Women should not be the only ones to stop drinking alcohol if they wish to get pregnant. Men, too, must stop drinking alcohol months before conceiving.
In the first-ever study, the authors found a link between a father’s consumption of alcohol and babies born with a birth defect, including congenital heart disease (CHD).
The risk of having babies with such a defect is higher when fathers drinking excessively or who consumed more than 375 grams of alcohol per day.
Both Parents Must Stop Drinking Alcohol
It has been long scrutinized that prospective mothers should change their lifestyle to avoid jeopardizing their pregnancy.
These lifestyle changes would mean modifying their medicines, getting enough sleep and giving up drinking alcohol.
The pre-conception health of men has not been evaluated, until recently.
Researchers of the recent study showed that fathers’ health and drinking habits could affect the fetus’ development and well-being.
The authors examined 55 studies that included babies with CHD and those without. They discovered that the father who consumed more alcohol leading up to conception would likely end up having babies with congenital heart disease. The risk is so high that drinking alcohol within three months before conception was associated with a higher risk of CHD.
Alcohol Effects on the Body
Alcohol can affect your sexual health. It causes a loss of libido.
It also results in infertility.
Heavy drinking is associated with bad health effects.
Men who drink a lot will experience a lower testosterone level, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone. Alcohol increases estrogen levels that will cause a reduction in sperm production.
Alcohol also shrinks the testes causing men to be impotent or infertile. Furthermore, it changes gonadotropic release, thereby, affecting sperm production.
It also causes early ejaculation.
It changes the shape and size of healthy sperm.
In terms of paternal drinking that leads to birth defects, scientists could not identify the exact mechanism of the cause.
But if we consider past evidence, it could be related to how alcohol affects the size, shape, and motility of healthy sperm.
Exposure to alcohol could change the drinker’s DNA. This would create issues for the DNA being passed down to offspring.
Long Term Alcohol Effects
The effect of alcohol begins from your first sip. Occasional drinking is not a problem.
But long term alcohol drinking can take its toll.
1.) Liver Disease
The liver metabolizes alcohol. And it is one of the first organs that will be affected by heavy drinking. It metabolizes acetaldehyde, which is toxic and carcinogenic.
Liver disease is affected by the duration and amount of alcohol you drink. Chronic drinking can pose a high risk for its development.
As you continue to drink heavily, it increases your risk of alcoholic fatty liver, which is a reversible effect of excessive alcohol intake.
It is a painful inflammation of the pancreas. The inflammation is linked to premature activation of proenzymes.
Chronic drinkers are highly likely to develop pancreatitis.
Chronic and heavy drinking can cause problems in your digestive system. When the alcohol passes through the GI tract, it starts to create toxic effects.
Any damage to the said system could cause internal bleeding. As alcohol interferes with the secretion of gastric acid, it causes a delay in gastric emptying.
It impairs muscle movement in the bowel.
4.) Dysfunction in the Immune System
Heavy drinking also weakens the immune system. It makes you vulnerable to several diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Alcohol can modify RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. Alcoholism can cause a drop in the WBC. It happens because the WBC production is suppressed.
5.) Brain Damage
There are plenty of effects of alcohol on the brain. It causes blurred vision, slurred speech and difficulty walking. It also depresses the functioning of the central nervous system.
It also disrupts fine motor coordination and balance that leads to falls. It also causes blackouts.
It also speeds up the normal aging process, resulting in permanent dementia.
How to Combat Long Term Alcohol Effects
Any cardio exercise can rejuvenate the brain. Aerobic exercise is linked to brain damage reversal because of heavy drinking.
Cycling is a great aerobic exercise.
But you may also try jumping rope.
Walnuts are rich in powerful antioxidants that can promote skin rejuvenation. (Click the link to learn about the health benefits of walnuts, especially for patients with diabetes.) Apart from that, they are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to slow down the aging effects.
Zinc can boost your immunity. You may take a zinc supplement or opt for oysters for a healthy dish.
Eat Healthy Fats
Avocado contains healthy fats. Not only that, but it also includes dietary fiber and good cholesterol. It helps in maintaining a healthy liver.
What If You Cannot Stop Drinking Alcohol
Cutting back your drinking habits can be difficult. It is especially true if you are a chronic drinker. The main key to cut down your alcohol consumption successfully is to discover a method that works for you.
As you try to limit your drinking, you may wish to write down the number of drinks you wish to consume each day. By writing down your goals, you will be reminded that you need to limit your alcohol consumption.
You should also try counting your drinking. Recording the number of drinks you have may help in reducing your drinking habit. Some apps will help you count your drinks, just like jotting down the food intake.
After drinking alcohol, you should drink a glass of water before going to bed.
It fights the alcohols’ dehydrating effects. Each time you wake up, make sure to drink water.
You may also consider drinking low alcohol content. Do not drink hard liquor as it gets you drunk very fast.
Alcohol may not be that bad if you drink in moderation. But because humans tend to abuse consumption, it is better to just quit drinking or do not start to drink alcohol.
And if you are a hopeful parent, you need to give up alcohol. The study mentioned above may have limitations. But it still indicates that alcohol drinking is bad for our health and the baby.
Please check out our online shop for some supplements that may help you boost your fertility and stop drinking alcoholic beverages. (The link will send you to our health and wellness shop.)