Definition

Ethanol is the alcohol present in alcoholic beverages. It is a psychoactive drug.

Health considerations

Consumption of small quantities of ethanol is associated with short-term increases in metabolism, stress reduction, and, in some alcoholic beverages, benefits to cardiovascular health. However, consumption of high quantities of ethanol, particularly when done regularly, is associated with fatty liver; organ damage including the brain, heart, and liver; numerous types of cancers; altered immune system function; lung infections; and changes to heart rate. Ethanol is also associated with fetal abnormalities, changes to levels of circulating sex hormones, and disturbances to behavior, mood, and mental state.

Keep in mind

Both short- and long-term ethanol consumption can alter gene expression in neuronal circuitry involved in tolerance and dependence behaviours.

May be found in

Flavoring extracts, kombucha, vinegars, mustard

References

British Journal of Nutrition
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Alcohol
American Heart Journal
Springer.com
The New England Journal of Medicine
American Heart Journal 2
Critical Reviews in Toxicology
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Alcohol Research: Current Reviews

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