Alcohol Trends To Consider | Boulder Longevity Institute

The holiday season fades away ever so slightly and the quick burst of Valentine’s Day energy climbs back into its hiding place for another year. Another party season lurks just around the corner. 

March is an oft-forgotten month that is jam-packed with celebrations. St. Patrick’s Day, Mardis Gras, and many spring breaks get underway in March. The Luck of the Irish would have it that all these holidays tend to lend themselves to overindulging in libations.

If you’ve been following along with us, you know that we broke some news that disheartened quite a few revelers out there. Recent research has shown that no amount of alcohol is deemed “safe” for your brain. Further, studies indicate alcohol has a detrimental impact on the cardiovascular system, as well.

Fortunately, once we understand the negative health impacts of alcohol, we can treat it as the treat it should be considered. In fact, the upside of all the data pointing to alcohol being ill-advised is the upward trend of solutions for those seeking to cut back or eliminate their alcohol intake entirely.

Many bars and bespoke cocktail joints are crafting mixed drinks that are entirely non-alcoholic. Even those featuring alcohol seem to be including more fresh, herbaceous ingredients rather than sugar-centric mixes.

While non-alcoholic craft drinks are certainly a perfect alternative to a traditional drink, there are other options out there that may even offer the coveted “little buzz.” A company called Ketone Aid is making seltzer and G&T (a play on a gin & tonic) that feature ethanol-free alcohol. 

Ethanol is found in most alcohol and converts in the liver to a very toxic byproduct called acetaldehyde. This byproduct can cause significant damage in a variety of organs and is potentially responsible for some of the physiological effects of alcohol like incoordination, sleepiness, and memory impairment.

Ethanol is replaced by R 1,3 butanediol in the Hard Ketones products. This alcohol is truly ketogenic, raising blood ketones by 1.5mm – 2mm per can! Ketones are longevity molecules naturally produced after fasting or on specific ketogenic diets. These molecules have multiple health benefits, including appetite suppression (say goodbye to 2 AM pizza runs.)

Beyond these proven alternatives, there are potential supplements out there that may reduce the negative impacts of alcohol on the body. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is a supplement we frequently encourage taking for almost everyone to help protect the brain, liver, and overall health. NAC works by increasing glutathione levels. 

We know alcohol is detrimental and one way it does its negative work on the body is by depleting glutathione. This antioxidant is vital to detoxing alcohol out of the body. Without its work, alcohol becomes even more dangerous to the heart, brain, and liver.

If glutathione deficits lead to negative responses to alcohol, and NAC increases glutathione levels, we could presume that NAC could help prevent or eliminate the damage alcohol brings. While we have no studies showing brain imaging with and without NAC while consuming alcohol, there are some out there that show liver enzyme change, glutathione levels, and MDA measurements are benefited by NAC intake.

March brings a pop of color to the end of a long, gray winter for many. The advent of non-alcoholic cocktails, innovative alcoholic beverages like Hard Ketones, and burgeoning research into supplements that could inhibit the detrimental effects of alcohol are making it possible to enjoy the social engagements of the “party” season while keeping longevity in mind. 

As always, we are reminded that alcohol is simply not ideal for our bodies. We also value the importance of getting out and enjoying the bursts of oxytocin that positive social interactions bring. As the season of shamrocks and multi-color beads approaches, consider some alternatives for replicating the enjoyment of your youth without all the harmful side effects.

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Published March 2, 2022

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