Alcohol: a high risk for adolescent health and nutrition

Author: Rita Medina Nutritionist. nutritionist

Young people are more vulnerable to developing addiction because the transition from abuse to addiction is faster than in adults. However, the data speaks for itself, with one in four teenagers claiming to have gotten drunk in the past month. According to a sociological study, from 50% to 75% of adolescents aged 14 to 18 have consumed alcohol in the last 30 days. Adolescents before drinking alcohol. How does such abuse affect the body of young people? Directed by Eusebio Meguias, Spanish psychiatrist, director of the Fundación de Ayuda contra la Drogadicción.

global warning

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), any use of alcohol during adolescence is considered abuse. Alcohol is a substance that does not contain any nutrients.contains only empty calories and has a detrimental effect on the appetite, digestive system, liver and nervous system.

Impact on the young

Even moderate drinking (two glasses of wine or two beers a day) has a major impact on nutritional balance and growth and youth development.

It is harmful primarily through two mechanisms: reduction in food intake and changes in the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, vitamin B12, thiamine or B1, riboflavin or B2, niacin or B3, pyridoxine or B6, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, K, and C, or ascorbic acid. acid.

Poor nutrition and addiction

Alcohol consumption impairs absorption or stimulates the destruction of these nutrients. B vitamins, especially thiamine and folic acid, are directly involved in the mechanisms of neural transmission. Thiamine deficiency reduces the rate of transmission of information in certain nerves.

If a teenager regularly consumes alcoholic beverages (both daily and on weekends) or, in the worst case, develops an addiction, vitamin deficiency (helped by the effects on the brain of early drinking) exacerbates the toxic effect. ethanol. This situation can cause neuropathy, irreparable nerve damage.

Problems with learning and memory

Alcohol use is also associated with cognitive deficits that worsen over time, especially if such use continues into late adolescence. This was confirmed by verbal and non-verbal memory tests in which drinkers act much worse than teetotalers. Any use of alcohol at a young age is considered abuse.

Secondary nutritional deficiencies due to chronic alcohol use (especially vitamin E deficiency), together with the direct effect of ethanol on the cells of the defense system, leads to changes in the immune response, making a person more susceptible to infections.

Except, Habitual drinking alters the concentration of proteins in the blood produced by the liver. (albumin, transferrin, lipoproteins) and which are involved in many important functions, such as the transport of iron or cholesterol in the blood. They also increase the daily requirement for protein from the diet.

More risk in girls

Girls have a worse tolerance because they have less water in their bodies than boys and more adipose tissue. Factors affecting the impact of alcohol on each person are diverse, for example, the strength of the drink (the higher it is, the faster it is absorbed), the amount of alcohol consumed, the time of day (it is more harmful). on an empty stomach) or mixed with soft drinks or stimulants with tyramine, histamine, or caffeine, which can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure.

And a few other factors that also influence are the state of health and the physical and psychological state, as well as the mood of adolescents.

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