What sugar does alcohol put in the blood stream after drinking?
by Jim Holloway
(Kailua Kona, Hawaii, USA)
QUESTION: When vodka is put into a drink, like a bloody mary, for someone with type 2 diabetis, what happens to the blood sugar?
: Hi Jim,
In purpose to understand what alcohol
causes to your blood glucose level, we have to divide the alcohol consumption at two stages. The first stage will be moderate consumption and the second stage will be excessive alcohol consumption.
1. As you probably know an alcoholic drink, no matter its type, contains sugar. When you are drinking, glucose enters your blood stream.
So, when you drinking alcohol in moderate amounts you are increasing your blood glucose concentration.
To put it in other words, when you drink around 50-100 mg of alcohol, your blood glucose gets higher than normal. This elevation can be compensated, if this moderate consumption of alcohol is occasional.
However, if you usually drink alcohol, even in small amounts, every night you will have permanent elevation in the blood glucose level.
So, you have to avoid the permanent consumption of alcohol and to stick to the occasional one, probably one-two times a month.
2. During the second stage, which we named as excessive alcohol consumption, your blood glucose can drop to very dangerous levels.
This happens because the excessive amount of alcohol
blocks the enzymes in the liver and it can’t be metabolized.
In this way, you will have pure alcohol in your blood stream and not its derivate, which is normally formed in your liver, when the enzymes in there are active.
In addition, the pure alcohol stimulates the blood circulation in the endocrine part of your pancreas.
As you probably know, the insulin is excreted from the endocrine part of the pancreas and when its circulation is improved, more insulin than usual will be produced.
The more insulin is excreted the lower your blood glucose level will be, because the insulin will put glucose molecules inside the cells.
When the blood glucose concentration in your body is low, your brain is not able to work properly, which means that you can lose consciousness.
As you can see the moderate and excessive consumption of alcohol are not something good for a diabetic, like you. So, it would be better for you to avoid it.
However, if you really want to drink alcohol from time to time, you should drink it occasionally and in small amounts. This is for your own safety after all.
Remember: There are many other natural steps you can follow in order to control glucose and not have problems with diabetes.
Hope it helped!
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Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist