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Practical info for the smarter drinker

Liver Regeneration & Damage from Drinking Alcohol

Long Live the Liver

A human liver is pretty amazing for a lot of reasons, but it has one trick that borders on the miraculous: it is the only human organ capable of regenerating damaged tissue.

It’s actually a little more impressive than that. A liver can fully regenerate up to 75% of damaged tissue. And, it can do so in fairly quick order. Size can double in as little as three to four weeks through a process that is very similar to the embryonic stage of liver development.

Scientists are fond of saying this is simple process, but even though they can explain it and identify what triggers it, they’re still unclear on exactly how it happens at the cellular level.

What is important, though, is that it does happen, especially considering the effects of alcohol on the liver after prolonged exposure.

The link between alcohol and liver disease was identified more than 200 years ago. Now, it is further known that alcohol contributes to the development of hepatitis and cirrhosis. These diseases are well-known for damaging the liver beyond repair if steps are not taken to alleviate the damaging effects of alcohol.

The easiest way to achieve this is to strictly monitor alcohol consumption. Large quantities of alcohol have a toxic effect on the liver, and contributing factors such as genetics, gender, weight and general health play a role in the ability of a liver to put up a good fight.

Your liver is amazing, but to keep it amazing – that is, capable of regenerating healthy tissue – it is critical to practice responsible alcohol consumption. That is why we recommend taking a “drinking break” in our healthy drinking tips article.

If you’re looking for products that may help with liver function, have a look here.

Alcohol Liver Damage & Liver Repair

Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).


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  2. Reply Chico Sep 4, 2019 12:42 pm


  3. Reply Jamie Sep 3, 2018 4:23 pm

    Because we all want paranoid schizo affective disorder

  4. Reply Ray Aug 31, 2018 1:23 pm

    Mike, that is quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say in my life. It’s not an accomplishment to drink a lot. It’s very easy and absolutely nothing to be proud of. Nobody wants to be an alcoholic so nobody is making any excuses to be one. It is a horrible addiction and it is not by choice. Believe me.

  5. Reply Karrie Jan 18, 2018 10:52 am

    I have drank about 1125 ml of wine every night for the last 6 months. Prior to that it was 1125 ML of wine 2-3 nights a week. In 2013, I had a Liver function test, and everything was normal. In 2014, I didn’t drink because I was pregnant with my 4th child. However, after she was born in 2014, there were 2-3 nights a week I was drinking 1125 ML of wine. I felt I was drinking too much and stopped cold turkey for 6 months. In 2015 and 2016, I drank occassionally. In 2017, I went through a bad break up and started drinking 4-5 nights per week, then I got back together with the break up but continued drinking every night for the last 6 months, about 4-5 glasses of wine a night. About 2 weeks ago, my hands felt like they were stiff and full of blood. I stopped getting hangovers about 4 months ago. Then, 2 weeks ago, these unexplained bruises appeared on the back of my thighs, and it hurt to sit down. They went away in 3 days. I’ve stopped drinking cold turkey now for 10 days, and on about the 6th day my right side where the liver is started to have slight discomfort, and it only lasted a few seconds and then went away. I thought it had more to do with doing situps because I exercise 3-4 times a week, and do a lot of situps. My left ribcage was also tender. Regardless, I have set up an appointment today with my doctor to have a liver function test and I am so scared about what the outcome is going to be. I had wanted to stop cold turkey and just be sober for 6 months, wait for the liver to regenerate, and THEN check my labs for liver functioning, but friends are wanting to go out, and I want to know once and for all if I am going to be able to get another drink again. I know that sounds so sad. However, I’ve been through a lot of sh*t in my life, life is not easy, and when I have drank, everything seems to be OK in the world because I can forget about everything that has happened to me. When I’m sober, I have to kind of face everything that happened, which is a difficult thing to do. I’ll let you know how the labs turn out….. thanks for this post. It is hopeful that my liver might be able to become repaired.

  6. Reply Wane King Nov 25, 2017 12:12 pm

    My dad said alcohol is a slow poison that will kill you …I said dont worry pops I may be suicidal but I’m in no hurry !

  7. Reply Wayne Kerr Nov 25, 2017 12:05 pm

    I drank a bottle of whiskey a day for five years then went on dialysis as my liver packed up totally now I can drink my whiskey and enjoy thanks to this modern miracle of medical science though the machine cramps my style at the discoteche

  8. Reply warren Nov 6, 2017 4:50 pm

    im on the same boat man

  9. Reply Bobby Oct 4, 2017 8:22 am

    Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug.

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  11. Reply Paul Walters Sep 16, 2017 8:44 pm

    Hey man find a cool hobby fishing,skydiving,building stuff out of recycled materials,biking,hiking there is so much fun stuff to do. I suggest look up random stuff on youtube about whatever aquaphonics is pretty cool so agriculture stuff. Live on and let the bottle dance alone your better off God Bless you

  12. Reply Mike May 8, 2017 6:38 am

    Why drink so much alcohol? Oh yeah, heavy drinkers think it’s an accomplishment to drink so much, something to be proud of. It’s just an excuse for being an alcoholic.

  13. Reply Gary Apr 18, 2017 10:57 pm

    Drank a half gallon of rum per week for about 15 years. One day, mixed a drink, it tasted horrible. Tried a beer, couldn’t stand the taste. It’s going on seven years without drinking.
    I feel great. One thing changed about six months before I found alcohol repulsive. I accepted Jesus Christ into my life….. the end …. and a new beginning.

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  17. Reply Alcoholic Oct 23, 2016 11:27 pm

    fukn alcohol. everytime is my last time. if i could drink just one; my body says yes, my brain says not again. successive approximations, expect failure, keep practicing.

  18. Reply Johan Oct 20, 2016 7:19 pm

    I drank 3 liters of wine at 12%-14.5% and a bottle of whisky or rum at 40% every weekend for a few years.
    Than a couple of months ago sometimes not always my feet would swelled up. At first I thought it was something wrong with the wine. It wasn’t.
    Two weeks ago the backside of my legs swelled up and was tender when I poked. A little problem walking. Can’t really describe it, like having my pants filled with heavy bags of sand. Had trouble straightening out my legs too. The legs resisted.

    My liver swelled up so much that it felt like having a mild asthma attack. I could see one side were protruding a bit and nearly rolled over the rib-cage like a fat belly rolling over pants. I couldn’t bend down to put on my shoes. Felt fat. If I tried to force it, oh, lets just say I only tried it once.
    Poking the liver were painful. Bumped into it when I were putting on a t-shit, the pain made me bend over.

    According to what I’ve read it were/is liver inflammation, stage 2 upper limit, nearly stage 3, cirrhosis.

    Went with my gut and took a long physical walk to exercise the legs. When I came home and checked the swelling had gone down to pretty much normal, were little tender at some places.

    Then I went to bed. I told myself if the legs had swelled up again or liver hadn’t shrinked a bit in the morning I would go to a doctor.
    And what do you know, the liver did shrink to nearly normal size. Could still feel it though when I poked around and it were less painful, I’d say tender.

    Money saved. Gotten so used to drink in weekends I don’t know what to do with myself now. I’m going back and forth. Should a risk it and drink?…

    Do you or anyone else have any suggestions?
    If you don’t mind:
    How did you solve the sugar/candy craving? Not looking forward to that.
    Did you just quit cold turkey?
    I’m curious, how strong were the alcohol you drank?

    Really thinking on buying some beer at around 3.5% and some that’s alcohol free.
    I know it’s stupid (actually it can be lethal in this state) drinking any alcohol but if you’ve read my story it’s crystal clear that I’m it already. Knew what would happen when I started and said fork it. Thought I’d have at least a few more years before the liver would start to protest. I mean I drank mostly wine but I did drink 6 liters a few time then the last time 3 liters + bottle of rum. Oh well

    If any with a medical degree, nurse, doctor, etc have anything to say, don’t hesitate.

    Sigh… it’s Friday morning now. Wish cannabis were legal here.
    Oh, I used alcohol to relieve the “pressure”, stress, in my head. It builds up over the week and cured on weekend. Doctors couldn’t help. They blamed me because the medicines they gave me didn’t work. Lost all faith in then. Which is how I started to drink.

    Apologize for the long comment. Got to keep my hands busy.

  19. Reply Coltin Oct 14, 2016 8:09 pm

    That’s way more clever than I was exintcpeg. Thanks!

  20. Reply Joe Oct 9, 2016 5:34 pm

    Drank more alcohol that humanly possible 1.75 liters or more per day every day for three years until my liver shut down , I had 9 liters of stuff pumped out of my body , I was diagnosed with cirossis . I had shots for hepatitis . And I have not had a drink for 1.4 years . Will I ever be able to drink again ?

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  22. Reply Mike Mar 22, 2016 2:59 pm

    Hard to say, Pamela. Always best to check with medical experts/doctors specializing in the liver when it comes to something as critical as the liver!

  23. Reply Myo Oct 27, 2015 7:14 am

    Fascinating. I knew about the regeneration but not to this capacity. I’m having a bit of tenderness on the right right now, though binge drink way way too much on Sundays. I’m thinking a couple of weeks off will do it some good. 🙂 Time for it to take a rest.

  24. Reply Pamela Massie Jul 30, 2014 12:40 pm

    I have Cirroshis of the liver. I just had a procedure done, I had stints implanted which should give me a better quality of life.
    I find your article very interesting, Is it possible that I could have a procedure done as discussed here??

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