I wanted to briefly write about my recent alcohol experiment. For a decade or more, I have enjoyed a glass of wine or two with dinner each night. It was a ritual I looked forward to that helped me relax and unwind with my family over dinner. For most of this decade, however, I was dealing with some health annoyances that I was pretty sure were confounded by this ritual. First, my routine blood work run by my endocrinologist revealed elevated liver enzymes (AST and ALT). These enzymes were just above the normal range, but they still bothered me. A Second, I was waking up several times each night to urinate and overall sleep quality was poor. So I decided to run a little experiment. The results are not fully in yet, but I wanted to write this post because of one unexpected result.
I decided to eliminate any kind of alcohol for one month and then resume having a glass or two of red wine with dinner only on Fridays and Saturdays. As expected, sleep improved a little. Sleep didn’t improve as much as I was hoping, but it was progress. The unexpected outcome was a reduction in basal insulin from 18-20 units per day down to 14-16 units per day. Perhaps drinking less wine has contributed to better hydration overall or less inflammation. The exact reason for this bump in insulin sensitivity is unknown, but I simply wanted to report it here on this blog in case anyone is curious.
Possibly out of denial, I din’t think a couple glasses of wine with dinner would have any negative effects on swimming. However, since the beginning of this experiment in February this year, I have indeed noticed a significant improvement in my swimming performance during workouts. In addition, I have more energy and suffer less fatigue overall. Sleeping better, of course, helps with all these things so I’m going to continue my little experiment and I’ll share the results of my next liver enzyme test as soon as I have them.