Alcohol – The effects on the skin

Wines and other grape based alcohol drinks can interfere with the metabolism of most vitamins and the absorption of many nutrients from food. Alcohol decreases secretion of digestive enzymes and therefore hinders the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules. By damaging the cells lining in the stomach and intestines it consequently reduces the absorption of food through the small intestine. This interferes with the absorption of amino acids, glucose, zinc and vitamins. It is well known that alcohol negatively influences the processing of nutrients in the body.

Alcohol consumption hampers the efficient metabolising of fatty acids and interferes with zinc and vitamin A metabolism and destroys B vitamins – all essential nutrients for healthy skin. Even in small amounts, alcohol will destroy vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid, which causes an increase in susceptibility to homocysteine, a greater predictor of heart disease than cholesterol. A list of minerals and vitamins that you will need to supplement if you drink alcohol includes: calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamin C, thiamine and riboflavin.

Regular alcohol use depletes selenium stores in the body and selenium is involved in a healthy immune system and proper thyroid function, as well as recent research that shows it can reduce the severity of some cancers. Alcohol hastens the breakdown of the antioxidants in the blood and getting older doesn’t help! The by-products of alcohol metabolism generate oxidants that can contribute to cell damage. An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants can create oxidative stress, a condition that increases cell damage. The older you are the more likely you are to be already fighting cell deterioration and have malabsorption problems, so the risk is even greater when using alcohol. As you get older, a common problem is low stomach acid and diminished secretion of digestive enzymes. Lack of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes can lead to poor absorption of nutrients.