Alcohol is harmful to health… even if you stick to Government guidelines


Alcohol is harmful to health… even if you stick to Government guidelines: New research shows there is no ‘safe’ level for drinking that does not have toxic effect on your organs

  • There is no ‘safe’ threshold below which alcohol does not have toxic effects  
  • Increased alcohol intake was linked to less grey matter in the brain  
  • Brain shrinkage is linked to Alzheimer’s while liver fat can lead to liver disease

Drinking within the Government guidelines still causes potentially harmful changes to the body’s organs, a study suggests.

There is no ‘safe’ threshold below which alcohol does not have toxic effects, researchers conclude.

Increased alcohol intake was linked to less grey matter in the brain, more fat in the liver and a larger mass in the left ventricle of the heart, said a study led by Imperial College London.

The brain shrinkage has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, while liver fat can lead to liver disease. Researchers analysed MRI scans of more than 10,000 individuals in late middle age who drank varying amounts.

There is no ‘safe’ threshold below which alcohol does not have toxic effects, researchers conclude

Increased alcohol intake was linked to less grey matter in the brain, more fat in the liver and a larger mass in the left ventricle of the heart, said a study led by Imperial College London

Increased alcohol intake was linked to less grey matter in the brain, more fat in the liver and a larger mass in the left ventricle of the heart, said a study led by Imperial College London

It suggests those who try to drink responsibly, below 14 units a week – the equivalent of six medium glasses of wine – still damage their bodies.

Professor Paul Elliott, from the UK Dementia Research Institute at Imperial, said: ‘We recommend current health guidelines are reconsidered.’

Professor Paul Matthews, co-author of the study published in the journal eLife, said: ‘This study graphically highlights harmful effects of alcohol even when consumed in moderation.’

But Professor John Holmes, from an alcohol research group at the University of Sheffield, said the study ‘does not provide any compelling reason to change current guidelines.’

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