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The Science of "Breaking the Seal"

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ThinkStock

If you like beer, and like it in large quantities, this might be a familiar scenario: You sit down at the bar, get a beer and drink it. You drink another one. Maybe a third. Things have gone well up to this point, but now you have to pee. So you go. Once you return to your seat and keep drinking, though, it feels like you’ve crossed a point of no return, and you have to pee again and again.

You’ve "broken the seal." After that initial pee, you seem to have to run to the bathroom every 15 to 20 minutes for the rest of the night, and the urine just won’t stop flowing. What’s going on?

Part of what makes you pee so much while boozing is that alcohol inhibits arginine vasopressin, also known as antidiuretic hormone or ADH. ADH is made in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, and then stored and released from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Its job is to conserve water in the body by reducing its loss in urine. It binds to receptors on the kidneys and promotes water reabsorption, a decrease in the volume of urine sent to the bladder, and excretion of more concentrated urine.

Alcohol throws a wrench into the works, though, and blocks certain nerve channels that help get ADH secreting out into your system. Without ADH carrying on about conserving water, the kidneys don’t reabsorb water as easily and excess water winds up getting dumped into urine to leave the body. With alcohol keeping ADH from doing its job, you produce a lot more water-diluted urine, which fills the bladder quickly and makes you have to pee more often.

So, there’s really no seal to break, no dam to crack open. If anything, the damage was done when you took your first drink and started suppressing your ADH, not when you took your first pee.

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But how come you can hold your pee just fine until that first bathroom break, and then it seems you have to go constantly?

First, it takes a little bit of time for alcohol to suppress ADH and for the kidneys to ramp up the water works. When you crack open your first beer, you may have some urine in your bladder already, but also some ADH in your system to keep things from getting out of hand. As you continue to drink, though, your ADH levels drop and your urine production increases. By the time your bladder has filled and you're ready to go to the john, you’ve probably had a few more drinks. Your ADH is more suppressed and your kidneys are working at full tilt, so you’re going to have to go more often.

Additionally, alcoholic beverages can be a bladder irritant for many people and the carbonation of drinks like beer and champagne can cause gas and pressure that contribute to that irritation. As your bladder fills up again after the initial pee, all that irritation can create a very strong urge to pee some more and make your bladder feel fuller than it really is, sending you running to the bathroom over and over again throughout the night.

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A Restaurant In Australia Is Garnishing Its Margaritas With Frozen Eyeballs
Jesse Hunniford/MONA
Jesse Hunniford/MONA

A cocktail special at a new restaurant in Australia has fallen under the global gaze thanks to its floating gaze. As Nerdist reports, Faro Tapas, a new Spanish eatery at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), offers a black margarita garnished with a frozen bull eyeball.

The frosty drink contains tequila, mezcal, lime, and charcoal (presumably for color). It's served in a glass with a black salted rim and the aforementioned toothpick-skewered peeper.

Gourmet Traveller recommends that those brave enough to sample Faro Tapas's bovine booze drink it quickly, as the eyeball's ice casing melts. (If you're willing to risk brain freeze to avoid eye mush, this sounds like a smart move.)

That said, adventurous drinkers with stomachs of steel might find Faro Tapas's eyeball-garnished margarita tame compared to the Yukon Territory's Sourtoe cocktail (it contains a dehydrated human toe) and countless other weird and wacky cocktails served up around the world. Bottoms (and eyeballs) up!

[h/t Nerdist]

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Health
Drink Up: New Study Concludes Wine Can Offset Dementia
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iStock

The health benefits of wine can sometimes be overstated by people who are a few glasses deep and slurring their words. Should you ever find yourself in a position to defend your moderate imbibing, you have supporting evidence: A new study says two glasses of wine daily can potentially reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The study, which appears in Scientific Reports, shows that wine has an effect on one's glymphatic function, or the way the brain removes toxins. To clear itself of damaging and accumulated proteins like tau and beta amyloid, which are often linked with dementia, the brain pumps in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to act as a flushing solution. All sorts of variables can influence the glymphatic system's operation, including trauma, stroke, and excessive alcohol intake.

But when researchers dosed the mice in the study with moderate alcohol—amounting to 2.6 drinks daily—the glymphatic system was more efficient, removing more waste and exhibiting less inflammation than the teetotaling control mice.

As is usually the case when it comes to booze, you can have too much of a good thing. When mice got the equivalent of 7.9 drinks daily, their glymphatic system grew sluggish until the overindulging was terminated.

"Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline," lead study author Maiken Nedergaard, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a press statement. "This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health."

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