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Sipping Safety: Unraveling the Myth – Is Any Amount of Alcohol Truly Safe?

By Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND

In January 2023, during the widespread observance of "Dry January" in the United States, the World Health Organization (WHO) challenged prevailing beliefs about alcohol. The Lancet Public Health featured a statement that starkly refuted the idea that any level of alcohol consumption could be considered a safe indulgence. In a cultural landscape where raising a glass of wine to health had become a customary practice, a pressing question emerged: Can any amount of alcohol be genuinely deemed safe for consumption?

Alcohol Unveiled: The Unseen Dangers

Delving beyond the familiar warnings of excessive drinking, it's time to shine a spotlight on the unseen dangers of alcohol, notably the formation of acetaldehyde—a highly toxic compound that emerges during alcohol metabolism.

Acetaldehyde: The Silent Culprit

At the core of alcohol's harmful effects lies acetaldehyde, a highly toxic and reactive compound formed during the breakdown of alcohol in the liver:

  • When alcohol is consumed, it undergoes a complex metabolic process primarily in the liver.

  • Alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme, converts alcohol into acetaldehyde—a highly toxic substance.

  • Acetaldehyde, in turn, is oxidized into acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase.

  • Acetate is finally converted into carbon dioxide and water for elimination from the body.

Beyond being a potent carcinogen, acetaldehyde wreaks havoc on cellular proteins and DNA, contributing to mutations and increasing the risk of cancer. Moreover, it triggers oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver, exacerbating the overall damage linked to alcohol consumption and heightening the risk of the following health conditions:

Cancer Risk:

  • Recent revelations reject the notion of a 'safe threshold' for alcohol. Shockingly, even minimal alcohol intake, as low as one drink per week, has been linked to an increased risk of cancer—a consequence intricately linked to acetaldehyde exposure.

  • Acetaldehyde is a potent carcinogen, causing damage to cellular proteins and DNA. Mutations induced by acetaldehyde contribute to an elevated risk of cancer.

Brain Function:

  • In 2021, researchers at the University of Oxford unveiled findings indicating that no amount of alcohol is safe for brain function. The impact on grey and white matter challenges the idea that moderate drinking might have neuroprotective effects, emphasizing the overarching harm inflicted by alcohol.

  • Acetaldehyde induces oxidative stress in the brain, damaging crucial grey and white matter. This oxidative damage plays a role in the cognitive decline observed with increased alcohol consumption.

Heart Health:

  • Contrary to popular belief, 2022 research using data from the UK Biobank debunked the idea that light drinking is inherently beneficial for heart health. Even a few drinks increased the risk of hypertension and coronary artery disease, with lifestyle choices overshadowing any perceived benefits.

  • Acetaldehyde contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation in the cardiovascular system, amplifying the risks of hypertension and coronary artery disease.

What You Can Do

Faced with this sobering information, the decision is yours to make! If safeguarding your health is a priority, you essentially have two primary options:

Stop Drinking!

For those deeply concerned about the health risks linked to alcohol, opting for complete abstinence is not only a valid but often the best decision. Eliminating alcohol from your lifestyle effectively eradicates associated health risks, paving the way for a healthier and more resilient future.

If the idea of complete abstinence seems challenging, there are numerous enjoyable and health-conscious alternatives for socializing:

  • Mocktails: Savor the flavors of non-alcoholic cocktails, which offer a refreshing and festive experience without the drawbacks of alcohol.

  • Non-Alcoholic Beer and Wine: Explore the growing variety of non-alcoholic beer and wine options available, allowing you to partake in social toasts without the effects of alcohol.

  • Natural Juices, Infused Water/Sparkling Water: Embrace the richness of natural juices or infused water for a flavorful and hydrating beverage during social gatherings.

  • Ketohol and CBD Drinks: Ketohol and CBD-infused beverages provide alternatives that align with health-conscious choices and cater to evolving preferences.

  • Herbal Drinks: Explore herbal concoctions that are gaining popularity, offering unique flavors and potential health benefits. Click the picture below to check out Curious Elixers:

Remember, choosing health does not mean sacrificing enjoyment. By exploring these alternatives, you can continue to relish social moments while prioritizing your well-being.

Drink in Moderation and Take Support:

If stopping altogether isn't the desired path, moderation becomes key. Nevertheless, it's important to complement this approach with supportive measures to mitigate potential risks. Consider incorporating these beneficial supplements each time you indulge:

Bile Essentials - Liver/Gallbladder Support:

  • This supplement provides nutritional support for the liver and gallbladder, promoting bile flow, aiding in detoxification, and supporting overall liver health.

  • Key ingredients like Vitamin A, B-6, B-12, L-Methionine, and Taurine play crucial roles in liver function and detoxification, contributing to the breakdown of fats and elimination of toxins, including acetaldehyde.

  • Purchase Bile Essentials here:

Clean C - Buffered Vitamin C:

  • This buffered Vitamin C supplement boosts the immune system, acts as an antioxidant, and supports overall health, especially during times of alcohol consumption.

  • Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals produced during alcohol metabolism, aiding the body in coping with oxidative stress induced by acetaldehyde.

  • Purchase Clean C here:

Cellular Health - Liposomal Glutathione:

  • This liposomal glutathione supplement enhances the body's glutathione levels, a key antioxidant crucial for detoxification and cellular protection.

  • Glutathione, a master antioxidant, is involved in detoxification processes in the liver. Liposomal Glutathione supplements provide efficient delivery, aiding the body in managing alcohol-induced oxidative stress.

  • Purchase Cellular Health here:

ZBiotics - B. subtilis ZB183™:

  • This bacteria is engineered to break down acetaldehyde in the gut, reducing the overall toxic load on the body. Supports detoxification and post-drinking recovery.

  • B. subtilis ZB183™ targets acetaldehyde in the gut, potentially reducing its absorption and aiding in detoxification. The probiotic approach enhances the breakdown of this harmful substance.

  • Purchase ZBiotics here:

In closing, remember: choosing health doesn't mean giving up enjoyment. By exploring alternatives and seeking support, you can safeguard yourself. Whether you opt for complete abstinence or find a middle ground with non-alcoholic options like mocktails, Ketohol, CBD drinks, and herbal concoctions, you empower yourself to navigate alcohol's complexities without compromising well-being. Here's to a healthier and more mindful approach to the choices we make. Cheers to a balanced and vibrant life!

About the Author:

Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND, is the CEO and founder of Cleanbody, a wellness company dedicated to treating and preventing chronic disease. She is the creator of the Cleanbody Method, which follows a three-step process: Evaluate (digging into the root causes of chronic disease using lab testing and other evaluation tools), Optimize (enhancing health foundations by addressing nutrition, lifestyle, and toxic exposures), and Support (optimizing organ functions through healing protocols).


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