suppression of the immune system and reduced defense to pathogens. Binge drinking even one time is not healthy and causes changes to the proper functioning of the body.
Whatever choices you make, know in advance the permanent damage you may be doing to yourself by engaging in activities once thought to be reasonably safe.