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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: How much alcohol is too much alcohol?

 Strayphoenix - Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:31 pm

Hello. I'm 18 years old and I'm male. My parents have always been squeamish on discussing the topic of alcohol with me, and as I'm going into college this year I'm hoping someone on this forum will help advise me.

In all honesty, I've been drinking for about a year, and I try to drink smart. I've only drunken enough to be sick once, and its not something I intend to repeat. My drinking habits usually include drinking 4 or so drinks in a night with my friends, once or twice a weekend for about 2 or 3 weeks, and then not drinking for about a month or a month and a half. I spread out my drinking like this to give my body time to recover. I try and drink lots of water and I take vitamins because I've heard alcohol can drain your body of vitamins.

I'm wondering how much damage drinking like this can do to your liver. Is this within a safe range of drinking? Would I be doing a lot of damage to my body if I had maybe 4 or 5 drinks in a weekend every week or every other week without the long breaks between? Unfortunately I don't know much about alcohol and the body other than that it can cause a lot of problems if you do it too much. I've just never been lucky enough to be told what "too much" actually means.

Thank you very, <i>very</i> much.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:32 am

User avatar Hi Strayphoenix,

Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer because there is not one answer for all people. In some people, just a little alcohol can cause problems. In others, drinking "responsibly" causes no problems.

I cannot tell you that drinking every weekend or every other weekend is safe for you.

As a medical professional, I must advise you to be sure you are of legal age to drink and to make sure you are taking the necessary precautions (don't drink and drive, etc.).

I'm sorry I can't give you anymore specifics except to say that for most people, the occasional drink of alcohol is safe. I cannot, however, assure you that you will be one of these "most people".

Best wishes.
 Tauseef - Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:01 am

I am a 20 years old male. I had contacted Hepatitis E 3 months ago and recovered fully. I abstained from drinking since I contacted Hepatitis. I want to know if I resume drinking will it be harmful and when will I be ready to resume drinking?
I am also a smoker and my parents complain that it is also harmful for liver.
Is their claim true?

Waiting for your valuable advice.

Thank you
 D. Guido, PAC - Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:53 pm

The nature and intensity of alcohol-related problems vary according to consumption: in men, drinking more than ~3 drinks a day on average increases the risks of adverse effects (ie fatty liver). The higher the level of consumption, the greater the risk of negative side effects, including cirrhosis.

Hazardous drinking is defined per VA data is Men who drink more than 2 drinks per day on average and more than five drinks per occasion.

Women: More than one drink per day and more than four drinks per occasion.

Men and women over age 65: More than one drink per day.

A standard drink (each drink is approx 13 grams of alcohol) is defined as:

12 ounces of beer
5 ounces of wine
1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

 koolbossjock - Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:24 pm

I am a so called health nut and have been my whole life/Exercise/Organic non fat foods/Vitamins/Never smoked nor do i hang out with people that do or go to places that allow it.After all of that i do have a few drinks in the evening after 6pm every nite,after my last drink i eat.Because of all the other good things i do and the fact that i eat right after drinking does that have less impact on my liver?Thanks in advance

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