Alcohol can liven up most social situations, but the day after can make you consider swearing it off forever. Therefore, it is useful to have a few strategies to speed detoxification of alcohol so you get back to feeling normal ASAP.
First, knowing what alcohol does to your body can help you choose to take action to prevent its ill effects. Remember, alcohol contains 7 calories a gram—nearly double that of carbs and protein—and when you drink it, all other metabolic processes in the body are put on hold until it’s metabolized. Fat and carbohydrate burning are halted, as is tissue rebuilding and protein synthesis. Alcohol can depress growth hormone production and increase levels of aromatase that turn testosterone to estrogen.
Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, but the process causes oxidative stress. Chronic drinking leads to significant damage and fat accumulation inside the liver. The bright side of all the misery caused by alcohol is that if you drink responsibly, there are ways to speed detoxification. Curcumin, green tea, and milk thistle have all been shown to blunt the ill effects of alcohol and help eliminate it.
Curcumin is a super-nutrient found in the spice turmeric, and multiple animal studies show it protects the liver from alcohol. For example, one study showed that curcumin significantly decreased the acute inflammation caused by alcohol, while enhancing detoxification.
A similar study showed green tea extract protects the liver from alcohol and accelerates detoxification. Researchers found that the antioxidants (called catechins) in green tea inhibited absorption of alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to less of an inflammatory response and faster elimination.
Finally, milk thistle can speed the elimination of toxins through the liver and protect it from damage. It’s a well known liver tonic that has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects when supplemented regularly.
Additional strategies to accelerate detox from alcohol include the following:
- Drink LOTS of water with electrolytes before and after drinking.
- Focus on eating high-protein, low-carb foods. Eating protein and vegetables before drinking can help minimize cravings for alcohol and high-carb, fatty foods.
- Train hard. Studies shows athletes excrete more toxins in urine than sedentary people.
- Remember, you have complete control over everything you put in your mouth!