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Modest alcohol consumption decreases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a meta-analysis of 43 175 individuals
  1. Silvia Sookoian1,2,3,
  2. Gustavo O Castaño2,3,
  3. Carlos J Pirola4
  1. 1Department of Clinical and Molecular Hepatology, Institute of Medical Research A Lanari-IDIM, University of Buenos Aires—National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. 2Research Council in Health, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  3. 3Liver Unit, Medicine and Surgery Department, Hospital Abel Zubizarreta, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  4. 4Department of Molecular Genetics and Biology of Complex Diseases, Institute of Medical Research A Lanari-IDIM, University of Buenos Aires—National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
  1. Correspondence to Dr Silvia Sookoian, Department of Clinical and Molecular Hepatology, Institute of Medical Research A Lanari-IDIM, University of Buenos Aires—National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires 1427, Argentina; ssookoian{at}lanari.fmed.uba.ar

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Epidemiological studies suggested that the prevalence and the disease severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are lower for people who drink modest amounts of alcohol than those who are abstainers. Nevertheless, the evidence is still inconclusive because some recently published studies1 showed that modest alcohol consumption (MAC) increases hepatic fat without increasing the risk of advanced fibrosis.

Remarkably, we found in our population that MAC has a beneficial effect in preventing not only NAFLD but the main features of the metabolic syndrome, including body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, homeostatic model assessment-insulin resistance and C-reactive protein levels. Accordingly, NAFLD and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) prevalence, liver enzymes and inflammatory markers were lower in subjects who took modest amounts of alcohol than those who are abstainers (table 1).

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Table 1

Clinical and biochemical characteristics of the Argentinean population according to drinking status: non-drinkers versus modest drinkers

Hence, we propose to take advantage of meta-analysis to estimate from published data …

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