A new study from New York Presbyterian Hospital has some eyebrow-raising findings. We already know that drinking coffee is good for the liver, but you would expect to find less evidence of a positive relationship with alcohol. Yes, there have been plenty of studies that show a glass of wine can be good for you, but never one that highlighted an actual positive link.
This study goes even further and finds that moderate drinking can actually lead to a reduced mortality risk in patients with NAFLD. Wut???
The study details the findings and they are significant.
After excluding participants with significant alcohol use, viral hepatitis, or increased transferrin saturation, 4,568 participants with NAFLD were included in the analysis. In a Cox model adjusted for age, sex, and smoking history, drinking 0.5‐1.5 drinks per day decreased the risk of overall mortality by 41% (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.40‐0.85, P = 0.005) compared with not drinking.
The study tried to account for as many variables as possible that could have impacted the results, and they still found a significant positive impact.
After further adjustment for race, physical activity, education level, diabetes, and fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, drinking 0.5‐1.5 drinks per day continued to show a significant protective effect
This doesn’t mean that everyone should start pounding drinks, however. The study also found that any more than 1.5 drinks per day led to a significant detrimental effect on mortality.
Also, this study was carried out only on a population with diagnosed NAFLD. There is no information on whether or not these results would also be applicable to those who have progressed to NASH.
So you probably are OK with a glass of wine at dinner even if you have NAFLD, although you should obviously consult your doctor.
Then again, there is a school of thought that any alcohol consumption is an overall net negative for your health.