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How Much Alcohol Would You Have to Drink Before Liver Damage

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/30/2022

How much alcohol is too much? Learn more about the effects of alcohol on the liver.

0:00 Introduction: Alcohol and liver damage

1:15 How much alcohol will cause liver damage?

2:00 What happens when you drink?

3:40 Symptoms of liver damage

4:52 Factors that determine how alcohol affects the liver

6:07 Other things that cause liver damage

7:10 Can the liver regenerate?

7:43 Check out my video on how to reverse liver damage!

Let's talk about how much alcohol you would have to drink to cause liver damage.

One study found that just 21 binge drinking sessions could potentially produce early-stage liver disease. In this study, a binge drinking session is classified as more than five drinks in two hours, and a drink is classified as 0.6 ounces of alcohol.

0.6 ounces of alcohol is equivalent to:

• 12 oz of beer

• 8 oz of malt liquor

• 5 oz of wine

• 1.5 oz shot of liquor

When you have an alcoholic drink, about 25% of the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream. As it goes through the bloodstream, it goes through the liver. The liver then breaks it down and deals with the toxic material.

Over time, you will lose the enzyme network that breaks down the toxic material. The toxic material can then build up and create a lot of damage. This can lead to fat in the liver, inflammation, and eventually cirrhosis.

Inflammation in the liver usually starts within five years of heavy drinking on a regular basis. Cirrhosis typically takes 5 to 10 years or more to develop.

Eventually, you can lose liver function. This can cause an inability to detox, leading to digestive problems, DNA damage, and a higher risk of liver cancer. But, you won't experience many symptoms until things progress.

The first symptoms of liver damage:

• Fatigue

• Belly fat

Symptoms of advanced liver damage:

• Ascites

• Arthritis

• Itchiness

• Jaundice

• A spike in estrogen and a drop in testosterone

• Fatigue

• Bad breath

• A loss of muscle

Consuming sugar has about the same effect as drinking alcohol. It can actually cause nonalcoholic liver disease. Certain medications and even viruses can also destroy the liver.

The good news is that the liver is the only organ that can completely regenerate if you stop doing the things that are causing the destruction. But, there is a point of no return where there is too much scar tissue, and the damage is irreversible.

To learn more about how to support a healthy liver, check out my other videos.

DATA:

https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k2817

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20716942/

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa72/aa72.htm

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