Tag Archives: Malaysian tree shrew

Alcohol on squirrels, sight and sex

The Malaysian Tree Shrew - commonly wrongly called the house squirrel

Who would have thought Malaysia would make a name for itself as having the world’s greatest drinker?  This relates to the ability of one of nature’s creatures being able to imbibe the equivalent of one case of beer every night without getting drunk!

The Malaysian tree shrew, belonging to the squirrel family and the size of a small rat, has been featured  in countless newspapers throughout the world ( here’s one ) and also in several blogs ( tiny malaysian tree shrews live on alcohol but never gets drunk) and is touted as the world’s heaviest drinker. It also has the dubious reputation of being able to consume large amounts of alcohol without ever getting drunk.  What’s their secret? These animals have an unusual metabolism that can convert alcohol quickly into nontoxic ethyl glucuronide (EtG).This stuff EtG is deposited into the animal’s fur, out of harm’s way. Needless to say, human beings are unable to do this.

Which is why in humans, as more alcohol is consumed, one progresses through various degrees of intoxication. One well-known phenomenon is beer-goggles, the phenomenon used to describe the situation that happens when, as one imbibes more and more, there is a perception that  people around you become increasingly attractive. This is humorously illustrated here:

Which brings us to the effect of alcohol on sex – its been wrongly believed that alcohol has aphrodisiac properties. This is a fallacy as all it does is to lower inhibitions and raises irrational behaviour. In fact, taken regularly , it is a known to even cause erectile dysfunction. Even William Shakespeare knew of its effect when the porter in Macbeth said words to the effect that:

“Alcohol increases the desire but diminishes the performance”.

Red Wine – Pros & Cons

Alcohol provokes the desire, but takes away the performance.’ shakespeare

(Shakespeare (1564-1616), Macbeth; Act II, Scene 3)

Even the Bard knew the ill-effects of too much alcohol..but really, when is it enough and when is it excessive?

Unless you’re the Malaysian Tree Shrew, the world’s heaviest drinker (featured in my earlier post here), how do you know whether you’re drinking too much? Get pen and paper ready and take this quick quiz here, courtesy of MSN.

red wine

White,Rose or Red? Choose Red for Resveratrol

The benefits of red wine on health are quite well-known, thanks largely to the French Paradox: – the low incidence of heart diseases among  the French despite ingesting foods high in saturated fats; this attributable to taking regular red wine.

So what is it in red (but not white) wine that confers the beneficial effects? This is attributable to the high content of polyphenols which originate from the skins, seeds, and vine stems of red grapes. This anti-oxidant comes in two main forms: flavonoids and nonflavonoids, the latter being the one well-known for resveratrol, the substance known to be the found in the skin of the red grape (or for that matter, any of the colored berries, like raspberry,cranberry,blueberry,etc).

One of most well-documented benefits of red wine is the heart protective effect. Moderate consumption of red wine on a regular basis may be a preventative against coronary heart disease, as well as increasing the levels of the good HDL-cholesterol. It is believed the polyphenols as anti-oxidants also prevent plaque formation and clogging of the arteries in the heart, besides having an anti-clotting effect that causes ‘thinning’ of the blood.

And what’s moderate consumption? 2 glasses (1 glass=5 oz=150 cc) for men and 1 glass for women daily.

And what about the bad? Apart from migraine and dehydration (the thirst the morning after), the alcohol in the wine interacts with a lot of medications - special warning to those taking tranquillizers and sedatives because alcohol is a downer which adds on to the effects of these pills to cause, in extreme cases, inability to breathe, coma and death. Impairment of attention and skills, including delayed reaction times is a well-known danger for drivers, a fact well-known in causing serious accidents on the road.

And there’s of course temporary amnesia if you’ve drunk too much!.. as in UB40’s Red Red Wine (watch it here!):

Red, red wine
Goes to my head
Makes me forget that I
Still need you so

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The Effect of Alcohol..on squirrels, sight and sex

The Malaysian Tree Shrew - the World's Heaviest Drinker

Next to the Olympics, another set of records were quietly being publicised over newspapers and blogs around the world. This relates to the ability of one of nature’s creatures being able to imbibe the equivalent of one case of beer every night without getting drunk!

The Malaysian tree shrew, belonging to the squirrel family and the size of a small rat was featured in a local newspaper recently here. The animal was also featured in countless newspapers throughout the world ( here’s onethe world’s heaviest drinker) and also in several blogs ( tiny malaysian tree shrews live on alcohol but never gets drunk). What’s the secret? These animals have an unusual metabolism that can convert alcohol quickly into nontoxic ethyl glucuronide (EtG).This stuff EtG is deposited into the animal’s fur, out of harm’s way. Human beings are unable to do this.

The progressive effects of alcohol on humans have been well-documented. One of the more well-known is that as one imbibes, there is a perception that  people around you become increasingly attractive. This was confirmed in a recent study by the University of Bristol which gives more credence to this phenomenon, called beer-goggles. The following humorous video illustrates the effect of too much booze and its ill consequences:

Which brings us to the effect of alcohol on sex – its been widely believed that alcohol has aphrodisiac properties. This is a fallacy as all it does is to lower inhibitions and raises irrational behaviour. In fact, taken regularly , it is a known to even cause erectile dysfunction. Even William Shakespeare knew of its effect when the porter in Macbeth said words to the effect that:

“Alcohol increases the desire but diminishes the performance”.

Look forward to hear from those of you who drink!

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