Probiotic Could Help Prevent Alcohol-Induced Organ Damage

Experimental Probiotic Could Help Prevent Alcohol-Induced Organ Damage

/ 09:09 PM April 16, 2023

Alcohol is a drink many enjoy worldwide, and it’s also very popular in the United States. Many people drink it regularly, and it plays a huge part in social events and celebrations.

Unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption can have severe and long-lasting effects on your health. These effects include liver damage, high blood pressure, and increased cancer risk.

However, a breakthrough in the world of health science could potentially help mitigate the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. A team of Chinese researchers has developed an experimental probiotic that may aid in preventing alcohol-induced organ damage.

According to medical researcher Xiaoxiao Jiang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues, “Alcohol intake is associated with various diseases, such as fatty liver, cirrhosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and cancer.”

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Unsurprisingly, products designed to reduce the effects of alcohol consumption are receiving a great deal of attention.

How Does the Body Process Alcohol?

When a person consumes alcohol, the body rapidly absorbs the alcohol into the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and small intestine.


From there, the alcohol travels to the liver, where enzymes metabolize it. The liver can process approximately one standard drink (about 14 grams of pure alcohol) per hour on average.

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The primary alcohol-metabolizing enzyme is alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which converts alcohol into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance that can cause damage to the liver and other organs if it accumulates in the body.


Thankfully, another enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH) quickly breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate. This harmless substance further metabolizes into carbon dioxide and water.

These byproducts are eventually eliminated from the body through the lungs (as we exhale), kidneys (as urine), and sweat glands (as sweat).

When you drink alcohol in excess, you tell your intestines to work overtime because ADH is already in action. As a result, alcohol remains in the bloodstream, leading to the characteristic symptoms of intoxication, such as slurred speech, impaired judgment, and loss of coordination.

The Experiment

The Experiment
The scientists carried out ongoing research on humans using a natural adaptation of ADH known as ADH1B. This is primarily found in the eastern part of Asia and is said to break down ethanol a lot faster than other forms of ADH.

They played around with a type of bacteria called Lactococcus lactis, used to make buttermilk and cheese. They altered the natural genetics of the bacteria, enabling it to produce a human enzyme called ADH1B. The researchers then tested the modified bacteria on mice exposed to various amounts of alcohol.

Every mouse treated with the probiotic recovered from alcohol exposure. Alternatively, mice that did not receive the probiotic treatment continued showing signs of intoxication.

Additional tests indicated that mice who received the probiotic had less severe indications of sudden liver damage and reduced inflammation in their intestines. All are typical outcomes of excessive intake of alcohol.

The researchers further revealed in their published study, “Our results showed that this recombinant probiotic can reduce alcohol absorption and protect the body from alcohol damage, including hangover, liver, and intestinal damage.”

Final Thoughts

Developing an experimental probiotic that could potentially prevent alcohol-induced organ damage is an exciting breakthrough in health science.

While further research and clinical trials are necessary to confirm its efficacy, this new development offers hope to those struggling with the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.

As we continue to uncover the complex interactions between the gut microbiome and our overall health, probiotics may play a crucial role in preventing and treating various health problems.

In the meantime, it is essential to remember that the most effective way to prevent alcohol-induced organ damage is to reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. This experimental probiotic may offer some protection. Still, it is no substitute for responsible alcohol use and a healthy lifestyle.

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TAGS: alcoholic drinks, scientific research, Trending
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