Alcohol’s Harm to Women More than Previously Thought?
The study found out that alcohol reduces the function of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenalin. This is the first time alcohol has been implicated in affecting three neurotransmitters. Serotonin is important in appetite, positive mood and digestive function. Dopamine is important for behavior, cognition, voluntary movement and sleep. While noradrenalin is important for attention, stress response and suppression of brain inflammation
To study its effects, investigators recruited 10 women and 32 men whose average alcohol intake amounted to 750+ grams of pure alcohol per week. Those participants are matched with 9 women and 19 men in perfect state of health.
The results shows that the effect of alcohol became prominent in women as short as four (4) years of heavy alcohol use; it resulted to 45% decreased neurotransmitter activity compared to controls. Men experienced such effect in twelve (12) years. It clearly shows that women show lesser tolerance to alcohol than men, with longer history of drinking linked to more reduction of neurotransmitter function.
The surprising results showed that alcohol does not only contribute bodily harm but also harm to the brain as well. It also makes women at more risk to conditions like depression and anxiety due to imbalance of neurotransmitters.
The study will be available on the print journal of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in January 2012.
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