Aerobic Fitness May Protect Your Liver
Chronic alcohol abuse, including binge drinking can cause major damage to the liver. There are three types of alcohol-related injuries: cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. The Centers for Disease Control states that there is roughly 88,000 individuals who die as a direct result of chronic alcohol abuse every year in the United States. Aerobic exercise may reduce this number in the future.
The University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted a study with results showing that aerobic fitness may protect your liver from alcohol-related damage. Jamal Ibdah, MD and his research team gathered a group of rats that were bred for activity, known as “runner rats”. These rats were exposed to chronic alcohol for 6 weeks versus the control group who were not given any alcohol. In habitual alcoholics, their livers are extremely inflamed with fatty deposits. The research team found some fatty deposits in the runner rats, but not as much as they had anticipated. This led the team to suggest that aerobic activity may protect the liver from heavy alcohol abuse.
Ibdah has concluded that these results could lead to treatments for alcohol-related liver damage, but further studies will need to be conducted.