Binge drinking is the most common form of drinking in the United States, researchers reported. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 adults binge drinks about four times each month. 

This repeated binge drinking, combined with chronic alcohol use, harms the liver more than what was previously thought. That’s according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

The researchers sought to examine the mechanisms that cause large fatty deposits in the liver through alcohol, and the extent of this damage impairs the organs functionality. They focused on different forms of alcohol abuse and the results these behaviors lead to.

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The team studied mice to understand the extent of livery injury caused by chronic alcohol use, repeat binge episodes, and a combination of both. The group of mice that were exposed to chronic alcohol use and repeated binge episodes demonstrated the highest levels of liver damage over a 4-week period. In general, chronic alcohol use or acute repeat binge episodes alone caused moderate liver damage vs. the control group of mice that were not exposed to alcohol. 

The extent of fatty deposits in the livers of mice exposed to chronic, plus binge alcohol, was approximately 13 times higher than the control group. This large fat accumulation was partly caused by metabolic changes within the liver that not only significantly increased the liver deposits but also raised the level of stress on the organ. 

The study’s authors reiterated the importance of understanding how much damage alcohol abuse can cause. From what we know now, alcohol abuse can result health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

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