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Vitamin A linked to alcoholic liver disease development

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New York: Counteracting alcohol’s effect on vitamin A levels in the liver may lead to novel treatments for alcoholic liver disease, suggests new research.

In particular, the research found that chronic alcohol consumption has a dramatic effect on the way the body handles vitamin A.

Long-term drinking lowers vitamin A levels in the liver, which is the main site of alcohol breakdown and vitamin A storage, while raising vitamin A levels in many other tissues.

“We hope this study will lead to a broader understanding and appreciation of the fact that excessive consumption of alcohol has a negative effect on vitamin A function in the body,” said one of the researchers Robin Clugston from Columbia University Medical Center in New York, New York.

“Ultimately, we hope that vitamin A will be seen as a broad target for alcohol in multiple tissues of the body and that our understanding of alcohol-induced disease will be linked together by its effects on vitamin A,” Clugston noted.

Clugston and colleagues conducted multiple experiments using several groups of mice including those who received alcohol-containing food and alcohol-free food.

They analysed the liver and other organs (kidney, spleen, heart, lung, white adipose, brown adipose and blood), from both groups of mice and measured tissue vitamin A levels.

The alcohol-fed mice had distinct changes in how their body handled vitamin A. In general, vitamin A levels were lower in the liver and higher in other tissues.

This strongly suggests that vitamin A in the liver is reduced by excessive alcohol consumption and that these findings are important in the development of alcoholic liver disease.

The findings appeared in the FASEB Journal.