A recent British research showed how abstention can heal the liver and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Patients who gave up for four weeks were also at lower risk of developing cancer and diabetes.
'The results were staggering,’ said Professor Kevin Moore, who was involved in both experiments. 'If you had a drug that did this it would be a multi-billion pound market.'
‘There was a 40 per cent reduction in liver fat, they lost about three kilograms in weight and their cholesterol levels improved.’
In another larger study, the London researchers looked at 102 relatively healthy men and women in their forties taking part in a ‘dry January’ campaign.
The women had been drinking an average of 29 units of alcohol a week and the men were typically on 31 units.
All had blood tests and liver scans and answered detailed questionnaires. Four weeks later the damage caused to their livers by years of heavy drinking had started to repair itself.
Their ‘liver stiffness’ - an indication of disease - had been reduced by 12.5 per cent. Their insulin resistance - a measurement of diabetes risk - had come down by 28 per cent.
They had also lost weight, their blood pressure had dropped, and many said their concentration and sleeping levels had improved. The researchers are due to publish further details, which are expected to show their risk of developing certain cancers was also reduced.
Current recommendations state men should not drink more than four units of alcohol a day or 21 units a week while women should have no more than three units a day or 14 units over a week
But health professionals say these limits should be reduced. They also want adults to be told to have
at least two or three days off a week to allow their bodies to recover.
Andrew Langford of the British Liver Trust said: ‘It provides good evidence that simple behavioural change can make a real difference to the health of your liver.’
So saving your liver can be as simple as a one month break from alcohol.