May 20, 2010

Beer and Your Body: Introduction

Beer contains alcohol. When you consume beer, then your body contains alcohol. Alcohol is a poison but the human body has some mad skillz at protecting itself from most of alcohol's super dangerous effects. Other than alcohol, beer has some things in it that are super good for you.
When consumed, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestines. Once in blood, it rapidly disperses through the body. Alcohol moves across membranes via passive diffusion affecting many organs, especially the liver, the heart, the kidneys, and the optic nerve. Alcohol reaches the brain quickly and acts as a depressant. If you snort alcohol, it will pass immediately through your Blood Brain Barrier and you will become instantly drunk, but you will regret the act within seconds.
Drinking beer is essentially equivalent to putting large quantities of glucose into the bloodstream. The typical human body responds to large quantities of glucose by producing insulin which removes the glucose from the bloodstream. Insulin is a very hard and efficient worker and will continue to remove glucose from the bloodstream - even when it should probably stop. This leads to low blood sugar (some folks say "hypoglycemia"). Hypoglycemia is responsible for the shaky feeling, the sensation that the room is spinning, blurred vision, and heavy sweating - which are notably different from the horny feeling, boisterousness, "beer goggles", and heavy petting that alcohol can sometimes induce (I'll touch on these later in this series). Low glucose levels also result in feeling tired, which signals to the stomach a craving for carbohydrate. This is why folks tend to feel hungry when they've been slurping down the sauce.
Beer has very positive effects, too! Alcohol may help women stay slim. Beer contains nutrient that is good for bone health. Beer can contribute to a healthy diet.
This is an examination of effects beer can have on the human body. Over the next few months, I will examine hangovers (why they happen, why they feel so terrible, etc), how alcohol makes you drunk, the Beer Goggles Effect, and other physiological topics relating to the consumption of beer.
Bottoms up!


  1. Drinking Wheat Beer is apparently a bit of a health fad in Germany now days. Sort of like that red wine craze in the 90's.