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A Warning for Women Who Drink:
Alcohol is Worse for Women



All people are created equal, except when it comes to alcohol tolerance. Women become intoxicated quicker than men and are at greater risk of disease and injury due to alcohol consumption -- an important point for women to know as we head into the season of holiday parties.

Women are at greater risk of disease from drinking alcohol than men.

A recent study published in the journal Addiction cited two main reasons for this. The first is an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that works at processing alcohol once it’s in your stomach. Because women don’t have as much of this enzyme as men, more alcohol is allowed to pass into their bloodstream.

The second factor centers on the amount of water in the body, which works to dilute the alcohol once it enters. In most cases, women are smaller with bodies more fatty tissue, which doesn’t have as much water as muscle. Since men’s bodies tend to be more muscular than women’s, men’s bodies also tend to have more water to dilute alcohol.

Men and Women Get Intoxicated at Different Rates -- Even if Their Weight is the Same

Because of these two biological factors, if you put a man and a woman of the same size together and had them drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman would get drunk quicker. This also places women at risk for developing alcohol-related problems.

“Women have lower body weight, less body water and less of the enzyme that breaks alcohol down,” said Sharon Wilsnack, a professor of neuroscience at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. “So they have significantly higher alcohol concentrations in the blood, and that’s going to the brain, liver, heart and other organs.”

According to the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking means one drink a day for women and two for men. They define one drink as either 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, 12 ounces of regular beer or 5 ounces of wine.

Despite these recommendations study findings revealed:

  • 60 percent of American women drink

  • 13 percent exceed the one drink a day recommendation

  • 5.3 million women are drinking in a way that puts their health at risk

Why Women Drink

While women’s bodies may handle alcohol differently, when it comes to the reasons behind the desire to drink, women aren’t much different from men. Many women drink to relax and unwind at the end of a tough day, build up some confidence in social situations, help them sleep and as a form of stress relief.

Women may be more likely to drink excessively for the following reasons:

  • They have problems with a loved one or family member

  • Women who are unmarried, divorced or separated are more likely to have alcohol problems

  • If a women’s husband has a drinking problem they are more likely to drink themselves

  • Women who have been sexually abused are more likely to drink to excess

  • Women may start out drinking more at a younger age

Health and Safety Risks of Exceeding the Daily Recommended Alcohol Limit

The health and safety risks of drinking alcohol are broken down in two categories: moderate and heavy.

Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink a day and heavy drinking is defined as drinking more than two drinks a day. Women who drink more than one drink per day are placing themselves at an increased risk for automobile accidents and other related injuries and diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood pressure, stroke, violence, suicide, and certain types of cancer.

There are certain groups of people who should not drink at all. They include:

  • Anyone under the age of 21

  • People of any age who are unable to control their drinking to moderate levels

  • Women who are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant

  • People who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination

  • People taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol

Moderate Drinking Risks

Research has shown that just drinking a glass of wine with dinner each night raises a women’s risk of breast cancer. The targeted group of women at high risk are those who are postmenopausal or with a family history of breast cancer.

If you fall into the category of a moderate drinker, below are some other risks to be aware of:

  • Drinking and driving: In 2008, 1,650 fatalities occurred in the U.S. at the hands of an alcohol-impaired female driver and it seems to be a trend on the rise. It doesn’t take much alcohol to impair a person’s judgment and decision-making abilities and this makes getting behind the wheel a deadly situation even at low blood alcohol levels.

Consider this: a 140-pound woman with an elevated alcohol blood level after drinking one drink on an empty stomach is at greater risk of being killed in a single-vehicle crash.

  • Medications don’t mix with alcohol: Alcohol can have adverse effects when combined with different medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter. It can work to either reduce the effectiveness of some medications or increase the side effects of others.

This is especially dangerous when the medication you are taking increases drowsiness such as those for colds and cough, anxiety and depression, as alcohol produces a sedative effect. It is critical to closely read the labels of any prescription or over-the-counter medication you are taking before drinking alcohol.

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Women who are pregnant and drink alcohol are putting their unborn baby at risk of a birth defect called fetal alcohol syndrome.

Heavy Drinking Risks

Statistics show that approximately 5.3 million women in the United States fall into the heavy drinking category. This automatically puts them at risk of becoming a victim of violence and sexual assault and developing alcohol-related disorders, which can lead to serious long-term health problems.

Four of the most common health problems specific to alcohol abuse and alcoholism are:

  • Alcoholic liver disease: Women are at greater risk than men of developing alcoholic hepatitis (liver inflammation) and are more likely to die from cirrhosis

  • Brain disease: Research suggests that women are more vulnerable to men to alcohol-induced brain damage such as loss of mental functioning, reduced brain size and changes in brain function

  • Cancer: In addition to being at higher risk of breast cancer, there are also links to other types of alcohol-induced cancers such as of the digestive tract and of the head and neck

  • Heart disease: Cardiovascular disease is the leading disease brought on by heavy drinking and women are more susceptible to it than men despite the fact that women drink less alcohol than men over the course of a lifetime

Enjoy Happy Hour and Go Home Safely

Whether you’re out with a few friends from work for Happy Hour to de-stress from a challenging work day or unwinding at home for the weekend, there are ways you can cut back on your alcohol intake or opt for some healthier drink alternatives and still have a good time.

You can start by changing the way you drink by deciding how much you will have before you go out and then don’t exceed that amount.

Seven Tips on How to Drink Less While You’re Out, and Still Have Fun

  • Order a small glass of wine -- Glass sizes in restaurants have gotten bigger over the last decade, including wine glasses, which in some cases are now equivalent to holding one-third bottle of wine.

  • Try a shandie or a spritzer -- This way you’ll be drinking less alcohol and not forgoing the taste of your favorite drink.

  • Stay away from ordering premium lagers and ciders -- These drinks contain almost twice as much alcohol as normal alternatives.

  • Don’t feel like you have to participate in buying rounds -- If you’re not comfortable saying no, you can always buy a round and not get a drink for yourself or order a non-alcoholic beverage.

  • Keep a drink tally -- Keep track of the number of drinks you consume and you might be surprised at how much you drank by the end of the night. This is also a good way to set limits for the number of drinks you decide you’re going to have before you go out.

  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach -- Order an appetizer or eat something while you are drinking to slow down the alcohol absorption.

  • Alcohol-free days -- Designate at least two non-drinking days a week to give your body a chance to rest and replenish.

Make it a New Habit to Opt for Ajmera’s Healthy, Thirst-Quenching Alternatives!

One of our all-time favorite beverage brands, Ajmera, makes delicious and healthy beverages that give you the flavor you crave. All four flavors are 100% natural with NO caffeine, no preservatives, no synthetic food colors and no artificial flavors:

You can easily turn these healthy drinks into tasty “mock-tails” by adding the powder to club soda or seltzer and garnishing with a lemon or lime!

orange coco mango

Learn More About
Ajmera Beverages Now!

Make a Change in Your Drinking Pattern

If you decide to take a pass on the Happy Hour gatherings and are looking for ways to decompress at home, you can opt for a healthier drink alternative such as Orang-O Energy, Coco Energy and Mang-O Energy from Ajmera Incredibles.

These drinks are 100% natural with NO caffeine, no preservatives, synthetic food colors or artificial flavors. All three of Ajmera's beverages will keep you hydrated, helping you function better, and are best after a stressful day or just when you need an energy boost.

Plus, you can easily turn these drinks into a “mock-tail” by adding the powder to club soda or seltzer and garnishing with a lemon or lime!

  • Orange-O Energy contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that can protect your body from free radicals, which may cause heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is responsible for producing collagen. Collagen is present in your muscles and bones and holds the cells together. Vitamin C also helps your immune system, helping you heal from scrapes and bruises, and keeps your gums healthy.

  • CoCo Energy is made with coconut water, which is a Natural Isotonic Beverage -- it has the same level we have in our blood, thus does not have an adverse affect on blood sugar or pressure. Coconut water contains more potassium (at about 294 mg) than most sports drinks (117 mg) and most energy drinks. It also has less sodium (25mg) whereas sports drinks have around 41mg and energy drinks have about 200 mg!

  • Mang-O Energy also contains vitamin C, giving you excellent protection against free radicals with the great flavor of mangoes!

Finding Other Ways to Unwind After a Stressful Day

If you’ve had a difficult week at work it can be hard to shift gears into relaxation mode. Sometimes it takes a bit of a push to get your mind and body to really calm down, and that's why the staff at Sixwise loves the CD Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit.

Skip the Alcohol and Opt for Pure Relaxation De-stress after a hard day at the office with the Premier Guided Meditation CD

The Pure Relaxation CD will calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. These meditations are unique in that they guide you to relax in a natural, effortless way.

pure relaxation cd Learn more about the Pure Relaxation CD now!

In it Mary Maddux, a leading meditation expert, has captured the essence of everything she's learned over the years about how to help people relax effortlessly.

It's not a series of instructions giving you yet another thing to do. Instead the guided meditations on the Pure Relaxation CD help you to let go of effort, invoking your body's natural relaxation response.

Mary's voice-guided relaxations are accompanied by relaxing, soothing music thanks to her husband, Richard, who specializes in music for relaxation. It's designed to be an ideal tool for stress reduction, and using it repeatedly helps to develop a "relaxation habit" so that you find yourself automatically relaxing during the day -- no alcohol required!

Recommended Reading

Alcohol Consumption-How Much is "Too Much" and "Too Little?"

Alcohol and Alcoholism in the U.S. --The Shockingly High Numbers Revealed

What Everyone Needs to Know to Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents (& the Worst States for Drunk Driving)


Addiction. 2009 Sep;104(9):1487-500. November 10, 2009

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Independent November 13, 2002


Everyday Health

Automotive Fleet October 2009

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