Posted in Health, news

“Fake” Alcohol Can Cause the Buzz Without the Hangover

A synthetic alcohol, named Alcarelle, or “Alcosynth”, has been shown to give one the same effects of alcohol without the nasty hangover the next day.

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Dr. Professor Nutt, apparently has been working on this for decades, as a PhD student since the early 1980’s.  The synthetic alcohol is slated to hit the market in 5 years.

He told the Guardian:

We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine.

“The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Alcohol stimulates GABA, a neurotransmitter that can reduce activity of nerve cells making one sluggish.  Alcohol also inhibits glutamate which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. But the euphoric feeling one gets may be caused by alcohol’s stimulation of dopamine.

Hence if a drink that acts as ethanol, isn’t actually alcohol, side effects such as drowsiness, stomach upset and liver disease could potentially be bypassed.

Professor Nutt has not revealed the ingredients of his concoction but some resources cite it may be a benzodiazepine derivative, although last year he denied the rumors of using the Valium-like chemicals.

 

What is a hangover?

It’s a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.

They could be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Dehydration – alcohol isn’t the best choice to replace lost fluids during a night of dancing, plus it causes increase in urination
  • Low blood sugar – caused by lack of good nutrition over the last 12 hours and enhanced by drinking alcohol
  • Poor sleep – let me guess, you didn’t get a good nice, cuddly, deep sleep for 9 hours once you came home
  • Irritated stomach lining – alcohol tends to do that and ticks off the pancreas as well
  • Acetaldehyde – a chemical converted from alcohol that has been postulated to make you feel nauseous and achy, either during its breakdown in the liver or after its metabolism
    • acetald
  • Cytokine production and release – seen in inflammatory states and can make you achy

Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawal from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).

So how can you cure your hangover?

Water

Hydrate people, hydrate.  Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you urinate more and lose valuable fluid and salts. Water is the easiest, most tolerable, cheapest way to hydrate. Take it slow so you don’t vomit.  And not scotch and water.  Just water….

Eat something

An empty stomach is an irritable one.  While most sources say eat a “greasy breakfast”, I would recommend balanced breakfast with protein. Give the stomach acid something to chew on but make it easily digestible.  Remember the alcohol irritated your gut so you need to go easy on it. Baby steps, but healthy baby steps

Exercise

Take a short, brisk walk.  The adrenaline gets the blood pumping and can help with the headache.  The cool air outside will feel good when you inhale and some endorphins will release. This may help with your headache.

Drink some Sprite/Sports Drinks

Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure and even though we don’t have many other studies to back it up, the sweet and bubbly it provides makes your head and tummy feel better.

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Sport’s Drinks add the salts you lost from alcohol’s diuretic features. Though many of us don’t like the taste, those who do find it a nice way to hydrate.

What is “hair of the dog”?

Originally it was a treatment to ward off rabies.  One would, after being bit by a dog, put a piece of dog hair on the wound.  A treating fire-with-fire strategy. It later was used for hangovers.  Treating a hangover with a chaser of alcohol was supposed to elevate moods and lessen the withdrawal.  To date there is not enough scientific support to recommend hair of the dog.

For next time, how do you avoid the dreaded hangover?

Want to avoid a hangover?  Here’s how:

Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk.  Set your limits and stick to it.

Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.

Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz”. Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.

Avoid popping antiinflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse.  But if any of the above “cures” don’t help, you may need to use these as a last resort.

 

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The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating

 

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, New Year's, New Year's Eve, news

How to Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

The most exciting evening of the year is coming and we start celebrating hours, even days before.  Champagne, beer, vodka, rum…you won’t find a venue without it.  Unfortunately the pace at which alcohol is consumed can be just as deadly as the quantity.  What you read below may be difficult to swallow, but it’s necessary to know to stay healthy.

What is acute alcohol intoxication?

Simply put, it’s alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol consumed in high quantities and at too fast a pace will disrupt metabolic processes in the body.  A healthy human body will break down alcohol at a rate of 1 oz per hour.  So if the average shot glass contains 0.6 – 1.5 oz of alcohol and if one takes in 4 shots in one sitting, math dictates that the body will not be able to keep up.

Whatever the liver does not metabolize will continue to circulate in the body.  As a defense mechanism, your gut may try to throw it up, which is why vomiting is a red flag of acute alcohol intoxication.

Alcohol is additionally a sedative so respiratory rate can drop to the point of causing the drinker to become unconscious.  Slow respiration coupled with high alcohol blood content will cause drinkers to have impaired brain function (loss of memory, acting confused) and dilation of blood vessels.  This can hypoperfuse certain organs as your body tries to preserve blood flow to the heart and brain, thus giving the drinker a pale, clammy look.

Chronic alcohol intoxication could cause scarring of the liver called cirrhosis.

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How much alcohol is safe to drink?

The CDC website defines quantities of alcohol as the following:

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

  Women metabolize alcohol differently from men, so they are encouraged to drink less.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a man should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and for women, no more than 1.

Binge Drinking” is defined as 4 or more drinks (woman) or 5 or more drinks (man) in a 2 hour period.

 

According to their website they state:

Moderate alcohol consumption:
According to the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
Binge Drinking:
  • NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.
Heavy Alcohol Use:
SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.

 

What if I’m taking medication? Can I still drink?

There is no official list of what medications can be swigged with alcohol.  Some sources will incorrectly say “Tylenol” however one’s liver may not agree as both acetaminophen (its key ingredient) and alcohol may cause liver disease.  We suggest speaking with your medical provider first before drinking.

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides a list of medications that could produce serious side effects when mixed with alcohol (even during the same night).  For example NSAIDS, (non steroidal antiinflammatories, such as ibuprofen), could increase risk of GI Bleed.

How much alcohol is toxic to the body?

Any amount of alcohol may be toxic to the body depending on one’s baseline health and how his/her body metabolizes alcohol.  One drink has even been linked to cancer such as those of the throat and/or GI tract.  So we don’t have an official “safe level” of alcohol to consistently promote.  How we determine ranges of toxicity depends on one’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) which can be measured.

The following tables come from the University of Notre Dame, Student Well-Being McDonald Center…….

BAC-Specific Effects

BAC Level Generalized Dose Specific Effects
0.020-0.039% No loss of coordination, slight euphoria, and loss of shyness. Relaxation, but depressant effects are not apparent.
0.040-0.059% Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, and sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of judgment and memory, lowering of caution.
0.06-0.099% Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control. Impaired reasoning and memory.
0.100-0.129% Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, peripheral vision, reaction time, and hearing will be impaired.
0.130-0.159% Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reducing and beginning dysphoria (a state of feeling unwell)
0.160-0.199% Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a sloppy drunk.
0.200-0.249% Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion. Dysphoria with nausea and vomiting; possible blackout.
0.250-0.399% Alcohol poisoning. Loss of consciousness.
0.40% + Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Males

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .043 .087 .130 .174 .217 .261 .304 .348 .391 .435
125 lbs .034 .069 .103 .139 .173 .209 .242 .278 .312 .346
150 lbs .029 .058 .087 .116 .145 .174 .203 .232 .261 .290
175 lbs .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .150 .175 .200 .225 .250
200 lbs .022 .043 .065 .087 .108 .130 .152 .174 .195 .217
225 lbs .019 .039 .058 .078 .097 .117 .136 .156 .175 .195
250 lbs .017 .035 .052 .070 .087 .105 .122 .139 .156 .173

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Females

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .050 .101 .152 .203 .253 .304 .355 .406 .456 .507
125 lbs .040 .080 .120 .162 .202 .244 .282 .324 .364 .404
150 lbs .034 .068 .101 .135 .169 .203 .237 .271 .304 .338
175 lbs .029 .058 .087 .117 .146 .175 .204 .233 .262 .292
200 lbs .026 .050 .076 .101 .126 .152 .177 .203 .227 .253
225 lbs .022 .045 .068 .091 .113 .136 .159 .182 .204 .227
250 lbs .020 .041 .061 .082 .101 .122 .142 .162 .182 .202

Time Factor Table

Time is the only factor to lower one’s Blood Alcohol Content. Coffee, cold showers, etc… are all myths.

Hours since first drink 1 2 3 4 5 6
Subtract from blood alcohol level .015 .030 .045 .060 .075 .090

 

A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN and iHeart Radio and is a Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, food, Health, news

The Office Holiday Party: Do’s and Don’ts

Above John Shaffer and Daliah Wachs at a KDWN Holiday Party.

 

The work holiday party is one of the most anticipated events of the year.  Free food, free drink and for 4-6 hours you can be in the same room as your boss without any risk of being told “you’re fired”.  But…..many of us make mistakes, HUGE mistakes, while tipsy and letting our guard down could be the biggest career buster ever.  Plus, there are some missed opportunities the office Holiday party offers to make your overall work life better. So let’s get right down to it.

Don’t

1. Flirt with the boss

Your superior in any office setting should be the last one you try to cuddle up to.  Good management knows there is ALWAYS someone watching and, these days, recording on their phone, so they do not want to be seen in an uncomfortable situation, appearing to be flirting with you.  You can complement them, sure, but hands off!

2. Drink too much

This gets us all into trouble.  Yes the alcohol is usually free and a flow’n but this will lead to your downfall.  Your guard is down, you become flirty, you blurt out secrets, those that the whole team knows but would be never caught dead saying……and sometimes the clothes come off on the dance floor.  Please drink in moderation.

3. Drive drunk

Never, never, never plan on driving that night if you plan to drink.  Car Service, Uber, Taxi, designated drivers are a must.

4.  Let anyone tag you on Facebook

The next morning will be full of regret as it is, no need to cement it in infamy.

5. Skip on the whole soiree

Holiday season is swarming with good parties. And chances are there are two other parties calling your name that same night.  Make sure you hit the office party FIRST.  You can get too distracted or drunk at the other parties such that you never make it across town, safely.  Again, don’t drive if you plan to drink.

 

singing.jpg

 

6.  Take the mic

This is where I take a fall (as you can see above).  A microphone is sitting up on the stage, waiting, just waiting for someone to grab it and spout out some one liners.  I fear getting close to it until the head boss makes opening remarks. Then I feel the need to interrupt him and “take over from here”.  Let your boss have the mic.  He/She’s the head honcho, let them have their glory.  They’re paying for the party……

7.  Gossip

Never, never use this opportunity to gossip. That’s what the staff lounge is for.  It’s a positive night. Don’t bring negativity.

8.  Tell off the office bully

 

You may feel protected with all your work peeps surrounding you but one day he/she will get you alone and ….payback.  Instead wish them some holiday cheer…..may bring out the good in the jerk.

9.  Sleep with your coworker

 
Everyone is watching you so your hopes of secretly hooking up is already circulating social media.  If you want to begin a relationship that’s fine, but hoping its on the down low will never happen.  People at parties pretend to be distracted, but someone is always watching.

10.  Discuss work

 
Never, never, never discuss work at the office Holiday party.  And please don’t ask for a raise!!! Will never happen. Even if your boss is drunk, he will forget about it by the New Year.
 

11.  Don’t be quiet

Being anti-social is not the way to go either. Mix, mingle and look like you’re having a good time. Even if you’re not.  If you have to leave early due to boredom, blame it on diarrhea.  This may be the only party you EVER get invited to.

Do’s

1. Thank the boss and the planning committee

Even though they may roll their eyes at you as you compliment them (since anyone volunteering for a planning committee in the first place probably isn’t your best bud at work), they secretly enjoy the compliment.

2.  Get up and sing (if you can sing)

This is the only time your boss and team will see your other talents.  Sans beer bonging, show off your talents….dance moves, pipes, even fashion sense…. if you’re good.

3.  Let the boss know you’re happy at work

Don’t kiss up, but as you thank him, let him know you love your job.  This will be a take home message that can go a long way.

4. Tip the bartender

This is a no brainer.
bartender-mixologist-1.jpg

5. Have fun!!

It’s the holidays!  Let’s celebrate!! Truly the most wonderful time of the year!!!
xmas party 2017.jpg
John Shaffer, Daliah Wachs, and Tom Humm

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart and is a Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

The Office Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts List

The work holiday party is one of the most anticipated events of the year.  Free food, free drink and for 4-6 hours you can be in the same room as your boss without any risk of being told “you’re fired”.  But…..many of us make mistakes, HUGE mistakes, while tipsy and letting our guard down could be the biggest career buster ever.  Plus, there are some missed opportunities the office Holiday party offers to make your overall work life better. So let’s get right down to it.

Don’t

1. Flirt with the boss

Your superior in any office setting should be the last one you try to cuddle up to.  Good management knows there is ALWAYS someone watching and, these days, recording on their phone, so they do not want to be seen in an uncomfortable situation, appearing to be flirting with you.  You can complement them, sure, but hands off!

2. Drink too much

This gets us all into trouble.  Yes the alcohol is usually free and a flow’n but this will lead to your downfall.  Your guard is down, you become flirty, you blurt out secrets, those that the whole team knows but would be never caught dead saying……and sometimes the clothes come off on the dance floor.  Please drink in moderation.

3. Drive Drunk

Never, never, never plan on driving that night if you plan to drink.  Car Service, Uber, Taxi, designated drivers are a must.

4.  Let anyone tag you on Facebook

The next morning will be full of regret as it is, no need to cement it in infamy.

5. Skip on the whole soiree

Holiday season is swarming with good parties. And chances are there are two other parties calling your name that same night.  Make sure you hit the office party FIRST.  You can get too distracted or drunk at the other parties such that you never make it across town, safely.  Again, don’t drive if you plan to drink.

 

Microphone.jpg

6.  Take the mic
This is where I take a fall.  A microphone is sitting up on the stage, waiting, just waiting for someone to grab it and spout out some one liners.  I fear getting close to it until the head boss makes opening remarks. Then I feel the need to interrupt him and “take over from here”.  Let your boss have the mic.  He/She’s the head honcho, let them have their glory.  They’re paying for the party……
7.  Gossip
Never, never use this opportunity to gossip. That’s what the staff lounge is for.  Its a positive night. Don’t bring negativity.
8.  Tell off the office bully
 

You may feel protected with all your work peeps surrounding you but one day he/she will get you alone and ….payback.  Instead wish them some holiday cheer…..may bring out the good in the jerk.

9.  Sleep with your coworker
 
Everyone is watching you so your hopes of secretly hooking up is already circulating social media.  If you want to begin a relationship that’s fine, but hoping its on the down low will never happen.  People at parties pretend to be distracted, but someone is always watching.
10.  Discuss work
 
Never, never, never discuss work at the office Holiday party.  And please don’t ask for a raise!!! Will never happen. Even if your boss is drunk, he will forget about it by the New Year.
 
11.  Don’t be quiet
Being anti-social is not the way to go either. Mix, mingle and look like you’re having a good time. Even if you’re not.  If you have to leave early due to boredom, blame it on diarrhea.  This may be the only party you EVER get invited to.

Do’s

1. Thank the boss and the planning committee
Even though they may roll their eyes at you as you complement them (since anyone volunteering for a planning committee in the first place probably isn’t your best bud at work), they secretly enjoy the complement.
2.  Get up and sing (if you can sing)
This is the only time your boss and team will see your other talents.  Sans beer bonging, show off your talents….dance moves, pipes, even fashion sense…. if you’re good.
3.  Let the boss know you’re happy at work
Don’t kiss up, but as you thank him, let him know you love your job.  This will be a take home message that can go a long way.
4. Tip the bartender
This is a no brainer.
bartender-scene-1280x720.jpg
5. Have fun!!
Its the holidays!  Let’s celebrate!! Truly the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician