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Your liver and your booze...

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Your liver and your booze...

Postby ronald » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:17 pm

It got me thinking the other day. The huge amounts of chemicals and preservatives that we knowingly, albeit almost indifferently, consume in our food.

Inadvertently alcohol came to mind. so which do you think is better for your dear old liver...

drinking 100ml of whisky in 15 minutes, or slowly, say over 2 hours.

common sense screams to me that it is frightfully obvious that your liver would be better off dealing with smaller amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time.

but is this really true? does anyone have a firm medical perspective on this?
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Postby les taylor » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:52 pm

The Laddie will know. If he is on lates he will leave a definitive answer later.

:)
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Postby Jupiter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:59 pm

Hi Ron

Definitley better to sip it over time! It's like this thing about the amount of units you should have a week. For us ladies I believe it is 14 units a week, however to save them all up and have the lot on a Saturday night is NOT recommended! (however much fun that may be!)
:lol:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:32 pm

Would you rather I put a pound of pressure on your head for ten minutes, or six hundred pounds of pressure on your head for a second? :P
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Postby Di Blasi » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:33 pm

An excellent question and topic for the Norwegians!! (And other "binge-style" drinkers!!!) (Ha ha, sorry to be a bit silly and sarcastic.) But anyway, it seems having 1 or 2 whiskies a night around here is taboo, ("bad boy Di Blasi!!"), but okay to have a bottle or 2 of wine, a case of beer or whatever to oneself on a Friday or Saturday night! Feeling hung over and worse than hell is normal the next day, and most never seem to learn!!!
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Postby vitara7 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:39 am

who cares, you can get a liver transplant, or buy one of the internet if need be.
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Postby TheLaddie » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:04 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Would you rather I put a pound of pressure on your head for ten minutes, or six hundred pounds of pressure on your head for a second? :P


Thought you had got down below 200 Mr T?

I think I'll let this one run for a bit before I ruin it for everyone by getting all serious. It has been pretty entertaining so far. :wink:

Don't worry Ronald. You will get a sensible answer to your question soon.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:13 am

Okay. So I'll stand on his head for three seconds!

A sensible answer? :shock: What fun is that? Nevertheless, I await it eagerly. Does my analogy apply?
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Postby peergynt323 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:19 am

When I do yoga after a night of many many drams, I can feel that my liver is a little swollen. :roll:
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Postby TheLaddie » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:21 am

peergynt323 wrote:When I do yoga after a night of many many drams, I can feel that my liver is a little swollen. :roll:


Better go easy on the yoga... :wink:
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Postby peergynt323 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:38 am

TheLaddie wrote:
peergynt323 wrote:When I do yoga after a night of many many drams, I can feel that my liver is a little swollen. :roll:


Better go easy on the yoga... :wink:


:lol:
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Postby Quaichuser » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:18 am

Who was it that once said:
"I rather be a good liver than have one."

Whisky is not bad for your liver. It's also not bad with steak or salmon. :lol:
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Postby ronald » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:37 am

Quaichuser wrote:Whisky is not bad for your liver. It's also not bad with steak or salmon. :lol:


speaking of which i like sweet spicy scotch/bourbon with some dark chocolate, or panforte, seems to go. never had it with steak though...

we sure have a collection of personalities around here eh? :D
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Postby Ardbeg311 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:59 am

I just pretend that all the whisky I drink doesn't do any harm. After all, it doesn't FEEL like there is a problem. :roll:
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Postby Reggaeblues » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:40 pm

Said it before but it bears repeating....with apologies to Paul |Simon:

"There must be 50 ways to love your liver..."
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Postby TheLaddie » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:32 am

ronald wrote:
Quaichuser wrote:Whisky is not bad for your liver. It's also not bad with steak or salmon. :lol:


speaking of which i like sweet spicy scotch/bourbon with some dark chocolate, or panforte, seems to go. never had it with steak though...


Poured on Haggis. Unbelievably good. :D

ronald wrote:we sure have a collection of personalities around here eh? :D


I don't know what you mean. This forum is the epitome of sensible debate and reasoned opinions. :wink:
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Postby Mustardhead » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:59 am

Liver? I avoid it, too much cholesterol :(
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:30 am

Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est liver.
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Postby Drammer » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:57 am

Di Blasi wrote:An excellent question and topic for the Norwegians!! (And other "binge-style" drinkers!!!) (Ha ha, sorry to be a bit silly and sarcastic.) But anyway, it seems having 1 or 2 whiskies a night around here is taboo, ("bad boy Di Blasi!!"), but okay to have a bottle or 2 of wine, a case of beer or whatever to oneself on a Friday or Saturday night! Feeling hung over and worse than hell is normal the next day, and most never seem to learn!!!


I get exactly the same here!

One of my mates was worried when I had one dram and I was about to get on my bike. What in the world does he expect? Me being drunk and all over the road acting dangerous because of one dram? :shock:

His argument was that whisky contained more alcohol per volume, which it does of course, but one does not drink it by the pint now does one? :roll:
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Postby ronald » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:52 pm

** tapping toes **

still waiting for a vaguely scientific answer here!
8)

meanwhile ive thought up another silly question. ild bet its the first time youve heard it. please remember im no hypochondriac, just another bloke looking for answers....

we all know how alcohol kills bacteria and germs right?
so... does alcohol in the bloodstream kill viruses and bacteria and all other sorts of nasties too.

AND... exactly how much alcohol in the blood stream is required for this to happen?

If it does... hey! another reason to drink daily...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:20 am

If the alcohol in your blooddstream was of a sufficient concentration to kill bacteria, it would kill you, too. Remember, you are drunk at .08%--that's 8 parts per 10,000. As high as .33%--that's one-third of one per cent--can be fatal.
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Postby Thesh » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:32 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Remember, you are drunk at .08%


Legally, maybe, at least where I live.

If it's 100ml of whiskey, I don't think it will really harm your liver either way. Now if it was 100ml every 2 hours or 100ml every 15 minutes, I think it would be a different story.
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Postby Elagabalus » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:45 am

Not everyone is drunk at .08% Some people can even blow under the legal limit and be drunk. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol. It depends on our unique physiology and how much of a tolerance we have built up.

A 100lbs woman on a diet will react far differently than a 210lbs alcoholic male after each has consumed 2 glasses of wine.
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Postby Reggaeblues » Fri Feb 09, 2007 11:57 am

" Everyone reacts differently to alcohol. "

True. not that that will placate a police officer...

nonetheless, if memory serves me well(and it's a long time since I drank to get drunk) SMW is the least hangover - inducing alcoholic drink i have ever drunk...and I drink it more frequently than anything else I've ever drunk because it is the FIRST drink I have consumed for flavour alone. OK, so mild inebriation MIGHT be a pleasant side effect, but I very rarely feel any the worse the next day.

"Do not mix grape with grain" they say, and this would seem to be a good rule to follow. some dieticians even recommend EATING grapes on their own.

As my old French godmother used to say: "The liver depends on the liver."

So...a positive attitude to life comes first, and everything else follows!
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Postby bamber » Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:48 pm

If you drink quickly your peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC), will be higher for a given volume of alcohol.

Evidently, there is a relationship between health risk and BAC. Consider the extreme case of drinking a bottle of cask strength whisky in an hour, rather than a month. The former may kill you, the latter is widely considered to be harmless.

But this does not answer you question.

The question you ask is:

"How does peak BAC impact on liver damage in the moderate drinker ?"

Truthfully, I do not think anyone can give you a definitive answer. Most studies focus on the volume of alcohol drunk and the type of alcohol drunk, rather than the speed with which it is drunk.

Using the Widmark equation your peak BAC and BrAC(breath alcohol) for 100ml of 40% scotch over 15 mins (assuming a 70kg male) is:

BAC is 62.6 mg/100ml
BrAC is 27.5 ug/100ml

Whereas over 2 hours:

BAC 36.4 mg/100ml
BrAC is 16.0 ug/100ml

I think the numbers speak for themselves.
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Postby les taylor » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:33 pm

If we all ask nicely enough the Laddie will give us his serious answer. Then ronald can stop tapping his toes.



:)
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Postby Ize » Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:55 pm

I would expect that what comes to liver it doesn't matter whether you drink you whisky in 15 minutes or in 2 hours. Liver has certain "burning speed" for alcohol and that's it. BUT parts that suffer from alcohol (brain and related organs) will have more to stand up to if the drinking speed is faster. Alcohol percentage in blood rises higher because liver hasn't burnt and kept it lower as it can do with slower tempo.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:23 pm

I don't remember where I saw it, or the exact figures, or what the source was (always worth knowing, for grain-of-salt purposes), but somewhere I read how much alcohol you have to drink to develop cirrhosis, and it was surprising to me--it was a very large number of units every day for many years. (I don't want to give a ballpark figure out of my memory, for fear of propagating misinformation.) If Jim Murray swallowed everything he tasted (and did it every day), he might be a candidate; I doubt the rest of us are even in the ballpark. For you reading this in a post in an online forum, this is, of course, just hearsay; perhaps one of our esteemed colleagues with actual medical experience would comment. I suppose it's a matter of increasing risk with increasing consumption, rather than a sharply-drawn threshold; some will be more susceptible than others. In any case, there are surely other health issues that arise with that much alcohol intake.
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Postby peergynt323 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:18 pm

I read an odd news story that some guy in Australia was driving with a BAC of twice what puts most people in a coma. I wish I could remember. AP takes those stories off after a few months. It was something around .40% and he was still conscious.
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Postby Muskrat Portage » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:02 pm

peergynt323 wrote:I read an odd news story that some guy in Australia was driving with a BAC of twice what puts most people in a coma. I wish I could remember. AP takes those stories off after a few months. It was something around .40% and he was still conscious.

Some of our more adept drinkers will develop a resistance to the effects of alcohol, basically they just remain intoxicated. Regretfully, excessive alcohol abuse can lead to Korsikovs', a disease with impact similar to Alzheimers.
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Re: Your liver and your booze...

Postby TheLaddie » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:16 am

ronald wrote:Inadvertently alcohol came to mind. so which do you think is better for your dear old liver...

drinking 100ml of whisky in 15 minutes, or slowly, say over 2 hours.

common sense screams to me that it is frightfully obvious that your liver would be better off dealing with smaller amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time.

but is this really true? does anyone have a firm medical perspective on this?


Oh, ok then :wink: The following is simplified. I don't claim to understand all the complexities of the liver (which is an absolutely fascinating organ by the way. The heart and brain get all the glory but the liver is the real hero) Essentially Ize's answer above is pretty much there.

Looking at the amounts in your question, we are talking pretty small beer (or whisky) here. You are talking about 3 to 4 units depending on the abv of the whisky and a healthy liver will deal with that amount without much of a problem whether it is drunk over 15 minutes or 2 hours. Your brain, of course, will feel the effects much quicker.

If you look at multiples then it does make a difference. For example multiply your example by 4. A healthy liver will metabolise alcohol at a rate of about one unit an hour (although this is very variable according to factors including lean body weight, sex, health and prior exposure to alcohol). If you drink 16 units in an hour your liver will have cleared one unit in that hour and you will have 15 still in your system, enough to have a major intoxicating effect on all but the most hardened of drinkers, and maybe enough to be dangerous to some. If you drink your 16 units in 8 hours your liver will have removed 8 units leaving 8 in your system. Still significant but much less than if you downed it all very quickly. Again, however, for most of us who have a dram or two of experience under our belts this is not going to worry the liver too much unless you are doing it a couple of times or more a week, most weeks over a period of a few years. If you are a susceptible individual this will put you on the road to cirrhosis.

However, increase the amounts more and you could be putting your liver, and hence your life, in more immediate danger. The liver metabolises alcohol and all other sustances with proteins called enzymes. The liver will manufacture these constantly but at a slow rate, these are stored for use as and when needed. When you go on a real bender it is possible to reach a blood alcohol level where the liver does not have enough stored enzymes to cope and cannot manufacture more quickly enough. At this point your liver, and the rest of your system is poisoned by alcohol. In the liver this causes inflammation and shutdown of the liver cells called acute alcoholic hepatitis. This requires urgent and intesive medical therapy and is not infrequently fatal.

In essence then, the quicker you drink a large amount of alcohol the more likely you are to reach potentially dangerous blood alcohol levels. Drinking smaller amounts more quickly will make you drunk more quickly but your liver is likely to cope.

Of course another important point is if you drink your drams too quickly you are not savouring them and doing them justice. What's the hurry?
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Postby ronald » Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:34 pm

** Hear the silence
of toes tapping
no longer... **
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Postby les taylor » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:07 pm

Hey Laddie that was good worth waiting for. If not a little scary if you overindulge.


:)
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Re: Your liver and your booze...

Postby bamber » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:51 pm

TheLaddie wrote:Looking at the amounts in your question, we are talking pretty small beer (or whisky) here. You are talking about 3 to 4 units depending on the abv of the whisky and a healthy liver will deal with that amount without much of a problem whether it is drunk over 15 minutes or 2 hours. Your brain, of course, will feel the effects much quicker.


So you are saying that downing a quadruple whisky in 15 minutes puts the same strain on the liver as 4 singles over a couple of hours ?

I don't doubt this is true for one night in one year, but how about every night, for 25 years ?

Personally I would be very wary of using ultra simplified models of human physiology to predict the long term effects of alcohol use, on an organ that we barely understand.

Remember if you do get liver cirrhosis, it will most likely kill you fairly quickly and extremely horribly.
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Re: Your liver and your booze...

Postby TheLaddie » Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:43 am

bamber wrote:So you are saying that downing a quadruple whisky in 15 minutes puts the same strain on the liver as 4 singles over a couple of hours ? I don't doubt this is true for one night in one year, but how about every night, for 25 years ?


Pretty much Sion. I thought I had made that clear in the answer. Ronald's question asked that specifically so that is what I answered. 4 units drunk in 15 minutes or two hours will not over stretch a healthy liver if that is where you stop. If you drink 4 units a night every night for 25 years you would be at a risk, albeit a relatively low risk, of cirrhosis. I cannot see a reason why the time in which those 4 units are consumed would make a difference in the long term. I do take your later point that simplifying things does not always lead you to the right answer but the problem is there would be no long term observational data to answer this question. Downing 4 units in 15 minutes every night is a pretty unusual pattern of drinking; one I have never seen, or seen published. Theoretical questions sometimes require theoretical answers.

bamber wrote:Personally I would be very wary of using ultra simplified models of human physiology to predict the long term effects of alcohol use, on an organ that we barely understand.


Thanks for the tip Sion. I'll have to remember that one.

I would have to defend myself in saying that I was not using an ultra simplified model of human physiology to predict the long term effects of alcohol. However I was trying to explain things in English (explaining things in English (or any language other than the bizarre mix of greek, latin and bullshit doctors use to communicate with each other) is a skill that is beaten out of you at medical school and it is a painful process to relearn) My answer was quite long and boring enough without the complexities. We actually have a pretty good understanding of how the liver works but it has a huge range of functions and hence is pretty complex.

bamber wrote:Remember if you do get liver cirrhosis, it will most likely kill you fairly quickly and extremely horribly.


Actually if caught in the early stages cirrhosis is reversible to an extent if you stop drinking. The liver has a remarkable ability to heal if you stop poisoning it in time. It may not return to normal but can function well. If cirrhosis does kill you it is far more likely to kill you slowly and horribly.

However cirrhosis can cause dilatation of the veins at the bottom of the gullet (oesophageal varices.) These can bleed and bleed a lot. When they do mortality is approximately 50% and unless you get pretty quickly to a place where someone like me can use an endoscope to find the bleeding point and apply a band or an injection to stop it death can be swift, and believe me you are certainly right on your last point, pretty fucking horribly.

Check out my signature and enjoy your drams responsibly. When I meet up with any of you guys I would rather it be at a whisky tasting than in my clinic.
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