Sober curious? Read this.
Explore alcohol’s impact on hormones, and how mocktails are healthier than cocktails.
The mocktail revolution
While it’s not exactly #DryJanuary, a #SoberOctober (thinking ahead!) might be just what your hormones need. In today’s newsletter, we’re shaking things up—quite literally—as we explore the world of mocktails. Reason being? Abstaining from alcohol supports hormones in more ways than one.
How does alcohol impact hormones?
When it comes to healthy hormones (and enhancing your overall physical and emotional vitality) minimizing alcohol is key. Unfortunately, wine, beer, and spirits can negatively affect everything from hormone production to your metabolism. In turn, leading to potential imbalances that impact menstrual cycles, fertility and blood sugar balance. Below are some of the ways alcohol impacts hormones:
- Stress hormones (cortisol): Alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in our stress hormone, cortisol. Elevated cortisol can disrupt sleep patterns, metabolism, and immune function—thus, contributing to hormonal imbalance.
- Sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone): One too many drinks is shown to influence sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone. Excessive alcohol intake may lead to imbalances, which could affect reproductive health, libido and fertility.
- Insulin and blood sugar: Consuming alcohol can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. In the long run, this can impact hormone regulation (potentially contributing to conditions like PCOS and thyroid issues).
- Hormone-producing organs: In excess, alcohol can impact the function of hormone-producing organs, such as the liver and pancreas. Over time, chronic alcohol use can lead to liver damage, impairing this organ’s ability to metabolize hormones.
- Inflammation: No surprise here! Alcohol consumption is correlated to increased inflammation in the body, which may disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to a range of health issues (think PMS).
- Leptin: Did you know that alcohol can affect hormones involved in appetite regulation, like leptin? This may lead to changes in hunger cues and potentially contribute to unwanted weight gain.
Have concerns about how alcohol may be affecting your hormones or overall health? Chat with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and recommendations.
Are women more susceptible to alcohol’s side effects than men?
Yes, generally speaking, women are more susceptible to alcohol's side effects than men. Here are a few key factors that contribute to this difference:
- Body composition. Women typically have a higher proportion of body fat and a lower proportion of water compared to men. Because alcohol is water-soluble (and is distributed throughout the body's water content), it becomes more concentrated in women’s bodies. This leads to higher blood alcohol concentrations.
- Enzyme activity. Alcohol is primarily metabolized in the liver by enzymes. Women often have lower levels of these specific enzymes—compared to men. This can result in slower alcohol metabolism, leading to a longer duration of alcohol's effects.
- Hormonal fluctuations. During the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can influence alcohol metabolism. In fact, some studies suggest that women may metabolize alcohol differently depending on where they’re at in their menstrual cycle.
- Liver function. Women generally have smaller livers than men, and liver size plays a role in alcohol metabolism. A smaller liver may have a reduced capacity to process alcohol efficiently, contributing to higher blood alcohol levels.
Ultimately, recognizing these differences is empowering. However, keep in mind that alcohol’s effects vary widely. Regardless of gender, minimizing alcohol is worthwhile.
Are mocktails healthier than cocktails?
For the most part, yes—especially if you’re choosing a low-sugar alternative! Benefits include everything from mitigating alcohol-related health risks (i.e. liver damage, gut issues, and impaired judgment) to increased hydration. After all, many mocktails are made with fresh fruits and herbs. Last but not least, they can improve your nutrient intake. Mocktails made with herbal infusions and antioxidant-packed fruits are an easy way to increase your essential vitamins and minerals.
Sip these popular non-alcoholic bevs
Swap your nightly glass of vino, cold beer, or cosmopolitan with these booze-free options.
Rethink your bar cart with Aplós! Designed to give you a buzz (without the calories or hangover), Aplós can be enjoyed neat, on-the-rocks, or mixed in an infinite number of mocktails. Crafted by award-winning mixologists, you’re getting the best of the best. Infused with functional botanicals, you’ll love these refreshing alcohol alternatives. Add a splash of Aplós to our strawberry mint mojito mocktail.
When we’re in the mood for something vibrant, fresh, and satisfyingly bitter, we turn to Ghia.Their apértif is game-changing. If you’re new to this alcohol alternative, try Ghia’s First Sips collection. Whip up our summer tomato toast to pair alongside your Ghia of choice. Cheers!
A few favorites from this week.
Planning to enjoy an alcoholic drink?
We have a few strategies to help you maintain hormone balance!
- First and foremost, choose your alcohol wisely. Opt for drinks with fewer additives and no artificial ingredients. Stick to simpler cocktails and avoid sugary mixers. Consider dry champagne, a Ranch Water (tequila, lime, and Topo Chico), or a glass of organic pino noir.
- Stay hydrated! Sip a sparkling water with citrus between drinks.
- Enjoy your alcoholic beverage with a balanced meal—protein, healthy fats, and fiber can help mitigate the impact of alcohol on both blood sugar levels and hormonal response.
- Last but not least, focus on liver health. Consume foods rich in antioxidants (like berries and and leafy greens) to assist your liver in processing alcohol.
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