Women’s bodies produce less of the enzyme alcohol Dehydrogenase in their stomachs than do those of men. Since this is the stuff that breaks down the booze, it’s easy to see that ladies will be more prone to liver damage if they drink a lot.
Women and booze don’t go together in the same way as men do but believe me this isn’t a sexist comment, by any means. Part of being socially active is going to involve having alcoholic drinks, but the girls need to be careful because nature made them different in their physical reaction to ‘mother’s ruin’ – perhaps that’s why it’s so-called.
Researchers at Pittsburgh University have been doing some work in this area. It turns out that women’s bodies produce less of the enzyme alcohol Dehydrogenase in their stomachs than do those of men. Since this is the stuff that breaks down the booze, it’s easy to see that ladies will get tipsy more easily, and will be more prone to liver damage if they drink a lot.
This is a genetic thing. Genes produce all sorts of useful proteins in the body, but this product can be affected by alcohol and this is where men have an unfair advantage. Drinking seems to increase the production of proteins that protect the liver in men, while the opposite seems to happen for women.
The simple fact is that the sexes respond very differently to a whole variety of things, as new research is proving more and more. Drugs are a classic example of how much the reactions differ. Cocaine is far more dangerous – in terms of possible addiction – for he ladies, just because they have a menstrual cycle.
Female blood flow is different in some aspects from that of men, and researchers at the University of Michigan found that combinations of oestrogen and cocaine made women 25% more sensitive to the drug itself. This could lead to a higher probability of addiction, simply because the oestrogen makes the blood vessels more flexible.
That flexibility reduces the risk of reduced blood supply to the brain, which is high for men. The ridiculous fact that, up to ten years ago, even drugs specifically designed for women were routinely tested on men, just goes to show how little understood the basic levels of response are, though since the early 1990s progress has been made.
Painkillers are not the same for both sexes, though you might expect they would be. Women are three times more likely to develop migraines and six times more prone to chronic muscle pain, and because the female response to analgesia is different, they will find more relief in opium based ‘kappa opioids, while men benefit from taking ibuprofen.
Phylis Greenberger, of the Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research. Believes that ‘findings like these could revolutionise the way we understand both health and disease in men as well as women’.
The US-made it a legal requirement – in 1993 – that women be included in drug trials, but an April 2000 report by the US General Accounting office declared in its conclusion that Health care for women may suffer because researchers overlook important differences between the sexes in clinical trials.’
Of the prescription drugs withdrawn from sale since 1997 – because of adverse reactions, 80% presented greater threats to women than men, including the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. Since women tend NOT to share the classic symptoms of heart disease – severe chest pains and squeezing – instead of suffering so-called ‘silent’ hints such as shortage of breath, nausea and dizziness, they tend to get less effective treatment.
The American Heart Association declared last year that women are only half as likely to suffer a heart attack as men, even though another report by the British Medical Journal showed that a higher proportion of women had raised cholesterol levels. It’s a disturbing thought that, despite the 1993 legislation, 40% of applications for trials of new drugs make no provision for the different reaction of the sexes.
Think about it the next time you reach for medication, and ask the pharmacist if they know anything about the possible difference in effect according to your sex. You could always resort to America’s most popular herbal remedy, Ginko Biloba. After all, not only is the tree from which it comes – the ‘maidenhair’ – the most popular with town planners in the States, it was the only plant to survive the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and has been around in China for over 250 million years!
Just remember that the thing that makes you interesting to men – even if it seems not to work that well – is the inescapable fact of your gender, but the differences don’t stop there. Take care to think about the medication you look for and make sure it isn’t hard to swallow. You’ll be happier, healthier and more confident for it, and what is more attractive to men than that?