Roles of alcohol consumption in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are still controversial, although several cross-sectional studies have suggested the beneficial effect of light to moderate drinking on fatty liver.
A study published in the Journal of Hepatology analysed the longitudinal relationship between drinking pattern and fatty liver. 5,297 Japanese individuals (3,773 men and 1,524 women) who underwent a baseline study in 2003 and follow-up at least once from 2004 to 2006 were included. Generalised estimating equation was used
to estimate any association between drinking pattern and fatty liver assessed by ultrasonography.
At baseline, 1,179 men (31.2%) and 235 women (15.4%) had fatty liver; 2,802 men (74.2%) and 436 women (28.6%) reported alcohol consumption. At the latest follow-up, 348 of 2,594 men (13.4%) and 101 of 1,289 women (7.8%) had newly developed fatty liver; 285 of 1,179 men (24.2%) and 70 of 235 women (29.8%)
demonstrated a remission of fatty liver.
In men, drinking 0.1-69.9 g/week (odds ratio, 0.79 [95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.90]), drinking 70.0- 139.9 g/week (0.73 [0.63-0.84]), drinking 140.0-279.9 g/week (0.69 [0.60-0.79]), and drinking >/= 280.0 g/week (0.68 [0.58-0.79]) were inversely associated with fatty liver after adjusting for obesity, exercise, and smoking. In women, drinking 0.1-69.9 g/week (0.71 [0.52-0.96]) and drinking 70.0-139.9 g/week (0.67 [0.45-0.98]) were inversely associated with fatty liver after the adjustment.
The conclusion from the study is that light to moderate alcohol consumption, or even somewhat excessive amounts especially in men, are likely to protect most individuals against fatty liver over time.
Source: Roles of alcohol consumption in fatty liver: a longitudinal study. Moriya A; Iwasaki Y; Ohguchi S; Kayashima E; Mitsumune T; Taniguchi H; Ando M; Yamamoto K. Journal of Hepatology, published early online 24 November 2014.