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Alcohol is one of the world’s favorite intoxicants. It is frequently found at social gatherings because it provides an anxiety-reducing effect. Consuming too much alcohol will result in alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.

Our evidence-based analysis on alcohol features 140 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
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Examine.com Team
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Summary of Alcohol

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Alcohol, otherwise known as Drinking alcohol or ethanol, is the main ingredient in a wide range of social drinks and the reason for the differentiation between 'Alcoholic' and 'Non-alcoholic' drinks.

It is a neuroactive chemical that is able to change one's perception, and has a unique metabolic pattern relative to other sources of calories (the macronutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, and dietary fats). It contributes 7 calories per gram energy-wise, but this does not always correlate well with bodyweight like the other macronutrients do.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Abstinence from drinking is defined as having no ethanol intake whatsoever.

"Moderate" drinking in the literature is dependent on gender and not ultimately defined, but an upper limit can be placed at 9 units per week for women and 12-14 units a week for men, with no single event exceeding 4 units.

A unit is typically 12 oz (355 mL) of 5% beer, 5 oz (150 mL) 12.5% wine, or 1.5 oz (45 mL) of drinks with a higher (40%) alcohol content.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects alcohol has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
- See all 9 studies
There appears to be a time-dependent influence on testosterone, with acute doses of alcohol increasing testosterone secondary to creating energy influx in the liver (small enough of an increase to be 'somewhat' effective but may contribute to libido) whereas abuse is known to reduce testosterone levels more notably. The acute increase in testosterone is thought to be related to spikes in libido
grade-c Minor - See study
Acute ingestion of alcohol may be able to reduce subsequent power output
grade-c - - See study
Serum adrenaline appears unaltered following alcohol ingestion
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant alterations in cortisol levels seen with alcohol ingestion in moderate levels
grade-c - Very High See all 3 studies
No significant influence on fasting estrogen levels in males
grade-c - Very High See all 5 studies
No significant influence of alcohol on luteinizing hormone levels when consumed moderately
grade-d Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed effects on FSH, but although null effects have been reported an increase may be possible
grade-d Minor - See study
An acute suppression of growth hormone is noted with alcohol ingestion
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase in prolactin has been noted following acute ingestion of alcohol

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Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Alcohol

Why do hangovers happen and what can you do about them?
We’re not quite sure how hangovers happen, and the evidence on cures and prophylactics isn’t too convincing, but following some basic guidelines may help prevent and relieve hangovers.
A compound from beer may help fat loss
A recent study shows that a compound in beer may help with fat loss.
Can drinking wine really replace exercise?

Things to Note

Also Known As

Ethanol, Drinking alcohol, Beer, Gin, Vodka, Wine, Jager

Do Not Confuse With

Alcohol (The chemistry definition)

Goes Well With

  • N-AcetylCysteine and related anti-oxidants (increases conjugation and safe metabolism via glutathione)

  • Ashwagandha, for social anxiety reduction

  • Agmatine (may help alcohol withdrawal)

  • Ethanol is slightly soluble in lipid, but completely miscible with water

  • The Danish myth of being able to get drunk through one's feet is false.[1]

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Click here to see all 140 references.