Biology and You

You and Your Body

How does alcohol affect humans?

Alcohol causes varying effects on different cells. In general, alcohol increases tissue sensitivity to injury and prevents postinjury recovery. Alcohol stimulates brain cells by disrupting calcium channels within the cell membranes. It is thought that alcohol affects the fluidity of the membrane phospholipids. Alcohol also causes mitochondrial damage, depressed platelet function, decreased synthesis and transportation of proteins from the liver, and the activation of pancreatic enzymes that may subsequently damage the lining of the lung.


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