Is anyone actually certain about alcohol and the brain effect of it? What truly happens when you drink that gin and tonic or cranberry juice and vodka? How does your brain really process this and what effect can it have on your brain? Alcohol acts as a depressant, but is also an indirect stimulant and plays other roles, such as changing your brain chemistry, behavior, and emotions. Alcohol may not just give you a buzz but fuel your brain according to a new study.
The effect of alcohol on the brain may be worse than previously thought
There is a study in the Journal of Investigation showing those that drink more than eight drinks weekly, as well as those that drink fewer than two drinks weekly are producing acetate faster than light drinkers. This means that in the case of heavy drinkers, they have brains that make up for more energy that is lost after consuming alcohol than those who are light drinkers. Alcohol dependent subjects have smaller brain volumes and cognitive dysfunction than normal subjects who do not drink alcohol.
Acetate (which is best known in vinegar) is converted from ethanol by the body after consuming alcohol and can be an energy source for the brain and other organs in the body. Alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme found in the liver, causes alcohol to change to acetaldehyde by other enzymes and is eventually metabolized to carbon dioxide and water. This product boosts brain energy. This is rapidly converted to acetate. The acetate energy boost feels like a reward to the brain. This may be incentive to imbibe , and the added calories likely explain why so many struggle with withdrawals from alcohol, says study coauthor Graene Mason of YaleUniversity. The acetate uptake and metabolism in the brains of heavy drinkers was greater and rapider than that of the light drinkers. Drinking can have an effect on peoples’ blood glucose levels to drop The acetate causes a by product known as adenosine, which acts as a sedative, like alcohol does. After seeing that high alcohol consumption causes a different increase in the acetate and adenosine enhancing these chemicals in recovering alcoholics can help with alcoholics going through the withdrawal process with the severity of these symptoms.
Human brains typically run on sugar. For many years scientists thought that the brain was only able to use sugar as a source of energy, says Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, but that is changing. There is a shifting view of the brain because they showed a huge effect as a result of this study.