How Alcohol Intake Can Alter Gut Microbiome

  • Post category:Gut Health

Alcohol is a common vice, often used to mark special occasions or complement a meal. However, there are several reasons to limit your alcohol intake, including the risk of liver damage, high blood pressure, and even certain cancers. But, many people don’t realize that alcohol can also compromise your gut health. 

How Does Alcohol Impact Gut Health?

According to a study published in 2017, consuming alcohol in excess can lead to gut inflammation by affecting three important components of gut health: the gut microbiome, immunity, and intestinal permeability. 

The Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome refers to the hundreds of types of bacteria found in the gut. For optimal digestive health, the microbiome requires a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. 

Drinking too much alcohol can throw off the balance of bacteria in the microbiome. As a result, the bad bacteria can outweigh the good bacteria, triggering the release of various inflammatory substances. 


An estimated 70% of the immune system is found in the gut. So, poor gut health tends to correlate with a weakened immune response. 

Alcohol is known to negatively affect the immune system, including the immune cells located in the gut. This can lead to a heightened susceptibility to infection in the gut, as well as increased inflammation. 

Intestinal Permeability

The gut has a barrier that protects it against harmful substances. Drinking excess alcohol can lead to increased permeability of this barrier, making it easier for substances to leak from the gut into the bloodstream. 

How Much Alcohol is Safe To Drink?

Like many indulgences, alcohol is safe to drink in moderation. The CDC recommends that men limit their intake to two drinks or fewer per day, and women limit their intake to one drink or less per day. But if you have gut issues, I would recommend abstaining from alcohol altogether. 

To learn more about improving your gut health, schedule an appointment at Body Flow Wellness today.