A night out with the girls and a few martinis is always nice, but did you know just one night of binge drinking has some serious repercussions? Although a night of drinking can be fun in the moment, it’s side effects are much more serious then that nasty hangover the next morning. Binge drinking leads to higher endotoxin levels and ultimately, a higher risk for breast cancer. Pretty gnarly, right?
A study published in PLOS ONE examined the effects of binge drinking in the human body. Endotoxin levels—harmful toxins that are released when gut cells deteriorate and enter the bloodstream—rapidly increased after just 30 minutes of drinking and remained high for almost 24 hours after consumption. Lead study author Szabo Gyongyi, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, says endotoxins can alter your body’s immune response and cause muscle aches, forcing your body to retrieve nutrients from muscles. This is why you might be feeling achy and sore after a night of drinking. Remember, all these issues begin occurring after just ONE night of binge drinking. If binge drinking continues over time, the existence of endotoxins in the bloodstream is prolonged and can eventually lead to alcohol hepatitis (liver inflammation). In addition, a recent study published in the journal Alcohol found that an entire weekend of binge drinking can result in oxidative stress and even damage your DNA, YIKES!
Need another reason to cut back on the drinks? Research shows that drinking alcoholic beverages—beer, wine, and liquor—increases levels of estrogen and other hormones in a woman’s body resulting in a higher risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Overindulging in alcohol can also lead to damaged DNA in cells, another increase in breast cancer risk. Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.
Who knew having a little fun with the girls could cause so much permanent damage to your body! Some women choose to cut alcohol out of their life for good, but that isn’t completely necessary. If you plan to continue drinking, try to have two or fewer alcoholic drinks per week. A glass of red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, or Pinot Noir, because they are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related degenerative diseases in moderation. Cheers to that!