Live Science has reported ("How Alcohol Changes the Brain ... Quickly") on a study appearing in the popular Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, a publication that routinely gives Reader's Digest a run for its money in circulation numbers.
Previously consigned to studying drunken animals only, the scientists studied humans drinking alcohol (through straws) while being scanned in an MRI machine. At a blood alcohol level of 0.05-0.06%, brain cells had abandoned their normal energy source, glucose, and instead began to consume the sugar produced by the breakdown of alcohol.
"Our study provides evidence for alternative energy utilization upon alcohol ingestion," said researcher Armin Biller at Heidelberg University Hospital. "The brain uses an alcohol breakdown product instead of glucose for energy demands."
The focus of their study is on the long-term impact of drinking on the composition of cell membranes, which may play a role in the development of alcoholism. They did not study the role of "alternative energy utilization" on inhibitions.
Suck out my motherfucking brains, my brains (sugar!)
However, another recent study ("The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control") found in the Personality and Social Psychology Review, a household name if there ever was one, argues that:
Self-control relies on some sort of limited energy source... Blood glucose is one important part of the energy source of self-control. Acts of self-control deplete relatively large amounts of glucose. Self-control failures are more likely when glucose is low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain.
Given that the brain ceases to consume glucose as its principal energy course, and instead relies on sugars found as a byproduct of the breakdown of alcohol, we might speculate that this is one chemical factor in the loss of inhibitions that we observe in drinkers.
Numerous self-control behaviors fit this pattern, including controlling attention, regulating emotions, quitting smoking, coping with stress, resisting impulsivity, and refraining from criminal and aggressive behavior.
All of these symptoms of lack of willpower are found commonly among drinkers, habitual or not.
As a teetotaler and a possessor of a rather large sweet tooth, I find the logic of this connection compelling. Because the link between sugary drinks and willpower is well demonstrated, the effect of alcohol in replacing glucose as the brain's energy source may be a significant factor in the loss of inhibitions.
Perhaps the greater resistance of alcohol-imbibing women to putting out (as compared to will-lay-anything-with-a-pulse men) can be traced back to the higher levels of sugar in girlie drinks. A double blind study in which four groups are tested could shed light on strategies to increase the quotient of women putting out after a night out in the bars:
- a group of women consuming placebo sugary drinks;
- a group of women consuming placebo sugar-substitute drinks;
- a group of women consuming alcoholic sugary drinks; and,
- a group of women consuming alcoholic sugar-substitute drinks.
This is an exciting time for science, and much work remains to be done. However, the proposed link between glucose substitution in the brain and loss of inhibitions is a promising avenue for further research. Potentially, replacement of sugar in bar drinks with sugar substitute (marketed to women as a 'diet' option) will further the agenda of men everywhere seeking to get laid by drunk women.
NB: Please do remember, however, that intoxicated women cannot legally give consent to sexual activity. But, since there can be no consent within the patriarchy, sober and drunk sex are both morally equivalent acts of rape.