We all know drinking is bad for you but here’s how to minimise the negative effects of it
One of the main reasons your doctor will tell you off for drinking is because it can lead fat building up on your liver and alcoholic liver cirrhosis (scaring of the liver).
Fortunately, the cells of the liver are very good at regenerating, especially in young people (18-25).
Alcohol temporarily inhibits the livers ability to regenerate, and on top of that produces chemicals which will damage the liver.
What this means is by taking a few weeks off drinking every now and then you can reverse a decent portion of the damage and fat built up on your liver.
You can accelerate this process by eating less fatty foods and carbohydrates when you’re having your weeks off.
Milk Thistle: You may have heard of this ‘wonder plant’ that reverses the negative effects of drinking. Its scientific name is Silibinin, and research suggests that it may be acting to slightly protect the cells of the liver from damage and potentially cancer, but it is still being researched.
Research has found that it is certainly not doing you any harm, so taking some before and after a night of heavy drinking might help your liver deal with the toxic load.
It’s important to appreciate that drinking doesn’t only effect your liver, but your whole body, especially your kidneys, pancreas and heart. Chronic drinking (drinking a lot over a long period of time) can lead to kidney disease, pancreatic cancer and heart disease.
Alcoholic units are suggested because they are the amount of alcohol your liver can clear from your body before the alcohol has time to damage your body. So it’s best to stay within them!
Sam Fitzpatrick Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Milad Rouf Final Year Medical Student, Cardiff University.
Loguercio, C. 2011. Silybin and the liver: From basic research to clinical practice. World Journal of Gastroenterology 17(18), p. 2288.
Schmucker, D. and Sanchez, H. 2011. Liver Regeneration and Aging: A Current Perspective. Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research 2011, pp. 1-8.
Diehl, A. 1998. ALCOHOL AND LIVER REGENERATION. Clinics in Liver Disease 2(4), pp. 723-738.