Alcohol & Leaky GUT

Australians have a reputation for our excessive alcohol drinking. It’s within our culture to have an outdoor lifestyle, BBQ’s, laid back attitude, scorching sun…..with a bevvy in our hands.

The negative impacts of alcohol consumption is evident. I’m not about to start educating you about the physical and mental effects of alcohol. You can do so here.

I see many people within my practice that have a leaky gut. A thorough health history is taken with all of my clients; and all usual suspects of a leaky gut are marked off:

  • antibiotic use
  • prescription medication
  • post-infectious IBS
  • stress
  • operations
  • reproductive health
  • diet

But have you ever considered your alcohol intake?

Excessive alcohol intake (binge drinking), causes inflammation and creates gaps within our intestinal wall. Ethanol reduces good bacteria and increases unwanted endotoxins (bad bacteria). Alcohol is metabolised by the liver, and produces free radicals as a result. Which causes oxidative stress within our body.

Increased inflammation travels to our brain, and increases depression, foggy thinking and ‘sickness behaviour’.

Alcohol impairs our nervous system and reduces nutrients such as zinc, Vit. D, folate and SAMe.

Due to the intestinal permeability, conditions such as SIBO, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and some colon cancers can occur.

So what can you do to heal a leaky gut caused by over alcohol consumption?

Studies have that supplementing with the following have a positive impact in either inflammatory markers or intestinal permeability measures:

  • Zinc supplementation- 50mg per day after a meal
  • Vitamin D supplement
  • SAMe supplementation
  • Co-enzyme A supplementation
  • Fish oil (anti-inflammatory)
  • Vitamin C (anti-oxidant)
  • Magnesium
  • Glutamine

Probiotics:

  • Lactobacillus LGG
  • Bifidobacterium Infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus casei Shirota (yakult)

Prebiotics:

  • Oats at 10gm per 1kg body weight.

Ways to reduce alcohol intake…..

  • Stay within the ‘drinking in moderation’ guidelines
  • Abstinence of alcohol- replace alcohol with a healthy habit.
  • Swap to red wine. Studies have demonstrated that red wine contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are beneficial for gut bacteria.
  • Identify the triggers of alcohol consumption. Avoid or reduce the triggers could lead to less alcohol intake.

Useful Resources:

Website- Hello Sunday Morning

Website- Sexy Sobriety

Support- Alcoholics Anonymous

Support- Drink Wise

REFERENCES

Barve, Shirish et. al. ‘Development, Prevention & Treatment of Alcohol Induced Organ Injury: The Role of Nutrition, Alcohol Research, Vol. 28, No. 2 pg. 289-302

Bishehsari, Faraz. et. alĀ , Alcohol and GUT derived Inflammation’, Alcohol Research, Vol. 38. No. 2 pg. 163-171

Engen, Phillip A. et. al. ‘The Gastrointestinal Microbiome- Alcohol effects on the composition of Intestinal Microbiota’, Alcohol Research, Vol. 37, No.2

Leclercq, S. Timory, P de. Delzeme, NM. Starket, P. (2017) ‘The Link between inflammation, bugs, the intestine and the brain in alcohol dependence’, Translational Psychiatry

 

 

 

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