After the excesses of the Christmas period, January is traditionally a month of detoxing. But a leading liver charity has warned that giving up alcohol for just a month may actually do more harm than good.
The British Liver Trust says that a short period of complete abstinence from alcohol will not improve liver health. In fact, detoxing can lead people to believe they can drink to excess with no adverse effects.
Dr Mark Wright, consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital, said:
"Detoxing for just a month in January is medically futile."
"It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.”
Instead, drinkers should make a decision to stay off alcohol for a few days every week throughout the whole year.
Experts say that this method keeps down total alcohol intake per person, and the liver is given sufficient time to recover each week. Providing the liver has no lasting damage it can repair in as little as 24 hours.
Recent figures showed that the number of hospital admissions caused by drinking have more than doubled since the year 2002, raising fears about an alcohol epidemic in the UK.
Local Alcohol Profiles for England show that 1,173,386 people in England were admitted to casualty for injuries or illnesses caused by drinking in 2010/11, compared to just 510,780 in 2002/3.
The British Liver Trust is now launching a campaign called ‘Love Your Liver’, which advises cutting down on alcohol, eating well and exercising.
Certain private medical insurance policies will also reward customers for living a healthy lifestyle, so compare health insurance quotes online now.
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