Daily glass of wine keeps liver fit as a fiddle

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:13 pm ICT by admin  


Washington, May 23 (IANS) Overturning conventional notions, new research shows how a daily glass of wine may not only be safe for the liver, but also protect it from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD. Individuals who drank a glass of wine daily, cut the risk of NAFLD by half. Conversely, wine drinkers who also consumed beer or liquor in small quantities, were four times as likely to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the study said.

The cross-sectional, population-based study of nearly 12,000 participants included 7,211 non-drinkers and 4,543 modest alcohol drinkers, ScienceDaily reported.

NAFLD is a common liver disease in the West. Previous research has shown that as many as five percent with NAFLD will develop cirrhosis.

The major risk factors for NAFLD are similar to many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease - obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides and high blood pressure.

Multiple studies have shown that modest alcohol consumption may reduce the risk for heart disease. However, such recommendations in individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease have overlooked that these same people are also at an increased risk for NAFLD.

“The results of this study present a paradigm shift, suggesting that modest wine consumption may not only be safe for the liver but may actually decrease the prevalence of NAFLD,” said Jeffrey Schwimmer of the University of California.

“The odds of having suspected NAFLD based upon abnormal liver blood tests was reduced by 50 percent in individuals who drank one glass of wine a day.”

The result remained constant, even after adjusting for age, sex, race, education, income, diet, physical activity, body mass index, and other markers of health status.

These findings appear in the June issue of the journal Hepatology.

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