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Does alcohol kill beneficial gut bacteria?

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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 12:06 PM
Original message
Does alcohol kill beneficial gut bacteria?
Last weekend I had a few vodka drinks, which is a rarity for me. I ended up pretty hung over and feeling like crap the next day, which is normal for me. However, about 4 days later I noticed that my queasiness wasn't going away. It felt like acid indigestion, so I took some antacids and drank lots of water. It didn't work.

I was getting worried (ulcer?) until I decided to eat a big bowl of Yogurt. Within 30 minutes I was feeling 100%, no stomach issues at all.

It's pretty obvious in hindsight that the vodka I drank killed my beneficial gut bacteria, and the yogurt replaced it.

Is this common knowledge? If not, why? Do alcoholics know about this? Beneficial bacteria is, at least in my case, a necessity for healthy digestion.

I don't need another reason to avoid alcohol, but this is a biggie IMO.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. your puny girlie bacterias are no match for the vodka


Depends on how much you drink, how cconcentrated and how fast you knock 'em back, how much you've had to eat and how high fat content in your most recent meal, and any other underlying digestive issues. You can't kill all of your gut bacteria short of doing chemo, so it will come back on its own anyway. Alcohol metabolism also means your liver enzymes - primarily ethyl dehydrogenase, breaks down the alcohol into lighter compounds such as acetone and water.

At sufficient concentrations you start chemically impacting your intestinal lining, not just the good gut bugs.

The best thing is moderation. Or if you MUST swill a fifth of scotch as part of a human self-destructive bonding ceremony, suck down some yogurt for the next few days, and LOTS and lots of water.
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heli Donating Member (276 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
2. Alcohol is a well-known cause of gastritis
It can mess up your stomach lining, which is why you felt the "acid indigestion".
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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
3. hmmm... I suspect something else was at work
1) Beneficial gut bacteria are in your colon, not your stomach or small intestine. (Which isn't to say that bacteria can't live elsewhere in the GI system--e.g., H. pylori--just that the healthy ones are in your colon.)

2) Half an hour wouldn't have been long enough to get the yogurt to your colon, much less repopulate it.

3) I don't think (although I don't know for sure) that alcohol would make it intact to your colon in any significant amount; it'd be absorbed and metabolized in the hours that it takes things to get from your mouth to there.

I wonder whether it was the protein in the yogurt that helped, especially if it was unsweetened yogurt. Protein is nice for stabilizing blood glucose levels. Or maybe, if you hadn't been eating enough lately due to feeling crummy, just eating something good for you did the trick.

All this is JMHO, of course. Whatever the reason--I'm glad you're feeling better!
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postulater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I agree.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. So much for my theory, I thought beneficial bacteria lived in the small intestine.
Really the lesson here (at least in my case) is to not forget to eat my yogurt, which I did for a week prior to this rare drinking session.

My yougurt of choice is locally made organic, full fat and lightly sweetened with real sugar or honey. I usually mix in some fruit or preserves for flavor and granola for texture.
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sngreendds Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. Beneficial bacteria exist from one end to the other.
Don't be fooled by the nay sayers.


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Chemisse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. Good point - alcohol starts getting absorbed very early
It's just a little molecule and can even be absorbed through the skin. It starts being absorbed in the mouth and enters the blood every step along the way. It is pretty much gone before it can reach the large intestine.
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Phlem Donating Member (580 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
6. My biological dad died
from drinking to much Vodka, his drink of choice. Apparently He had to have surgeries to take out parts of his small intestine that was ruined from it and he eventually died cause wouldn't stop drinking.
I have been drinking beer a good portion of my life and sometime after 30 I started to get the symptoms you've described. Now 43 I know it does something to your stomach that's not so good. Cause if I drink about4 to 5 beers a night for about a week, I have the runs, my stomach feels bloated, and no matter what I eat I don't feel like I'm getting the nutrition in my system. I quit for a week and I feel great. I've decided to really cut back these days and only have a brew once or twice a week. Even then I still get stomach issues.

Be careful Bro, life's more important than a drink and if your not careful, you'll not remember any of it, especially the good parts.

-p
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-28-10 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #6
17. Sounds like gluten intolerance
Look it up, people with gluten intolerance can't drink beer.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-01-10 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. There is no gluten in distilled liquors like vodka.
Beer, of course, is not distilled and retains gluten proteins from the grains used to produce it.
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Phlem Donating Member (580 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
7. PS
Yes I do eat yogurt, Activa or any brand that have extra beneficial bacteria for my stomach and the crappy feeling goes away faster, also lots of gatorade and water afterward and a nice long break will get ya feeling good again.

-p
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 03:29 PM
Response to Original message
8. I thought the liver metabolizes alcohol and makes OK...except for the liver, I guess
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Chemisse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-22-10 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. The liver does metabolize alcohol
But the reaction alters the pathways in the liver, by tying up some important chemicals and overproducing others. While it saves you from having deadly levels of alcohol allowed into your blood, it damages the liver in the process.
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-23-10 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. You should probably clarify at what levels you are referring to.
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Chemisse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-23-10 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. At what levels? Not sure if this is what you mean, but:
Edited on Tue Feb-23-10 05:57 PM by Chemisse
These reactions all occur at the cellular level inside the liver.

The liver is really quite awesome and complex.
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-23-10 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. So you are saying that any amount of alcohol damages the liver?
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Chemisse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Ahhhh, so that's what you are talking about
No, and I should not have implied that if I did. The liver is designed to detoxify substances. When you drink alcohol, it does what it is supposed to do. It can accommodate increases in NADH and acetaldehyde, to a degree. But it can't sustain that action without damage when the person ingests a substantial amount of alcohol over a period of time.
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thanks for clearing that up.
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