High-Intensity Binge Drinking Linked to Abnormal Lipids and Liver Function Tests

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Falk W. Lohoff, MD Chief, Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics (CGET) Lasker Clinical Research Scholar National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, MD 20892-1540

Dr. Lohoff

Falk W. Lohoff, MD
Chief, Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics (CGET)
Lasker Clinical Research Scholar
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Bethesda, MD 20892-1540 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: More than 32 million adults in the United States report engaging in high-intensity binge drinking (consuming two- and three- times the traditional binge thresholds of 5 drinks per occasion for men and 4 drinks per occasion for women) and associated adverse health effects represent a significant public health problem in the US.

While alcohol consumption has been associated with changes in cardiovascular risk factors like high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides as well as liver function enzymes, previous studies were not able to study these associations among those reporting recent high-intensity binge drinking. We utilized a cross-sectional dataset containing both sufficiently detailed alcohol consumption data, cholesterol, and liver function enzyme levels to examine these associations. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: Our main finding showed high-intensity binge drinking was associated with a dose-dependent 2- to 8-fold increased odds for clinically high levels of HDL-C, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and all liver function enzymes (gamma-glutamytransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase). In a separate analysis of drinking patterns, we found each additional day of high-intensity binging also increased the odds of clinically high biomarkers. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study highlights the possible negative cardiovascular and hepatic impact associated with high-intensity binge drinking. Given that high-intensity binge drinking is common on weekends, special events, and holidays, it is alarming that even one additional day of high-intensity binge drinking may increase cardiometabolic risk factor levels.

When combined with previous work showing normalization of cholesterol and liver enzyme levels with alcohol reduction, these findings suggest that drinking reduction intervention strategies aimed at reducing high-intensity binge drinking may be associated with improved health outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our cross-sectional study evaluated only cardiometabolic risk factors. Therefore, future research is needed to examine the impact of high-intensity binge drinking on cardiometabolic disease outcomes, such as myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, and stroke as well as liver disease. These findings need also to be replicated in larger, population-based cohorts.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: These findings emphasize the importance of future research evaluating the health impact of this increasingly common hazardous alcohol consumption pattern. Further, these data suggest that inquiring about recent high-intensity binge drinking may be useful in clinical settings if the elevated cholesterol and liver levels are present.

Disclosures: The authors have no disclosures relevant to the manuscript

This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



Rosoff DB, Charlet K, Jung J, et al. Association of High-Intensity Binge Drinking With Lipid and Liver Function Enzyme Levels. JAMA Netw Open. Published online June 14, 20192(6):e195844. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.5844





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