Science already knows how long it takes the liver to recover every time you drink alcohol (and how to limit damage)

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The European Association for the Study of the Liver and The Lancet have presented the results of the commission they created to analyze the state of liver health in Europeans and propose some ways to improve it. Among the results has been a decalogue intended for medical professionals and politicians. Some recommendations aimed at people have also emerged that have aroused some curiosity, such as “taking a break” from alcohol at least three days a week.


The EASL-Lancet commission.
The commission formed by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and The Lancet has recently presented the report detailing your work. The report notes a change in trends in kidney disease.

The reason is that, while progress is being made in diseases such as viral hepatitis, consumption habits have caused a setback in other areas. Excessive alcohol consumption and obesity are among the risk factor’s on which they affect.

Change in the paradigm.
Experts draw attention to the need to anticipate the disease. According to the report, liver health today is reactive, which means that diseases are already treated in late stages. Faced with this, they ask to put more emphasis on early diagnosis and prevention.

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Three days of weekly rest and moderation.
This is where recommendations on alcohol consumption fit in. It should always be remembered that there is a consensus on the recommended daily amount of alcohol: zero. It is true that there is a certain margin, but, according to the experts, it is not very wide.

In statements collected by El Paísthe deputy general secretary of the EASL, Aleksander Krag, recommended as “rules” to follow a minimum of three consecutive days without consuming alcohol, not to drink more than five units on each occasion (this would be the equivalent of half a bottle of wine) , and ten units a week.

A usual recommendation.
The idea of ​​parking alcohol several days a week is far from being an idea. British authorities They have been making similar recommendations for years., a little more lax, yes. According to collects the foundation British Liver Trustit is recommended not to consume alcohol for two or three consecutive days a week and limit your consumption to 14 units.

Of course, their accounts are a little more conservative when estimating the units of alcohol that we can find in our drinks. Thus, for example, according to the foundation, the 75cl bottle of wine would contain 10.1 units of alcohol, while according to other calculations it would be the liter of wine that would correspond to 10 units.

alcohol units.
This leads us to ask ourselves what is that of the units of alcohol. Standard Drinking Units (SDUs) are measured depending on the grams of alcohol that a drink has. Varies therefore depending on the graduation of the drink and its volume.

So it is not surprising that there is some variation in the SLUs that each drink represents. For example, in the case of wine bottles, it can vary depending on the graduation of the liquid, and if we are already talking about glasses, it varies depending on the volume served. The measure, yes, does not take into account the rate at which we consume alcohol, which may also be related to its toxicity.

Focus on prevention.
Beyond individual strategies to reduce the damage caused by alcohol, hepatologists insist on the need for European policies to improve liver health. Obesity, they recall, is a risk factor that is linked to alcohol consumption.

Another call for attention has to do with the stigma associated with these diseases. “The change must also include reviewing how we talk about liver disease and how we talk about people with liver disease. The nomenclature of liver diseases is plagued with stigmatizing terms”, explains Patrizia Burra.

One of the report documents of the association formed by Graham Cooke and Shevanthi Nayagam adds that “the perception of guilt or worth may still be implicit in decision-making about treatments for liver diseases.”

In favor of price regulation.
Regarding these prevention policies, the experts point out some that can affect us, such as a greater price regulation. An example of this would be the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol. The idea is that the higher the price, the greater the incentive to moderate consumption.

The weight of liver diseases in Europe.
The weight of liver diseases is gaining prominence in Europe according to the EASL, to the point of already being the second cause of loss of working life in Europe after heart diseases. Liver diseases, unlike, for example, cancer, manifest earlier in the lives of patients, around 50.

European countries have highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world. This substance has also been linked to 40% of premature deaths liver-related in Europe, 287,000, though experts reckon that’s a conservative estimate.

Image | Kelsey Knight

The European Association for the Study of the Liver and The Lancet have presented the results of the commission they…

The European Association for the Study of the Liver and The Lancet have presented the results of the commission they…

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