For all its hard work, the liver is sorely underappreciated. About the size of a football, this complex organ performs over 500 functions in the human body. It plays a very critical role in aiding food digestion and filtering toxic substances in the body, making hormones and proteins, regulating sugar and cholesterol levels in the blood, and helping fight infection and disease.
But despite its stellar performance, there’s still a lot more to be desired in the liver care department. One thing that’s causing the most damage to the liver and accelerating its decline is alcohol. When alcohol is consumed, 10% of it exits the body in the form of breath, sweat, and urine. Great news, right? But here’s the deal-breaker: the remaining 90% goes straight to the bloodstream and is absorbed in the liver.
With this amount of toxic substance left in the body, how much havoc can it do? Apparently, a LOT. Substantial damage to the liver happens when you drink between 2-3 drinks daily and even worse when you indulge in binge drinking which means 4 or more drinks. A high intake of wine and spirits also opens Pandora’s box of alcohol-related liver diseases which can lead to a buildup of fats (fatty liver), inflammation (hepatitis), scarring (cirrhosis), and eventually liver cancer and liver failure which can be seriously life-threatening if alcohol misuse remains unchecked.
A recent study also found a direct link between alcohol consumption and the big C. According to the research conducted by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), “Globally, alcohol contributed to 6.3 million cancer cases and 3.3 million deaths globally in 2020″. And the elevated cancer risk does not just impact heavy drinkers but also light to moderate drinkers (defined as 2 drinks a day). The review also issues a dire warning: ” it only takes one to two drinks a day to “substantially” raise your risk of several types of cancer, from breast to colon, over a ten year period”. Also on the list are oral cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, among others.
So what’s your poison of choice? While it is true that alcohol is a toxin, it doesn’t always have to be the antagonist. Feel-good hormone endorphin is released when you drink and this brings pleasure and euphoria. Being happy is not a bad thing. The problem only comes in when alcohol is consumed excessively as too much of this substance kills the liver cells and impedes the liver’s ability to regenerate. The solution? Slowly cutting off alcohol, an organic diet, and a clean lifestyle are just some of the ways to bring your liver to a healthy state.
If you need help quitting or curbing your alcohol cravings there are also proven safe and effective methods to do it. For instance, The Sinclair Method (TSM) has been known to “significantly reduce your drinking without requiring you to quit cold turkey”.
If you want privacy and anonymity, other support can also be found online like Heal@Home which offers professional support and therapy in the comforts of your own home.
Seek help if needed and always do things in moderation. Your body will thank you for it.