Alcohol and its impact on fatigue

Alcohol and its impact on fatigue

November 18, 2015

I love a glass of red wine at the end of the day.

In fact, right now I'm sipping on a lovely South Australian red while I type this.

Depending on where you are in the world, it is estimated that 70 to 80% of people who are 18 years or older have consumed alcohol at least once in their life and most of these people consume it regularly.

Most scientists agree that alcohol can be consumed long term with little to no side effects as long as it is consumed in moderation.

The problem however, is that something as fun as alcohol rarely gets consumed in moderation.

Now apart from heart health, liver health and immune function concerns what impact can alcohol have on our daily energy levels?

Alcohol, like caffeine, seems to deplete certain nutrients from the body and unfortunately a lot of these nutrients are important for energy production.

Most notably it is the B group vitamins that tend to be depleted the most from regular alcohol consumption.

Now of course you could simply not consume alcohol at all, problem solved, but where's the fun in that?

Instead, please allow me to provide you with some simple strategies for balancing alcohol consumption with strong energy levels and minimum fatigue.

1. Plan ahead: If you know you are going to be having a few drinks plan to consume extra nutritious foods on the day of and the day after, this way you are less likely to become depleted.

Some excellent B vitamin rich foods include:

  • Fish, red meat and eggs - all high in B12
  • Bananas and oats - High in Vitamin B6 plus many others
  • Vegemite - This Aussie favourite is a super concentrated source of B vitamins and vegemite on toast is the go to hangover cure for many people. Speaking of hangovers, it's better to prevent them from happening in the first place and if you want to know how to do that be sure to check out one of our previous blog posts here ---> Hangover prevention blog post

2. Minimise your chance of blood sugar lows resulting in fatigue:

When you consume alcohol, it eventually makes its way to the liver to be broken down and converted into sugar which is then dealt with by the body through releasing insulin to bring your blood sugar levels under control.

In summary: Alcohol converts to sugar which then leads to a crash.

All alcohol when consumed in high amounts can lead to a blood sugar low and fatigue but if you want to minimise your chances of this it is best to consume "dry" or low sugar alcoholic drinks.

Here are some examples of high sugar alcoholic drinks and low sugar alcoholic drinks:

High Sugar drinks:

  • Beer
  • White wine
  • Any alcohol consumed with a high sugar mixer e.g. bourbon and coke or gin and tonic

Low sugar drinks:

  • Red Wine - Especially dry varieties such as shiraz and merlot
  • Vodka - Either consumed straight or with a zero calorie mixer such as soda water
  • Low carb beers - I'm personally not a big fan of these as they often contain chemicals and other artificial ingredients to change the brewing process or compensate for the lower sugar levels.

3. Do not consume alcohol too close to bed time

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of a "night cap" and a lot of people tend to enjoy alcohol in the evening rather than the day but it is best to avoid drinking alcohol too close to bed time.

I personally consume my last glass of red wine for the day no later than 2 hours before bed.

Not only can consuming alcohol close to bed time cause the previously mentioned blood sugar crash and fatigue but it can also lower your sleep quality and interrupt the restorative processes that occur during a deep sleep.

This is counter intuitive to an extent as you would assume that alcohol would help you relax and sleep better but unfortunately this is not the case.

Now of course if you're suffering from alcohol related fatigue or any other kind of regular fatigue and you want to get on top of it be sure to check out both our free email series the 5 Ways to Fight Fatigue and also our anti fatigue nutritional supplement ReVive.

---> 5 Ways To Fight Fatigue Email Series

---> ReVive Anti Fatigue Supplement

And that's it for now.

Be sure to give these strategies a try and let me know how you go in the comments section below, also if you have any friends who you feel could benefit from this advice feel free to share this post over social media, we will be providing links on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for your convenience.

Until next time

Live with energy

Christian Baker

CEO and Co Founder: Upside Nutrition



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