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Did You Celebrate Dry January?

Let’s face it. Most of us enjoy a nice drink in the evenings after a meal. Whether it’s a hard day at work or socialising with loved ones, enjoying a glass of wine or a nightcap is a great enjoyment. So, with that in mind, why would you consider Dry January? It sounds like a month of deprivation, right? In reality, Dry January can be a great way to connect to your body and enjoy a stronger sense of self. Plus, it can be just the motivation to order liver function testing to better understand your body’s needs. Are you curious to know more? Read on!

What is Dry January?

This popular month-long event is exactly what it sounds like. It’s committing to enjoying an alcohol-free month from January 1-31. And don’t worry if you’re interested in trying it out but are partially through the month – you can join the challenge anytime. It isn’t too late!

What are the benefits of Dry January?

One of the most exciting things about Dry January is that it has many benefits! Many are often surprised with just how many dry January advantages there are! Take a look at some of the best ones and see for yourself.

Improved sleep

Many people rely on alcohol to help them sleep, but the reality is that alcohol can create or worsen sleep issues! Going dry for January can help reset your body and mind, leading to better sleep. In fact, about 70% of participants in Dry January note that they have better sleep throughout the month!

Mental health benefits

For one reason or another, those with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions often rely on alcohol as part of a treatment plan. Interestingly, going dry in January can improve mental health in the short and long term.

Saved money and time

Fact about dry January

Another genuine benefit after a stressful and expensive holiday season is that skipping out on alcohol can save money in a noticeable way. Approximately 86% of participants in Dry January reported saving money, even if they still went out and had a classic social life — just alcohol-free. Many save time, too, which can be a bonus for helping yourself start the new year off just right.

A rebounding body

Alcohol can put a lot of stress on our bodies, especially if we drink regularly, even in moderate amounts. After Dry January, many participants notice improved skin and hair health. Others notice weight loss to the point that clothes fit differently. When you combine that with a proactive approach to health through liver function testing, eating whole foods, and exercising, those benefits stretch even further!

There is even more data to support that. Physically, going alcohol-free can also lower blood pressure and glucose levels and reduce cholesterol. Then, there’s the impressive difference in liver fat content—more on that next.

The role of liver fat and liver health

Liver fat content has a lot to do with liver health in the long term. Short-term and long-term alcohol habits can cause fat build-up in the liver. Those participating in Dry January could experience up to 40% liver fat loss, which is terrific. A fatty liver can lead to fatty liver disease, which is often symptom-free.

A key part of understanding what’s going on with your liver is to consider liver function testing, especially if you drink regularly. Understanding where your liver health is at can help you contact a specialist and understand what changes you can make to better provide for your liver, it’s health, and your general overall well-being. Liver fat can be reversed by making short-term and long-term changes to your diet and drinking habits!

Your liver depends on you

Your liver is a vital organ, and it can be easily damaged without you knowing it. That’s why Dry January is a great celebration to consider when you want to take proactive steps to better your liver health.

Many people feel that they have to justify the reason they are participating in Dry January, but the reality is that you don’t need an excuse. Participating in this great challenge is not only just about reducing your alcohol consumption. It’s also an opportunity to meet new people, bond with those doing the challenge with you, and push yourself and your body to a newer, better form! Isn’t that reason enough?

Whether this is your first time hearing of Dry January, or you’ve just been waiting for an excuse to give it a try, why not commit today to the rest of January being alcohol-free? You might be surprised at how much it changes your life in tangible and intangible ways!

For other ways to improve your health, why not check out our testing options here?

Drinking with a Yeast Intolerance over Christmas

We all enjoy an alcoholic drink or two with family and friends over the festive season. But those with allergies and intolerances can have a tougher time finding a drink that doesn’t lead to uncomfortable or potentially life-threatening symptoms. Particularly if you have a yeast intolerance or allergy, yeast is a primary ingredient in the production of these beverages.

Fermented Alcoholic Drinks

The problem for those with a yeast allergy is mostly with fermented drinks. All alcoholic beverages use yeast to help with the fermentation process. It’s used to turn the sugars into ethanol. No yeast, no alcohol.

There are a few options that those avoiding yeast can still drink on a night out though. But be warned, this is mostly anecdotal, and there is still more research needed.

Distilled Spirits – the Non-Allergenic Saviour

Because distilling a drink usually removes most yeast by-products from the liquid, the vast majority of them are considered yeast-free. The consensus is that the distillation process removes all but the most minute traces of yeast from these drinks.

Clear liquors such as Vodka and Gin are common choices for those avoiding yeast. They’re also considered the best options for avoiding a hangover because they’ve been refined. The refining often removes undesirable congeners which are also believed to contribute to hangovers. So, opting for a clear spirit could be a doubly wise choice for the yeast intolerant drinker. You could end up experiencing fewer side-effects of alcohol than those without any intolerances or allergies at all!

It’s not a Perfect Science – Yet

While the expectation is that distilled drinks shouldn’t be a problem for those with Yeast allergies, there has been very little research into it. If you are allergic to yeast, its best to discuss further allergy testing with your allergist or doctor before adding any of these drinks to your diet.

Alcohol Facts and Myths

Alcohol has many effects on the body, with various pitfalls and even a few purported benefits. Once it enters your system, it starts working on multiple organs. The heart, liver, brain are just a few. If you’re frequently drinking too much, the organs affected can begin to develop long-term health problems.

Many of us are blissfully unaware of how alcohol actually affects our bodies. So we’re going to fill you in on 13 facts (and a few myths) on this celebratory substance enjoyed in many countries around the world.

13 Alcohol Facts

  1. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows down brain activity. However, it first behaves like a stimulant in small amounts, which is why some people become more sociable or upbeat to start with.
  2. Alcohol triggers the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that’s associated with anticipation, pleasure and satisfaction.
  3. Alcohol is one of the most misused substances (both legal and illegal) with roughly 1 in 8 Americans meeting the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder.
  4. According to a study in 2015, light-eyed Americans (of European descent) are more likely to misuse alcohol than dark-eyed Americans of European descent.
  5. Research has indicated that rates of alcohol use and high-risk use increased between 2001 and 2013, despite the popularity increase in health.
  6. Teens who started drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol later in life.
  7. A study that explored drinking around Italian families found that young Italians who drank at family meals while growing up were much less likely to develop unhealthy drinking habits in later life.
  8. People who have more muscle mass and less body fat are more tolerant of alcohol, due to muscle absorbing alcohol faster than fat.
  9. Long-term drinking is more likely to result in adverse health consequences for women than men, even if women drink less for a shorter period.
  10. Alcohol-related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in America. Roughly 88,000 people die each year in the States from alcohol-related causes.
  11. Alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of dementia.
  12. Drinking red wine (in moderation) is considered good for the heart. It contains resveratrol, a substance that helps lower cholesterol, stop blood clots and even prevent blood vessel damage.
  13. While red wine in moderation can be beneficial, dark drinks are more likely to cause a hangover than clear beverages. Opting for vodka over whiskey might be a good idea if you don’t want to write off the following day.

That’s a lot of facts about alcohol. But there are a lot of myths surrounding the substance as well. Here are a few myths that many of us still believe;

Top 5 Myths

1. “It’s OK to get drunk every now and then.”

Drinking enough to get heavily drunk is considered binge drinking, which is associated with severe health problems such as unintentional injuries, cancer, and heart disease. Regardless of how infrequently you do it, if you have 4 to 5 (or more) drinks in a single sitting, you’re putting your health at risk.

2. “Wine or beer won’t make you as drunk as hard liquor.”

All alcoholic drinks contain ethanol, in roughly the same amounts. This is why certain drinks are sold as pints (beer, lager and cider), glasses (wine) and shots (spirits). While spirits are easier to drink in excess, due to having a smaller volume, each serving will have roughly the same effect on your body.

3. “It’s always safe in moderation.”

Moderate consumption of some alcoholic drinks can have health benefits, but this doesn’t equate it to being ‘risk-free’. There are many groups of people for whom the risks can vastly outweigh potential benefits. Such as those who;

  • are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • are taking prescribed anti-depressants or other psychoactive substances.
  • have AUD, alcohol dependence, or a family history of either
  • have heart failure or a weak heart
  • have liver or pancreatic disease
  • have previously had a stroke, heart failure or a weak heart.
  • plan to drive or operate machinery
  • take other prescription medications that interact with alcohol

4. “Drinking is only a problem for those who can’t hold their liquor.”

It can actually be a good sign if you can’t hold your alcohol. Those that no longer feel the effects of alcohol are probably developing a tolerance to it, which can mean they’re at higher risk of developing a dependency.

5. “You can sober up quickly with a cup of coffee.”

This may be the biggest lie surrounding alcohol – most likely due to a misunderstanding of what causes the symptoms of a hangover. The idea behind it seems sound enough though – since alcohol is a depressant, you should counteract it with a stimulant.

The symptoms of feeling drunk or hungover are mostly due to your blood alcohol levels dropping, rather than the psychoactive effects of the drink. Symptoms that aren’t caused by the drop in alcohol are just your body working through it – it’s a matter of giving yourself time to flush it out of your system.

It’s not just the Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks can have negative consequences in everyone, but some people are more affected than others. For example, those with a barely, hops or yeast intolerance will find that a single pint of beer can cause uncomfortable side-effects like bloating or intestinal discomfort. Grapes, apples, pears and citric fruits can all be sources of unusual symptoms as well, as we can even be intolerant to these fruits. If you’re wondering whether you should be avoiding beer, lager or ale due to an intolerance or allergy, consider getting tested against their main ingredients.