Category Archives: Alcohol

Drink Up To Healthy Bones Ladies

It’s hard to argue with this advice, even when it comes from such a small, short term study – older women who have one to two alcoholic drinks (that’s 8 to 10 grams of alcohol) a few times a week improve their bone health and cut the risk of developing mobility robbing osteoporosis. This disease is a silent one, supplying no outward symptoms as it weakens bones and makes them more prone to breaking. Most women don’t realize they even have this condition until they break a bone.

The study centered on 40 healthy postmenopausal females (average age 56) who were moderate drinkers in the year before the research started and were not using hormone replacement therapy. When the women stopped drinking for a period of two weeks, blood samples taken by the researchers showed increased bone turnover – a risk factor for osteoporosis. In under a day after the women began drinking again, the markers of bone turnover returned to the levels they’d been at while the women were routinely enjoying from one half to two alcoholic beverages a day.

Earlier research has shown that moderate drinkers do have higher bone density than either nondrinkers or heavy drinkers. Why this might be remains unclear. Could the alcohol act like the hormone estrogen in slowing bone turnover?

Continues below…


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Ladies Drink Up To Healthy Bones Continued…

The thing to realize is that bones are actually living tissue. Old bone is constantly being removed and replaced in a process medicine calls remodeling. For patients with bone thinning osteoporosis the natural balance has somehow gotten off track, with more bone lost than replaced. Women after menopause are at particular risk because they don’t have as much estrogen as they once did – this hormone is essential for strong bones.

There are some sobering statistics to go along with this research. Figures from the National Institutes of Health suggest that just about half of U.S. women and one quarter of men will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Drugs used to treat, or prevent, this disease are expensive and have some undesirable side effects.

Study lead Urszula Iwaniec, an associate professor from Oregon State University believes that the research clearly shows even small intakes of alcohol can have an impact on bone metabolism. So long as you’re living a healthy lifestyle, doing regular weight bearing exercise, and eating a well balanced diet that’s high in nutrients and calcium, moderate alcohol intake is liable to slow bone loss by lowering bone turnover. That is not to say that moderate alcohol consumption will prevent breaks, the study authors point out.

Some doctors are giving this exact advice to their postmenopausal patients.

The idea of reducing bone turnover is only suggested for older adults, it would be detrimental to younger people who are still in the process of building bone mass. Bone mass peaks at around age 35. That’s why it’s so important for young people to build up all the bone mass they can, while they can.

The study appears in the journal Menopause.

To your good health,

How To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Important news for women wanting to reduce breast cancer risk. The latest recommendation on alcohol consumption for women – no more than one drink per day is safe. This comes from the findings of a new study from the National Cancer Institute.

The research included 1,900 post menopausal women and demonstrated that drinking 7 to 14 alcoholic drinks a week brought a 30% to 60% higher risk of breast cancer. The women who did develop cancer of the breast most often got the most common type, estrogen and progesterone hormone receptor positive, which thankfully is not the most lethal form of disease.

These cancers are less aggressive and better behaved reports study author Dr. Claudine Isaacs, a professor of oncology at the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her study looked beyond alcohol and breast cancer, to identify the type of breast cancer that might be impacted by alcohol consumption.

This most recent research supports a larger study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association back in November 2011. This work examined over 100,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, a long running study on women’s health, finding that having 3 to 6 alcoholic drinks a week brought a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. The risk goes up another 10% for each alcoholic drink a woman has per day.

When it comes to breast cancer recurrence, there’s a 2009 study that found drinking even a few alcoholic beverages a week upped the risk of recurrence in women who’d been diagnosed with early stage disease.

The reason researchers are so excited? Drinking alcohol is one of the few risk factors that are under your control. How much trouble alcohol causes for you depends on how much you consume.

It’s important to keep in mind that drinking too much is also known to raise the risks of being diagnosed with other forms of cancer. Further, no one can predict who will have a problem with alcohol addition – if you do not currently drink alcohol, no one will urge you to start simply for potential health benefits.

Beyond alcohol intake, another risk factor that impacts breast cancer risk and is within your control is your weight. Being overweight or obese, especially after menopause is a problem according to researchers. Once your ovaries aren’t making estrogen, it comes from the fat cells of the body – too many fat cells, too much estrogen. If you’re carrying too much weight you’re also likely to have a higher blood insulin level and this has also been linked to some cancers, including cancer of the breast.

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Study: Drinking Alcohol Boosts Breast Cancer Risk… Continued…

The link between weight and breast cancer risk is not well understood. There has been work that shows the risk may be worse for women who’ve gained weight as adults, rather then those who’ve been heavy all their lives. What’s more, where the fat is located on your body – in the middle or on the hips and thighs – is likely to impact the risk of disease.

Also of note, evidence is mounting that being active brings down breast cancer risk. Getting regular exercise is another action you can take that not only keeps your body fit, but may also impact your risk of disease. One study from the Women’s Health Initiative saw that from 1.25 to 2.5 hours a week of brisk walking cut risk of breast cancer by 18%.

The take home message for women wanting to reduce breast cancer risk? Limit your intake of beer, wine and hard liquor to one drink per day to get whatever protective effect you can. Understand that one drink is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. What’s more, are also lots of delicious, readily available drink choices that don’t have a drop of alcohol, but do have the exact same taste you love.

Health Benefits Of Red Wine

Drink up to the health benefits of red wine! A daily glass of red wine might be good for the bacteria that line your large intestine according to a Spanish study that appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and includes subjects who drank either Merlot or a low alcohol red wine.

Experts know that the bacteria that live in your intestines, when kept in a balanced mix, help digest food as well as regulate your immune function and produce vitamin K, essential in helping blood to clot. With both the Merlot and low alcohol wine bringing the beneficial effect, the researchers suspect the polyphenols compounds in the wine, and not the alcohol itself, may be responsible.

You’ve probably read about polyphenols. They’re plant based compounds that are a natural part of many fruits and veggies, not the least of which is red grapes. Think coffee, tea, chocolate and even some nuts.

Earlier research has examined if polyphenols in the diet impact the balance of bacteria in the intestine, This latest study sought to see if drinking red wine might have the same type of prebiotic effect. A prebiotic is a substance you take in that helps promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.

To conduct the work, the researchers examined 10 healthy middle aged males. During the first 15 days of the research period, the subjects drank no wine or other alcohol. Three 20-day periods followed where the men were given one of three beverages to drink each day. The study beverages were 9-ounce servings of Merlot, a low-alcohol content red wine and almost 3 ounces of gin. The gin was used because it contains no polyphenols, so it worked well as a control.

The study subjects were asked not to change their diets or exercise habits, and not to drink any more alcohol. Samples of blood, urine and stool were collected during each of the four study sections. Weight and blood pressure readings were also taken.

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Moderate Intake Of Some Red Wines Might Be Healthy… Continued…

The team saw that whether subjects drank Merlot or low alcohol wine, the balance of intestinal bacteria shifted in pretty much the same way – giving the men more beneficial bacteria. What’s more, after drinking either of the polyphenol rich choices, the subjects also had lower blood pressure, triglyceride levels, HDL (good) cholesterol and c-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker that represents inflammation.

The thing to keep in mind is that there still is no conclusive evidence that red wine is any better to the body than other forms of alcohol. It’s also important to note that intake is a glass a day, a sensible limit since too much alcohol can be addictive and has many known harmful effects on your body. When it comes to the food sources, eating grapes, peanuts, blueberries or cranberries may bring the same benefits as the glass of red wine, no one knows for sure right now.

Of course the potential health benefits of red wine here are enticing, but more work needs to be done before anyone can say anything for sure. In the meantime, if you do enjoy red wine, now you’ve yet another reason to drink up – to the possible benefits to your digestive system.

Lower Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding Alcohol

If you want to lower breast cancer risk avoiding alcohol may be key, as even a little alcohol might be enough to get you in trouble. While experts have warned of the many health dangers of too much drinking, a new review of existing research to be published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism reveals that just a single alcoholic drink each day can raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer by almost 5%. Heavier intakes (3+ drinks/day) can bring the increase in risk to a dangerous 50% according to the team of researchers from France, Italy and Germany.

Warnings about alcohol consumption and breast cancer were first brought to light in the early 1980s, and have gained ground ever since. Alcohol is thought to raise estrogen levels, and there are earlier studies that have found alcohol linked strongly to estrogen receptor positive cancers that need the hormone in order to keep growing.

For the current review the team examined past research and selected 113 earlier studies that examined light drinking and breast cancer risk. They were able to attribute 2% of breast cancers in both North America and Europe to light drinking alone; almost 50,000 of these cancers the world over to drinking heavily. The findings do seem to echo the advice of physicians, to live a healthy lifestyle and minimize your intake of alcohol.

A healthy woman, who is at average risk for breast cancer, should not drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day. If you’re at a higher risk of breast cancer because of a family history for example, you should avoid daily consumption of alcohol and perhaps only drink on special occasions, if at all.

While a family history of breast cancer increases your risk of the disease, remember that most women who get breast cancer do NOT have a family history of the disease.

The link between even moderate alcohol intake and a slightly higher risk of breast cancer has been reported earlier according to Dr. Joanne Mortimer, who is director of the Women’s Cancer Programs at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in California. The new findings update this thinking, and because they made use of both newer and older studies, are able to give a better estimate of the risk of drinking alcohol every day.

But, moderate alcohol intake has been found to be good for the heart. So how do women choose?

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Just One A Day Can Raise Risk Of Cancer… Continued…

Look to the American Cancer Society guidelines that suggest if you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start for health benefits. If you do drink, keep your intake to one drink a day, though if you are at risk of breast cancer you might be smart to avoid alcohol altogether.

Mortimer believes that if you are at risk, a single change like this won’t have much impact. You’ll need to be doing other things – exercising and eating healthy – as well to truly lower breast cancer risk. In the U.S., estimates suggest that one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in her life. The risk from light alcohol intake is then added to that starting point. The good news is that drinking alcohol is totally within your control -so you can do something about your breast cancer risk if you need to.

Health Benefits Of Red Wine Uncovered

We’ve heard for a long time that one of the health benefits of red wine (in moderation of course) is that it is good for the heart. What’s been more elusive is whether it is the alcohol or the antioxidants in the wine that bring the heart healthy benefits.

New research appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds an unexpected answer – both the grapes and the alcohol could be responsible.

The Spanish team, headed by researcher Ramon Estruch, MD, PhD, from the department of internal medicine at Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic, Villarroel, asked 67 male subjects who were at high risk of heart disease to stop drinking any alcohol for two weeks. The subjects were then told to drink almost two glasses of red wine a day for a whole month. The next month they had the same amount of wine, but without the alcohol. For the final month of the study they consumed the same daily amount of a different alcohol, gin.

The researchers used blood tests to measure chemicals related to plaque formation and inflammation at all points during the study – before the men started drinking, and at the end of each month long period.

During the months of drinking red wine and gin, levels of a substance known to turn down inflammation (called interleukin-10) went up – suggesting that the alcohol was behind the benefit.

The thing is, drinking the red wine, both with and without alcohol, also brought benefits, lowering the levels of other chemicals that foster the formation of plaques on artery walls. This finding suggested that antioxidants like the polyphenols in red wine might have something to do with the reduction.

Drinking the two together appears to bring a stronger benefit than either on their own. If you do not currently drink, no one is suggesting you start in the hope of getting benefits for your heart. The reason? It’s never possible to predict who will have a problem with alcoholism and who won’t. Plus, there are other things you can do (diet, exercise) to keep your heart working just fine.

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What Makes Red Wine Good For Your Heart..? Continued…

According to the American Heart Association, if you don’t have conditions that are aggravated by alcohol (a history of alcoholism, hypertriglyceridemia, pancreatitis, liver disease, some blood disorders, heart failure, uncontrolled hypertension) enjoying such beverages in moderation is just fine. That’s no more than two alcohol drinks a day for men; one alcohol drink a day for women. The reason the male limit is higher is that men are generally heavier and taller, plus they naturally have more of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol than women do.

Drinking more than this amount ups your risks for alcoholism and the other issues that come with taking in too much alcohol.

The team conducting the research suggests that if you’re worried about your heart health, red wine might be a good choice as a beverage, if you already drink alcohol. If you don’t want the alcohol, drinking grape juice from red Concord grapes may bring the very same benefits. Just be sure to keep an eye on the calories – 1 cup of grape juice has 152 calories; a 5-ounce glass (148 mL, serving size at most restaurants) of red wine only has 125 calories.

And while the work on the health benefits of red wine does look promising, more study is needed before experts can be sure that red wine is better than other types of alcohol like beer or spirits.

Resveratrol Benefits Could Increase Metabolism Rate

Enjoying a drink of rich red wine this season to increase metabolism rate? Sounds like strange advice to be sure, but if the findings of a small Dutch research project involving obese men are reproduced, the resveratrol benefits found in the delicious, red beverage might actually become a part of a healthy diet.

This latest study finds a benefit to metabolism, the equal of a calorie-restricted diet, from a natural compound in red wine known as resveratrol.

According to lead researcher Patrick Schrauwen from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, this recent research is the first time resveratrol has been shown to work in people, and this opens the door for more work to see if it might help those with type 2 diabetes.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that’s found largely in grape skin, and therefore red wine. Brought to popular attention in the 1990s as a possible explanation for the “French Paradox” – the low incidence of heart disease among the French who are known to eat a pretty high fat diet, the substance has received a lot of attention while spawning a host of questionably effective products.

The researchers gave resveratrol to 11 healthy, though obese, men at a dose of 150 milligrams for 30 days. To get this much resveratrol in non-supplement form, the researchers say you’d have to drink more than two gallons of red wine a day, certainly something that is not recommended.

The supplements acted like a low cal diet, bringing good things like a lower metabolic rate, less fat in the liver, lower blood pressure and blood sugar as well as changes in the way the muscles burned fat.

When it comes to obesity, no one is sure if burning fewer calories is good or bad according to Schrauwen, but the research suggests that the supplements left cells functioning better, just as they do on a restricted calorie diet. What’s more, there were no serious side effects in the subjects taking the supplements. That’s certainly a good thing.

Studies in animals have found that resveratrol does reduce insulin resistance and offers some protection against the ill effects of a high fat diet. This is just what happens when you cut the number of calories you consume, something experts have come to recognize will delay the onset of diseases related to aging, perhaps extend lifespan.

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This Natural Compound Might Help Boost Metabolism… Continued…

When it comes to resveratrol supplements, keep in mind that many are selling products that are loaded with fillers and low amounts of the beneficial compound. Reviews are a good source of information about supplements, as are doctor recommendations so do your homework if you’re interested in taking them.

Remember eating healthy is a balancing act. It’s important to understand that too much of the wrong things are just as troublesome as too little of the right kinds of nutrients. Eating a variety of healthy foods is always best, and that as important as what you take in, regular exercise is a recognized part of staying healthy and strong through the years.

Though resveratrol is readily available, more research is needed to see if it can fulfill the hopes experts have for it to increase metabolism rate. Researchers still don’t know what the long-term effects of this type of supplementation will be… the effects might wear off over time. All of us need to proceed with care.

The work on Resveratrol Benefits appears in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Lung Cancer Risk Upped By Alcohol

Smokers will tell you that nothing goes better with a glass of wine or a beer than a cigarette… and while medicine has long known that smoking is a lung cancer risk, the companion behavior (drinking to excess) appears to be a rather serious, though unrecognized, risk.

A new study presented at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting has found a link between heavy drinking and an uptick in the risk of lung cancer, the number one cancer killer of both men and women the world over.

Even today, more Americans die as a result of lung cancer than any other cancer. In 2007, the most recent year statistics are available; just about 203,000 U.S. adults were diagnosed with lung cancer, nearly 159,000 died from the disease. The only good news is that since the 1964 Surgeon General report confirming the dangers of smoking, millions have quit.

We now understand that smoking doesn’t just impact the person with the cigarette – family members, children, friends, coworkers and others who breathe in those chemicals are also at higher risk for dangerous disease.

In one of the studies presented at the meeting, the diet and lifestyle of over 126,000 subjects was examined between the years 1978 and 1985, with incidence of lung cancer tracked through to the year 2008.

The Kaiser Permanente team found that having over 3 alcoholic drinks per day raised the risk of lung cancer, with a slightly higher association for beer compared to either wine or liquor. When compared to those who did not drink, subjects who had 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer of the lung. There was a whopping 70% rise in risk if the alcoholic drink was beer.

Interesting that this study also saw that a higher BMI (body mass index) was associated with a reduction in the chances of malignancies in the lungs. This isn’t to suggest that you start packing on weight… the effects of all those extra pounds might not show themselves for years. But they will appear. Your doctor knows that for sure.

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Alcohol Consumption And Lung Cancer Risk: The Latest News… Continued…

But, researchers admit it is hard to see how much of an impact drinking has on lung cancer when it so often is accompanied by smoking, or spending lots of time in smoke filled environments.

The other study to be presented at CHEST 2011 meeting was from the Czech Republic. This work found that among non-smoking females, regular black tea intake might lower lung cancer risk by 31%. Higher amounts of fruit in the diet were also linked with lower cancer risk for both men and women.

Experts warn that all these results need to be reproduced by additional research before being considered as solid recommendations, so there’s no need to eliminate alcohol from your life. The research here demonstrates associations that might be intriguing, but are far from fact. As with everything, moderation is key. In the meantime, if you’re worried about your lung cancer risk, you can directly impact your own risk of this dangerous disease by not smoking, and limiting (or eliminating) your exposure to passive smoke.

Healthy Old Age Through Moderate Drinking At Mid-life

Interesting news on alcohol and a healthy old age… at least for women. Some new research finds that a woman who drinks moderately in mid-life is somewhat more likely than those who do not drink alcohol to be in good health, both physically and mentally, in old age.

The work, published recently in PLoS Medicine, doesn’t prove that drinking in moderation will bring better health, since other factors could also account for the difference. The study also doesn’t examine the long-term cost of drinking an alcoholic beverage with dinner instead of milk or water.

The research used the medical records of 13,894 middle aged (in the 1980s) nurses taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study who lived to be at least 70 years old. The women’s health was updated through the years, and the study included heavy drinkers and even those who might have had alcohol problems.

The team focused on 1,491 subjects (11%) who didn’t suffer from chronic diseases or have physical/mental limitations in old age. They compared these subjects to the rest, trying to see if those who drank in midlife (often wine drinkers) did better in terms of health in old age.

Of those who didn’t have major health problems in old age, 22% were non-drinkers, 62% drink about 1 drink/day (15 grams of alcohol), just about 10% drank one to two drinks each day, and 3% drank more than two to three alcoholic drinks per day.

After making statistical adjustments for age and smoking status, the team saw that the healthiest women in old age were more likely to have enjoyed drinking at mid-life. The moderate drinkers were about 20% more likely to be healthy as the years passed.

Moderate drinking is considered one drink a day for women or anyone over the age of 65, and two drinks a day for men who are under 65 years old.

If you have questions about if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol, even in moderation, talk with your doctor. Those on some medications or with specific medical conditions should not drink under any circumstances.

The study authors also don’t recommend a woman start drinking at mid-life if she doesn’t already. Being active and keeping your weight in the healthy range are far more protective. Also understand that the volumes considered in the research were small… not supersized as many drinks are today.

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Moderate Mid-Life Drinking Associated With Healthier Old Age… Continued…

The study also only looked at women who were healthy at mid-life. The benefits of alcohol intake may not be the same if a woman is fighting a chronic disease. The small benefit alcohol appears to bring would likely be overshadowed by the disease, especially if you take lots of medications that might also be impacted by drinking alcohol.

But if you’re otherwise healthy, and you’re a long-standing light to moderate drinker, this research suggests that alcohol might be bringing you some benefit according to study author Dr. Qi Sun, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Science already knows that moderate drinking can be a benefit to health, particularly when it comes to heart disease, stroke and brain functioning. It isn’t clear how alcohol might benefit health, but it may well have something to do with how it can bring down inflammation in the body.

Do the findings hold for a healthy old age for men? The researchers can’t say. There is currently little research into the effect of drinking at mid-life and a healthy old age for men. More work in the area is sure to follow.

Tips On Staying Healthy For Women Getting Older

A new study from Harvard researchers that offers tips on staying healthy finds that middle-aged women who enjoy alcohol in moderation have a better chance of staying healthy (and happy) as they age than those who don’t drink.

The protection seems most effective if the consumption of alcohol is spread over most days of the week, rather than if the drinking is conducted over short space of time i.e. a weekend, which showed no protective affect.

The researchers, interested in discovering if moderate drinking was associated with overall health in older people, followed just about 14,000 (mostly white) women from the Nurses’ Health Study that began back in 1976. Researchers compared the self-reported drinking at middle age (about 58 years old) with their health status at age 70.

Those who averaged 3 to 15 drinks per week were found to have up to a 28% better chance of being disease free, without physical disability or mental health issues and cognitive decline by the time they reached age 70. The findings might not apply to men or women of other races.

Even having just one or two alcoholic drinks in the course of a week improved a woman’s odds of good health by 11%.

The researchers did account for over a dozen factors that might influence aging and drinking, but it is possible that those who drink in moderate amounts are different in other ways than diet, smoking, level of education and family history.

There may be things like social life, they way they eat or exercise and how they manage stress that might also impact how these people age.

Still the findings add to the evidence that those who are moderate drinkers are less likely than those who don’t drink (or those who drink too much) to have problems like diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

We do know that moderate alcohol intake – 1 drink a day for women, 2 drinks per day for men has been found to…

- Reduce inflammation

- Help keep cholesterol levels in the healthy range

- Improve insulin resistance

- Keep blood vessels working properly

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A Daily Tipple Linked To Healthy Aging… Continued…

This isn’t to say that if you’re a nondrinker you should start having alcohol because of this study. Just be sure you’re doing other things to live healthy – keeping your weight in the normal range and are being regularly active are far more critical to overall good healthy as you get older than having a drink or two through the week. But if you’re doing this already, the research findings support your choice.

No doubt the discussions about the risks (and benefits) of alcoholic drinks like beer, wine and spirits will continue. Everyone understands that too much drinking or binge drinking causes liver damage, ups your risk of some cancers, contributes to depression and violence, and impacts close relationships. If you feel you, or someone you know, has a problem with alcohol, don’t wait, get help.

It’s important to understand that this study was not a clinical trial, and offers no proof that drinking the recommended amount of alcohol has a direct effect on your long-term health. You should also know that some studies suggest that even moderate drinking can up your risk of breast cancer. However, for women getting older the findings of this study leave the impression that when it comes to tips on staying healthy, one or two drinks a day carry more benefit to the body than risk.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease Caused By Obesity

Being obese and insulin resistant pose a far bigger risk for developing symptoms of fatty liver disease than does moderate alcohol intake. An unexpected finding from a new study just posted online in the Annals of Medicine that saw drinking moderate amounts of red wine brought no greater risk of fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease, associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can, in time, bring on life threatening cirrhosis of the liver.

Here’s how the study worked. The Swedish team told 44 adults to either not drink alcohol at all, or to have one drink (for women) or two drinks (for men) a day for the next three months. At both the start and end of the work, the investigators collected samples of subjects’ blood and conducted MRI scans to measure the fat content of the liver.

Turns out, the amount of fat in the liver had nothing to do with alcohol consumption at all, and a whole lot to do with obesity and insulin resistance.

After the three months, none of the wine drinkers had developed fatty liver disease or elevated liver transaminases according to Dr. Stergios Kechagias, a liver specialist from Linkopin University.

Not only that, but the research found a 16% decrease in bad cholesterol among the subjects who drank the red wine. There’s a lot of data supporting moderate intake of alcohol and lower risk of heart disease, this research appears to explain the mechanism. Since the bad cholesterol was brought down so dramatically, the team is confident that something in the wine provides the benefit.

Fatty liver disease can cause inflammation that ends up permanently scarring the liver tissue, though the condition often has no symptoms and might even be missed on initial examination.

Today estimates suggest as many as 20% of adults (6% of children) have this condition. Obesity is considered the most common cause.

In fact, there are experts who believe that as many as two thirds of obese adults (half of obese children) may have fatty liver disease, known to medicine as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Continues below…


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Obesity Far Greater Risk For Liver Disease Than Alcohol… Continued…

The first hint many get that they have the condition is the return of blood work from a physical that shows mild elevations in liver enzymes. NAFLD can also be present even when lab tests are normal. Imaging studies are the way to confirm a diagnosis, most often an ultrasound of the liver itself, where the accumulation of fat can be seen most readily.

Extra fat in the liver can also be caused by too much alcohol, some drugs, as well as conditions like viral hepatitis, autoimmune disease, metabolic or an inherited disease of the liver. Your doctor will want to rule these out before giving you an official diagnosis of NAFLD.

With too much alcohol as a factor in life threatening liver disease, it is comforting to see that moderate drinking might actually provide some benefit to the body. What experts also know is that while there is no medical treatment that can reverse the symptoms of fatty liver disease, with prevention being the best approach, losing weight can certainly help, especially if you are overweight or obese.