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Binge drinking is WORSE than first thought: Risk of ‘tremendous liver damage is 13 times higher in people who binge regularly’

Binge drinking is WORSE than first thought: Risk of ‘tremendous liver damage is 13 times higher in people who binge regularly’


    CDC defines binge drinking as 5 or more drinks for men and 4 or more for women over a short period of time – roughly two hours

    Experts have warned for a long time that binge drinking is bad for health

    New warning: It’s worse than intitially thought – when vast quantities drunk

    People who regularly binge drink chronic amounts – over 4-week period – are 13 times more likely to suffer ‘tremendous liver damage’ 


Source: Daily Mail

By Lizzie Parry

17 December 2015


Binge drinking is bad for your health – the statement is no revelation.


But now, scientists have warned consuming chronic quantities of alcohol in short time periods is worse than they once feared.


Regularly binge drinking combined with chronic alcohol consumption significantly increases a person’s risk of ‘tremendous liver damage’, a new study found.


Excessive alcohol consumption is a global public health issue.


In the United States, binge drinking is the most common form – so common, in fact, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports approximately one in six adults binge drinks about four times each month.


The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks in around two hours for women


Professor Shivendra Shukla, the Margaret Proctor Mulligan professor of medical pharmacology and physiology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, said: ‘Heavy binge drinking by those who habitually consume alcohol is the most common cause of liver damage in chronic alcoholic liver disease.


‘We know that this behavior causes large fatty deposits in the liver that ultimately impair the organ’s ability to function properly.


‘However, we wanted to understand the mechanism that causes this damage and the extent of the harm.


‘Our research focused on different forms of alcohol abuse and the results of those behaviors.’


Professor Shukla’s team studied mice to examine the extent of liver injury caused by chronic alcohol use, repeat binge episodes and a combination of both.


Over a four-week period, the researchers found that mice exposed to chronic alcohol use and repeated binge consumption exhibited the highest levels of liver damage.


Professor Shukla said: ‘Either chronic alcohol use, or acute repeat binge episodes caused moderate liver damage when compared to the control group not exposed to alcohol.


‘This outcome came as no surprise.


‘However, in the mice exposed to both chronic use and repeat binge episodes, liver damage increased tremendously.


‘Even more shocking was the extent of fatty deposits in the livers of those exposed to chronic plus binge alcohol.


‘It was approximately 13 times higher than the control group.’


The highly amplified fat accumulation was in part caused by metabolic changes within the liver.


These changes not only significantly increased fatty liver deposits, but increased stress on the organ while decreasing the liver’s ability to fight the stress.


Professor Shukla also pointed out that chronic and excessive alcohol use should not be associated only with liver damage.


‘Drinking alcohol excessively can create an inflammatory response to the liver and other organ system in the body,’ Professor Shukla said.


‘If those organs work at a lower level of function, then a whole host of physiological processes can be affected.


‘It is important for us to understand the extent of damage caused by alcohol abuse, which also can lead to other health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.’ 


The study is published in the journal Biomolecules.