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This is what happens to your body when you binge drink

Fever, inflammation, tissue destruction…the list goes on.

Image: Binge Drink via Shutterstock

THIS WEEK, WE discovered that Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world.

But what does that mean for our bodies?

Another study published on Thursday highlighted the impact just one session of heavy alcohol intake can have.

The lead doctor of the project concluded:

Our observations suggest that an alcohol binge is more dangerous than previously thought.

According to the scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, just a single episode of binge drinking can have “significant negative health effects”.

It can lead to bacteria leaking from the gut, resulting in increased levels of endotoxins in the blood.

Both gut permeability and increased endotoxin levels have been linked to many of the health issues related to chronic drinking, including alcoholic liver disease.

Published online in PLOS ONE, the study also showed that these bacterial toxins caused the body to produce immune cells involved in fever, inflammation, and tissue destruction.

“We found that a single alcohol binge can elicit an immune response, potentially impacting the health of an otherwise healthy individual,” said author Gyongyi Szabo, professor of medicine, vice chair of the Department of Medicine and associate dean for clinical and translational sciences at UMMS.

For a typical adult, a binge drinking session involves the intake of more than four to six standard alcoholic drinks, depending on gender and body weight.

To assess what impact such a session would have on the body, 11 men and 14 women were given enough alcohol to raise their blood alcohol levels to at least .08 g/dL within an hour. Blood samples were then taken every 30 minutes for four hours and again 24 hours later.

Szabo’s team found a rapid increase in endotoxins, which are released from the cell wall of certain bacteria when the cell is destroyed.

They also discovered bacterial DNA in the bloodstream, confirming that bacteria had permeated the gut.

Women were shown to have higher blood alcohol levels compared to men and circulating endotoxin levels.

According to this week’s WHO study, 39 per cent of all Irish people aged 15 and over had engaged in binge drinking, or “heavy episode drinking” in the last month.

Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world

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