Our gut is home to trillions of microbes that are crucial to our health. These microbes do everything from helping us digest our food to improving our immune system. When these microbes are out of balance, it can lead to consequences for our health. Alcohol, in particular, can cause damage to our gut and lead to painful side effects.
Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, tells Bustle that alcohol can cause oxidative stress and upset that delicate microbial balance. “In other words, alcohol may cause ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut to proliferate more easily, while killing off ‘good gut bacteria,’” he says.
This can lead to a many uncomfortable physical symptoms, ranging from digestive issues to inflammation. However, this damage is often not permanent, Dr. Tarek Hassanein, director of Southern California GI and Liver Centers tells Bustle. “The gut recovers fast and the bacteria can recover again.”
If stomach problems are becoming an issue, cutting down on drinking can allow the “good” bacteria in your gut to come back and improve your overall health. To do this, Dr. Axe recommends having no more than one to two drinks per day, which is considered “moderate” for most adults. He emphasizes that if you have trouble doing this on your own, you should consider getting professional help from a counselor.
To help you determine if your gut health is suffering, experts say these are the symptoms that alcohol is impacting your gut.