What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #86

In this episode, I discuss the physiological effects that drinking alcohol has on the brain and body at different levels of consumption and over time. I also describe genetic differences that predispose certain individuals to alcoholism, binge and habit-drinking. I explain alcohol metabolism in simple terms and how it effectively acts as a poison, leading to cellular stress and damage. I then explain that it impacts neuronal function and changes our thinking and behavior – hallmarks of inebriation. I also discuss how alcohol consumption of different amounts impacts inflammation, stress, neurodegeneration, and cancer risk and negatively impacts the gut microbiome, brain thickness, hormone balance, mood and feelings of motivation. Additionally, I discuss the biology of hangovers and describe science-based strategies to mitigate the severity of a hangover. Since alcohol is one of the most widely consumed recreational substances, this episode ought to be of relevance to everyone. Indeed, even low-to-moderate alcohol consumption negatively impacts the brain and body in direct ways. The goal of this episode is to help people make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption that are in keeping with their mental and physical health goals.

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Articles
Associations between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volumes in the UK Biobank: https://go.nature.com/3PNFj7y
Gut Microbiota at the Intersection of Alcohol, Brain, and the Liver: https://bit.ly/3AaeF2F
Tolerance to alcohol: A critical yet understudied factor in alcohol addiction: https://bit.ly/3CmfCYo
Associations Between Drinking and Cortical Thickness in Younger Adult Drinkers: Findings From the Human Connectome Project: https://bit.ly/3AeUosJ
Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer: https://bit.ly/3PHlJcK
Can alcohol promote aromatization of androgens to estrogens? A review: https://bit.ly/3dJjGHZ

Other Resources
Examine – Alcohol & Hangover: https://bit.ly/3QHYpx4

Timestamps
00:00:00 Effects of Alcohol Consumption
00:02:25 Momentous Supplements
00:03:19 Low to Moderate Alcohol Consumption & Neurodegeneration
00:06:52 Levels, Eight Sleep, ROKA
00:10:46 Historical Context & Uses of Alcohol
00:13:28 Alcohol Metabolism, “Empty Calories”
00:18:23 Inebriation: Top-Down Inhibition, Impulsivity & Memory Formation
00:24:23 Long-Lasting Effects & Impulsivity, Neuroplasticity & Reversibility
00:27:55 Food & Alcohol Absorption
00:30:07 Alcohol & Serotonin, SSRIs & Depression, Risk for Alcoholism, Blackouts
00:37:39 Predisposition for Alcoholism; Chronic Consumption, Cortisol & Stress
00:44:53 AG1 (Athletic Greens)
00:46:07 Genetic Predisposition for Alcoholism, Consuming Alcohol Too Young
00:52:27 Gut-Liver-Brain Axis: Alcohol, Gut Microbiome, Inflammation & Leaky Gut
00:59:46 Tool: Improving/Replenishing Gut Microbiome
01:02:44 Reducing Alcohol Consumption & Stress
01:04:25 Hangover: Alcohol & Sleep, Anxiety, Headache
01:12:11 Hangover Recovery, Adrenaline & Deliberate Cold Exposure
01:17:16 Hangover Recovery, Dehydration & Electrolytes
01:20:45 Types of Alcohol & Hangover Severity, Congeners
01:25:25 Alcohol Tolerance, Dopamine & Serotonin, Pleasure-Pain Balance
01:33:36 Are There Any Positive Effects of Alcohol?, Resveratrol
01:35:42 Alcohol & Brain Thickness
01:37:11 Alcohol & Cancer Risk: DNA Methylation, Breast Cancer Risk
01:44:31 Mitigating Cancer Risk, Folate, B Vitamins
01:46:54 Alcohol & Pregnancy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
01:50:58 Hormones: Testosterone & Estrogen Balance
01:55:09 Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption
01:58:35 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter, Huberman Lab Clips

The Huberman Lab Podcast is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this podcast or materials linked from this podcast is at the user’s own risk. The content of this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.