Posted by chemist on May 4, 2005, at 6:48:31
In reply to Re: chemist: alcohol? how much? » chemist, posted by AMD on May 2, 2005, at 12:53:46
hello again, pardon the time and lapse: work has taken my days and nights away, for a time. the theme of this thread makes me a bit leery. the ADMET business applied to ethanol in humans remains one of the grand challenges in the sciences. the fact that the substance is legal in many parts of the world, is embraced by many faiths as a part of ceremony or ritual, and endorsed by the scientific and lay communities as being something that is likely beneficial to one's health makes commentary beyond biased opinion on my part difficult.
from what i understand, ethanol damage is easy - simple, really - to control, and involves two and only two rules: drink moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages; and define the word ``moderate'' in this context.
ethanol damages all organs, inclusive of skin. chronic consumption of ``small'' amounts of alcohol vs. what the authorities refer to as binge drinking are likely more socially acceptable means to the same end, but this varies person to person and might actually be due to ethanol itself.
the red wine tilt - and do not leave dark brews of beer and ale from the list - is one that is fodder for the innards of the dining section of the sunday newspaper. resveratrol is an antioxidant that is a stilbene derivative and has been found to possess properties ranging from estronergic to cardioprotective to anti-inflammatory (and more). it is also used to justify consumption of ``moderate'' amounts of ethanol by humans wishing to exploit the J-curve of risk/benefit.
fortunately for the community of knockout mice and agar dishes, melanoma and stomach cancer need not worry them as long as they are consuming red wine. in a similar vein, when i am riding my bicycle in the early hours of the morning, i no longer concern myself with the threat posed by vehicles piloted by mice who have consumed a ``moderate'' amount of alcohol along with a moderate dose of alprazolam and forgot to take a moderate dose of insulin to moderate their blood sugar level before they drive home from the lab.
an editorial in the journal Circulation (Rimm and Stampfer, 2002; 105; 2806-2807) and the opening salvo in a paper by Barefoot et al. (Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2002; 76; 466-472) are as far as one need go in stating the punchline to all of this: there is a non-significant component that is hard if not impossible to quantify in determining whether or not the consumption of alcohol is good, bad, or other in an individual (or, in the second case, an alumni of the university of north carolina at chapel hill).
the ``mediterranean diet'' even varies as one traverses the mediterranean, at least according to some scientists in France and some in Greece - and the ``French Paradox'' is no paradox at all to de Lorgeril and colleagues, yet white wines from northern Italy and Germany and olive oil from Italy are as good as retsina and Feta from Greece or a Chateuneuf-des-Papes and Brie from France, according to Bertelli and colleagues in Milano and Pisa. Danish scientists concluded that wine drinkers have better diets than those who drink other types of alcohol-containing beverages, noting that smoking, education, and body mass index were accounted for in this study; Spanish scientists have shown that aging a wine does not increase the amount of antioxidants present in the wine, focusing upon whites and roses and spelling doom for Tavel and Champange in neighboring France; while Korean and Japanese studies - led by scientists likely to have underexpressed amounts of alcohol dehydrogenase in their bodies, thanks to genetics - have shed light upon possible neuroprotection and antitumor growth. Pal and colleagues have shown that Hardy's Nottage Hill, a cabernet shiraz from southern Australia, could be employed in a study leading to publication just as well as any French or Italian wine could, and a few Spanish scientists in Barcelona have shown that the antioxidants are present in grape juice (sans alcohol): i will refrain from commenting about Hardy's Long Flat Red offering and the obvious advantages of alcohol-free grape juice here.
adding alcohol to your diet will indeed call for added resources in your body to be employed. the liver/brain damage that occurs over time and by other pathways than those induced by alcohol are not likely to be over- or undershadowed by two five-ounce (or 150 mL) glasses of wine each day, just as whether or not you are an alumni of UNC or a full-blooded resident of Grenoble will not offset the effects of eight or ten drinks per day. i do feel that alcohol and medication are a mixture that is best avoided, and thus arrive where i begin: on the fence.
my folder containing publications related to resveratrol is rather thick, yet is devoid of references to ethanol and medication interactions being deemed positive. i think that ``two or three'' can turn into ``three or four'' in short time, or just as likely be zero: i do not feel the pull of ethanol, nor have i in the past. that said, i will add that my own experiences in adding wine to a diet that includes medication has shown that any benefit from the wine is outweighed by negative interactions with others and, equally importantly, sets back any gains made by therapy, medication, diet, exercise, or the other parts of a foundation of good health i try to include (and no, working through dawn is not one of them).
in summary: i would love to endorse a (literally) finite and moderate (according to the literature states) consumption of alcohol for the medicated populace, myself included. however, i think that it is detrimental to do so if for the only reason being that controlling medication, alcohol, and mood is much more difficult than mood and medication; mood and alcohol; or alcohol and medication. EOF
> Thanks chemist.
> I'm just curious about how much is too much: my mood is generally good, but I wonder if this occasional over-doing it will cause liver damage in the long run, or whether, basically, it's the daily, heavy drinkers who suffer these consequences.
> As to brain damage -- I certainly hope not. But then, we probably shouldn't go through life with constant worry. Our brains are intact, sure -- and then we die.
> What I'm wondering is, will the introduction of a few glasses of wine every night -- as opposed to once or twice a week binging -- be lighter or harder on my constitution? I'm speaking red wine here. Rather than give up drinking completely -- at least not while I'm feeling otherwise balanced on my medications -- I wonder if temperance is the key. Or will heavy drinking once or twice a week be safer, long run, than two or three glasses of wine daily?
> I realize alcohol is "evil" -- but it's also a part of the culture, and I'd like to get to a place where I /can/ go to dinner and have a fine wine, something I enjoy, as an alternative to not drinking for days, weeks, and then exploding into a heavy, regretful night.
> Again, my question is, which type is actually more damaging, if either is, which one would introduce more cognitive problems (or even enhancements), and how close is either to, say, alcohol abuse or alcoholism?
> I'm trying to get hard facts, not the exaggerations as as pushed by the alcohol companies on one end and the anti-drinking crusaders on the other.
> As always, your input proves invaluable.