How long it takes for the liver to repair itself after completely stopping alcohol

When consumed excessively and over a prolonged period, it can lead to severe liver damage such as steatosis, fibrosis, and even cirrhosis. But did you know that by stopping drinking, you can allow your liver to regenerate?

Discover what the latest scientific research tells us about the time needed without alcohol to repair this vital organ.

Abstinence, the only option to regenerate the liver

Multiple studies converge towards an unequivocal conclusion: total cessation of alcohol consumption is essential to allow the liver to regenerate. A 2019 systematic review showed that abstinence was the most decisive factor for the regression of alcohol-related liver damage, whether fibrosis or cirrhosis.

But beware, the regeneration process takes time and depends on the initial state of the liver and the duration of excessive alcohol consumption. The more damage caused by alcohol, the longer the road to a healthy liver will be.

The first benefits of stopping alcohol

30 days without alcohol: already 25% less liver steatosis

From the first weeks of abstinence, the liver begins to get rid of the excess fat accumulated due to alcohol, which is called hepatic steatosis. A 2018 study followed patients with alcoholic steatosis for one month without alcohol. Result: after only 30 days of abstinence, their steatosis rate had decreased by an average of 25%.

Liver enzymes return to normal levels in 1 month

Another encouraging sign: liver enzymes, markers of liver damage, quickly improve after stopping alcohol. A 2019 study showed a normalization of transaminases (AST and ALT) in alcoholic patients after 30 days of abstinence. Something to motivate you to hang in there!

Benefits visible from 15 days without alcohol

While complete liver regeneration takes several months or years, the benefits of stopping alcohol are felt very quickly. After just 15 days of abstinence, many patients report better sleep quality, brighter skin, easier digestion, and a boost in energy. So many good reasons to start a “zero alcohol challenge”!

The time needed to repair liver damage

2 years without alcohol to reverse liver fibrosis

Liver fibrosis, a precursor stage to cirrhosis, develops insidiously after years of alcohol abuse. But it is not irreversible. A study published in Gastroenterology in 2017 followed patients with alcoholic fibrosis for 7 years. In those who had stopped drinking, fibrosis had significantly decreased after 2 years of abstinence.

Cirrhosis: 5 years of abstinence for remission in 61% of cases

Even at the advanced stage of cirrhosis, the liver retains amazing regenerative abilities. A 2019 study showed that in cirrhotic patients who had been abstinent for more than 5 years, cirrhosis had become inactive in 61% of cases. A glimmer of hope for patients, provided they definitively say goodbye to alcohol.

Rebuilding your liver, a sometimes difficult but always beneficial journey

Of course, the more severe and prolonged the alcoholism, the longer the time needed for liver regeneration. Some very advanced damage may even be irreversible. All the more reason to stop alcohol as soon as possible, in order to maximize the chances of regaining a healthy liver.

The path to abstinence is not always easy. Temptations are numerous and medical support sometimes insufficient. However, the benefits are there: a liver that works better, but also restorative sleep, better digestion, glowing skin… Not to mention the positive effects on mental health and social relationships.