Based on a new study, a single alcohol binge can now be linked with numerous ill effects to health that lead to bacteria leaking from the gut further resulting in elevated toxin levels in the blood.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School warn that women who down at least four alcoholic beverages (at least five for men) in two hours are at risk of having bacteria leaking from their guts and increasing the levels of dangerous toxins in the blood. It can elicit the body's immune response and can have adverse effects on a healthy person.
The subjects were given a few alcohol units and tested after several hours. The researchers studied 14 women and 11 men by giving them enough alcohol to elevate levels of blood alcohol to .08g/dl in an hour. Four hours after, the researchers took blood samples from the subjects every 30 minutes. The procedure was repeated after 24 hours.
"Our observations suggest that an alcohol binge is more dangerous than previously thought," lead researcher and professor Gyongyi Szabo said.
The team found a rapid increase in their test subjects' endotoxin levels. There was evidence of bacterial DNA in the blood, which was proof that the bacteria escaped the gut. It also showed that women had higher alcohol and endotoxin levels compared to the men.
The recommended safe daily alcohol level intake is at three to four units or below of alcohol for men and two to three for women. A unit is equivalent to half a pint of a regular lager or a 125ml of wine.
Alcohol binges account for over half of the 79,000 excessive-drinking fatalities in the U.S. It is a major concern in cities and neighborhoods. Heavy alcohol intake is a safety risk associated with car accidents and injuries but habitual drinking causes damage to the liver and other body organs. The study revealed that even just a single episode of alcohol binging may cause bacterial toxin leakage that may lead to excessive immune cells that can cause inflammation, tissue destruction and fever.
"This research highlights that even at a level people might think is acceptable or normal, we are potentially damaging our health," Think-tank 2020Health's Julia Manning said. "We have normalized drinking to the extent that we are drinking more than we realize and doing much more damage to our bodies than we realize."