A glass of red or white wine, a cold beer, whisky shots or a frilly cocktail — no matter what drink you fancy, alcohol is a favourite chemical toxin. Most of us know there are harmful effects to drinking, but that doesn’t stop a wine lover from loving wine. Never!
But, it is a toxin, that’s why we get drunk from it.
While few of us consume excessive amount of alcohol, the affects of alcohol on the nervous system is becoming better understood as shown in this research and article funded by the Rhode Island Hospital:
The evidence is accruing that Alcohol-Related Peripheral Neuropathy (ALN) should be reclassified as a toxic, rather than a nutritional neuropathy. … Recent animal and human clinical, electrophysiological and pathological results support a toxic cause, likely affecting small unmyelinated and myelinated fibers early in the course, and progressing to more symptomatic clinical involvement as a large-fiber sensorimotor axonal neuropathy develops.¹
Since alcohol, in large amounts over a long period of time, causes peripheral neuropathy, it only follows that alcohol in people with an existing neuropathy can cause additional damage. Naturally, the more consumed, the more damage will be caused. There is no reason to give it up completely but, you be the judge. If alcohol causes your hands and feet to swell, become red and hot, its a sign of inflammation, something we know aggravates neuropathy. So, like many things in life, moderation is key.
Linda is an independent information technology business analyst and Vice President of the CNA.