When it comes to drinking alcohol in general, men and women are not equal. Women bear the brunt of alcohol’s negative effects the most. This is especially true for those women who drink to excess.
The National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that women end up with higher amounts of alcohol in their blood and become more impaired than men after drinking equal amounts of alcohol.
But that’s not all. Here are nine reasons why women should drink less alcohol than men.
1) Alcohol is diluted differently in men and women.
There are differences in the capacities of each gender for diluting alcohol. Body water works to dilute alcohol. Men typically have around 61 percent of body water. Women have a lot less — around 52 percent. So men are naturally built to dilute alcohol more efficiently than women, said HealthStatus.com.
2) Women have more body fat.
Body fat is directly related to the speed of alcohol absorption and metabolism. Fat does not absorb alcohol, so alcohol remains highly concentrated in the bloodstream. Women tend to have more body fat than men, thus their brains and organs get more exposed to alcohol.
3) Enzymes affect women’s capacity to metabolize alcohol.
Alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase are two enzymes that break down alcohol in the liver and stomach. Women have lower levels of both. As a result, alcohol sticks around longer in women’s bloodstreams.
4) Hormonal changes play a role.
When women experience high estrogen levels due to menstruation, that causes intoxication to set in faster. In addition, for those taking medication with estrogen like birth control, intoxication can last longer. That’s because the medication slows the rate at which their bodies are able to get rid of the alcohol, stated MindBodyGreen.com.
5) They are at greater risk for liver damage.
Women develop alcohol-induced liver disease over shorter times, and even after consuming less alcohol, than men, wrote NIH.