Should You Take A Month Off From Drinking Alcohol?

We're now past Halloween and the holiday season will be here before we know it. With that, comes many a celebration and more than a couple libations. Add that to what you may already be consuming over the course of an average week and you may find yourself wondering if maybe you should take a little time off. Science has found that taking a month off from alcohol can have big benefits for your health! Recent research presented at the 66th annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, indicates that your liver will definitely notice a break in the action. The research studied 102 drinkers who had a dry January. What was observed was a reduction in "liver stiffness" which was measured by a scan that assessed the amount of fibrous scarring in the liver. Although it is unclear exactly what this means, it does point to the fact that the liver may be able to at least partially heal itself if given an opportunity. Fibrous scarring can cause cirrhosis of the liver which can lead to irreversible damage and liver failure. Participants in the study also saw a reduction in blood pressure and insulin resistance.   As of yet, the study hasn't been published and is only available in abstract but it does support previous findings. Last year, the same unit of researchers from the University College London Institute for Liver and Digestive Health followed 10 staff members at The New Scientist who decided to quit drinking for the month of January. When compared to 4 staff members who continued to drink, the non-drinkers experienced a 15% reduction in the amount of fat in their livers (a precursor to fibrous liver damage) and a fall in their blood glucose levels. They also reported better sleep and concentration, and an average weight loss of 1.5kg (over 3lbs). [bctt tweet="Take a month off from drinking...is it worth it? Studies say it could be!"] Although there is evidence that drinking every day can increase your risk of liver disease, the Royal College of Physicians suggest taking 2 or 3 alcohol free days a week as the most effective way to combat this threat. Taking a dry month was found to decrease social interaction and no one knows if you will end up drinking even more when the month is over.   Once again, moderation appears to be key -- even when it comes to decreasing your alcohol intake. You don't have to dry out completely but fitting in as many booze free days during the week as you can certainly won't hurt you. Do you implement alcohol free days over the course of your week? Source: The Guardian  

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