Dry January

Wow, check out this podcast from the BBC’s Inside Health program on the fantastic changes in physical wellbeing experienced by a group of volunteers who took up the challenge to stay off alcohol for the month of January.inside Health download

In a nutshell, the volunteers demonstrated a 40% loss of their liver fat, a loss of 3kg in total body weight, reduced cholesterol levels, and lower blood glucose levels (indicating a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity).

Importantly, these volunteers were not binge drinkers who had suddenly seen the error of their ways – they were “normal” folks with moderate to small alcohol intakes, and yet they still experienced benefits that the researchers have described in this article as “staggering”.

This study has important implications, not the least being that because alcohol increases gut permeability it can enable gut pathogens and toxins to be released into the body, stimulating a chronic inflammatory reaction that can damage the liver, our blood vessels, and other tissues, and contribute to a variety of illnesses including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and liver disease.

Further studies are under way, but the take home message is that cutting back on alcohol  produces significant improvements in health biomarkers in a relatively short time. Food – or should that be drink – for thought!

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