Alcohol and your liver are never a good mix. Make sure you don’t overdo it with our tips on keeping your body healthy.Your liver is a pretty special organ. Not only is it the only organ that can regrow itself if it’s been injured, but it is also involved in over 500 different functions in your body. One of the most important jobs of your liver is to get rid of waste products, hormones, drugs, alcohol and other toxins from your blood.
Alcohol and your liver: why they are not a good fit
When you drink alcohol, it is your liver’s job to break it down and get the alcohol out of your body as soon as possible. Yet because breaking down alcohol is only one of its 500+ jobs, if you drink more than your liver can handle, either by drinking too quickly, or drinking too much, your liver cells struggle to process it.
If you continue to drink excessively, you’re liver has to work overtime. The results of this could include:
- A destruction of liver cells
- A build-up of fat deposits in your liver (fatty liver)
- Liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis)
- Permanent scarring (cirrhosis)
- Liver cancer
Is one type of alcohol better for your liver than another? No!
All alcohol gets broken down to the same substances. This process of breaking down the alcohol is what harms your liver. No matter if you choose wine, whiskey or spirits, the alcohol breaks down in your liver in the same way, regardless of the type of bottle it came in!
What you drink is not as important as HOW you drink it!
As far as your liver is concerned, the safest amount of alcohol is no alcohol at all! But if you are in good health, moderate alcohol consumption is safe and will not cause liver damage. What counts as “moderate” alcohol consumption?
- Men: 2 servings of alcohol per day, women: 1 serving per day
- 1 serving of alcohol is 125ml of wine, OR 330ml beer, OR 1 tot of spirits
Having seven drinks on a Saturday night and then not drinking the rest of the week isn’t at all the same having one drink a day. In fact, binge-drinking is worse for you than spreading the drinks out over time. Rather follow the 1-2-3 rule: one drink a day, no more that 2 at one time, no more than 3 days a week.
How to keep your liver healthy on a night out
- Switch to low-alcohol or alternate an alcohol-free drink with an alcoholic one
- Mix your favourite wine with plain or sparkling water
- Mix beer or stout with lemonade
- Avoid situations where there is peer pressure to drink in rounds
- Avoid getting involved in drinking games