How Alcohol Retards Digestion

And right here, as a way to give those that aren’t conversant in, the method of digestion, a transparent thought of that essential operation, and the impact produced when alcohol is taken with meals, we quote from the lecture of an English doctor, Dr. Henry Monroe, on “The Physiological Action of Alcohol.” He says:


“Every form of substance employed by man as meals consists of sugar, starch, oil and glutinous issues, mingled collectively in varied proportions; these are designed for the help of the animal body. The glutinous rules of meals fibrine, albumen and casein are employed to construct up the construction; whereas the oil, starch and sugar are mainly used to generate warmth within the physique.

“The first step of the digestive course of is the breaking apart of the meals within the mouth via the jaws and enamel. On this being completed, the saliva, a viscid liquor, is poured into the mouth from the salivary glands, and because it mixes with the meals, it performs an important half within the operation of digestion, rendering the starch of the meals soluble, and steadily altering it right into a type of sugar, after which the opposite rules develop into extra miscible with it. Nearly a pint of saliva is furnished each twenty-four hours for the usage of an grownup. When the meals has been masticated and combined with the saliva, it’s then handed into the abdomen, the place it’s acted upon by a juice secreted by the filaments of that organ, and poured into the abdomen in giant portions at any time when meals is available in contact with its mucous coats. It consists of a dilute acid identified to the chemists as hydrochloric acid, composed of hydrogen and chlorine, united collectively in sure particular proportions. The gastric juice accommodates, additionally, a peculiar organic-ferment or decomposing substance, containing nitrogen one thing of the character of yeast termed pepsine , which is definitely soluble within the acid simply named. That gastric juice acts as a easy chemical solvent, is proved by the truth that, after loss of life, it has been identified to dissolve the abdomen itself.”

It is an error to suppose that, after dinner, a glass of spirits or beer assists digestion; or that any liquor containing alcohol even bitter beer can in any manner help digestion. Mix some bread and meat with gastric juice; place them in a phial, and hold that phial in a sand-bath on the sluggish warmth of 98 levels, sometimes shaking briskly the contents to mimic the movement of the abdomen; one can find, after six or eight hours, the entire contents blended into one pultaceous mass. If to a different phial of meals and gastric juice, handled in the identical manner, I add a glass of pale ale or a amount of alcohol, on the finish of seven or eight hours, and even some days, the meals is scarcely acted upon in any respect. This is a truth; and if you’re led to ask why, I reply, as a result of alcohol has the peculiar energy of chemically affecting or decomposing the gastric juice by precipitating one in all its principal constituents, viz., pepsine, rendering its solvent properties a lot much less efficacious. Hence alcohol can’t be thought of both as meals or as a solvent for meals. Not because the latter definitely, for it refuses to behave with the gastric juice.

“‘It is a outstanding truth,’ says Dr. Dundas Thompson, ‘that alcohol, when added to the digestive fluid, produces a white precipitate, in order that the fluid is now not able to digesting animal or vegetable matter.’ ‘The use of alcoholic stimulants,’ say Drs. Todd and Bowman, ‘retards digestion by coagulating the pepsine, an important component of the gastric juice, and thereby interfering with its motion. Were it not that wine and spirits are quickly absorbed, the introduction of those into the abdomen, in any amount, can be a whole bar to the digestion of meals, because the pepsine can be precipitated from the answer as shortly because it was fashioned by the abdomen.’ Spirit, in any amount, as a dietary adjunct, is pernicious on account of its antiseptic qualities, which resist the digestion of meals by the absorption of water from its particles, in direct antagonism to chemical operation.”

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