[Mise à jour du 11/08/21]
Alcohol is believed to be responsible for 11 different types of cancer,
Drinking alcohol would increase the risk of contracting nearly a dozen cancers. This is in any case what reveals a scientific study published on July 28, 2021 in the journal Nature Communications.
Conducted by researchers at Imperial College London (UK), this large study compared the results of 860 meta-analyzes conducted on diet, alcohol consumption and cancer rates. .
The team then found that alcohol consumption was a major risk factor for 11 cancers, and that it could in particular increase the risk of colorectal cancer, of the liver, breast, esophagus, but also of the head and neck.
At the same time, the study showed that the consumption of at least a cup of coffee a day would protect against liver cancer and basal cell carcinoma of the skin, a type of skin cancer, due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coffee. Consumption of dairy products and whole grains could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
“Further research should [être entreprises pour] to better understand the mechanisms involved in the links between coffee and cancer as well as between alcohol and the different cancer subtypes ”, qualified at the microphone of the Guardian Giota Mitrou, director of research and innovation at the World Cancer Research Fund, which funded the research.
Alcohol: what effects on the body?
Drinking alcohol is never harmless. In the short and long term, its consumption has disastrous and often irreversible consequences on our health.
Alcohol is deeply rooted in our culture and in our traditions. However, consistently drinking alcohol every day to relax or to accompany a meal can lead to addiction. Dr Catherine Simon, addictologist, deciphers for us the effects of alcohol on our body.
1. We are unequal when it comes to alcohol
The alcohol level in the blood depends on the amount consumed, speed of consumption and whether or not you have eaten, but also body size, sex, age and genetics.
“At the same consumption, the blood alcohol level rises more in a woman than in a man of the same weight, due to a lower muscle mass, explains Dr. Catherine Simon. “As the musculature decreases over the years, it is the same for the elderly. ”
2. Alcohol disinhibits
Absorbed as it is in the small intestine, the small alcohol molecule passes quickly into the blood and diffuses throughout the body. Especially in the brain, of which it modifies the functioning.
“After drinking, we observe the release of dopamine and endorphins which provide excitement and euphoria, and an action on serotonin, a sort of behavior moderator, ”according to our expert.
By acting on mood and emotions as well as on the capacity for judgment, these upheavals can lead to feeling of euphoria, Where make somebody sad, and promote risk-taking.
3. Alcohol changes the senses
By deregulating exchanges between neurons, alcohol increases reaction time – by one second without alcohol, the average reaction time drops to 1.5 s with a blood alcohol level of 0.5 g per l – and reduces reflexes , vigilance and resistance to fatigue.
Alcohol interferes with vision, estimation of distances and coordination of movements. Moreover, its disinhibiting effect leads one to underestimate the dangers.
Thus, while driving, the risk of being responsible for a fatal accident is multiplied by eight.
4. Alcohol is harmful to the brain
Whether in adolescents or adults, alcohol consumption has deleterious effects on the brain.
Teenage drunkenness damages their brain
“Up to the age of 25, the brain continues to mature, details the expert. “Medical imaging has shown that repeated excessive consumption before this age can leave neurobiological traces in certain areas of the brain, the cortex and the hippocampus, which have the repercussion of learning and memorization. ”
The “express bitures ”(thebinge drinking) are therefore harmful not only in the immediate future (ethyl coma…), but also in the long term, since they irreversibly alter the capacities of memory, concentration and analysis.
Drinking any amount of alcohol is harmful to the brain
According to a study study involving 25,000 people, published in May 2021, any amount of alcohol consumption would be harmful to the brain. Precisely, even a moderate alcohol consumption is related to lower gray matter density. At this time, this study has not yet been reviewed by the scientific community. The researchers found that the higher the alcohol consumption, the lower the brain volume. “There is no threshold for alcohol consumption – all alcohol is worse. Almost the entire brain appears to be affected – not just specific areas, as previously thought”, explained lead author Anya Topiwala, clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford. A higher volume of alcohol consumption per week was associated with a lower gray matter density. Thus, the researchers discovered that alcohol could explain up to 0.8% of the change in the volume of gray matter.
5. You can be addicted without drinking every day
We then speak of psychological dependence. “This is the case for people who drink systematically in certain situations to relax, get euphoric or boost, explains Dr. Simon. When we can no longer do without drinking in these situations, we are alcohol dependent. ”
In addition to the psychological suffering that this dependence generates, the risk is to consume more and more and to fall into the physical dependence. This threshold varies depending on the individual. Physical dependence is manifested by signs of withdrawal when stopping or reducing consumption.
6. Alcohol is a hard drug
Generated by the production of dopamine, the pleasure aroused by alcoholism encourages always consume more.
“However, as soon as consumption becomes frequent and important, cells reorganize their functioning, continues Dr Simon. If we stop drinking, nothing works. ”
In addition to discomfort and an overwhelming desire to consume, we observe sweating, morning tremors, sleep disturbances, irritability … Weaning is difficult.
And, as everything remains in the memory, a single drop of alcohol can make you dive again after a period of abstinence.
7. Alcohol amplifies digestive difficulties
Alcohol is an irritant that weakens the mucous membranes, in particular digestive, ENT and oral with which it is in direct contact.
By acting on the valve located between the stomach and the esophagus, it promotes gastric reflux. It can lead to stomach pains, abdominal pain.
8. It is between 40 and 60 that we pay for abuse
“The consequences of consuming alcohol above the recommended limits appear over time, warns Dr Simon. This promotesarterial hypertension and thehypercholesterolemia.
“It is also a frecognized risk actor for many cancers: mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, colon, rectum, stomach, pancreas, liver, breast. Especially if we associate it with tobacco. “
9. Alcohol makes you fat
Pure alcohol is very energetic: 7 calories per gram against 4 for sugar. And since it is always ingested with drinks containing sugar (beer, wine …), it is double the penalty for the figure.
As the body first uses energy from carbohydrates to function, energy from alcohol is stored as fat, especially around the abdomen.
10. Alcohol can promote desire, not performance
By disinhibiting, alcohol can promote arousal in both men and women. But, when it comes to making love, it seems to have a disruptive effect.
The various studies carried out on the subject highlight difficulties in maintaining an erection in men, and in achieving pleasure for both partners.
Alcohol: the dose not to be exceeded The risk threshold is less than 2 drinks per day for a woman, 3 for a man, with at least 1 non-alcoholic day per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on one occasion. Beyond that, the risks of diseases and behavioral disorders may arise. Each standard glass corresponds to 10 g of pure alcohol, i.e.: – 2.5 cl of whiskey at 45 ° – 2.5 cl of digestif at 45 ° – 2.5 cl of pastis at 45 ° – 7 cl of aperitif at 18 ° – 10 cl of wine at 12 ° – 10 cl of champagne at 12 ° – 25 cl of cider at 5 ° – 25 cl of beer at 5 °.