Abstinence from alcohol makes the liver grow stronger
Not consuming alcohol for a month can prevent serious illness, say doctors.
Not everyone enjoys a tipple, but a fair few of us count down the days until the weekend or just subscribe to the mantra "it's 5 o'clock somewhere". Plus with Christmas almost upon us once more, party season will soon be in full swing. But abstaining from that glass of wine or pint of beer for a month can do us the world of good.
Doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London looked at 102 relatively healthy men and women in their forties taking part in the Dry January campaign, which sees drinkers abstain for the entire month. Those taking part were all consuming more than the government guidelines; the women were drinking on average 29 units a week and the men 31, pushing them over the recommended limit by 15 and 10 respectively. After turning their backs on booze for just a month, the results showed a 12.5 per cent reduction in liver stiffness (an indication of disease) and a 28 per cent drop in insulin resistance.
"The results were staggering," Professor Kevin Moore commented. "If you had a drug that did this it would be a multi-billion pound market.
"There was a 40 per cent reduction in liver fat, they lost about three kilograms in weight and their cholesterol levels improved."
Participants also saw blood pressure drop and many reported sleeping levels and concretion had greatly improved.
The results have been so noteworthy that the British government's Department of Health has examined them and is now preparing new guidelines.
Liver specialist Gautam Mehta also commented: "I am excited. There are some findings that will be pretty novel. It’s an important study which shows the benefit from a month’s abstinence. What we can’t say is how long those benefits are, how durable those benefits are."