“Don’t take away my wine!” was the cry of many a woman over the last few weeks when research reported one glass of alcohol per day increases the risk of cancer. As one of my post-menopausal patients so eloquently stated, “When they took me off HRT years ago due to the negative studies, I turned to wine to relax and unwind. Now I’ve got nothing so I’m going to need a doctor’s note in case I hurt someone.”
Of course she was saying this in jest, however the latest research caused quite a ruckus amongst the female health world. As part of my initial consultation we discuss alcohol consumption, and more often than not, I find many women drink at least 7 glasses of alcohol per week.
Although I am okay with drinking in moderation, I explain to women that alcohol raises estrogen and essentially clogs up the liver. It causes hypoglycemia at night which makes it difficult for women to fall asleep or stay asleep and is dehydrating to our bodies. Over the long-term, alcohol can deplete our B vitamins which are so essential to health.
Due to its empty calories, alcohol can slowly pack on the pounds and may be a reason behind elevated blood pressure, triglycerides, and/or liver enzymes. And while I understand nothing tastes better on a hot day than a cold beer or chilled chardonnay, it’s best done on a limited basis of 2-3 drinks per week.