T Nation

Alcohol ?

I could have sworn I read somewhere that one of the reasons alcohol was soo damaging to the body is that it is completely foreign. That is compared to say thc, or stimulants like coke, or opiates like heroin, nicotine. In other words there are molecules in your body that look exactly like thc or nicotine, but not alcohol. Anyone know where this info is? Not sure but I thought it was on this forum.

Tampa Terry?

I don’t know about the science behind it, but I can definitely vouch for the damage.

There are molecules in your body that are similar to alcohol. And your body has the enzymes to deal with alcohol.

The reason I quit drinking alcohol is because it is a powerful testosterone suppressant.

Alcohol

When considering the depressant drugs, few people pay suficient attention to alcohol. Alcohol has very paradoxical effects - in small doses, it acts as a stimulant, but after a few more drinks it acts as a depressant. While some experts believe that a couple of glasses of wine a day may improve your health, larger amounts are definitely not good for you.

Just because a drug is legal, it doesn’t mean that it is safe. Like all of the other depressant drugs, alcohol is addictive. Unlike the opiates, alcohol causes damage to various organs. Brain damage and cirrhosis of the liver are just two serious potential side effects. Contrary to popular opinion, you can also overdose on alcohol. Every year there are a sizable number of deaths from alcohol poisoning - generally when young people who are unused to drinking start drinking spirits. With beer and wine, the volume that you have to drink to get rat-arsed helps you to titrate the dose - take the drug in successive small doses (i.e. pints) until you reach the effect that you desire. With spirits, you can easily pour half a bottle or more down your neck after earlier drinks have rendered your taste buds inactive - before you know it, you are in a coma.

Another crucial fact to remember about alcohol is that it potentiates the impact of all the other depressant drugs. Alcohol is a contributory factor in a majority of deaths from drug overdoses. Opiates like heroin depress the respratory system - they slow down the rate at which you breath. Alcohol has the same effect. Mix the two together, and you may find that your breathing slows down to the point of stopping. This bad enough if it happens in company, but at least they can attempt to resuscitate you or call and ambulance. Very often, you are O.K. while you are out with your mates - the problem occurs when you sink that last pint at closing time and then go home to bed. Alcohol doesn’t produce it’s full effect until some time after you have taken it - so you always feel a couple of drinks behind your consumption. Go home, hit the pillow, and the next morning your partner wakes up next to a stiff.

The other problem with alcohol, is that it also produces nausea. Likewise, the opiates. So once again, the two drugs enhance each other’s side-effects. Pulmonary oedema - drowning in your own vomit - is the second major cause of drug related death and alcohol is often a major contributory factor.

Personally, I think it best to avoid the stuff altogether. Anybody who has ever had Hepatitis B has already done serious damage to the liver - alcohol will make that damage far worse. The ame is true of Hepatitis C - although the damage may not be apparent for some years to come.

If you do drink, the liver works overtime in order to metabolize the alcohol. If you’ve got a habit, the iver will also metabolize the drug at a much faster rate than your body ormally would, so you end up sick from withdrawal much earlier than necessary. So, a sociable drink every now and again is one thing, but if you do drink large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, then you’re stirring up trouble for yourself one way or another - but if you’ve got a habit as well, then you’re fucked, mate.

That is from:
http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/opiates/opiates_mcdermotts_guide.shtml

Here is a great resource:
http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/alcohol/alcohol.shtml

If that is not enough, please let me know. I aced my graduate drugs and human behavior course.

wideguy, I’m sorry, but I don’t have an answer for you on this one. I just don’t know. Boy, that’s gotta be Strike 2. One more, and I’ll be out, fershure! (grin)

To maybe dial things in a bit, I gather you’re talking about damaging to the brain?

Actually, there is a really excellent article in this months (Jan/Feb) Men’s Health about the affects of alcohol on the male body.

[quote]michaelv wrote:
Actually, there is a really excellent article in this months (Jan/Feb) Men’s Health about the affects of alcohol on the male body.[/quote]

http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article/0,2823,s1-3-0-0-2122,00.html

Drag… the online version is missing the really excellent full-body illustration of the affects on various organs and body parts. But the article is still entertaining.

Technically, sugar is an alcohol polymer. If fact it is 6 methanol molecules strung together, but methanol is deadly. Ethanol is a hydrocarbon with an end that looks like WATER (well slightly acidic) in chemical reactions. By the way, I quit drinking 5 years ago because it was killing me. I think that people are set biologically to drink weak wine as their primary liquid source. This would be like a weak 6% vinegar, alcohol mixture cut 50/50 with water (so 3% total). This was necessity in Greek/Roman times because it killed bacteria. I have read recently that cows basically live off of alcohol produced by bacteria in their gut. One thing about alcohol compared to the other drugs: Its completely out of your system in 24 hours.

Hmm, I guess I’m not explaining my question well enough. Mert you seem to be closest to answering what I asked, thank you. I’m well aware of what alcohol does, to your body, test levels, interactions with other drugs. I just have this idea that somewhere I read alcohol (kinda like mert said) is relatively foriegn to the human body in the way that there are no other molecules that resemble it.

Wideguy,
I think you are on the right track with this.I know that nicotine does attatch to the Nicotinamide adenosine di-nucleotide+ receptors, T.H.C. beta 9 is estrogenic and does attatch to estrogen receptors, and the opioids likewise with our bodies own opioid receptors.
I have been curious about the interaction that alcahol has with the body for a while too. How exactly does it break down and interact with the neuro/physio systems. I’ll start checking into this and see what I can find.