Q: “My husband can’t drink as much as he used to as his heart beats faster and he feels uncomfortable. Is this due to his age? He’s only in his 50s.”
Maggie, via email
A: Nutritionist Cindy Williams writes:
“Our body’s ability to metabolise alcohol does diminish with age. As we get older, our body composition tends to change to less muscle and more fat. Muscle absorbs alcohol more quickly than fat, so people who have less muscle end up with more alcohol in the blood. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels, causing more blood to flow out to the skin. The heart has to beat harder to pump the blood out to these peripheral areas, resulting in a flushed face and a faster heart beat.
A 2004 study followed almost 50,000 middle-aged people over five years and found that men who drank more than two standard drinks daily had an approximately 25% increased risk of developing trial fibrillation (where the heart can beat too fast, too slow or irregularly) compared with those who drank the least amount of alcohol.”