December 11, 2019
1 min read

Alcohol use increases risk for clinically defined NAFLD

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Alcohol use was a significant risk factor for clinically defined nonalcoholic fatty liver disease due to association with alcohol use and liver fat, according to recently published data.

Michelle T. Long, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional secondary study comprising 2,475 individuals with hepatic steatosis from the Framingham Heart Study. They evaluated alcohol use behaviors including past-week number of alcoholic drinks consumed, frequency, average quantity per day, usual consumption above U.S. Dietary Guidelines, past-month maximum consumption in one day, binge drinking and weekly drinking (8 or fewer drinks/week for women, 15 or fewer drinks/week for men). The investigators then performed multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models to determine the association between these drinking patterns and hepatic steatosis.

Overall, 433 participants (17.5%) had hepatic steatosis. Those with hepatic steatosis were more often men, were less likely to report top income and education categories, and more likely to show signs of metabolic syndrome. While weekly risky drinking occurred at a low frequency among both women and men, binge drinking was common – especially among men – as was drinking in excess of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines among both sexes.

Most participants reported primarily drinking wine (n = 809) or beer (n = 575). Those who drank primarily beer consumed more alcoholic drinks per week, had higher maximum consumption, and chance for binge drinking (49.6% vs. 17.3%).

Data indicated that the total number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week (adjusted-OR 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02–1.29) and the maximum drinks consumed per day (aOR 1.15; 95% CI 1.02–1.3) were associated with hepatic steatosis.

“Alcohol-related liver fat may be present among individuals presumed to have NAFLD, suggesting significant overlap between NAFLD and ALD,” the researchers wrote. “Additional studies are needed to further investigate the relationships and interactions between alcohol consumption and the components of metabolic syndrome.” by Erin T. Welsh

Disclosure: Long reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.