G11: Alcohol - can be both dangerous & medicinal.

Display of food including bread and cheese, and glasses of wine and beer with bottles and a keg.

Display of food including bread and cheese, and glasses of wine and beer with bottles and a keg.

G11.1 Alcohol is one of our earliest medicinal substances.

Alcohol was used to sterilize wounds and medical equipment. A shot of hard liquor was often given to someone who had received bad news or was in a state of shock. It was also one of the earliest mind altering substances that was produced by different cultures around the world. It also occurs naturally in fruit that is overripe so likely even cavemen and women enjoyed the occasional tipsy moment.

     Some cultures ban any use of alcohol or other mood altering drinks, even including coffee with its stimulating caffeine content. Alcohol has also been banned at certain points of time in the United States. However that led to increased crime and alcohol was still available to those willing to seek it out and pay whatever price was required for the illegal substance.

     More recent medical research has shown that moderate use of alcohol may actually have heart healthy benefits, with moderate equalling one alcohol serving for a smaller adult and two servings for a larger adult. Serving sizes and more information about the medical research regarding alcohol is available on the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health website: Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. (P.alcohol)

     Alcohol can be a fun and healthy beverage but overdoing can lead to an increased loss of electrolytes which may lead to increased anger and tendency towards violence. Over imbibing can also increase recklessness due to less impulse control and also causes loss of physical skills of balance and muscle control. Walking can become a risk let alone driving a fast car or speedboat. 

More on the possible Medicinal effects of alcohol was included - G10: Nrf2 promoting foods.

G11.2: Binge Drinking Can Kill Without Drinking and Driving.

 The evidence is clear - alcohol can be dangerous. 


Alcohol is a poison that can be used to kill. Having a few drinks with your young adult before sending them off to college might not be legal drinking age wise but it might be wise to let the young adult know just how incapacitating a few alcoholic beverages can be. Elsewhere on this site I mention dedicating it to the goal of reducing the number of lives lost to overdosing on alcohol. You don't need to get behind the wheel of an automobile to be killed by alcohol.

     Parents could also simply discuss the topic of moderation and eating some food and drinking some water when having an alcoholic beverage or a few. The most dangerous drinking is when alcohol is ingested rapidly with no additional water or food. The body needs water and nutrients to detoxify the alcohol. Bars used to provide free snacks such as popcorn or peanuts to bar patrons. The salt and other nutrients helps to replace the nutrients that are lost in excess urine or used up in the detoxification process.

     I've probably spent more sober hours in a bar than many people so I've observed a lot of drunkenness. Even one drink could affect my balance and I prefer to dance than drink. Live music is fun and so is staying alive. The message not to drive drunk is important but another important message is to know your limits and to pace yourself with some water or juice chasers and some salty snacks.

     Please warn your children that bullies with amazing liver capacity are not cool and can be lethal even though they might seem like the life of the party. Being a bully might be the in thing to do but it is not cool or romantic to be a killer or a bully.

     Alcoholism can become a problem later in life even with an unusual liver capacity. A deficiency in the cannabinoid receptor system may be involved. There are foods that contain cannabinoids, or the phospho-nutrient building blocks we need in order to make cannabinoids that aren't controlled substances, so that is not a suggestion to seek out illegal or controlled sources of cannabinoids (medical marijuana). See the section Addiction or Starvation?  for more information about the potential genetic issues that may underlay a tendency towards binge eating disorder, alcoholism or overuse of opiates. Nicotine and other addictive behaviors may involve differences in the cannabinoid system, except cocaine/crack cocaine addiction does not seem to involve the cannabinoid receptor system.

Is It Addiction or Starvation?

G11.3: Alcohol is a poison not just a beverage.

We as a human species are similar but we are also different somewhat in our body's capabilities. Genetically some people can drink more alcohol than others because their livers are better and quicker at detoxifying it. Bullies who can drink anyone else under the table are not cool they are bullies with phenomenal liver capacity to detoxify alcohol. Parents who simply warn their children, teenagers and young adults to never drink alcohol are not teaching them about the risks or about their body's capacity. Some people get drunk with a few drinks others can seem to tolerate a full bottle of hard liquor. Sending your young adult off to school with a just say no philosophy is not teaching them why or how or what to do if a yes was said. Once the first few are drunk then the inhibition and ability to say no to anything else is incapacitated.

     The bully or person lucky enough to have a phenomenal liver capacity who can drink a full bottle of hard liquor might not realize their liver is not the same as the liver of the person they are harassing or encouraging into drinking more alcohol than is safe for that person. This is not about building up a tolerance, although that can occur in a chronic user of alcohol, but there can also be differences to start with. There can be a basic underlying difference in the body's capacity to detoxify. The bully or lucky liver-capacity person might be thinking the other person is weak for not being able to hold their liquor without realizing that there might simply be a basic difference between people and their body's physiology. Killing with alcohol is killing with a deadly poison. It is not cool or romantic. As a child I grew up seeing the occasional risks of too much alcohol at social settings. It left me cautious, or at least aware of the risks of too much alcohol and it likely helped protect me when I arrived at college where alcohol occasionally was freely available in some private party settings.

G11.4: Foods that are naturally good sources of Phospho-nutrients.

The craving for alcohol for some people may actually be an underlying need for phospholipids or cannabinoids. There are many legally available foods with some cannabinoid content and many more with phospholipid content which are combined with a fatty acid to make cannabinoids. They also  are needed for our ability to use energy from sugar or starch. 


Food Sources of Phospholipids and other phospho-nutrients, a partial list:

Hemp seed kernels and oil; Artemisia turanica/wormwood leaf; amaranth seed; asparagus; avocado fruit or the inner kernel, dried and powdered; beans/legumes; cardamom seeds and powder; carrots; celery stalks and leaves; cocoa beans and cocoa powder, baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate and to a lesser amount milk chocolate and chocolate syrup; coconut; cumin seed/powder; fennel seed, flax seed, pine nuts; sesame seeds, pumpkin seed kernels, squash seeds; butternut squash and pumpkin; gingko leaf; grapefruit and orange juice with the pulp; Jerusalem artichoke (this is a root vegetable rather than a green artichoke); lettuce, spinach and mustard leaves and other leafy green vegetables and herbs; nuts/peanuts, cashews, walnuts; oats; okra seeds; onion root, leek leaves, garlic;  parsnip root; pomegranate seeds and pomegranate peel extract;rice, white or brown but the bran is the best source; rosemary; sorghum;  sweet potato or yam; buckwheat (a seed botanically that is not wheat and is gluten free); wheat. (G.26)


That is an excerpt from the Glossary & Resources section. See Macro and MicroNutrients for more information about the building blocks our bodies need for health. The  topic is also available as a single page on the effectiveselfcare.info blog site.


  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. 
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)

G11: Links & References

  1.  Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source, Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. hsph.harvard.edu, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/ (P.alcohol

Instinct & Policy; Resources

Table of Contents

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  • Chapters and Glossary section summaries & links, and a link for the book version of this site, Instinct & Policy: Effective Care and Best Practices for Promoting Health and Preventing Harassment and Discrimination. 

Table of Contents

I. Is it Addiction or Starvation?

Image of a person in a medical labcoat holding a testtube with a drawing of DNA & the acronym DNA.

Talk Therapy or "Just say no" can't help a genetic difference.

Talk therapy is also beneficial but can not “cure” a biological difference in metabolism.  Binge eating disorder, alcohol abuse, opioids, methamphetamine, and nicotine use may be more likely for people with genetic differences in the cannabinoid system.

I. Is it Addiction or Starvation?

Glossary & Resources

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  • Definitions of terms and the resources & therapy techniques from the various sections gathered in one location for convenience with some additional topics and material for background detail not covered elsewhere.   

Glossary & Resources