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How alcohol damages the liver functionality

  • Posted on- Jul 23, 2016
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Written by site author.

Not many people know that small amount of alcohol is actually good for the body. In moderation, alcohol can help prevent heart diseases and strokes. But excess alcohol consumption can take a huge toll on the liver. To prevent this from happening, an individual should know where to draw the line.

Alcoholic drinks contain ethanol. Ethanol is a by-product of the alcohol fermentation or distillation procedure. Ethanol acts as a psychoactive drug in the human body and as a depressant. Short-term effects aside, ethanol is more lethal when the body starts needing regular dosages. It causes various illnesses to different parts of the human body, right from the brain to the liver. The adverse effects of alcohol on the human body vary, based on quantity consumed. The broad array of alcohol-based illnesses includes dementia, cancer, strokes, and various liver disorders.

The relationship between alcohol and the liver

The liver is the largest solid organ in the human body. In relation to alcohol, there are three different conditions that affect the liver - fatty liver, hepatitis, and liver cirrhosis. An individual can first get affected by fatty liver, then advance towards hepatitis, and finally suffer from liver cirrhosis.

Fatty Liver

Fatty liver is a condition wherein the fats accumulate in the cells. It has a lot to do with diabetes and obesity. Simply put, if you give the liver too much fat to process, eventually, it won't be able to take the strain and will stop functioning in a proper manner. If the alcohol is consumed in small proportions or better still, abstained from, fatty liver can be cured. But if the consumption of alcohol is constant, this disease can prove to be fatal.


Alcohol hepatitis is a more generic condition which affects the efficiency of the liver. The first warnings occur during metabolism. While your body is trying to break down the alcohol code, more toxic compounds such as acetaldehyde arise, that damages the liver cells and hinders their functioning. To stop the spread of this toxic substance, the body wages a war on them, causing inflammation. To cure the damage, the body releases cytokines beyond reasonable limits. Cytokines are single-handedly responsible for alcohol hepatitis and tissue scarring.


The whole orbit of liver-based maladies caused by alcohol can be clubbed into one term - liver cirrhosis permanently damaged cells of the liver leads to cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis can be very serious and fatal. Once the liver cells die, the damage is irreparable. A scar tissue forms when the cells die. As this scar tissue starts to build up, it becomes difficult for the blood to flow through the liver. One of the main functions of the liver is to filter and clean blood. But due to this scar tissue build-up, this function cannot be performed by the liver in a proper manner. The blood hence remains unfiltered. This gives rise to poisonous blood and waste in the body. Women hold a higher risk of liver cirrhosis than men do. Liver cirrhosis may show no signs or symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage.

Save yourself from alcohol before it gets too late

The way out of these maladies is simple to say, but difficult to implement. The fact that an individual has contracted any of these diseases is sufficient proof that his/her life's quota for alcohol consumption is over. If he continues to ignore the magnanimity of a malfunctioning liver, he'll be hit by a worse condition. Liver cirrhosis is a permanent disability. It affects more than just digestion. Such a liver is no longer able to make new healthy tissues, and instead makes scar tissues, as the liver begins to harden. The scar tissues are nowhere as efficient as normal tissues, and can barely filter blood. This causes cycle degeneration and the individual needs to be really lucky to survive cirrhosis.

However one may justify the need to drink, drinking has no valid reason nor is it a solution to any problem. Alcohol is a depressant hence, it will sink a person deeper into depression, rather than getting him out of it. If an individual has too many problems, alcohol won't take them away, in fact, it will add a few more health problems to the existing ones. The range is from near-fatal to fatal. Effects of alcohol, circle around a person's system for a while, asking him to mend his habits, before exercising their vice-like grip of death. As said before, it's a degeneration cycle that goes from bad to worse. The only way out is moderation. Regulate the consumption of alcohol. If an individual has already contracted one of the above conditions, it is better to stop consuming alcohol altogether.

The liver helps in purifying the blood and throwing the poisonous waste, drugs, and alcohol out of our system. It also helps with blood clot issues, transportation of oxygen, and in the functioning of the immune system. It helps the body store glucose (sugar) in the form of glycogen. It helps in the digestion of food, as it produces bile. It also helps in breaking down fat and cholesterol. The liver stores nutrients and returns them to the bloodstream. If one's liver gets damaged, the body will not be able to function well.


user profile image
10-09-2016 03:08 PM

Will keep these things in my mind at the time of taking alcohol.

user profile image
27-08-2016 06:15 AM

Alcohol should be taken in a limited amount and preventive measures should be taken.

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