We all know that alcohol is bad for our livers but we rarely take the opportunity to explore why. Overall, alcohol is bad for your body, but your liver gets hit first. Here’s what happens when alcohol sucker punches your liver.
Alcohol is made primarily from ethanol, which your liver works hard on converting into acetic acid. The acetic acid gets converted again to a less toxic form called acetate. Acetate gets removed through urinating. Alcohol leaves the body in three ways: The kidneys remove five percent through urination. The lungs expel five percent and liver breaks downs the remaining. As you can see, the liver does the brunt of the work (90 percent) to break down and remove the alcohol.
While the liver is converting ethanol into acetate, it neglects some of its other major functions such as providing the body with glucose – blood sugar. Glucose is required for all major organs and systems in the body. For one, the brain requires glucose to function and stay focused. A lack of glucose can lead to symptoms of a hangover – feeling lethargic, headaches, nausea etc.
Over time, converting all that ethanol takes a toll on the liver. Fat can be deposited due to alcohol absorption, which can lead to fatty-liver disease. Inflammation can also occur as a response to the damage leading to alcoholic hepatitis.
Generally, the liver is a resilient, strong organ – it can still function if 70 percent of it is removed. But constant damage from alcohol over time can lead to cirrhosis, which is essentially a disease equivalent of kryptonite. The worse part is symptoms of cirrhosis only appear once the condition has progressed, meaning it is advanced and much harder to treat.
If the explanation on how alcohol affects your liver opened your eyes then here is the good news, you can now work towards practicing healthy lifestyle habits to boost your liver health. Here are some tips that can help your liver out and prevent serious liver disease from taking over.
The liver does many things, but its primary role is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract so it can go back into the body anew. The liver also is mainly responsible for breaking things down that enter the body. For example, chemicals, medications, toxins, even alcohol. Continue reading…
Today, millions of Americans suffer from chronic back pain or damaged joints – what’s also known as osteoarthritis. The condition is not only challenging to diagnose, but difficult to treat. That’s because there are many causes and contributing factors, and a host of treatments that may or may not work at all. Continue reading…