Your liver takes the brunt of excessive drinking. Fatty liver disease can develop in a relatively short time of regular heavy drinking. Cirrhosis can develop in as little as 10 years of heavy drinking. At that point, you may not be able to heal from the damage, but up to that point, liver damage from drinking is mostly reversible. The liver is a regenerative organ and if you treat it well, it will recover. Here are some ways to help your liver after heavy drinking.
This is obvious, but it can’t be emphasized enough. Your liver can’t heal if you keep damaging it. Even if you’re only moderately damaging it, you are not helping. If you have been diagnosed with fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, or cirrhosis, the top priority is to stop drinking completely right now.
Obesity is the second leading cause of liver damage after drinking. If you quit drinking but are still overweight, your liver is still under stress. The good news is that quitting alcohol makes losing weight much easier. You are essentially cutting out hundreds of calories every day just by not drinking. Assuming you don’t replace those calories with something else, weight loss should be relatively easy.
By adopting a healthy diet, you help your liver in two ways. First, you will lose weight, assuming you are overweight, which lowers your risk of liver disease. Second, you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to heal. Heavy drinking often causes malnutrition because vitamins are poorly absorbed. A healthy diet will correct some of those deficiencies and help you recover faster. Plenty of antioxidants like berries, green tea, and green leafy vegetables are ideal. And be sure to stay hydrated.
Watch your exposure to toxins.
Your liver is where toxins are filtered in the body, so the more you are exposed to, the harder it has to work. Start with obvious things like not smoking or using other drugs. Beware of environmental toxins like exhaust, paint fumes, mold, and heavy metals.
Exercise improves your immune system and helps control your weight, both of which will help your liver.
Listen to medical advice.
Your doctor will know best how to handle your particular situation. It may be you only need to follow the above recommendations, but a bad case might require extra treatment. Be sure to follow up to see whether what you’re doing is working.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Awakenings Recovery Program can help.