Metformin, a medication that decreases insulin resistance, can cause potentially lethal side effects in patients whose liver is not functioning properly. Accordingly, patients who abuse alcohol and are therefore at risk for liver damage must not take metformin.

  • However, in a study of fasted type 1 diabetes controlled by hypoinsulinemic clamp, there was no difference in glucose response to a 1-h infusion of ethanol (peak level 26.2 mmol/l) or saline .
  • However, in circumstances in which gluconeogenesis is not critical to maintaining blood glucose, its suppression by ethanol seems less likely to cause hypoglycemia.
  • In nondiabetic subjects, reduced glucose production seems to be matched by inhibition of glucose utilization at low and moderate ethanol concentrations (4–14 mmol/l) .
  • In type 1 diabetes, gluconeogenesis is responsible for a significant proportion of increased basal hepatic glucose output, and patients may therefore be more sensitive to ethanol.
  • Alcohol hypoglycemia has been reproduced by sustained (8-h) administration of ethanol, with blood levels up to 97 mmol/l .

The key word is “moderate.” While light drinking usually isn’t dangerous, too much alcohol can make your disease harder to control and put your health at risk. If you have diabetes, everything you eat and drink takes on extra importance. You have to ask yourself whether that bowl of pasta will boost your blood sugar, and naturally you wonder if you can get away with having how does alcohol affect diabetes a little dessert. One glass of wine can cause a significant drop in your blood sugar 6 hours after drinking but have little to no effect on my blood sugar. So that means it’s important to do a little self-study when you’re drinking. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you’ll experience a sharp drop in your blood sugar in the 4 to 8 hours after you began drinking.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Level

In any case, alcohol abuse in both diabetics and nondiabetics can have deadly consequences without treatment. Both types are characterized by an inability to produce or regulate trading courses insulin in the body. Having a medical condition such as diabetes can complicate the treatment of alcohol abuse and addiction, but it does not make it untreatable.

The higher the blood alcohol concentration , the longer this process takes and the longer normal bodily function and activity are affected. Alcohol is metabolized from the body more slowly than it is absorbed. That means that the more an individual drinks, the harder the metabolism works to break it down so the body can absorb it before intoxication and even poisoning can occur. Though moderate alcohol consumption can have some health benefits, excessive alcohol use can lead to many health conditions or worsen complications that patients already face. When alcohol is combined with insulin, the glucose lowering effect of insulin may be increased or decreased.

Drinking Alcohol To The Point Of Vomiting

Alcohol also stimulates the appetite, which can lead to an increase in food consumption. In addition, people will also have to count the calories added to their drink in the form of juice, fruit, syrups and other additives. People with diabetes should not omit food from their meal plan in exchange for alcohol. Periods of heavy drinking may cause disturbances in heart rhythm in some people.

how does alcohol affect diabetes

The pancreas, which is located behind the stomach, serves two functions. The first function, which involves most of the pancreatic cells, is the production of digestive enzymes. Those enzymes are secreted directly into the gut to ensure effective food digestion. Both hormones are produced in areas of the pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans, which, quite literally, are “islands” of hormone-producing cells in a “sea” of digestive enzyme-producing cells. Among other cell types, the Islets of Langerhans include an inner core of insulin-producing beta cells surrounded by a layer of glucagon-producing alpha cells. For some, the struggle of alcohol abuse precedes their development of diabetes. In other cases, a person may develop a problem with drinking at some point after.


During pregnancy, high blood sugars become a problem and can cause problems for the mother or the baby if not controlled. All women, regardless if they have gestational diabetes or not, should refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. As far as insulin goes, you should talk to your doctor about your insulin dosages when you plan on how does alcohol affect diabetes drinking. If you have an insulin pump, your doctor may want you to lower your basal rate while you are drinking. If you take long acting insulin that peaks hours after you administer it, your doctor may want you to reduce the dosage. Make sure you are honest with your physician about the amount and the type of alcohol that you drink.

When you have diabetes, you need to be careful with alcohol. If you take medicine for diabetes, drinking alcohol may cause low blood sugar. Although studies show that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may actually lower the risk of diabetes, the opposite is true for people who drink greater amounts of alcohol. Yes, how does alcohol affect diabetes alcohol and tobacco use may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Even if you don’t have diabetes and you drink excessively, it can cause low blood sugar because drinking increases insulin secretion. Throughout the day, it’s not uncommon for blood sugar levels to go up and down, based on when you eat primarily.

Are Some Alcoholic Drinks Better Than Others?

The combination of alcohol-induced hypoglycemia, hypoglycemic unawareness, and delayed recovery from hypoglycemia can lead to deleterious health consequences. For example, Arky and colleagues studied five diabetics who experienced severe hypoglycemia after ingesting alcohol. In three patients, those changes did not reverse, even after months or years. The two other patients died as a result of complications indirectly related to their hypoglycemia-induced neurological changes. Therefore, to avoid alcohol-related hypoglycemia and its consequences, diabetics should consume alcohol only with or shortly after meals.

Since the signs of low glucose levels and intoxication can be similar, people need to be able to identify a patient as diabetic. Nonalcoholic beer, alcohol–free wine, and “virgin” drinks are smart choices for people who enjoy the taste of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol affects the body’s ability to overcome hypoglycemia. Alcohol can continue to affect glucose levels for 8 to 12 hours after consumption. As the liver becomes damaged it will not be able to make glucose as efficiently. As a result, a person’s diabetes may become harder to manage.

Is There A Link Between Gum Disease And Heart Problems?

If you’ve just eaten your blood sugar levels will go up, and then they’ll settle back down. If you have diabetes, however, your blood sugar levels have to be specially managed. If you have diabetes and wonder if you can drink alcohol, you’ll be happy to know that many diabetics can — but only if they do so in moderation, limited to one or two drinks.