January detox doesn’t workPosted: January 2, 2012
Giving up alcohol or going on a detox for one month is pointless, especially after the excesses of the festive season, says a liver charity. So stop reading this and grab yourself a new year’s drink, it can’t do any more harm!
The British Liver Trust says drinkers should make a decision to stay off alcohol for a few days every week throughout the whole year rather than a pious and ultimately pointless attempt to stay off the sauce for a month.
Experts agree that a short period of complete abstinence will not improve liver health. A longer-term attitude to alcohol is more desirable, the charity said.
Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “People think they’re virtuous with their health by embarking on a liver detox each January with the belief that they are cleansing their liver of excess following the festive break.
“A one-hit, one-month attempt to achieve long-term liver health is not the way to approach it. You’re better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only.”
The thinking behind this approach is that total alcohol intake per person is kept down and the liver is given time to recover each week. Providing the liver has no lasting damage, it can repair itself very quickly, taking as little as 24 hours to go back to normal.
Dr Mark Wright, consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital, said: “Detoxing for just a month in January is medically futile. It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.
“It makes about as much sense as maxing out your credit cards and overdraft all year, then thinking you can fix it by just eating toast in January. The figures just don’t stack up.”