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What happens to the body if you give up alcohol for a month: some changes may surprise you

Maria ShevchukNews
For moderate drinkers, a month-long break will not affect their bodies

Abstaining from drinking alcohol for even 30 days can bring a lot of benefits to your physical and mental health. Such a restriction will have a positive effect on vital organs such as the liver and heart, and may also help with some weight loss.

This was reported by the specialized medical publication Healthline. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate consumption is considered to be two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less for women.

Amitava Dasgupta, director of the clinical laboratory at the University of Kansas Medical Center, said that for moderate drinkers, a month's break will not affect their bodies.

However, according to him, for people who exceed the recommendations, giving up alcohol for a month can lead to significant changes.

"Studies show that even if you drink too much alcohol once a month, it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke," Dasgupta said.

So, what happens if you stop drinking for 30 days:

1. Elimination of liver damage

Liver cirrhosis (liver disease) can occur over time in those who abuse alcohol.

"It doesn't happen in a day, but those who drink too much, which again is more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women, have fatty changes in the liver, so when you stop drinking, these changes are reversible and the liver can become normal again," Dasgupta said.

Because the liver is a "tolerant organ," positive changes can occur within weeks of abuse.

In addition, in the absence of alcohol, the liver "can focus" on its other tasks, such as breaking down other toxins produced by the body, metabolizing fats and excess hormones that need to be broken down.

2. Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease

Alcohol is metabolized by the liver and the enzyme dehydrogenase. However, when you drink too much, the enzyme is saturated and metabolized by another enzyme.

"When it's metabolized by this other pathway, it makes a lot of free radicals that are known to oxidize bad cholesterol (LDL), and when LDL is oxidized, it gets deposited on the carotid arteries, forming blockages," Dasgupta said.

On the other hand, if you drink in moderation, alcohol does not affect LDL, but instead increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

However, a new study from 2023 shows that no amount of alcohol protects against all-cause mortality.

That is, it is impossible to protect the heart with a small amount of alcohol without increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

For anyone concerned about heart health, Dasgupta recommended reducing alcohol consumption and increasing physical activity, which also increases good cholesterol levels.

3. Reducing the risk of cancer

The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its "Report on Carcinogens" calls alcohol a known human carcinogen.

The report states that the risk of developing alcohol-related cancers increases as a person increases the dose over time.

According to 2013 data published in the American Journal of Public Health, about 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol-related.

4. Weight loss

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause weight gain, which means that quitting alcohol can lead to weight loss for some people.

Although alcohol is high in calories, and wine, beer, and cocktails have added sugar, simply giving it up won't always help you lose weight.

"If heavier drinkers cut down on alcohol for a longer period of time, they may see weight loss, improved body composition, reduced abdominal fat, and improved triglyceride levels (one of the fatty particles in the blood)," said Professor Rekha B. Kumar, director of the American Council on Obesity Medicine.

5. Improving brain function

It is noted that it is best to avoid drinking alcohol for people under the age of 21.

"Alcohol consumption by teenagers and students is a huge problem. It can cause memory loss and interfere with brain development," Dasgupta said.

6. Improving nighttime sleep

Although many people think that drinking alcohol before bed will help them relax and fall asleep, the opposite is true.

Research shows that drinking large amounts of alcohol before bed leads to poorer falling asleep and poorer sleep quality at the end of the night.

In those who abuse alcohol and are addicted, these conditions are associated with chronic sleep disturbance, slower sleep, and faster eye movement.

Other benefits of quitting alcohol

In addition to health benefits, stopping drinking alcohol for a while automatically saves you money.

As OBOZ.UA reported earlier, the world is facing a global beer shortage, according to the producers of this drink. The reason may be climate change - the more average temperatures rise, the more barley yields and hop quality fall. This trend could become critical over the next 30 years.

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