Dry January is a pledge that many people make after the holiday season so that they can give their body and soul a bit of a rest after overindulging in alcohol. There are actually many people that choose to abstain from alcohol off and on for personal reasons, but up until now there has not actually been any science to back up the premise of abstinence. However, a new study from the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School and the New Scientist might just prove that taking a month off from drinking in January is a good idea.
The liver is responsible for more than 500 processes in the body that are all vital for survival. In 2009 of the 11,500 people that died from liver disease about a third of these died because of regular alcohol consumption. In fact, alcoholics have contributed to a lot of what is known about liver disease, but not many studies have been done to look at liver function in people that are healthy.
As part of the study 14 members of the New Scientist Staff went to London’s Royal Free Hospital and answered questions about their drinking habits and health. They then had ultrasound scans to measure how much fat was present in the liver and gave blood to look at the metabolic chemicals that are present in the liver. Over the following five weeks ten of the staff members did not drink any alcohol while four continued to drink a normal amount occasionally.
When the team went back to the hospital to have the tests conducted again it was found that there was no change among the four that continued their drinking habits but those that quit for a month saw their liver fat fall by about 10% and their blood glucose levels dropped by a full millimeter.