Modest alcohol intake associated with less inflammation in patients with common liver disease

NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is the most common type of liver disease in the developed world, affecting up to one-third of the US population. NAFLD is often associated with obesity and other parameters of the so-called "metabolic syndrome," which is a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. In a well-done study among subjects with NAFLD, the investigators have demonstrated that modest alcohol consumption (an average of up to 20 grams of alcohol per day and no binge drinking) is associated with less evidence of inflammation of the liver (steatohepatitis), a condition known to markedly increase the risk of progression of liver disease to cirrhosis.

Given that NAFLD and other conditions associated with the metabolic syndrome are so common, and are major risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, the results of the present study are important. They show that modest drinking is associated with decreased, not increased, inflammation of the liver. Further, even among subjects with NAFLD, cardiovascular disease is a much more common cause of death than liver disease. The authors suggest that intervention studies should be done to support their findings; if confirmed, subjects with NAFLD should not be advised to avoid all alcohol, which is the current advice usually given to such patients.

More information: Dunn W, Sanyal AJ, Brunt EM, Unalp-Arida A, Donohue M, McCullough AJ, Schwimmer JB. Modest alcohol consumption is associated with decreased prevalence of steatohepatitis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Journal of Hepatology 2012 (pre-publication release)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A Modest Glass of Wine Each Day Could Improve Liver Health

May 21, 2008

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine are challenging conventional thinking with a study showing that modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may not only be safe for the liver, but may actually decrease ...

Recommended for you

5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in W. Africa

6 hours ago

(AP)—There has been panic and fear about the deadly Ebola disease spreading ever since Nigerian health officials reported Friday that a Liberian man sick with the disease had traveled to Togo and then Nigeria ...

Scissoring the lipids

7 hours ago

A new strategy which enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality, is described by researchers from the University of Bristol in Nature Chemistry today. The method is now being ...

User comments