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Be Kind to Your Liver This Holiday Season

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Nothing leads to a diminished metabolicrate faster than regular alcohol consumption, and for many people alcohol is a bigpart of holiday season celebrations.

Nothing leads to a diminished metabolic rate faster than regular alcohol consumption, and for many people alcohol is a big part of holiday season celebrations.

Although I don't condone unbridled alcohol consumption at any time, there are natural ways to help diminish some of the negative effects associated with alcohol use.

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not contribute to an increase in body fat by virtue of its calories. In fact, only about five percent of alcohol calories ever end up as body fat. The reason lies within the way your body uses alcohol for energy. Alcohol calories are used as a preferential and easy form of fuel for the body, thereby leaving your body fat stores alonenot a good thing when consuming all those extra holiday calories!

In order to prove this theory, researchers from the University of California (Berkeley and San Francisco) measured whole-body lipid balances in healthy men after consumption of 2 alcoholic drinks (each containing approximately 90 calories) within a period of 30 minutes. The men's ability to utilize body fat as energy declined by a whopping 73 percent for several hours after the alcohol consumptionand that was with only two drinks. Other research performed on both men and women confirm the ability of relatively small amounts of alcohol to interfere with fat loss for hours at a time.

Alcohol Metabolism

Alcohol is metabolized in your liver, first into a highly reactive substance called acetaldehyde, which is then rapidly converted to acetate through the aid of specialized enzymes. It is the amount of acetate produced that is responsible for preventing fat from being oxidized for energy. On the other hand, the amount of acetaldehyde that escapes breakdown is responsible for the numerous toxic effects of alcohol, like free radical damage and those dreaded hangovers.

Another way in which alcohol can negatively affect metabolism is by causing a rise in the muscle-wasting stress hormone cortisol, which is the hormone that breaks down muscle tissue, causing a drastic reduction in the overall ability to burn calories. One night of drinking can raise cortisol and lower testosterone for up to 24 hours.

Research has confirmed that acetaldehyde is a powerful testosterone inhibitor, and since testosterone helps to maintain an optimal metabolism, you can't afford to lose too much of the stuffespecially at this time of the year.

Because many studies link excess body fat with liver dysfunction, it makes good sense to treat your liver kindly during the holiday season and beyond by drinking plenty of clean filtered water and supplementing with liver supportive herbs and vegetable extracts including artichoke, milk thistle, dandelion, d-glucarate and trimethylglycine (TMG).

The following natural concoction taken both before and after alcohol consumption can greatly reduce the negative byproducts of alcohol by helping to speed the conversion of acetaldehyde into harmless acetate and by reducing the negative effects of acetaldehydes.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC): 500 mg

Vitamin C: 1,000 mgHigh-potency

B complex: 50-100 mg

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