Alcohol is bad for your liver, we’re told. However, moderate amounts may be good for your liver. A recent meta-analysis found that men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol had considerably less risk (a risk ratio of 0.3) of liver cirrhosis than men who drank no alcohol. It wasn’t clear if some forms of alcohol (e.g., wine) were more protective than others. I came across this study because another article called the association “biologically implausible”, whereas I think it is highly plausible due to vast experimental literature on hormesis (animals given small amounts of poisons are healthier than animals given none).
The findings about cirrhosis join a much large body of evidence that moderate drinking is associated with less heart disease. A recent meta-analysis reached this conclusion once again and found, in addition, that moderate drinking is associated with less all-cause mortality.
These are more examples of the health benefits of fermented foods, one of my favorite subjects. It is unfortunate the liquor industry does not run long-term human experiments on the effects of moderate amounts of beer, wine, and so on.