Why does alcohol make me warm when I drink it?

Why does alcohol make me warm when I drink it?
Feb 6, 2019

Q: Why does alcohol make me warm when I drink it?—Blake N., Stockton, Calif.

A: There are several causes for that warm, cozy feeling you get when you have a glass of wine, but the primary reason is that alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it increases blood flow, especially in the blood vessels near the skin. The effects of that increased flow of blood can range from a mild sense of warmth to sweating to flushed skin. That's theorized to be one of the reasons that higher levels of alcohol consumption have been linked to colder climates.

However, that feeling of warmth radiating from your skin is a signal that blood is being diverted from your core, and an indication that your body temperature may actually be lowering.

It's also important to note that warmth is generated by activity in the core organs as well as in the heart, brain and liver, and internal body actions like digestion have temperature-altering properties. When the digestive process reaches the liver, blood flow to the organ is increased to aid the metabolic process. When alcohol is added to the mix, the liver's workload increases, demanding even more circulatory assistance and causing an overall drop in body temperature.

Lastly, alcohol is a depressant, and can hinder the part of the brain that senses and controls body temperature, which can fool you into feeling warmer than you actually are.

For these reasons, drink with caution in extreme temperatures: That comforting feeling can be misleading.

Health Q & A

You Might Also Like

Which wines can I drink if I suffer from IBS?

Which wines can I drink if I suffer from IBS?

Having Irritable Bowel Syndrome—a common gastrointestinal disorder that causes painful …

Oct 30, 2019
What's the best way to clean mold from a bottle of wine?

What's the best way to clean mold from a bottle of wine?

Cleaning mold off wine bottles may appear to be a daunting task, especially if you have a …

Oct 16, 2019
Can the Mediterranean diet, including wine, be good for sufferers of chronic kidney disease?

Can the Mediterranean diet, including wine, be good for sufferers of chronic kidney disease?

The Mediterranean diet's allowance for moderate wine consumption (one glass a day for …

Oct 2, 2019
Are sparkling wines more intoxicating than still wines?

Are sparkling wines more intoxicating than still wines?

The idea that drinking sparkling wines can lead to inebriation more quickly than drinking …

Sep 18, 2019
Can assessing wine aromas sharpen my olfactory senses?

Can assessing wine aromas sharpen my olfactory senses?

Assessing wine aromas may be able to hone your sense of smell. However, there may be gender …

Sep 4, 2019
Is it true that I can't drink wine on the keto diet?

Is it true that I can't drink wine on the keto diet?

The Keto diet excludes most carbohydrates and focuses on burning fat. And wine lovers on …

Aug 21, 2019
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search