How to ease the impact of alcohol on your gut health

It’s estimated that upwards of 7 million people in the UK take on ‘Dry January’, often as a result of heavier than usual drinking over the festive period, but rather than jumping straight back into old habits once February comes around, it’s important to consider the specific impact of alcohol on our gut health 

The latest phrase making waves in the world of gut-health is DADS (or day after drinking stools).

The squiffy side effects after a night of boozing, include headaches, nausea and changes to our bowel movements, but there are some longer term, more damaging effects that alcohol can have on the gut. 

“Alcohol can directly impact on the composition of the gut microbiome leading to ‘dysbiosis,’ which is an imbalance of microbes in the gut,” says nutritional therapist and gut health specialist Eve Kalinik.

“This means we have less of the ‘good bugs’ and more of the not so friendly bacteria.

“Dysbiosis can result in direct gut symptoms, including excessive bloating, gas and inconsistent bowel movements as well as affecting the immune system function, hormone balancing and how we manage inflammation. 

“A healthy microbiome is key to help metabolise alcohol as this plays an important role in the detoxification process.

“High amounts of alcohol inhibits the production of digestive enzymes, compromising our ability to properly break down and absorb nutrients from our food.

“Excessive alcohol can result in a more permeable gut lining (often referred to as ‘leaky gut’), which can then lead to substances moving from the gut into the bloodstream, creating increased inflammation in the gut.”

That’s why Eve suggests some simple practices to help combat the negative effects of alcohol on the gut.

TAKE A PROBIOTIC 

Consider supplementing with a clinically backed probiotic to help mitigate the damage to the gut microbiome – especially useful after a heavy night of drinking.

Eve recommends KÄLLA FOR RELIEF, which relieves symptoms of IBS, bloating, gas and discomfort.

It’s crafted by world-leading bioengineers, using specific probiotic strains which have undergone more than 50 clinical trials to support their effectiveness.

PRACTISE MINDFUL DRINKING

Try to adopt sustainable drinking practices as this will help develop a healthy relationship with alcohol.

Being more conscious of the amount and the frequency of what you are drinking and reflecting on why you are drinking can be crucial.

However, it isn’t all woeful when it comes to booze and the gut as Eve reveals that “small amounts of red wine have been shown to have a positive effect on the composition of the gut microbiome due to their polyphenol content.”

KNOW THAT EATING IS NOT CHEATING

Try to make more nourishing food choices the day after a night out, which will help to replenish and restore your gut health.

After a few drinks our food choices can be somewhat skewed and we can gravitate towards ultra-processed foods that are typically devoid of fibre, which we need to support our gut health and can contain chemical additives that directly disrupt the gut microbiome.

It’s also key to never drink on an empty stomach, as this will result in additional inflammation to your gut. 

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