I’m in. Anyone else?
“DRY January”, for many a welcome period of abstinence after the excesses of the holiday season, could be more than a rest for body and soul. New Scientist staff have generated the first evidence that giving up alcohol for a month might actually be good for you, at least in the short term. […]
The liver plays a role in over 500 processes vital for functions as diverse as digesting food, detoxification and hormone balance. […]
Our project was on a small scale, but Jalan felt it could yield clues as to the effects of short-term abstinence. On 5 October, 14 members of the New Scientist staff – all of whom consider themselves to be “normal” drinkers – went to the Royal Free Hospital in London. We answered questionnaires about our health and drinking habits, then had ultrasound scans to measure the amount of fat on the liver. Finally, we gave blood samples, used to analyse levels of metabolic chemicals linked with the liver and overall health.
For the next five weeks, 10 of us drank no alcohol while four continued as normal. On 9 November, we returned to the hospital to repeat the tests.
“You’re going to be very excited,” said Jalan, when the results were in. […]
Liver fat fell on average by 15 per cent, and by almost 20 per cent in some individuals. […]
Then came another surprise. The blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 23 per cent on average, from 5.1 to 4.3 millimoles per litre. […]
Total blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, dropped by almost 5 per cent, from 4.6 to 4.4 mmol/l. […]
The benefits weren’t just physical. Ratings of sleep quality on a scale from 1 to 5 rose by just over 10 per cent, improving from 3.9 to 4.3. Ratings of how well we could concentrate soared 18 per cent from 3.8 to 4.5. “It represents a significant effect on quality of life and work performance,” says Jalan, although he acknowledges that self-reported experiences are open to bias.
You can check out the charts here.
I think the next line is perhaps representative of that pithy British humor I like so much.
The only negative was that people reported less social contact.
I’ll be taking overnight BG throughout the month.