Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alcohol has bigger health impact than does smoking

Alcohol has a bigger impact than smoking on health because alcohol kills at a younger age, according to a story by health reporter, Philippa Roxby for BBC News quoting Dr Nick Sheron, who runs the liver unit at Southampton General Hospital, UK.

Tobacco Reporter Magazine - News

...and here's a link to the original article:

What damage does alcohol do to our bodies?

So why is drinking alcoholic beverages dangerous to our health?

Why alcohol has this negative effect on all elements of our health could be down to acetaldehyde - the product alcohol is broken down into in the body.

Acetaldehyde is toxic and has been shown to damage DNA.

"One of most common genetic defects in man is our inability to counteract the toxicity of alcohol."

Hmmmm....I question the validity of this statement. It seems to echo the same sentiment of the anti-smoker establishment when it says that there is (or can never be) a safe(er) cigarette. So what gives me the right, being a singer in a rock band, to question such "authorities" on the matter? I have a penchant for reading and for questioning things as a result. After much research on the matter, I have recently become a fan of drinking ionized alkaline water, which has been purported to have many health benefits in clearing the body of toxins, even from that of alcohol consumption:

Doctors in the emergency room treat alcohol poisoning by providing an intravenous bicarbonate solution, which neutralizes toxic acetaldehyde quickly, and allows it to be flushed out by the kidneys. Drinking alkaline mineral water stimulates the natural production of bicarbonates in the digestive tract and provides natural detoxification.

Alkaline Water for the Rock Star Lifestyle

..Wanting more proof of this claim, I decided to hop on over to the National Center for Biotechnology Information ( to see if I could find anything on the subject. A quick search revealed this study:

Ionized alkaline water: new strategy for management of metabolic acidosis in experimental animals.

Metabolic acidosis can occur as a result of either the accumulation of endogenous acids or loss of bicarbonate from the gastrointestinal tract or the kidney, which represent common causes of metabolic acidosis.

Similar results were observed in urinary diversion models as there was significant improvement of both the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and serum bicarbonate (P = 0.007 and 0.001 respectively) after utilizing alkaline water orally.

Here is yet another study that I've come across:

Electrolyzed-reduced water inhibits acute ethanol-induced hangovers in Sprague-Dawley rats.

Alcohol concentration in serum of ERW-treated rats showed significant difference at 1 h, 3 h and 5 h respectively as compared with the rats treated with distilled water. Both alcohol dehydrogenase type 1 and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase related with oxidation of alcohol were significantly increased in liver tissue while the level of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase in serum was markedly decreased 24 h after pre-oral administration of ERW.

So it does appear in fact, that there currently exists the knowledge and the science to prove that the negative effects of acetaldehyde can be (at least somewhat) averted &/or reversed by the supplementation of bicarbonate. Is Dr Nick Sheron not aware of this research?

"The toxicity of alcohol is complex, but we do know there is a clear dose relationship."

Doesn't this sound familiar? This is exactly what Dr. Gori of the National Cancer Institute said with regards to cigarette smoking and its relationship to cancer and heart disease.

Nevertheless, I get it: drinking in excess has the potential to wreak havoc on one's body. The same goes for excessive smoking, does it not? Currently, it appears that there IS a safe level of drinking. Scientists who are interested in the issue of harm-reduction are also developing knowledge on how to counter-act some of the risks that are associated with regular (heavy), long term drinking. Of course, this news does not mean that one should go out and drink him/herself into oblivion; what it does mean, however, is that there is hope for those who simply cannot control their over-indulgence. This is a medical issue after all and no one deserves to die simply because some think that they "morally" deserve what they have coming to them. That line of thinking is so "un"-progressive, so Calvinist, and oh so yesterday.

Will harm reduction efforts geared towards those imbibe on a regular basis also be silenced, as what we have witnessed with the case of tobacco? All that we need to do is take a look into the recent history of the anti-tobacco crusade that crucified (and continues to today) anyone who dared challenge the notion that there exists a dose response relationship with smoking and disease. There were studies after all, that proved this to be so; but that is not the message that we have been getting, now is it?


  1. Pretty doubtful,since WHO has jumped the Rubicon...

    Alcohol harms people other than the drinker, whether through violence on the street or in the family, or simply by using up government resources. Most alcohol is drunk at binges, or other heavy-drinking occasions, which worsen all risks as they are a cause of all types of intentional and unintentional injuries, and of ischaemic heart disease and sudden death.(REFERENCE TO PASSIVE DRINKING)

    The amount of alcohol consumed over a lifetime increases the risk of dying from an alcohol-related disorder. There is no safe level of drinking, and in many societies no difference in the risk for men and women.(REFERENCE TO NO SAFE LIMIT THRESHOLD)

  2. The WHO appears to be following the exact same playbook at that of the anti-smokers. In fact, they are one in the same it appears.

    The Puritans and the tyrants never give up, do they?