5 Tips To Reduce Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage

Keeping your liver healthy is vitally important because it’s responsible for so many critical processes in the body. Alcohol is toxic to the liver. Unfortunately, you may not be aware that your liver function has declined until substantial damage has already occurred. Here are 5 tips to reduce alcohol induced liver damage.

5 Tips To Reduce Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage - Two Wine Glasses

Overtime, alcohol can cause irreparable liver damage. It’s also a carcinogen and its consumption increases the likelihood of developing fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and cirrhosis.  Of course, abstinence is the best solution, barring that there are ways to lessen alcohol’s damaging effects.

How To Reduce Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage

1. Natural Herbal Remedies

One of the best herbs, and also the most extensively studied, is milk thistle. The active ingredient is silymarin, which is anti-inflammatory, and can actually reverse damage to liver cells.

This remarkable herb increases levels of the master antioxidant, glutathione, the body’s most powerful detoxifier. It’s also beneficial for the kidneys and gall bladder. Keep in mind, taking this herb is more of a short-term solution, and won’t allow you to drink excessively.

2. Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation

B vitamins are critical for energy production and help the body deal with stress. They’re also necessary for detoxification, taking liberal doses before a night on the town can lessen the effects of a hangover. Because alcohol creates widespread nutritional deficiencies and is inflammatory, concentrating on eating nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods can mitigate damage as can minimizing high-glycemic foods for two or three days after drinking to balance blood sugar levels.

Mineral supplementation, especially magnesium, will help metabolize acetaldehyde produced from alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a neurotoxin and is damaging to the brain. Alcohol depletes glutamine which can negatively impact brain function. A glutamine rebound can occur after you stop drinking, making your brain feel wired, but your body sluggish and tired, resulting in a hangover. Taking a glutamine supplement will dampen this rebound effect.

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3. The Type of Alcohol Matters

Hard liquor is better than beer or wine from a blood sugar standpoint. Beer and wine contain more carbohydrates and sugar than does hard liquor. Distilled vodka is the best choice, and is a cleaner alcohol because the distillation process creates less acetaldehyde, a harmful metabolite in alcohol.

The more alcohol is distilled, the better. Distillation also lowers congeners, byproducts of fermentation, which are harmful to the liver. They also intensify hangovers. Colorless drinks contain fewer congeners, so opting for vodka or a gin and tonic, will make it easier for the liver to process the alcohol. The tonic water will further dilute the gin.

White wine is preferable to red wine because it contains fewer histamines, which are implicated in headaches. Dry champagne is better than the sweet version. Alcohol shuts down fat burning for two or three days after consumption so take it easy on high-carb foods, and be consistent with exercise, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight.

Drinking something easy to digest, like a low-glycemic meal replacement powder, before drinking will slow absorption rate and decrease the stomach irritation often triggered by alcohol. Your liver’s main priority will then be on metabolizing the alcohol instead of a heavy meal.

4. Green Vegetables and Hydration

Green drinks promote detoxification and may lessen the severity of a hangover. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are anti-inflammatory, regulate blood sugar, and aid in liver repair. The minerals in green vegetables rebuild electrolytes and balance pH levels.

They’re also helpful for alleviating hangover headaches. The most helpful are the bitter vegetables like kale, arugula, watercress, dandelion greens, and bitter melon. Greens help digestion and are essential for detoxification and repair, not only for the liver but the kidneys as well. Juicing is a great way to consume leafy greens.

Stay hydrated. Water is vital for liver detoxification. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration so focus on replenishing what has been lost. Drink a few sips of water for every sip of alcohol you drink to dampen the hangover effect. It may even decrease the amount of alcohol you drink.

5. Avoid Acetaminophen

Since acetaminophen is processed by the liver, staying clear of it for a couple days after drinking alcohol will lessen toxin overload. Alcohol increases the toxicity of Tylenol so never combine the two. Also avoid caffeine – it does not mix well with alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant and may give you an inaccurate sense of not being as intoxicated as you really are, resulting in prolonged drinking.

Keeping your alcohol consumption to shorter periods of time will decrease damage to your liver. Drinking every Friday night, and then waiting a week, is far less damaging than drinking for three days in a row. If you’re going to continue consuming alcohol, at least put strategies in place to lessen the trauma on your liver.

Bind it

This is a bonus tip. Binders, like activated charcoal, can adsorb (different than absorb) toxins and chemicals contained within alcohol, making them easier to eliminate. There are also claims that charcoal can lessen the effects of a hangover. Other binders include bentonite clay and takesumi supreme.

These are helpful to have on hand in cases of food poisoning. Keeping your bowels moving is important when drinking. Psyllium husk powder has a lot of fiber and is a great bulking agent to help facilitate this process, expediting toxin elimination. Your hangovers will be less intense if you detoxify your liver periodically.

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Key Points

Alcohol is a toxin. Listen to your body, be aware of how it affects you, and know what your upper limit is. The liver truly is a magical organ, and has the ability to repair and even regenerate itself. By implementing the tips above, it’s possible to mitigate alcohol’s damaging effects on the liver – if you drink sensibly.

Did you know you can reduce the toxic effects of alcohol?  Let me know in the comments:)


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Disclaimer: “I am not a medical doctor, and therefore, cannot diagnose or treat any medical condition, nor do I claim in any way to cure disease. Please be diligent and always do your own research in regard to any material I present on this site. I claim no responsibility for any distress, whether it be physical or emotional, that may occur as a result of the information you obtain from my blog.”

8 thoughts on “5 Tips To Reduce Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage”

  1. I never realized that Milk Thistle was so good for the gall bladder and the kidneys. I used to take this natural herb, but for other reasons.

    I enjoy the occasional glass of white wine when I go out and I was surprised to read that this was worse for you than hard liquor. Who would have imagined that distilled vodka was better for you than wine? I was also under the misconception that red wine was better for you than white, but I have never acquired a taste for the red so that’s maybe a good thing.

    • Hi Michel,

      Yes, milk thistle is also beneficial for the gall bladder and kidneys, as well as the liver. Distilled vodka doesn’t have as many congeners so is less damaging to the liver, which may be surprising to some people. 

      White wine contains fewer histamines and won’t imbalance blood sugar levels like red wine will, it also less likely to cause headaches. White wine is a better choice.  

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. Wow what a great topic! Honestly I haven’t heard a lot about milk thistle so I appreciate you referencing it as a natural herbal remedy. I’m always looking for organic ways to stay healthy, and unfortunately from time to time includes organic wine. 

    The Zazzee milk thistle product looks pretty reasonably priced and well-rated, right up my ally and I bookmarked your link. Distillation is a great recommendation to consider. Many people might think that beer is better than hard alcohol, but not so. 

    Thank you for the reminder that Tylenol and alcohol don’t mix. This is a very uplifting and helpful post and I thank you for writing it!

    • Thanks so much for reading. Milk thistle is a great product and is reasonable priced. Thank goodness for herbal remedies that nourish the liver. Enjoy your organic wine occasionally. It’s the chronic drinking that’s dangerous and damages the liver. 

      Yes, Tylenol is toxic to the liver, when mixed with alcohol is doubly harmful. I wish more people recognized the dangers of over the counter medications present. I appreciate your comment!

  3. I think this is a great subject and you have made quite an informative post here. 

    The fact that the liver can regenerate itself is a great opportunity for us to keep it in tip top shape. For me, eating vegetables and drinking a lot of water is one of the best strategies. Our livers will definitely work better if we stop bombarding them with alcohol and other toxic substances. We get out of it what we put in. 


    • Liver function and substances that harm and help it is a great topic. Thanks for taking the time to read my article. The minerals and fiber in vegetables are nourishing to the liver so should be staples in anyone’s diet, and specifically in the diets of those with impaired liver function. 

      Alcohol in moderation is fine, but I think it’s essential for those who consume it to put in place detoxification strategies to mitigate damage. 

  4. You mention Milk Thistle but say nothing about dosage or frequency… Same thing goes for B vitamins. Your link points to Amazon items, but you don’t explain anything. Please do more research.

    • Hi Steve,
      It’s difficult for me to make recommendations when I don’t know you personally, the state of your health, or the specific condition you’re taking the supplements for. To be safe, please follow the recommendations on the bottle of each supplement you opt to take. This applies to taking both milk thistle and B vitamins.

      People with certain genetic mutations, for example the CBS gene mutation, which I happen to have, need to be careful with supplementing with too many B vitamins. I need them but have to be careful in how I dose them. This is why I can’t make rote recommendations. Everyone is different.

      It’s up to the person taking the supplement to do their own research based on their health. I can make recommendations, but in the end, how much you take is based on your individuality. Thank you for reading!


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