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The alcohol ban


Alcohol has just recently been banned in South Africa for the second time this year. The news of the alcohol ban came unexpectedly and was put into effect immediately leaving many people unprepared for the undetermined future. Perhaps, like many, you wish you had received some notice so that you could have stocked up the alcohol cabinet. The recent ban may have left you feeling anxious as many people have used alcohol to combat stress during this time. This feeling of anxiety may have caused you to re-examine your relationship with alcohol and look if you are using alcohol as a crutch or vice. If you find yourself counting down the minutes till your 5pm wine, you may want to look at the reasons you are turning to alcohol at the end of the day.

The negative effects of alcohol

The country may be divided on their opinions on the alcohol ban but we have to take a look at why this ban was put in place. This prohibition was put in place as hospital beds (needed for corona patients) were being taken up by alcohol-related trauma cases. There seemed to be a clear correlation between the increase in hospital traumas and the reintroduction of alcohol sales. According to health care minister Dr Zweli Mkhize; “Data from level 4 and level 5 lockdown indicated a massive reduction in alcohol-related trauma. This has fed into the decision to reinstate the sales suspension.” There’s no denying the devasting effects over-consumption of alcohol can have and it seems that this pandemic has highlighted a major social issue that South Africa faces. Data published by the World Health Organisation shows that South African consumers of alcohol are some of the heaviest drinkers. South Africa ranks 5th highest alcohol consumption rate in the world. Alarmingly, the majority of South African alcohol consumers are also classified as heavy, or binge drinkers, with 59% of the drinking population consuming more than 60 grams or more of pure alcohol on at least one occasion over a 30-day period. You may think that these figures don’t relate to you and that you have control over your alcohol consumption as it doesn’t interfere with your daily life. However, the number of high functioning alcoholics is on the increase and means many people are still living in denial to the fact that they may have a problem.

A functional alcoholic

What is a high functioning alcoholic? A functional alcoholic may appear to have it all together on the outside but on the inside they are most likely suffering from uncontrollable cravings and obsessive thoughts about their next drink. If the thought of not having access to any alcohol fills you with dread, there may be an issue. But let’s look at why so many people turn to alcohol during stressful times.

Side effects of alcohol

Alcohol works as a sedative so it can feel like it helps you to unwind at the end of a day. Alcohol can boost your mood and make you feel more relaxed. It’s important to remember that alcohol is also a depressant that affects the central nervous system. The sense of relaxation you feel when you drink can often be attributed to your blood alcohol content (BAC). A rise in BAC levels leads to temporary feelings of excitement, but feelings of depression occur as BAC levels fall. As a result, it’s possible that having a few drinks that make your BAC rise and then fall back to normal again can make you more anxious than you were before. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. So as appealing as that drink to unwind is at the end of the day, try to remember the long-term negative side effects that alcohol may have. Alcohol not only has a negative effect on your anxiety levels but can also disrupt your sleep. Although alcohol may help you to initially fall asleep, it can disrupt your bodies circadian functioning which can cause a disruptive sleep pattern. Disrupted sleep can lead to poor liver functioning, leaky gut and even depression. Alcohol is also dehydrating which can lead to headaches (a hangover) and accelerate aging in the skin.

Raising your serotonin naturally

The occasional drink won’t cause long term damage and is an enjoyable social activity but if you are looking for something to increase your serotonin levels daily, you may want to look for a natural alternative that has positive side effects rather then negative ones.

You can naturally increase your serotonin levels by eating certain foods, exercising, spending time in the sun and supplementing. Food that contains the amino acid tryptophan, converts to serotonin in your brain. Food rich in tryptophan includes salmon, turkey, and nuts. Exercise also triggers the release of serotonin. As well as spending time in the sunshine for at least 15-20 minutes a day. If you really want to jumpstart the release of serotonin, supplements are a great option.

Taking a daily probiotic may increase your mood and cognitive function. Research shows that your brain and your gut are connected. Research from Harvard medical school shows that the gut has been called a “second brain” because it produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain does, like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which play a key role in regulating mood. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract. A healthy gut means a healthy mind. We recommend the live Rawbiotics daily. Rawbiotics Daily includes a selection of herbal extracts added to the fermentation for a daily probiotic that improves digestion, energy, and health.


Sceletium extract 1.1g


Sceletium is an excellent herbal medicine to enhance your mood. Sceletium works as a serotonin releasing agent and is an adaptagenic that creates calm in your body. Nature’s Relief stocks raw sceletium leaves as well as a powder and sceletium drops.

CBD for stress

Recently, more and more people have been turning to CBD to assist with the symptoms of depression. Depression can be linked to low serotonin levels. Research has shown CBD doesn’t necessarily boost serotonin levels, but it may affect how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin that’s already in your system. A 2014 animal study found that CBD’s effect on these receptors in the brain produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. At Nature’s Relief we have varying methods of taking CBD and different strengths. If you are uncertain about which is the best for you, give us a call and one of our consultants will help you get started. We suggest Nature’s Relief 600mg CBD calm as a safe and effective way of managing anxiety around stressful situations. Take 10 drops underneath the tongue in the evening to promote good sleep. One of our clients had the following to say.

“I was struggling to sleep at night. I would sit up and worry about my financial situation, the health of my loved ones and the state of out economy along with all the other stress that bought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. I started taking 10 drops of Nature’s Relief CBD calm in the evenings and I found it helped to slow down my racing thoughts and ease me into a peaceful sleep. I am now well rested and can face challenges the day may bring.”
Anonymous, 32

This year has been a confusing and stressful time for many. It’s ok to admit that you need help, or that you are not coping. There are ways to ease anxiety and depression and there is always someone who is listening. Please reach out at any time.

Durban – 081 441 6701
Johannesburg – 063 502 2974

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