If there is one thing that most people understand about the liver is that it is for the body as liquor. When you take a glass of wine, beer or other alcoholic beverage, the liver is responsible for processing the alcohol and detoxify the blood.
Yet alcohol decomposition is only one of some 500 essential functions of the liver. This means that it can handle a certain amount of alcohol at a time. If you overload your liver (by drinking too much at once), the excess alcohol will be in your bloodstream and affect your brain, your heart and other tissues, leading to an increasing drunkenness.
If you continue to drink to excess, drinking a lot at one go or taking daily more drinks you ask your liver continuously work overtime. The consequences of such excess may include the destruction of liver cells, fat accumulation in the liver (hepatic steatosis) or, even worse, inflammation of the liver (alcoholic hepatitis), permanent scarring (cirrhosis), or even liver cancer.
There is no fixed rule as to how much alcohol you can consume without damaging your liver. Here are some tips that will help you decide whether or not you should take a first drink or the next …
Do not try to drink as much as your friends, the alcohol tolerance may be higher than yours. You may think you know your limits, but the truth is that your gender, your weight, your ethnicity and your health are all factors that can determine the safe amount of alcohol for you.
Do not base your choice of drinks on the belief that a type of alcohol is less harmful than another.
This is the amount of alcohol and not the type that counts. A “glass” equals 12 oz (341 ml) of beer; 5 oz (142 ml) of wine; 3 oz (86 ml) of sherry or port; 1 ½ oz (43 ml) of spirits. Everyone has the same effect on the liver, it is eaten alone or diluted.
Never mix alcohol and drugs. For example, the combination of acetaminophen and alcohol can cause liver failure.
If you are a woman, resist peer pressure would encourage you to drink more than you normally would. Women absorb more alcohol than men; they are more likely than men to contract liver disease related to alcohol, and even if their consumption is lower.
If you have hepatitis or another form of liver disease, avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol can amplify liver damage.
Do not participate in “games” that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol in a short period of time.
Restrict your alcohol intake to one or two drinks, but never on a daily basis. For your liver, the amount of the safest alcohol is the “zero” quantity.