How alcohol affects the Liver?

How alcohol affects the Liver?

Alcohol consumption is a common practice in many cultures around the world, but excessive and prolonged alcohol intake can have a detrimental effect on liver health. The liver is responsible for processing alcohol and breaking it down into harmless by products that can be eliminated from the body. However, when alcohol consumption exceeds the liver’s capacity to process it, it can lead to liver damage and other health complications. In this blog, we will discuss how alcohol is processed by the liver and how it affects liver health.

Alcohol Metabolism in the Liver

When alcohol is consumed, it enters the bloodstream and is transported to the liver. The liver is the primary organ responsible for metabolizing alcohol in the body. The liver breaks down alcohol through a two-step process.

  • The first step involves the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic compound that can damage liver cells and other tissues.
  • The second step involves the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which converts acetaldehyde into acetate, a harmless by product that can be eliminated from the body.

However, excessive alcohol consumption can overwhelm the liver’s capacity to process alcohol, leading to a build up of acetaldehyde in the body. This can cause liver damage and inflammation, as well as other health complications such as fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

Effects of Alcohol on Liver Health

Alcohol can have a range of negative effects on liver health, depending on the amount and duration of alcohol consumption. Here are some of the ways alcohol affects the liver:

Fatty liver disease: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the accumulation of fat in liver cells, which can impair liver function and lead to liver damage.

Alcoholic hepatitis: This condition is caused by inflammation of the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption. Symptoms may include fever, jaundice, and abdominal pain.

Cirrhosis: Prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of cirrhosis, a chronic condition in which liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. This can impair liver function and lead to liver failure.

Liver cancer: Heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption is a risk factor for liver cancer, particularly in people who have underlying liver disease.

Prevention and Treatment

The best way to prevent alcohol-related liver damage is to limit alcohol consumption. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends that men should not exceed more than four drinks per day, and women should not exceed more than three drinks per day. It is also recommended to have at least two alcohol-free days per week.

If you are already experiencing alcohol-related liver damage, treatment options may include lifestyle modifications such as reducing alcohol consumption, following a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. In severe cases, medication or liver transplantation may be necessary.

The liver is responsible for processing alcohol and breaking it down into harmless by products. However, excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage and other health complications. It is important to limit alcohol consumption to prevent liver damage and consult a Liver Specialist in Mumbai if you experience any symptoms of alcohol-related liver disease.


Can Exercise help to cure Fatty Liver?


What is Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver disease is of two types: The first is alcoholic, and the second is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). When fat deposits develop in the liver, it causes inflammation of the liver cells and resulting in fatty liver disease. As the name indicates alcoholic liver diseases are caused by excessive alcohol consumption, which interferes with liver function.

NAFLD is caused by obesity and overweight. Fatty liver diseases occur when the liver fails to break down fats due to poor metabolism and continues to accumulate body fats on a constant basis.

Though fatty liver disease might lead to liver failure or liver cancer in the future, it can always be cured if treated early. Regular exercise, together with a balanced diet (particularly fiber-rich foods), is the main rule that every patient with fatty liver disease should follow in order to fight the disease faster and help the liver carry out its tasks efficiently.

How Exercise Affects Fatty Liver?

  • Regular exercise has many advantages that can help prevent a variety of diseases, including fatty liver. When suffering from fatty liver, the biggest concern is how to burn unwanted fat. Simple exercises such as cycling, walking, and running are examples of these, and they can help to eliminate toxins in the body while also burning extra calories. By maintaining one’s ideal weight, regular exercise helps the liver work well.
  • Several types of studies have been conducted in the past to better understand how fatty liver can be altered by activities and exercise. According to research, sedentary isolation increases the risk of fatty liver, whereas exercise prevents individuals.
  • Walking for 15 to 30 minutes every day improves metabolism. You may be wondering about the advantages of regular exercise in preventing the development of fatty liver disease.
  • Regular exercise improves blood circulation in the body, allowing it to reach the liver and normalize digestion. Your dedication to exercise not only improves fatty liver disease but can even reverse it. It also lowers the risk of liver cancers like hepatocellular carcinoma and several other types of cancer.
  • Regular exercise is important, but understanding the causes of the disease is even more important for a quick recovery.
  • Exercise will keep you on track and help you avoid drinking alcohol, high diabetes, and triglycerides—three major reasons for fatty liver disease. To fight fatty liver, it is essential to exercise in order to lower diabetes, cholesterol, and body weight.

It is also essential to identify the stage of liver damage as soon as possible in order to receive immediate and effective treatment. Changes in lifestyle are also required, along with regular exercise. If you notice any symptoms of Fatty Liver get consulted by a Liver Specialist.

Contraceptive Pills- do they affect the Liver?

Contraceptive pills are very popular methods to avoid pregnancy after unprotected sex but are you aware of the risk they cause to the liver? Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are hormone-containing medications that are taken orally. They prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation as well as sperm penetration into the cervix.”

 The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body. It is because of its functions. The liver produces fluids that help the body digest and detoxify. And if we don’t watch what we eat, toxic substances like drugs, alcohol, and junk food can seriously harm our liver. Other diseases or cancers that affect other organs also affect the liver. Infections in the blood, if they reach the liver, can be harmful.

Contraceptive pills contain estrogen and progesterone hormones, which primarily affect the ovaries and uterus. However, like all other medications, it gets metabolized in the liver. Taking any drug/ medications or even oral contraceptives affects the liver. If you take these pills on a regular basis, you are surely putting at risk your Liver’s health. Because contraceptive pills contain hormones, they gently restrict bilirubin excretion and cause sinusoidal dilatation, increase gall bladder size, cholestasis, and other side effects in patients who already have liver disease, resulting in jaundice, abnormal liver function tests, itching, and stomach pain, among other things. However, these are extremely unusual in adults with healthy livers. Since birth control pills can cause a variety of liver issues over time, taking them for longer period has not been found to be safe for your liver. High estrogen hormone content pills are dangerous and should only be used occasionally.

Other side effects of taking oral Contraceptive pills / Birth control pills:-

  • Nausea
  • Tender breasts
  • Abrupt weight gain
  • Chronic headache or migraine
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Missed periods
  • Spotting between period or vaginal bleeding between periods

Despite having an impact on liver health, very severe adverse effects are quite uncommon. However, any pre-existing liver issues must be cut before using these pills. If you are required to take these pills for the long term, it is advisable to consult with a Liver Specialist in India for diagnosis and tests.

Fatty liver, a silent epidemic in India

Fatty liver disease is a growing issue in India, affecting millions of people. The build-up of excess fat in the Liver causes Fatty Liver. This can result in severe health issues like inflammation, cirrhosis, and even Liver failure or Liver cancer. Fatty liver is at an increase in India due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as poor diet and excessive alcohol intake. Lack of physical exercise and an increase in sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diabetes, are the highly responsible factors that causes Fatty Liver. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a lifestyle condition that is affecting 25-30% of the global population.

High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, as well as iron overload from hereditary hemochromatosis (a disorder where too much iron build up occurs), are other variables that contributes to fatty liver. Other medical conditions that can increase the chance of developing fatty liver disease include hepatitis C virus infection, pregnancy-related issues such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity and related health issues), and HIV infection.

Certain lifestyle changes can help to decrease the risk of Fatty Liver-

  • Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake
  • Consulting a Liver Specialist for regular follow up and diagnosis


The significance of health has come to light in the first half of 2020. The spread of Covid 19 has made everyone realise the importance of good health. NAFLD is the most common liver disease in human history, with estimates showing that it affects about two billion individuals worldwide. Despite this, the general public and healthcare professionals are unknown to it. Despite the already increasing numbers, the burden of NAFLD is predicted to rise in the next decades. NAFLD is a classic contemporary times health concern.

In India, NAFLD has emerged as a serious public health issue, contributing to a huge burden of hepatic and extrahepatic conditions. Educating students and children about healthy lifestyle may be the need of the hour. Efforts are also needed to influence the general public’s thoughts on this ongoing silent pandemic. Although India has made great progress in NAFLD research over the last one or two decades, much more needs to be done.

Fibroscan: Detecting liver problems at the right time

FibroScan is a noninvasive ultrasound-based diagnostic device used to measure liver scarring, or fibrosis, caused by various liver diseases. FibroScan, like other ultrasound exams, is painless, simple, and quick. Furthermore, because it is non-invasive, it does not carry the same risks as an invasive biopsy.

FibroScan is used to detect any of the following chronic liver diseases-

  • Cirrhosis
  • Genetic Diseases (such as Hemochromatosis and Wilson’s Disease)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease
  • Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

Fibroscan is a medical device that is used to detect liver-related health problems and to determine the amount of fat stored in the liver. The fat buildup in the liver causes scarring liver called fibrosis. To measure the severity of liver-related diseases one of the methods is to measure the fibrosis present in the liver. Stiffness in the liver tissue is caused by Fibrosis. FibroScan, also known as transient elastography, measures the speed of the ultrasonic waves which move through the liver. These sounds move differently through the liver tissue and fibrosis and thus help in the detection of liver problems.

FibroScan v/s Liver Biopsy

Points FibroScan Liver Biopsy
Preparation Simply, 3 hours fast prior Complex procedural prep
Procedure Duration 15-20 minutes 12-14 hours
Risk No risk Can cause infection, internal bleeding
Cost Economical compared Liver Biopsy Expensive
Recovery None, Leave after scan Requires 3-4 hours recovery


For more information about FibroScan consult an expert.