There are few pleasures in this world as simple and relaxing as enjoying a glass of wine after a long day. While mentally soothing, it might have an affect on your body if you’re struggling with joint pain, asthma, or other health problems associated with inflammation, which begs the question if this nightly ritual makes things better or worse.
Wine falls under the umbrella of “too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing” and should not be overlooked by people who have certain health conditions or take certain medications. As a consumer, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself and talk with your doctor to equip you with all of the possible consequences on whether the occasional alcoholic beverage is right for you.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the research says.
Too much wine is a bad thing
There are many things that one can overindulge without suffering consequences, like vegetables for example, but when it comes to wine… there can simply be too much. It’s clear that heavy drinking leads to inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can cause organ dysfunction that exposes multiple body systems to danger.
It’s easy to see why heavy drinking negatively affects your health when you understand the effects of alcohol on the body:
- Alcohol disrupts the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. This state of imbalance is dysbiosis. Alcohol not only disrupts the natural balance but also promotes the overgrowth of bad bacteria, harming your immune system, and increasing endotoxins that encourage inflammation.
- Alcohol weakens the intestinal barrier. The walls of your intestines function as safeguards for your bloodstream, preventing the absorption of harmful substances while allowing the absorption of essential nutrients. In people who imbibe heavily, the intestinal walls become more permeable, allowing the passage of endotoxins.
- Alcohol inhibits your immune response. A healthy person can count on their immune system to keep most threats to their health in check. However, alcohol slows the immune response and suppresses a variety of cells and molecules that are essential to a healthy immune system.
Alcohol helps your body to create harmful endotoxins that promote inflammation while also developing an environment where those endotoxins can easily access all parts of the body. Alcohol also reduces your immune system’s ability to fight them.
…but a little wine may be very good
In the wine proponents’ camp, you’ll find plenty of research showing that wine does reduce inflammation when consumed in moderation (no more than a glass per day or so). This study concluded that moderate wine consumption, along with a healthy diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables, can have a range of beneficial effects, including cancer prevention, heart health, and a longer, healthier life.
There is also evidence that wine reduces inflammation, most likely due to the phytochemical extracts that it contains. This study revealed that wine (as well as muscadine grapes) may reduce inflammation by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokine production. It also appears that a moderate amount of wine may be helpful for people with arthritis, as it reduces biomarkers of inflammation. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the keyword for anyone wishing to reap the benefits of wine without the harm is “moderate.” Larger amounts of any alcoholic drink quickly become unhealthy.
Alcoholic beverages are not created equal. Red wine is the clear winner against other drinks for anti-inflammatory properties.
Who should not drink at all?
Regardless of the potential health benefits of moderate amounts of wine, there are some people who should abstain altogether. People who should eliminate alcohol from their diets entirely include:
- Pregnant women (or those who may be pregnant)
- Recovering alcoholics who may have trouble controlling the amount that they drink
- Anyone who is participating in an activity that requires alertness and coordination, such as driving
- People with certain health conditions, such as liver disease or breast cancer
- People who are taking certain medications, such as opioids, sleeping pills, or diabetes medications
- Anyone whose doctor has advised them to abstain from alcohol
The harm that alcohol can cause in these situations outweighs any potential benefits. If you don’t already drink, it’s not worth picking up the habit to reduce inflammation–you can get many of the same benefits from grapes and grape extracts.
To drink or not to drink
With so much information and the potential for negative effects on your health, you may struggle to determine whether that occasional glass of wine is good for you. Chronic inflammation can lead to a host of health problems, from joint pain and arthritis to asthma, Crohn’s disease, and diabetes. The best choice is to talk with your doctor and follow their advice about drinking alcohol. They can take your unique situation into account and make a recommendation tailored to your health.
Whether you decide to indulge in wine or not, there are other things you can do to minimize inflammation that aren’t controversial, including taking a daily omega-3 supplement. The best omega-3 supplement that you can take isn’t fish oil—it’s the more potent green-lipped mussel oil.
GLX3 contains just three ingredients: green-lipped mussel oil, New Zealand vitamin E, and New Zealand olive oil, so you can have the peace of mind of knowing that you aren’t consuming fillers, unnecessary chemicals, or anything else that isn’t good for you. If you want to be proactive about your health, adding GLX3 to your daily diet is one of the best choices that you can make.
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