New Year detox to get over festive indulgences ‘medically futile’

Last Updated: Jan 01, 2012, 16:55 PM IST

London: Giving up alcohol only for the first month of the year to cleanse your liver is ‘medically futile’ as it does more harm than good, medical experts say.

‘Janopause’ has become a common way to atone for the over-indulgences of the festive party season.

But doctors say that the so-called ‘Janopause’ – when drinkers cut out alcohol for only the first month of the year – is pointless and fails to rejuvenate the liver in the long term.

The British Liver Trust asserted that abstaining from alcohol altogether for a short period creates a false sense of security as it can lead people to consume more alcohol from February onwards, thereby causing significantly more harm.

“Detoxing for just a month is medically futile. It feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything out with a quick fix,” Daily Mail quoted Dr Mark Wright, consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital as saying.

“The liver is fantastic at detoxing – that’s what it does. But if you think giving it a rest will help, you’re wrong.”

Although a month-long break can give the liver a rest, experts have warned that it does not heal any damage already caused by regular heavy drinking, the Daily Mail reported.

A break can in fact pile additional pressure on the organ once drinkers recommence their old habits.

“A one-hit, one-month attempt to achieve long-term liver health is not the way to approach it,” Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said.

“You’re better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only,” Langford added.

According to Dr Wright, liver treats alcohol as a poison that body needs to evacuate. To break alcohol down, the liver produces chemicals known as enzymes.

High levels of enzymes can cause liver scarring and eventual cirrhosis, which can be fatal.

ANI