Alcohol impacts cholesterol in ways that people may not realize. Moderate levels of alcohol consumption can help good cholesterol levels, but drinking too much may cause a buildup of plaque. The blood is not supposed to have a lot of plaque as that can impact the heart over time. Alcohol may also increase HDL, which is good cholesterol, but excessive amounts can have the opposite effect. Find out why cholesterol is impacted by alcohol use and how to seek help.
What Cholesterol Does
Alcohol works with cholesterol levels in interesting ways. Cholesterol is in every person’s body. We need it to help create hormones and regulate things within the body. When levels are too high, it can build up in blood vessels in the form of plaque, narrowing, or even blocking blood vessels over time. Narrow blood vessels prevent blood from reaching organs like the brain and heart, which may lead to heart disease, stroke, or heart attack. Moderate alcohol consumption is approximately one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. This increases HDL or good cholesterol. Excessive alcohol consumption does not help HDL and may actually increase triglyceride levels, which increases plaque.
Beer and Liquor Consumption
Beer includes lots of ingredients, like yeast, malt, and barley. Plant sterols in a brewed beer are low and there is almost no impact on cholesterol. The positive benefits of moderate beer consumption appear to come from alcohol. Liquor, on the other hand, does not contain much fat or carbs. The calories it contains come from alcohol. Flavored liquors or mixers may contain a lot of sugar. Too much sugar impacts triglyceride levels, also. Some other things to keep in mind:
- HDL delivers cholesterol to the liver where it can be removed from the body
- Too much alcohol increases triglycerides
- High levels of triglycerides lead to a buildup of plaques in blood vessels which can cause heart disease, blood clots, and stroke
- Red wine contains resveratrol, known to lower cholesterol
The main thing to keep in mind with alcohol consumption is that the quantity matters. When it reaches a certain point where a person is drinking so much they are worried (or family is concerned), there should be an intervention to help. Excessive drinking can lead to challenges for people that include their jobs, relationships, and other things that need to be addressed if they are to find healing in recovery beyond their cholesterol levels.
Oceanfront can help you find a safe space to get help with addiction. We provide a place that offers therapy and treatment that focuses on your healing journey specifically. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295