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Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation

In large amounts, alcohol and its metabolites can overwhelm the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and liver and lead to damage both within the GI and in other organs. Specifically, alcohol and its metabolites promote intestinal inflammation through multiple pathways. That inflammatory response, in turn, exacerbates alcohol-induced organ damage, creating a vicious cycle and leading to additional...

The First Line of Defense: The Effects of Alcohol on Post-Burn Intestinal Barrier, Immune Cells, and Microbiome

Each year 2.5 million people die from alcohol abuse and its related morbidities worldwide, making alcohol related deaths among the highest preventable causes of death, and the greatest cause of premature death and disability in men between ages 15 and 59 (World Health Organization 2011). Alcohol abuse predisposes individuals to life-threatening conditions such as alcoholic liver disease (ALD)...

Alcohol and the Immune System - Editor's Note

Clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia. In recent decades, this association has been expanded to a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and certain cancers; a higher incidence of postoperative complications...

Development, Prevention, and Treatment of Alcohol-Induced Organ Injury: The Role of Nutrition

Alcohol and nutrition have the potential to interact at multiple levels. For example, heavy alcohol consumption can interfere with normal nutrition, resulting in overall malnutrition or in deficiencies of important micronutrients, such as zinc, by reducing their absorption or increasing their loss. Interactions between alcohol consumption and nutrition also can affect epigenetic regulation of gene...

Alcohol Use As a Risk Factor in Infections and Healing: A Clinician's Perspective

Alcohol use and misuse have been part of human society for centuries. Early physicians recognized since the 1800s that alcohol produced not only impairment of the senses but also higher predisposition for tuberculosis. William Osler, the father of scientific medicine, reported in 1905 that patients who misused alcohol had higher predisposition to pneumonia (Osler 2001).

Between 2006 and 2010...

The Gastrointestinal Microbiome: Alcohol Effects on the Composition of Intestinal Microbiota

It has been estimated that approximately 2 billion people worldwide drink alcohol on a daily basis, with more than 70 million people having a diagnosed alcohol use disorder (World Health Organization 2004). Globally, alcohol use is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability among people between the ages of 15 and 49 (Lim et al. 2012). Excessive alcohol consumption in the...

Alcohol’s Burden on Immunity Following Burn, Hemorrhagic Shock, or Traumatic Brain Injury

The incidence of traumatic injury in alcohol-intoxicated individuals continues to escalate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012a), more than 38 million American alcohol users consume 5 or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., binge drink) and do so about 4 times per month. This behavior is highly conducive to unintentional or accidental traumatic injury, which...

Natural Recovery by the Liver and Other Organs After Chronic Alcohol Use

Introduction

A vast body of evidence from human studies and animal research clearly indicates that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption causes structural damage and/or disrupts normal organ function in virtually every tissue of the body. In heavy consumers of alcohol, the liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-induced injury.1,2 Additionally, several other organs—including the...

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Body

Alcohol misuse is the fifth-leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide, and, adjusting for age, alcohol is the leading risk factor for mortality and the overall burden of disease in the 15 to 59 age group. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004, 4.5% of the global burden of disease and injury was attributable to alcohol: 7.4% for men and 1.4% for women.

The Role of Innate Immunity in Alcoholic Liver Disease

Heavy consumption of alcohol poses a well-known health risk worldwide. Alcohol’s effects on health and well-being are numerous and include injuries and fatalities resulting from alcohol-induced incapacitation. Moreover, chronic and heavy alcohol consumption affects the integrity and function of vital tissues and organs, causing slow but significant structural and functional damage over time. One...