Broken Glass with Red Wine

New Clue to Alcohol Damage

By the wlr team

Key Takeaways

  • Heavy drinking causes 'iron loading', where the body absorbs excessive levels of iron
  • Over absorption of iron causes health issues such as heart attack, liver disease and diabetes, and increases the risk of death 

Drinking heavily results in uncontrolled iron absorption into the body, putting strain on vital organs and increasing the risk of death, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

The study looked at health outcomes in 877 women in Africa over a median follow-up time of nine years.

The results of the study showed levels of ferritin, a blood marker of the extent of body iron loading, were higher in drinkers than non-drinkers.

Iron loading is when the regulation of iron in the body is compromised by alcohol consumption, leading to more of it being absorbed.

It is known to cause health issues such as heart attacks, liver disease and diabetes.

The study found that higher levels of ferritin and its statistical interaction with alcohol in these subjects predicted all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

Quick Tips For Controlling Your Alcohol Intake

At Home

  • Use a measure for drinks at home rather than pouring freely from the bottle. A glass one with 5ml increments is great for cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink over time
  • If you drink every day, try to start having one alcohol free day a week. Once you conquer this, it'll be easy to extend it to 2 or more days a week
  • If you're a wine drinker, dilute each glass half and half with water - still or sparkling. To the sceptical worried about taste - try it, you may be surprised!
  • Make a rule for yourself to not drink alcohol before a certain time of day. Try making this a later time in small increments, over a period of weeks
  • Add mixers to spirits – and make them long drinks

Nights Out

  • Start a night out with a long, soft drink – many people are thirsty when they first arrive at a bar or club, so quench this thirst with an alcohol-free beverage
  • Avoid doubles – and watch out for bars that serve them as the standard. Many pubs now also sell 35ml measures as the standard instead of 25ml
  • Have a water or soft drink after every alcoholic one
  • Offer to drive so that you can stick to low-calorie soft drinks all night

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Iron loading, alcohol and mortality: A prospective study

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