Is Vodka Good For You? | Health Benefits Vs. Risks
Vodka is a type of distilled alcohol that contains a high alcohol content (40%) compared to beer (5%) or wine (12%). Due to its high alcohol content, vodka has the potential to be used as an antiseptic, pain reliever, and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
However, heavy vodka consumption can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, and other health issues. Binge drinking can also cause alcohol poisoning, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Health Benefits Of Vodka
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend limiting alcohol consumption to 1-2 servings in a day. A shot of vodka, which is the equivalent of one alcoholic drink, is about 1.5 ounces.
Drinking vodka in moderation carries some potential health benefits.
However, it is important to note that moderate alcohol consumption can be harmful if you:
- take medicine that interacts with alcohol
- are below the legal drinking age
- have liver damage
- are pregnant
- are vulnerable to alcohol use disorder (AUD)
Several studies have found drinking alcohol may reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 40 percent.
Vodka helps raise good cholesterol levels, which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. In addition, moderate drinking may prevent the formation of blood clots that could lead to stroke or heart attack.
However, red wine may be more beneficial for cardiovascular health compared to vodka.
Studies are inconclusive when determining the antiseptic benefits of vodka, which is made up of ethyl alcohol. Vodka contains about 40% alcohol content. However, there are vodka brands with higher alcohol content.
According to the CDC, ethyl alcohol concentrations of 60-80% may be efficient against viruses like the flu and herpes.
A clinical trial reported in the National Library of Medicine found ethyl alcohol, which is found in vodka, maybe as efficient as morphine in relieving pain. Applying vodka to a toothache may temporarily relieve pain and inflammation.
However, using alcohol to relieve pain increases the risk of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction.
Alcoholic beverages, especially vodka cocktails, can be heavy in carbohydrates and sugar. However, a shot of vodka is a low-calorie option compared to other types of alcohol.
One serving of vodka typically contains about 64 calories and zero carbs. In comparison, a serving of beer can contain about 154 calories and 13 grams of carbs.
Health Risks Of Vodka
Although there may be health benefits with moderate drinking, regular consumption of alcohol can cause several adverse side effects.
Increased Risk Of Disease
Occasional drinking may reduce the risk of heart disease but frequent episodes of heavy drinking can have the opposite effect.
Drinking more than the recommended amount increases the risk of the following heart conditions:
If you drink vodka heavily, it can also increase the risk of liver damage. Untreated liver damage can progress to alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis of the liver is a severe stage of liver disease that occurs when scarred liver tissue replaces healthy tissue.
Immediately after drinking, alcohol can cause difficulties with memory, including blackouts. Heavy alcohol use can lead to long-lasting effects on learning and memory because it impairs brain function.
Alcohol-related cognitive impairment may also include difficulties with:
- impulse control
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Alcohol use disorder, also known as alcoholism, is a complex disease of the brain that can affect anyone. However, genetics and environment play a key role in influencing how an individual responds to the effects of alcohol.
Another factor that can increase the risk of developing an addiction is alcohol abuse, including binge drinking. A study by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found adolescents are more apt to choose vodka when binge drinking.
Alcohol poisoning is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by heavy alcohol consumption in a short period of time. There are several signs of alcohol poisoning, including trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, and a bluish skin tone.
Alcohol poisoning requires immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one would like information about alcohol use disorder treatment options, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) - Chemical Disinfectants
Harvard School Of Public Health - Alcohol - Balancing Risks And Benefits
John Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health - Binge Drinking Among Youth Concentrated Among a Small Number of Alcohol Brands; Vodka Often Binge Drink of Choice
National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism (NIAAA) - Alcohol's Effects On The Body
National Library Of Medicine: PubMed - Analgesic Effect Of Ethyl Alcohol
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