Is it true that alcohol warms your body?

Is it true that alcohol warms your body?
Jan 5, 2022

Q: Is it true that alcohol warms your body?—Matt, Chicago

Many people experience a warming sensation after enjoying an adult beverage or two, but it’s actually misleading.

Alcohol consumption “can cause a brief increase in blood flow to blood vessels that will temporarily increase the temperature to the skin," Dr. Aldo Calvo, medical director at Broward Health in Florida, told Wine Spectator via email. "This effect will cause that individual to feel warm and may even cause blushing." But the opposite is occurring in terms of core body temperature.

As alcohol increases the flow of blood to the skin, it diverts it from the body’s core organs, ultimately resulting in a decrease in body temperature as that superficial warmth is lost. Alcohol also decreases the body’s ability to regulate temperature and the brain’s ability to recognize the need for warmth, which compounds the increased risk of hypothermia while drinking in very cold weather. Exercise caution while consuming alcohol in extreme cold. —Shawn Zylberberg

Q & A health

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