Alcoholism is one of the major factors affecting the economic development in India. The risk of deaths among alcoholics is three times greater when compared to that of the non-alcoholics. Alcohol, when consumed in smaller quantities is not found to cause much effect in the body. But excessive consumption of alcohol leads to cirrhosis of liver due to its ability to dissolve the fats in the cell membranes, thus penetrating into the cells and destroying cell structure.

In spite of these ill effects, alcohol is also considered beneficial by acting as a source of energy. One gram of alcohol yields seven kilocalories of energy.

What happens in the body soon after the consumption of alcohol?

Gastro intestinal tract:

Unlike other foods, alcohol does not require digestion process and soon after consumption it is directly absorbed into the blood. Absorption rate of alcoholic contents into the blood is much greater in an empty stomach.

Absorption of alcohol takes place through simple diffusion and hence when consumed along with food, the absorption rate will be much less. As soon as alcohol reaches the stomach, it gets broken down by the action of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. This reduces the absorption rate of alcohol into the blood. Studies have proven that females produce lesser amount of thus enzyme and hence women become more intoxicated on consuming lesser amount of alcohol..


After absorption, alcohol reaches the liver through the blood. Liver has the capacity of synthesizing adequate quantities of enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in order to oxidize the alcohol and nullify its effect. Normally, liver converts the excess fatty acids to triglycerides and transport them to other tissues. However, alcohol causes damage to this mechanism and prompts the liver to store the triglycerides within the liver itself. These results in a condition called fatty liver. The major organ affected by excessive alcohol consumption is the liver.

Fatty liver serves as the initial stage in the deterioration of liver and thus interferes with the transportation of nutrients and oxygen to liver cells. This leads to a stage called fibrosis of the liver. During this stage the condition of liver could be reversed by proper nutrition and withdrawal of alcohol. If this condition is not taken care of properly, it could result in Cirrhosis.


Alcoholic contents reach the brain within a minute after consumption. Alcohol acts as a depressant and affects all the nerve cells by its sedating action.

Diseases caused by alcoholism:

  • Peptic ulcer
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Nervous disorder
  • Cardiac myopathy

Intake of alcohol reduces the absorption of fat, fat soluble vitamins and vitamin B12. Alcohol inhibits the transport of minerals and nutrients such as glucose, amino acids, sodium and potassium across the intestinal mucosa. Thus chronic alcoholics are found to suffer from the deficiency of these nutrients.


Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.