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What quantity of alcohol usage should be seen as being a risk to the liver?

Last modified: 3rd July 2021
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Any amount of alcohol can produce damage to the liver. In an otherwise healthy person with no underlying liver problems, the general rule of thumb is different for men and women:

  • Men metabolize and are able to clear alcohol more efficiently than women due to body size, body fat, and certain enzymes, so they should limit to three to four drinks in a day.
  • Women, because of the same reasons, should limit to one to two drinks in a day.

Beer and wine are not “safer” than whiskey or spirits. One drink is defined as one shot (1 and 1/4 ounces) of whiskey or spirits, one four-ounce glass of wine, or one 12-ounce beer. If an individual has an underlying liver condition such as hepatitis B or C, or prior damage from alcohol or other diseases, the liver is very sensitive to any amount of alcohol. In those conditions, the only safe dose of alcohol is zero.

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