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June Russell's Health Facts

Alcohol - Digestive System

[Overview]   [Mouthwashes]   [Gum Disease]   [Bad Breath]   [Teeth/TMJ]   [Colds/Sore Throats]   [Throat/Voice]   [Stomach]   [Leaky Gut]   [Malasorbtion]   [Constipation]   [Hemorrhoids]   [Colon Cancer]   [IBS]  


Some 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases, and in a single year they spend $107 billion on drugs and antacids to fight them. Pharmaceuticals, however, are not the answer. Interference with digestion can lead to chronic fatigue, premature aging, arthritis, poor skin and hair, toxicity, allergies and cancer. Alcohol can change the colon's pH, destroying beneficial bacteria.
{"Probiotics balance digestion and improve overall health,", July 2001}

One of the functions of stomach acid is to initiate the digestion of large protein molecules, and if this is not performed efficiently, incompleted digested protein fragments may be absorbed into the blood stream. Some researchers have suggested that the absorption of these large molecules may contribute to the development of food allergies an immunological disorders.
{Annals of Allergy, 1978; Gastroenterology, 1974}

Our bodies house some 400 species of friendly bacteria, or "probiotics," and mounting evidence suggests that these friendly flora aid digestion, ward off pathogens and help us process folic acid and other critical nutrients. When the complex balance of these microbes is jilted by alcohol, stress, antibiotics, or poor nutrition, the consequences can be most unpleasant - ranging from stomach aches to vaginal infections, vitamin deficiencies and chronic inflammation.
{"Friendly infections," Focus on Your Health, Newsweek, March 26, 2001}

Digestion must occur before the body can extract energy from the foods you eat. For this to happen, food must be chemically acted upon by stomach acid, hormones, pancreatic enzymes and fat emulsifiers, as well as by the mechanical process that propels food through the entire length of the digestive tract. Most of the foods commonly eaten in our society are hard to digest - foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars, and animal protein - other foods stress the body through their toxicity. Some foods, like alcohol, have a toxic effect that damages the cells and affects their ability to function, and both alcohol and sugar promote the growth of pathological organisms like candida, which can worsen fatigue. Alcohol is particularly toxic to the liver, brain, and nervous system.
{"Foods to avoid or limit," Susan Lark, MD, excerpted from "The Women's Health Companion,", Feb. 2002}

Mouthwashes Containing Alcohol

The National Cancer Institute says that regular use of mouthwashes containing alcohol increases the chance of developing cancer.
{Daily Progress, Apr. 24, 1991}

Alcohol (and caffeine) have a drying effect on the mouth. Many women going through menopause complain of a dry mouth and nearly 400 drugs reduce saliva flow as a side effect.
{“The better way,” Good Housekeeping, Sep. 1995}

Alcohol can irritate sensitive mouth tissues, and some studies have suggested that long-term use of alcoholic rinses is associated with an increased risk of oral cancers. The alcohol is used to dissolve ingredients, not to disinfect, says Warren Scherer, DDS, a professor at the New York University College of Dentistry in New York City.
{“Check your toothpaste and mouthwash labels,” Natural Health magazine, Sep. 2000}

Saliva’s chemicals neutralize tooth-decaying acid
{Health magazine, Oct. 2000}   Editor's note: When alcohol dehydrates the body it lessens the amount of this helpful saliva.

The most popular mouthwash uses a 27% concentration of alcohol (more alcohol than in a six-pack of beer), and this is enough to dry the mouth, resulting in less saliva. Without the high concentration of oxygen from the saliva, the anaerobic bacteria go wild and there is an instant increase in sulfur production. The same thing happens when you drink alcohol.
{"Gum infections, gum disease, periodontal diseases and bleeding gums can kill you,", Dr. Harold Katz, LLC, June 2003}

If diabetes is poorly controlled, higher glucose levels in the mouth fluids will encourage the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease. [See topic below.] A dry mouth can make tasting, chewing, and swallowing food difficult and impede speech, as well as cause mouth infections and tooth decay. To avoid a dry mouth, avoid alcohol.
{"Diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease," Methodist Health Care System, Houston, Texas,, June 2003}

Gum/Periodontal Disease

Alcohol is a known irritant to the membranes of the mouth and stomach.
{in 1993 lecture from a pharmacist from People’s Drugstore, Charlottesville, VA, at the Senior Center}

It is estimated that up to 90% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of gum disease.
{Tech Update, Dec. 1998}

According to a national study, gum disease raises stroke risk (a 21-year follow-up).
{HealthCentral, Oct. 27, 2000}

People with gum disease have almost twice the risk of stroke.
{Oct. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine - Washington Post Health, Oct. 24, 2000}

Bad gums or damaged and bleeding gums allow 350 types of bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
{“Your gums or your life,” Modern Maturity, July/Aug. 2000}

There is a direct dose-response relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed weekly and the severity of gum/periodontal disease. Research showed that when alcohol consumption increased from zero to five drinks per week, the risk of periodontal/gum disease rose from 10 percent to 20 percent; for 10 drinks a week the risk rose to 20 percent; for 15 drinks per week the risk rose to 30 percent; and for 20 drinks it rose to 40 percent. "When we see that kind of relationship, we know the findings are solid," says Sara Grossi, DDS, senior research scientist. Grossi theorizes that that alcohol may increase the risk by decreasing the ability of the neutrophils to fight, interfering with the clotting mechanism, decreasing the formation of new bone, and causing deficiencies in vitamin B complex and protein - components necessary for healing.
{"Caution: Alcohol May Be Hazardous to Your (Oral) Health," - 1999}  Editor's comment: This article also cautions that low levels of vitamins increase the risk of gum disease significantly, and this antioxidant reduction compromises the ability of the gum tissue to overcome oxidative stress, to maintain normal tissue and to control the bacterial damage. Alcohol consumption depletes vitamins/nutrients. For additional information see Alcohol - Vitamins/Nutrients.

Bad Breath

Over 80 million people worldwide suffer from bad breath, or halitosis. Alcohol dries out the mouth and worsens this condition.
{"Technology update," Prevention magazine, Mar. 2000}

Ten percent of the alcohol discharged from the body is through the breath, sweat, and urine.
{Northern Lights Edu, June 2000}

One of the causes of bad breath include alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol you more than likely have bad breath, even though you may not be aware of it. Mouthwashes containing alcohol are not recommended. They tend to dry out the delicate tissues of the mouth, which studies show may contribute to cancer of the mouth.
{"Bad breath," Flora ParsaStay DDS, HealthWorld Online, Nov. 2001}

It is estimated that at one time or another 50% of the population suffers from halitosis. Alcohol can cause halitosis, an alcohol-free mouthwash is recommended.
{"Simple Steps to Prevent Halitosis," , Jan. 2002}

Alcoholic beverages are drying and can make your breath smell bad, or at least smell like alcohol. Although sucking on a mint can promote saliva flow, mints containing sugar actually make the problem worse.
{"The quest for sweet breath, "University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, Nov. 2002}

Smoking and alcohol are culprits for bad breath, and there’s not much you can do to offset their impact except quit - or at least cut back. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol and this just makes the problem worse. Bad breath isn’t fun, but 90 percent of all bad breath originates in the mouth and can be easily managed by taking precautions such as this.
{"A breath of fresh air," Nutrition and Healing, Health e-Tips,” Nov. 22, 2004}


If you have a TMJ problem, it is important to eliminate caffeine and alcohol from your diet, says Dr. Jerome Mittleman, a New York dentist.
{East/West magazine, Feb. 1991}

An estimated 12% of people have TMJ.
{Ann Gill Taylor, PhD University of Virginia Medical School. Oct. 1996 lecture to the CFID’s group of Charlottesville}

For ‘teeth grinders,’ restrict the use of alcohol.
{“Sleep,” J. Paul Caldwell, The New York Times Book of Health, Jane Brody, 1997}

Millions of adults and children are affected by Bruxism (tooth grinding, grating, or clenching). Symptoms of bruxism can be medically dangerous, and drinking alcohol may worsen the condition.
{"Bruxism and Stress," - Jan. 2002}  Editor's comment: Stress is also a factor in Bruxism - see Alcohol and Stress.

Colds/Sore Throats

Alcohol has been reported to affect the immune system negatively.
{, Feb. 2000}


The use of alcohol negatively affects the voice. “I never drink or smoke.”
{Dr. Louisa Panou, University of Virginia Music Department, Dec. 1996}

To prevent or get rid of hoarseness, avoid alcohol.
{“Where did that frog come from?” UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, Feb. 1997}

Dr. Robert Ossoff, director of the voice center at Vanderbuilt University Medical Center, rails against alcohol, soft drinks, coffee, chocolate and dairy products because they all thicken mucous in the throat, and cause a clearing of the throat which traumatizes the vocal cords. Drink eight to ten glasses of water per day.
{“Doctor keeps top stars’ voices strong,” The Daily Progress, Dec. 25, 1997}

Laryngitis is when your larynx (voice box) is irritated or inflamed. Drinking alcohol can make it worse.
{Don R. Powell, CBS Medscape, Oct. 11, 1999}

Stomach and Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD)

--- Heartburn (A Symptom of Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease or GERD) ---

Alcohol is the major culprit in heartburn.
{Theodore Bayless, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Meyeroff Digestive Disease Center, Baltimore, MD, as reported in the “Lancet,” May 1993}

Heartburn can often be controlled with lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol.
{“New OTC Medications for Heartburn,” Health After 50, Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Nov. 1995}

Alcohol is one of the subtances that relax the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) to the stomach. The purpose of the sphincter is to keep the stomach acids from moving up the esophagus. If relaxed, the hydrochloric acid seeps into the esophagus and “burns” it, causing heartburn.
{Alternative Medicine Digest, Sep. 1997}

Sixty million American adults suffer from heartburn at least once a month, and about 25 million adults suffer from it daily. Twenty-five percent of pregnant women have heartburn every day and it is becoming more common in infants and children. Various studies have linked frequent heartburn (called GERD - short for gastroesophageal reflux disease) with serious diseases, including ulcers and cancer. Avoid triggers, like alcohol, for heartburn.
{“Heartburn,” Medicine Guidebook, July 2000}

An article in the March 18, 1999, New England Journal of Medicine reported a link between chronic, long-term heartburn and cancer of the esophagus.
{American College of Gastroenteritis, Oct. 2000}

There are 100 million consumers who suffer heartburn and acid indigestion.
{HealthCentral, Oct. 17, 2000}

Alcohol increases the amount of stomach acid you produce; with a late meal, it’s a double whammy.
{“Preventing heartburn Natural remedies for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome): Avoid foods and substances that can irritate the digestive tract. Alcohol is one that tops the list.
{Prevention magazine, Aug. 2000} {One in five Americans have IBS, according to Marvin Shuster, MD, Johns Hopkins newsletter, April, 1998}

Heartburn can often be controlled with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol.
{“New OTC Medications for Heartburn,” Health After Fifty, Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, Nov. 1995}

Dr. Lennon Smith, MD, a general, gastrointestinal, and vascular surgeon and Brenda Watson, founder of Renew Life Health Clinics in Tarpon Springs, Florida, suggests reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption as one of the ways to prevent heartburn. The advice to patients is cut out the CCRAAPP: cigarettes, coffee, refined sugar, aspirin, alcohol, pop, and processed foods.
{"Ease the burn - promote acid production," Complementary Therapies in Chronic Care, American Health, Jan. 2001}

Heartburn occurs in males three to four times more than females for reasons unknown. One of several ways to control symptoms is to avoid alcohol as it worsens reflux.
{"When heartburn turns serious," Digestive Health and Nutrition (a publication of the American Gastroenterological Association), May/June 2002}

If you take a drink of alcohol/wine at night, Dr. Freston, MD, PhD, says it will make nighttime heartburn worse. Alcohol can provoke heartburn attacks.
{Healthology Newsletter, 2002}

Wine has an acidic pH, and can cause heartburn and other digestive symptoms in overly acidic people. As a substitute use de-alcoholized wine, sparkling water or cider, mineral water with a twist of lime or lemon.
{"Food substitutions for acidic foods," - June 2002}

The insert for Pepcid AC warns that the use of alcohol is more likely to cause heartburn (2002).

--- Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease ---

As many as ten percent of Americans have heartburn every day, and approximately a third of otherwise healthy Americans will suffer from heartburn at least once a month. Alcohol is a common trigger for GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease). Americans take far too many drugs. It makes no sense to ingest pills and risk side effects if the same result can be achieved by lifestyle choices.
{Arthur Feinberg, MD Associate Editor, HealthNews, May 1997}

An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from GERD, a condition in which stomach acid regularly flows backward into the esophagus and can lead to difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and perhaps even esophageal cancer. In some cases chronic nausea can be a symptom of GERD. Drinking less alcohol can lessen symptoms.
{“When nausea signals something serious,” Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter, July 1997}

GERD refers to a condition in which contents from the stomach flow back into the esophagus (reflux), usually due to abnormally frequent relaxing of the muscular valve meant to prevent this. Heartburn is the burning sensation experienced when reflux occurs. Severe or untreated GERD can cause esophageal ulcers and a precancerous condition.
{HealthNews newsletter, May 2000}

Anything that weakens or loosens the sphincter (LES) can cause GERD. Alcohol can make it worse. Sixty million suffer from GERD at last once a month, and 15 million may have it every day.
{“Indigestion: when is heartburn serious,” CBS Healthwatch - Library, June 2000}

Alcohol increases the likelihood of having symptoms of GERD, and alcohol can exacerbate reflux symptoms by irritating the esophageal lining, increasing gastric acid secretion or relaxing the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Older patients generally have worsened GERD because they produce less saliva and have decreased sensation within the esophagus, which impairs the protective acid-swallowing mechanism. The stomach may also empty more slowly in the elderly, which increases the frequency and volume of reflux episodes. All this exposure to acid causes the esophagus to lose some of its natural acid-protective mechanisms, making it more susceptible to permanent damage. As many as 80 to 90% experience complete relief of symptoms if they adhere to anti-reflux precautions, which lessen the need for expensive medications.
{Extinguishing Heartburn, David Utley, MD, Healthwell, 9/24/00}

For those with acid reflux (GERD), the worst damage is often done during sleep, concludes a new study presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s annual meeting in Seattle. An estimated 15 million Americans experience heartburn, a common symptom of acid reflux, and 60 percent of them have symptoms during the night, when their bodies are least prepared to deal with them, said the lead researcher. This esophagitis may cause bleeding or ulcers in the esophagus, and the resulting damage is believed by doctors to be a precursor to esophageal cancer, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

If you have acid reflux during sleep, you have double trouble; not only do you wake up at night but if this stomach acid dwells in the esophagus, it may spill over into the lungs and create breathing problems. If there is a problem of reflux at night, the risk for cancer goes up. People don’t flush their systems during sleep by frequent swallowing or salivating.
{“Acid Reflux Can Be a Night Stalker: Sleeping lets stomach acid collect in the esophagus,” - Oct. 2002}  Editor’s comment: Alcohol not only increases reflux or GERD, but is the major culprit in heartburn, and interferes with a restful sleep. For additional information see Alcohol - Sleep.

GERD sufferers are encouraged to avoid alcohol because it may interfere with the proper function of the LES valve, the valve that joins the stomach and the esophagus (that allows food to pass, but prevents acid from returning). The risk of esophageal cancer is more than seven times higher among people who regularly suffer acid reflux.
{"Is it really heartburn?" Prevention magazine, March 2002}

--- Ulcers ---

One in ten people ulcers some time in their life. Ulcers kill 15,000 a year.
{NBC News - TV, Dec. 18, 1995 Tom Brokaw}

Alcohol increases tissue inflammation and can therefore worsen ulcers.

--- Effects of Alcohol on the Stomach, Esophagus, and Intestines ---

Alcohol slows gastric emptying, interferes with the action of gastroesophageal sphincters, stimulates gastric secretion and often injures the gastric lining, especially when combined with aspirin. Alcohol also produces alterations in intestinal mobility and mucosal function that results in malabsorption.
{Seventh Special Report to Congress, Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1990}

Chronic or regular use of alcohol damages the lining of the stomach and the small intestines. It alters gastric-acid secretion, first increasing it and then decreasing it.
{The Mount Sinai School of Medicine Complete Book of Nutrition, Victor Herbert, MD and Genell J. Subak-Sharpe, 1995}

Certainly alcohol will make stomach acid far worse: it stimulates acid and encourages overeating, says Grant Thompson, MD, Chief of Gastroenterology in Ottawa, Canada and author of many books, including "The Ulcer Story," and "The Angry Gut."
{"I.B.S.," People's Pharmacy on public radio show #217, May 2, 1998} On this same show Dr. Mary Beth Spenarkle, private practitioner in gastroenterology in Durham, NC, says chocolate and peppermint can induce reflux and can weaken the valve between the stomach and esophagus.

Alcoholic beverages with a low alcohol content, such as wine or beer, strongly increase gastric acid. Alcohol can also interfere with the workings of the muscles surrounding the stomach and change the time it takes for food to move through it. This may lead to enough time for bacteria to start to work on the food, and for gases which are produced during this time, to lead to stomach pains. Also alcohol slows down the breakdown of food into usable chemicals by lowering the amount of digestive enzymes released from the pancreas.
{, Aug. 2002}

Alcohol can cause a wide range of problems, including gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach), diarrhea and weight loss. These interrelated problems are due to the effects that alcohol has on the lining of the stomach, as well as impairment of intestinal enzymes and transport systems.
{“Healthy Lifestyle,” - Harvard Medical School’s Consumer Health Information, Nov. 2002}

A complex mesh of hundreds of millions of nerve cells spread like chicken wire throughout the walls of the digestive tract.
{Discover magazine, December 2002}  Author’s comment: Alcohol is toxic to the nerves, and those who drink alcohol have a higher risk of nerve damage.

We spend $85.5 billion dollars annually to treat stomachaches in the U.S.
{Health magazine, Oct. 2002}  Author’s comment: The use of alcohol increases the risk for stomach aches.

Alcohol destroys enzymes and lacto bacteria, not to mention actual cells (particularly brain cells).
{, Jan. 2004}

Discontinue any oral alcohol use, as alcohol destroys pancreatin and interferes with digestion.
{‘The skin cancer treatment toolbox,”, Jan. 2004}

Alcohol changes the motility of the intestinal tract. Alcohol in the bloodstream inhibits the small intestine from absorbing certain minerals and nutrients from the “Chyme”, which is the gruel-like material produced by gastric digestion of food, and causes it to function improperly. Beyond that point, alcohol causes an increase in the rate of propulsion of food through the small intestine. This results in the malabsorption of food in the remainder of the small intestine. Alcohol causes inflammation of the stomach and colon. Alcohol use can cause diarrhea.
{“What are some of the impacts of alcohol on society?”, 2004}


Studies show that roughly half of the American population suffers, in varying degrees, from intestinal malabsorption.
{The Journal of Natural Healing Breakthroughs, Fall 2000, Dr. Bruce West}

We constantly irritate the lining of our digestive tract with many things, such as alcohol. Chronic irritation of the gut prevents proper absorption of food and nutrients (including supplements) resulting in gas, bloating and fatigue. Then the absorption of large undigested putrid food particles creates autoimmune responses that can cause arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus and other autoimmune illnesses. The leaking of toxins from the gut into the blood stream causes additional chemical sensitivities, and the resulting infections can become chronic. Doctors who treat leaky gut syndrome recommend avoiding alcohol.
{Life Extension Magazine, July 1995 & Dec. 2001}

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) describes a gut which is inflamed, and has gotten very porous (much more than should be), and lets in large food proteins, bacteria, fungi, metals, and toxic substances straight into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream our immune system is the last line of defense to deal with these substances, and it will eventually get overwhelmed if a leaky gut is not rectified. Avoid alcohol, as alcohol can cause or worsen Leaky Gut Syndrome, especially unpasteurized beer which still has some yeast in it.
{“Leaky gut syndrome,” lovely, Feb. 2004}

Alcohol can cause a leaky gut resulting in nutrients not being properly absorbed, creating nutritional deficiencies. Alcohol is a strong gut irritant, which creates inflammation.
{“Chronic neuroimmune diseases, leaky gut syndrome,” by the National CFIDS Association, 1997,, Feb. 2004}

Researchers found that chronic (regular) alcohol use causes mild damage to the cells lining the small bowel lining. The gut lining can then start to "leak," as clearly evidenced by the results of a special test assessing intestinal permeability. Endotoxemia, acting synergistically with alcohol, is considered a "well-established" cause of liver damage. Beside alcohol-induced liver damage, increased intestinal permeability has been linked with poorer prognosis in AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic joint disorder, an food allergy.
{“Leaky gut”: the functional linchpin for alcoholic liver damage?” Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, Dec. 2001}


Twenty million in the U.S. are constipated.
{“Health Talk,” Ronald Hoffman, MD, WINA Radio, Charlottesville, Va., June 28, 2000}

Constipation: keep the colon hydrated. Alcohol actively dehydrates the body instead of replenishing necessary fluids.
{Christine L. Frissora, MD, FACP, - Nov. 2001}

Many factors can lead to a constipated colon: coffee, refined sugar and starch, alcohol and processed food (C.R.A.P.). We need more essential fatty acids to lubricate the intestines. According to the Lancet twenty years ago, women who are constipated are four times more likely to develop breast cancer. When digestion is poor and bowel movements are infrequent, toxins from the bloodstream settle into the tissues creating many disease states, including autoimmune disorders.
{"Constipation is a serious health concern," a pamphlet by RenewLife, the Digestive Care Company, - 2002}


Estimates vary, but hemorrhoids may affect as many as one-third of Americans - some 75 million people.
{Natural Health magazine, Mar./Apr. 1998}

To help avoid hemorrhoids, cut down on alcohol and caffeine, both of which can make the stool dry and hard.
{"The Bottom Line On Hemorrhoids," Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld, Parade Magazine, July 29, 2001}  Editor's comment: Many other medical articles suggest limiting or eliminating alcohol and caffeine because they dehydrate.

Colon Cancer

To help prevent colon cancer, avoid drinking alcohol.
{"Cancer of the colon," Gabe Mirkin, MD, - 1999}

I.B.S. or Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One in five Americans has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
{Marvin Shuster, MD, Johns Hopkins, April 29, 1998}

Limit alcohol and caffeine for gut problems. Beverages containing alcohol or caffeine cause your body to excrete fluid.
{Dr. William Ruderman, MD, chairman of the Dept. of Gastroenterology, Cleveland Clinic, Fla. - in Ft. Lauderdale. “Ease gut reactions,” Prevention magazine, Feb. 1995}

Eliminate alcohol for problems with gas. If you have inflammatory disorders, do not drink alcohol. Alcohol irritates the gut, and can irritate the gut lining. NSAIDS, caffeine and alcohol can cause ‘leaky gut syndrome.’
{Sherry Roger, MD, specialist in environmental medicine and nutritional biochemistry in Syracuse, N.Y., Let’s Live magazine, April 1995}

Ingestion of alcohol, which is known to promote folic acid deficiency, has also been linked to an increase risk of colon cancer. Those with ulcerative colitis should keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
{ - HealthNotes on line, Klatsky, et al., "The Relations of Alcoholic Beverage Use to Colon and Rectal Cancer," American Journal of Epidemiology, 1998}

One-third to one-half of all Americans suffer from one form or other of chronic abdominal pain. Over 60 million of us have frequent indigestion, another 20 million are constipated. Another 30 million of us rely on OTC stomach remedies, medications that are largely ineffective, and often have harmful side effects. Nearly 40 million have IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and estimates are that it accounts for up to 40% of all visits to gastroenterologists. Alcohol is one of the seven daily digestive sins.
{Ronald Hoffman, MD, Health Talk, WINA Radio, June 28, 2000}

When the gut is inflamed it does not secrete digestive enzymes to digest foods properly, and the result can be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Inflammation can also cause the loss of the protective coating of gut antibodies, which leaves the body more vulnerable to infections in the intestines. When drugs mask the real cause of symptoms, the sick get sicker and the victim is on the road to multiple illnesses. In reality, most IBS is really a leaky gut problem and totally curable.
{"No More Heartburn," by Sherry Rogers, MD, on the web site -, Oct. 2001} Editor's comment: Alcohol is one of the causes of 'leaky gut syndrome.'

Alcohol can alter intestinal motility and cause diarrhea.
{“Irritable bowel syndrome,” - Jan. 2002}

--- Leaky Gut Syndrome ---

Alcohol causes increased gut permeability.
{Dr. Leo Galland, American Academy of Environmental Medicine. In WMAGW newsletter, Nov./Dec. 1995}

The leaky gut syndrome: a hyper-permeable intestinal lining, where large spaces develop between the cells of the gut wall and bacteria, toxins, and foods leak in. This results in production of antibodies against what was harmless food. To remove the cause, people need to stay off NSAIDS, caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol irritates the gut and the gut lining.
{Sherry Rogers, MD, specialist in environmental medicine and nutritional biochemistry in Syracuse, N.Y., April 1995, Let’s Live Magazine}

Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco need to be avoided because they irritate the digestive tract.
{“Natural Remedies for IBS,” Prevention magazine, Aug. 2000}

Anything that continuously irritates the intestines, including alcohol and caffeine, can cause "leaky gut."
{"Digestion Problems," Women's Health Letter, Nan Katherine Fuchs, PhD, Feb. 2002}

Sherry Rogers, MD, a diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice and American Board of Environmental Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, in private practice for over thirty years, author of over a dozen books, lecturer and teacher of physicians, says if leaky gut is chalked up to "IBS" (irritable bowel syndrome), "nervous colon," or "spastic colon," as it usually is, the victim is on the fast road to multiple illnesses. Most IBS is really "leaky gut syndrome" in disguise, and chemical sensitivity can arise. The leakage of toxins overburdens the liver so the body is less able to handle everyday chemicals in food, air and water.
{from, Oct. 2001}   Editor's comment: Alcohol not only can cause leaky gut, but the alcohol itself is an irritant to the gut, both of these place an extra burden on the liver.

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