How Alcohol Affects Your Liver
The liver is the largest internal organ in our body. It is also one of the most important. According to biologists, the liver carries out more than 500 different types of functions in our body. One of its most important functions is the breaking down food through digestion and converting that food into energy.
Another very important function of liver is to remove any harmful nutrients and materials from your body through filtration, providing defense against a host of illnesses and diseases.
Because of all the important roles it plays, maintaining a properly functioning liver is essential to good health. When the liver isn’t functioning at its peak, all sorts of health problems can arise.
And while the liver is responsible for filtering our blood, there are many substances that can be harmful to it and impede its function.
Alcohol is one of the common things that directly affects the liver. In fact, alcohol can very harmful to your liver, inhibiting its ability to function properly.
However, in moderation, alcohol can be beneficial to overall good health—the challenge is knowing how much is too much.
Moderation is The Key
Alcohol might benefit you in numerous ways but it can also harm your body more than it helps it. Small amounts of alcohol, such as a glass of wine or beer here and there are okay, but large amounts of alcohol can result in liver related diseases.
Mainly there are two types of liver diseases—acute and severe. Acute liver disease lasts for a time period of 2 to 3 months while severe disease may continue for more than one year and result in permanent liver dysfunction.
There are several ways excessive alcohol intake can damage the liver:
• Oxidative stress is one of the ways in which alcohol damages the liver. This is essentially cell damage that inhibits the liver’s ability to perform key functions
• Alcohol can also turn some liver cells into fat
• Excessive alcohol intake scar the liver, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver
How Intake of Alcohol Affects Your Liver?
Understanding the rate at which the liver metabolizes alcohol is critical to understanding the effects of alcohol. Once the alcohol reaches the liver, enzymes begin to break it down. On average, the liver can process up to approximately one ounce of alcohol per hour. The rate can vary though depending on factors such as the amount and type of food eaten and whether you are a man or a woman.
• For men, heavy drinking is generally defined as consuming 15 drinks or more per week.
• For women, heavy drinking is generally defined as consuming 8 drinks or more per week.
Symptoms of Liver Dysfunction
The symptoms of liver dysfunction or damage are not always apparent. In many cases, the liver can be damaged and you may not even be aware of the problem. These are some of the worst situations because you are unaware that the liver is damaged so it can lead to more and more serious health problems.
Some of the related symptoms of liver dysfunctions are:
• Severe Abdominal Pain
How to Protect the Liver
First and foremost is to take good care of your liver in the first place by eating healthy, unprocessed foods and avoiding excessive intake of alcohol. You can also take supplements to help improve liver function.
One of the most effective remedies is Milk Thistle, which has been used to help the liver since ancient times.
What is Milk Thistle?
Milk Thistle is a type of plant similar to the daisy plant which dates back to 4th century and is mostly used in treating liver and bile disorders. Seeds of Milk Thistle are mostly used for making medicines and other purposes.
Besides treating the liver it is also helpful in treating diabetes and other related problems but please consult your doctor before starting any type of natural remedies.
Your take away
The liver is one of the most important vital organs in the body. Eating right and taking supplements such as Milk Thistle can help improve liver function, but even these remedies cannot protect the liver from persistent alcohol abuse. Therefore, it is important that you take steps to protect your liver and keep it in top shape.
Be aware of how much alcohol you drink and be sure to seek help should you find yourself drinking excessively on a regular basis, binge drinking or otherwise abusing alcohol in any manner.