Does Dry January really positively impact the liver?
Why do people do Dry January?
Often because they are worried about the health of their liver and ending up with liver disease. But actually many experts say that to really see the benefits of giving up alcohol or changing lifestyle you would need to do this for three months to see big changes. Especially if you already have some liver disease. But there are other benefits to Dry January. For example, not drinking can actually have a positive impact on someone’s mood. It can mean that we sleep better at night and wake up with more energy in the morning. Not drinking alcohol can mean fewer hangovers. That also means avoiding the mental health problems that can come with hangovers and also being able to eat better.
What is the liver?
Your liver is the biggest organ inside your body and your metabolism center for EVERYTHING you eat, drink or consume via the skin, the air you breath.
You’ll find it on the right side of the abdomen, which is why it can be quite difficult to work out what’s happening with the liver. The average liver weighs just over 1kg. When it comes to understanding the liver there are blood tests that can be done but these are not always reliable. An ultrasound of the liver can also be useful and a Fibroscan lets us know how soft and fatty it is. But the gold standard way to check the liver out is for some via a biopsy, which is where a tiny part is taken out to be analysed.
Alcohol is not the only problem?
Although drinking too much can have a big impact on the liver – which is why people do Dry January – there are other things we do that can also have a negative effect. For example, drugs can also have a bad impact on the liver. And around one in four people are thought to have a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – which has nothing to do with the impact of alcohol. This is a problem more likely to be caused by what you eat, e.g., too much saturated fatty or sugar dense foods and drinks. Some specialists say that it would be better for us all to go without sweets for a month, rather than alcohol, to improve the health of our livers.
So does Dry January work?
It doesn’t have that much impact on liver health. The best way to influence that is to hydrate, eat well, minimise sugar and enjoy alcohol in moderation all year round. But Dry January can make someone feel better about themselves – and at the start of a new year, when anxiety rates are high and the weather is terrible, that benefit can be worth its weight in gold.
Dry January is something that anyone can do for a month once a year to support the liver. It means not drinking alcohol for a whole month to help give the liver a break. A lot of people say that Dry January has a positive impact on the liver but there is still a lot of research to do in terms of whether this is true and for whom. The MyLife365.Me app is designed to help you take care of your internal health by simply logging what you eat, drink and your exercise…