Well, I am hopping back down the bunny trail, following tid-bits and traces of truth until I pop down a rabbit hole with no end. It’s fun.
Have you ever had an inkling that something physical in your body is reacting a certain way, because of controllable behaviors, but since you aren’t a biologist or scientist, you just chuck your theory to the corner of your brain with other hare brained ideas that you discarded. Skip the research phase and then just went back to life as usual?
I have had the exquisite opportunity in my life, to know things, and to pick up information out of what seems to be thin air. Sometimes it is mathematical formulas, sometimes it deals with biology; sometimes it’s the silent struggle of another human.
I am a magnet for knowledge.
About a month or two before I started Dry July; I started to notice all these short white hairs at the root line of my blonde hair. So I pulled a few out to further investigate. Sure enough, yeah, they are solid white.
“Fuck. I’m too young for this. I wonder if I am going into early menopause.”
The thought has been bugging me for two months, but it wasn’t until yesterday, that I did the research. “Google: alcohol, women, early menopause.”
“In human females, alcohol ingestion, even in amounts insufficient to cause major damage to the liver or other organs, may lead to menstrual irregularities (Ryback 1977). It is important to stress that alcohol ingestion at the wrong time, even in amounts insufficient to cause permanent tissue damage, can disrupt the delicate balance critical to maintaining human female reproductive hormonal cycles and result in infertility. A study of healthy nonalcoholic women found that a substantial portion who drank small amounts of alcohol (i.e., social drinkers) stopped cycling normally and became at least temporarily infertile. This anovulation was associated with a reduced or absent pituitary LH secretion. All the affected women had reported normal menstrual cycles before the study (Mendelson and Mello 1988). This finding is consistent with epidemiologic data from a representative national sample of 917 women, which showed increased rates of menstrual disturbances and infertility associated with increasing self–reported alcohol consumption (Wilsnack et al. 1984). Thus, alcohol–induced disruption of female fertility is a clinical problem that merits further study.” – National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Further down this article, it says “Recently investigators have provided several insights into the possible mechanisms underlying alcohol’s disruption of the female cycle in the rat model. First, research shows that alcohol–fed rats have a temporary elevation of estradiol (Emanuele et al. 2001). Human studies have produced similar findings (Mello et al. 1993). The effects of estrogen on reproductive cyclicity are complex. In some situations, estrogen stimulates the hypothalamic–pituitary unit (Tang et al. 1982); in other situations, it is inhibitory. This short–term elevation in estradiol may be part of the mechanism underlying the alcohol–induced alterations in estrous cycling. ”
Estradiol is the hormone most predominate in menopause or when a woman has her ovaries removed.
“Estradiol, like other steroids, is derived from cholesterol. After side chain cleavage and using the Δ5 or the Δ4– pathway, Δ4-androstenedione is the key intermediary. A portion of the Δ4-androstenedione is converted to testosterone, which in turn undergoes conversion to estradiol by aromatase. In an alternative pathway, Δ4-androstenedione is aromatized to estrone, which is subsequently converted to estradiol.
During the reproductive years, most estradiol in women is produced by the granulosa cells of the ovaries by the aromatization of Δ4-androstenedione (produced in the theca folliculi cells) to estrone, followed by conversion of estrone to estradiol by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Smaller amounts of estradiol are also produced by the adrenal cortex, and, in men, by the testes.
Estradiol is not produced in the gonads only, in particular, fat cells produce active precursors to estradiol, and will continue to do so even after menopause. Estradiol is also produced in the brain and in arterial walls.”
The biosynthesis of estradiol-like compounds has been observed in leguminous plants, such as Phaseolus vulgaris and soybeans.[relevant? ] where they are termed phytoestrogens. Thus, consumption may have oestrogenic effects. In light of this, consumption can be counterproductive to patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer, which usually includes depriving the cancer cells of estrogens.” – Wikipedia
Not only does alcohol consumption mess with a woman’s menstrual cycles ;it can have negative effects on fertility, encourage early menopause and loss of bone density.
Alcohol has a large effect on our (men, women, children and the elderly) hormone balance, which over a long period of time can create epigentic mutations in the DNA. If that doesn’t scare you… I don’t know what to say.
There are a lot of phytoestrogens in alcohol.
” Alcoholic beverages contain not only alcohol but also numerous other substances (i.e., congeners) that may contribute to the beverages’ physiological effects. Plants used to produce alcoholic beverages contain estrogenlike substances (i.e., phytoestrogens). Observations that men with alcoholic cirrhosis often show testicular failure and symptoms of feminization have suggested that alcoholic beverages may contain biologically active phytoestrogens as congeners. Biochemical analyses have identified several phytoestrogens in the congeners of bourbon, beer, and wine. Studies using subjects who produced no estrogen themselves (i.e., rats whose ovaries had been removed and postmenopausal women) demonstrated that phytoestrogens in alcoholic beverage congeners exerted estrogenlike effects in both animals and humans. Those effects were observed even at moderate drinking levels.” – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
Ultimately, hormonal imbalances can create a lot of internal problems, and make the body more susceptible to diseases like cancer. For instance, men who are heavy drinkers of beer, over time can grow enlarged breasts, sometimes referred to as “bitch tits” or “breasticles”. Potential for breast cancer in these men is increased, because those extra estrogens are not meant to be circulating in the male body. Add in that estradiol is produced outside of the gonads, and you have a physiological shit show.
I am certain if more men and women understood the chemistry of long term over consumption, and the potential of consumption to feminize the male body as well as increase potential for disease in both men and women; they would probably step away from the liquid poison in lieu of self preservation.
When we think of alcoholic diseases, we primarily think of cirrhosis, maybe kidney failure, and nerve damage. We neglect the fact that ultimately alcohol effects hormones, and hormones are a huge factor in how we function and feel on a daily basis. Hormones effect every thing in our body.
I don’t know about you, but I come from a family history of hormone problems.
Now a days, we all probably have have at least one alcoholic in our family ( and if you can’t figure out who it is, in your family, then it’s probably you.) Take a moment to think about that person. How do they look? Are they overweight or underweight? Does their skin look distressed or damaged and broken out? Do they look older than their age? All of that is due to hormone imbalance provoked by alcohol. Gross, right?
Just quitting, will not immediately reset your hormone imbalance. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic, and can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It can take months and sometimes even years, to get the body back in balance. For some people, who have abused their body for years, the damage is irreversible. Nerve damage can effect mobility, and a lack of mobility will prevent exercise and weight loss which can help hormones re-balance and purge some of that stagnant estradiol in the fat cells.
We are but science experiments unto ourselves putting ourselves at the mercy of medicine when we’ve abused our bodies beyond their threshold.
I fear that the next few generations are going to crash and burn earlier than they would otherwise, for the abuses they’ve self inflicted. Hopefully these blogs reach those who need this information right now. I believe knowledge is not only power, but empowerment.
Is this series inspiring you? Have you noticed the degrading effects of alcohol on your own biology? Tell me about it in the comments section, (if you are brave enough 😉 . ) Please feel free to share this post with friends and start the conversation of conscious consumption. Please hit the like button if you gained some insights from this piece of writing.
Click the links below for my previous Dry July entries! Cheers!