We are often told that too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you really know why? Have you ever wondered how alcohol affects your liver when sipping your favorite cocktail or schooner of beer? Here’s a quick rundown:
Your liver is a robust organ and can usually cope with drinking a small amount of alcohol. However the liver can only handle a certain amount of alcohol at any given time, so if you drink more than the liver can deal with by drinking too quickly, or drinking too much, your liver cells struggle to process it.
When alcohol reaches the liver, it produces a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde which can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring, as well as harm to the brain and stomach lining. But that’s not all…
Your liver also requires water to do its job effectively. When alcohol enters the body it acts as a diuretic and as such dehydrates you and forces the liver to find water from other sources. The severe dehydration is part of the reason why, after a big night of drinking you can wake up nursing a whopping headache.
Regular and heavy drinking over time can strain or upset the way alcohol is metabolised within the body, which can lead to alcoholic liver disease.