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As if you needed any more proof that alcohol just makes weird stuff happen, Quick Questions explains why alcohol can make you /feel/ warm, when it's actually making your body colder. You'll never think of brandy the same way again!
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Sources:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/27/the_odd_body_alcohol_warmth/
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/01/health/01real.html?_r=0
http://www.treatmentsolutions.com/drinking-alcohol-make-us-cold/
http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/309/3/1167.full
You may have seen pictures of St. Bernards carrying little kegs of brandy around their necks to keep stranded hikers from freezing to death, but does alcohol really keep you warm? Not only is the answer here a definite no, but in fact the opposite is true.

While alcohol may make you feel warm, it actually makes you colder. Alcohol causes your blood vessels to expand in a process called vasodilation. This allows your blood to rush to the surface of your skin, where most of your nerve endings are. Since your blood is all warm and toasty, a flood of blood into the dilated capillaries means that you feel a rush of heat.

But that heat is coming from your own body's core temperature, so when your blood rushes to your skin, which is in contact with the colder air, that heat rapidly dissipates and causes your body temperature to drop. That's why your capillaries were actually constricted in the first place, to stop your blood from rushing to the surface; that's one of your body's only ways of protecting you from the cold and stopping you from freezing to death.

And here's another reason you might want to reconsider taking a swig from your flask when you're in the chair lift or whatever. If you've wondered about the burning sensation you feel in your mouth and throat when you partake, it's because the alcohol tinkers with the nerve receptors that you use to detect heat.

When these receptors, which are heat activated proteins called TRPV-1, come into contact with alcohol, their threshold for detecting warmth actually drops from 42º C to 34º, lower than your body temperature. So the burn that you feel when you drink is actually just you, you feel like you're getting scolded but what's really happening is that your nerve cells have suddenly just become extra-sensitive to your own body heat. Just when you thought alcohol couldn't get any more interesting.

But long story short, if you're trying to stay warm when it's cold out, skip the brandy and the schnapps and go straight for the hot chocolate.

Thanks for asking and thanks especially to all of our subscribers on subbable. If you have a quick question you'd like us to answer, let us know; you can find us on Facebook and Twitter and as always in the comments below. If you want to keep getting smarter with us, just go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe.