What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health


Huberman Lab

In this episode, I discuss the physiological effects that drinking alcohol has on the brain and body at different levels of consumption and over time. I also describe genetic differences that predispose certain individuals to alcoholism, binge and habit-drinking. I explain alcohol metabolism in simple terms and how it effectively acts as a poison, leading to cellular stress and damage. I then explain that it impacts neuronal function and changes our thinking and behavior – hallmarks of inebriation. I also discuss how alcohol consumption of different amounts impacts inflammation, stress, neurodegeneration, and cancer risk and negatively impacts the gut microbiome, brain thickness, hormone balance, mood and feelings of motivation. Additionally, I discuss the biology of hangovers and describe science-based strategies to mitigate the severity of a hangover. Since alcohol is one of the most widely consumed recreational substances, this episode ought to be of relevance to everyone. Indeed, even low-to-moderate alcohol consumption negatively impacts the brain and body in direct ways. The goal of this episode is to help people make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption that are in keeping with their mental and physical health goals.

For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.

Thank you to our sponsors​

AG1 (Athletic Greens): https://athleticgreens.com/huberman

LMNT: https://drinklmnt.com/huberman

Supplements from Momentous​



(00:00:00) Effects of Alcohol Consumption

(00:03:19) Low to Moderate Alcohol Consumption & Neurodegeneration

(00:06:14) Sponsors: AG1, LMNT

(00:10:46) Historical Context & Uses of Alcohol

(00:13:28) Alcohol Metabolism, “Empty Calories”

(00:18:23) Inebriation: Top-Down Inhibition, Impulsivity & Memory Formation

(00:24:23) Long-Lasting Effects & Impulsivity, Neuroplasticity & Reversibility

(00:27:55) Food & Alcohol Absorption

(00:30:07) Alcohol & Serotonin, SSRIs & Depression, Risk for Alcoholism, Blackouts

(00:37:39) Predisposition for Alcoholism; Chronic Consumption, Cortisol & Stress

(00:43:29) Sponsor: AG1

(00:46:07) Genetic Predisposition for Alcoholism, Consuming Alcohol Too Young

(00:52:27) Gut-Liver-Brain Axis: Alcohol, Gut Microbiome, Inflammation & Leaky Gut

(00:59:46) Tool: Improving/Replenishing Gut Microbiome

(01:02:44) Reducing Alcohol Consumption & Stress

(01:04:25) Hangover: Alcohol & Sleep, Anxiety, Headache

(01:12:11) Hangover Recovery, Adrenaline & Deliberate Cold Exposure

(01:17:16) Hangover Recovery, Dehydration & Electrolytes

(01:20:45) Types of Alcohol & Hangover Severity, Congeners

(01:25:25) Alcohol Tolerance, Dopamine & Serotonin, Pleasure-Pain Balance

(01:33:36) Are There Any Positive Effects of Alcohol?, Resveratrol

(01:35:42) Alcohol & Brain Thickness

(01:37:11) Alcohol & Cancer Risk: DNA Methylation, Breast Cancer Risk

(01:44:31) Mitigating Cancer Risk, Folate, B Vitamins

(01:46:54) Alcohol & Pregnancy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

(01:50:58) Hormones: Testosterone & Estrogen Balance

(01:55:09) Negative Effects of Alcohol Consumption

(01:58:35) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous Supplements, Instagram, Twitter, Neural Network Newsletter, Huberman Lab Clips

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


Continue reading...