If you are considering a ‘Dry January’ to see in your 2016 then you may be interested in the findings of recent research. The new study has revealed that a one month break from alcohol can help to heal the liver and lower one’s blood pressure, as well as reduce one’s chances of developing cancer, diabetes or becoming obese.
Dr Alastair O’Brien, Consultant Hepatologist, has commented on this research.
This interesting study from the Royal Free demonstrates that abstinence of alcohol for “Dry January” resulted in weight loss of nearly 6lbs (2.7kg), reported improvements in their concentration and sleeping, reduction in insulin resistance and “liver stiffness” as measured by fibroscan, reduced by 12.5%.
The participants were drinking above national guidelines but not excessively so. 29 units per week for women and 31 for men will have been exceeded by many of us over the Christmas period.
These findings certainly add weight to the government guidelines and indeed highlight potential benefits of public health initiatives such as Dry January or Sober October. It also adds evidence to support the use of the fibroscan as a simple, safe, dynamic measure of liver health.
However, we must not be complacent; liver stiffness (and weight) may increase again just as quickly. A period of abstinence should not be regarded as an end in itself but rather as part of a move towards a healthier lifestyle.
For more information about HPB services at The Princess Grace Hospital please visit our dedicated website here.