Alcoholic liver disease caused by chronic drinking affecting liver’s circadian clock

Alcoholic liver disease caused by chronic drinking affecting liver’s circadian clockWe know that alcoholic liver disease stems from chronic drinking, but researchers have now found it can also affect the liver’s circadian clock.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found levels of proteins part of mitochondrial function and energy production change cycles in the livers of healthy mice.


Mice that were fed alcohol were found to have changes in rhythm. This reveals that chronic drinking disrupts the circadian clock, making it prone to dysfunction and thus leading to alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholic liver disease causes and risk factors

Alcoholic liver disease is a disease brought on by many years of chronic drinking. The liver becomes weak from the toxins in alcohol thus impairing its ability to function. Men are recommended not to drink more than four alcoholic beverages a day and women no more than three.

The main cause of alcoholic liver disease is the consumption of alcohol, but there are other risk factors which can increase a person’s chances of developing alcoholic liver disease. These risk factors include being obese, being female, having a pre-existing liver condition and genetics.

Different types of alcohol-related liver disease

Different types of alcohol-related liver diseaseThere are three types of alcohol-related liver disease: alcoholic fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis.

Alcoholic fatty liver disease: Results from chronic drinking. Typically symptomless and may elevate liver enzymes. May also result in fatty liver disease.

Alcoholic hepatitis: Fat deposits in the liver, inflammation and scarring (fibrosis). Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and jaundice. Liver enzymes are elevated and liver function is impaired. Can range from mild to severe.

Alcoholic cirrhosis: Advanced form of alcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver function is disrupted. Symptoms similar to alcoholic hepatitis.


Different types of alcohol-related liver diseaseComplications of liver disease are:

  • Build up of fluid in the abdomen
  • Bleeding from veins into the stomach and esophagus
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Brain disorders and coma
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver cancer

The best way to prevent alcoholic liver disease is to reduce or quit drinking. Even if you have been drinking for many years you can begin to restore your liver by eating well and not drinking alcohol.

Related: Liver cirrhosis: Causes, symptoms, treatment, and home remedies

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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