Aerobic Exercise May Protect Liver From Alcohol-related Damage- Study

aerobicAre you a heavy drinker? If yes, you are susceptible to liver damage. But do not despair, researchers have found a cheaper yet effective intervention that they claim could help protect you against alcohol-related liver damage.

If the new research by by the University of Missouri-Columbia, is to be believed, Aerobic exercise could help protect against liver damage induced by excessive alcohol intake.

Needless to say that consuming large quantities of alcohol every day can lead to several chronic conditions, including fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the lever and even liver failure, over time.

But there’s hope! New evidence show that aerobic exercise may protect the liver.

“Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the most common causes of chronic liver failure,” says lead author of the study Jamal Ibdah, who is professor of medicine and chair in cancer research at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

“We know from previous research that chronic and binge drinking causes modifications to protein structures within the liver, resulting in irreversible damage. In our current study we wanted to see whether increased levels of aerobic fitness could prevent alcohol-related liver damage.”

To reach their findings, Ibdah and colleagues carried out a trial on mice who had been bred specifically for high activity. In order to determine whether increased metabolism could protect the liver against fatty deposits and inflammation, researchers exposed a group of “runner rats” to chronic alcohol use for six weeks and then compared them to a second group of animals not exposed to alcohol.

As expected, the research team found that runner rats in the chronic alcohol group had an abundant amount of fatty deposits in their livers.

However the chronic alcohol consumption had not caused a notable level of inflammation of the liver in the animals, leading the research team to believe that the high level of physical activity in this group had helped the rats fend off the metabolic dysfunction that gradually leads to irreversible damage to the lever.

The researchers also found that chronic alcohol ingestion did not increase free fatty acids, triglycerides, insulin or glucose levels in the blood of the runner rats exposed to alcohol as compared to the non-exposed control group.

“This is significant because chronic alcohol ingestion may reduce insulin effectiveness over time, leading to elevated blood insulin and sugar levels,” says Ibdah. “With chronic use, we would expect to see these levels much higher than the control group, yet surprisingly, they were about the same.”

Meanwhile, the researchers have believed that understanding the mechanism behind how increased aerobic fitness provides oxidative protection against chronic alcohol could help medical experts develop new treatments for chronic alcohol-induced liver damage. However, they acknowledge, more research is needed to understand this mechanism.

The research findings appear in the journal Biomolecules.