Increased stress and/or boredom can lead us to drink more, especially at the moment! We all like a drink but we do need to be mindful of its effect on our gut health (and general health!). Alcohol is absorbed in the upper intestinal tract and enters your liver via the portal vein. Alongside other factors, the bacteria in your gut can determine how well you metabolise alcohol.
Excessive alcohol can cause inflammation in your gut, which can result in the wall of your gut lining becoming more ‘permeable’. This means that whole food particles and other substances in your gut, like, toxins, may cross the gut lining and enter your blood stream, which you don’t want! This can set off a cascade of immune responses and you could find yourself unable to tolerate foods you once could without symptoms.
A hangover and a poor night’s sleep can also increase your desire to consume processed foods which wreak havoc on your gut microbes.
It isn’t all bad news, red wine contains powerful polyphenols, which your gut bugs love. A systematic found that polyphenols found in red wine had a positive effect on your gut microbes! However, too much will outweigh the benefits of those gut loving polyphenols.
What you can do
Don’t use alcohol to quench your thirst or to relieve stress and get to know your units. For more info, watch our IGTV with liver specialist Gautam Mehta.