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Alcohol Harms Women Faster Than Men

A study in Russia confirms that the brain-damaging effects of alcohol affect women more quickly than men.

Researchers asked more than 100 alcoholics between the ages of 18 and 40, as well as 68 non-alcoholics, to complete a series of brain function tests.

Female alcoholics performed worse on tests of visual working memory, cognitive flexibility, and spatial planning and problem solving, even though the duration of alcohol use was significantly longer for men (averaging 15 years) than women (averaging 11 years).

However, 91 percent of the women reported binge drinking, as opposed to only 72 percent of the men.

Other physiological damage resulting from alcoholism, such as heart and liver problems, were already known to occur more quickly in women than in men, an effect known as telescoping.

Women metabolize alcohol more quickly than a man of the same weight, because men have more alcohol-diluting water in their bodies, and women have less of an enzyme that makes alcohol inactive.

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 2007: 745-754

Yahoo News April 23, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Many people will use some of the recent research on wine to justify their regular use of alcohol, but these benefits are suspicious. Most likely the benefit is not at all from the alcohol but from the skins and seeds of the fruit (typically grapes) that were used to produce it. These items are loaded with potent polyphenolic antioxidants. 

There are clearly major benefits to consuming the bioflavanoids that are present in grape seeds and grape skins, but NOT in the alcohol caused by fermenting the sugar in the grape pulp.

After reviewing the evidence I am convinced that alcohol is a potent neurotoxin that can poison your brain, not to mention disrupt your hormonal balance. Like any poison, if it is taken in small quantities it will do little to no damage, but higher doses are virtually assured to cause some dysfunctions. Whether or not the damage is noticed is another issue entirely.

Alcohol can also leave you more vulnerable to various preventable cancers. The effects strike women more quickly, but they affect men as well after enough time.

If you want to get the antioxidant benefits, then instead of wine try whole grape skins -- and pass up the meat of the grape.

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