(Natural News) Drinking alcohol has become a major part of people’s social lives. People drink when they are happy, sad, stressed, or feeling any other emotion. There is some benefit to moderate drinking, but too much can harm a person’s health. In particular, this can lead to a condition called alcohol-induced fatty disease. A study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine offers a sweet way to protect the liver with licorice.
Alcohol-induced fatty liver disease (ARLD) has three stages.
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the first stage of ARLD. The condition is marked by fat buildup in the liver. The first stage of ARLD is benign and reversible, but it can still develop to more severe forms of liver disease. Some factors that can make the condition worse include oxidative stress.
- Alcoholic hepatitis is the second stage of ARLD. It’s a serious condition caused by long-term drinking or when a person drinks a lot of alcohol in a short period of time. Most people find out that they have ARLD at this stage.
- Cirrhosis is an advanced stage of ARLD. The liver, at this point, is significantly scarred, with some of the damage being irreversible. Both alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis are life-threatening conditions.
It is important to find effective treatments that will protect the liver, given the severity of these conditions.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) is famous for being a sweetener. In traditional medicine, the plant is used to treat a lot of conditions. These include coughs and colds, pain, and inflammation. It’s also used to manage weight, and even treat liver disease. It is also rich in antioxidants and has antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties. Licorice has these benefits, according to the researchers, because of phytochemicals. Some of these phytochemicals include liquiritins, liquiritigenin, glycyrrhizic acids, and flavones. Earlier studies have shown that licorice can treat different types of chemically induced injuries. However, these have limited implications since it isn’t relevant in clinical situations.
In the study, the researchers looked at how licorice can prevent alcoholic fatty liver disease using a clinical model. They used mice treated with a liquid alcohol diet for four weeks. The team looked at the plant’s ability to protect the liver by looking at the effects of the herb on inflammation and oxidative stress. These two, in particular, are associated with chronic alcohol-induced fatty liver injury. The researchers observed increased levels of lipid accumulation in untreated mice. They also had high levels of pro-inflammatory chemicals. In addition, the team found that antioxidant activity had also decreased. The mice treated with licorice, on the other hand, reverse all the adverse effects of alcohol. Based on these, the researchers proposed that the plant’s hepatoprotective effect is due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The results have also proven that licorice is able to protect the liver from injury, thanks to the phytochemicals present in the plant. In particular, glycyrrhizic acid, liquiritin, and liquiritigenin account for these biological activities. By using licorice, people suffering from alcoholic fatty liver disease can halt its progression. (Related: Miracle molecule from licorice root nullifies liver damage from alcohol and Tylenol… stunning scientific research has been systematically suppressed by Big Pharma and the FDA.)
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