How much alcohol until I have liver damage?

I’m 24 years old. I was in a fraternity in college and drank obscene amounts of beer, and that has spilled over into my post-college life.

I drink 3-4 nights a week, always in excess. Sad, yes.

The point is - at what point am I risking serious liver damage?

At what point are you risking serious liver damage? Now. Will you absolutely damage your liver? No. But you are at risk for it, by your description. Especially if you are also taking tylenol. Various drugs of abuse will increase the risk also.

See your doc and get properly assessed. Then you’ll know more about how much actual damage you’re doing.


It depends on the individual. Drinking that much certainly puts you at risk for liver damage but it can take quite a while. To put things in perspective, I drank almost every day for ten years. The amount was usually 12 - 18 drinks a day. I stopped drinking last year and got my liver tested. Surprisingly, all of the indicators were Ok although some were in the high normal range. Some people could develop severe liver damage in half that time.

If you are truly worried, a doctor can check liver function with a blood test. It might give you the incentive to cut down or quit altogether.

I hope this doesn’t stray from the OP but does the type of alcohol matter? Is someone at less risk from wine than they are say from beer or gin or tequila? Scotch?

Your liver doesn’t care where the alcohol comes from. It just knows that it is in your blood and needs to be broken down. The type of alcohol and the path by which it is broken down are the same.

However, it is easier to achieve a very high blood-alcohol level in a short amount of time when drinking hard alcohol so that may impact how given liver enzymes are produced.

Listen to QtM, he knows what he is talking about.

And I heartily second the thought that with the amount you drink, you should never take Tylenol. Tylenol + alcohol = severe liver problems.

I probably don’t want to know what my poor poor liver is like…I have never taken Tylenol or any other pain releivers but the sheer amount of alcohol I have consumed in my college years alone would probably pickle a years herring in Denmark…yikes. It’s amazing I am not yellow.

I asked this same question in this thread:

I’ve had my share of beer, and I find myself drinking to excess on occasion (though it was more of a problem in the college years).

So last year I had my liver checked via a blood test. To my surprise & relief, it tested excellent.

Actually, I was just thinking the same question the other day. My drinking history is the similar to Billy’s, but 12 years longer.

Drank anywhere from 6-12 drinks an evening as often as 3-4 times per week for almost exactly half my life. (I’m 36).

Anyway, my liver tests are, as of a month ago, all normal (albeit on the high end).

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done some hidden damage that might, for example, put me at increased risk for liver cancer in the future. Plus, my alcohol consumption is a clear factor in my now being 15 pounds overweight, with all the increased risk for heart disease and diabetes that entails.

…For what it’s worth, Mrs. Malice and I recently decided to formally end our extended adolescence, as truly fun as it has been, and prepare for having kids. To that end, we’re shutting down the kegerator and giving the wine opener a sabbatical… After all, it’s one thing to risk your own health, but it’s another thing entirely to put your unborn kid at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome.

Another factor may be when/what/how much you eat while drinking.

I’ve been a total lush at times, but I always eat afterward. At 43 my liver functions are still pretty much normal.

Isn’t that a myth?

Damage can be caused to more things than just the liver, as I’m sure many of you know. Last month my 31 year old husband had to have his hip totally replaced due to avascular necrosis. That’s when the bone dies from lack of blood flow. 31 YEARS OLD! AV can usually be caused by one of 3 things: Steriod Use, Injury, and Alchohol abuse. Not being an athletic fellow…Well…He drank heavily for about 10 years. We never heard of AV before…My friends say to us, “Drinking can cause THAT?!” Yup.

He doesn’t drink anymore.

Tis no myth that drinking in excess will damage you…

Oh, but his liver is fine, normal, undamaged. whew.

Qadgop the Mercotan (or anyone else qualified to answer), would a routine blood test (i.e., one done during an annual physical exam) reveal liver damage? Is there an “out of range” result on such a blood test that would indicate liver damage … or prompt a physician to order another, more specific test?

As you may have guessed, I had a standard blood test a few months ago and everything checked out OK. But I wasn’t seeing the doctor for alcohol/liver issues. But I do drink (moderately), and I was wondering if a standard blood test has the ability to detect liver damage.

Spiff, liver function tests would need to be ordered. They are “standard” tests for some, not so for others. Ask your doc if you had your liver enzymes tested when your blood was drawn. Usually if the ALT is over 60, I check for Hepatitis B and C, and if that’s negative, have a chit-chat with the patient about their alcohol and drug habits.

I had a friend who turned yellow once. Too many nights at the pub! He quit drinking and went back to his normal color.
It freaked him out a little but, to this day, he still enjoys his beer.

How does alcohol make you turn yellow?

After drinking 2 bottles of gin and partaking of numerous illegal substances I woke up after 3 weeks in Intensive Care Unit with a liver that had, as the fine medical staff told me, repaired itself (with a little help from some legal substances).
This shows how fantastic your liver is, but, and its a butt the size of jLo’s, I put it to you that the liver does not have the capacity to repair itself with prolonged abuse.
I love a beer/cider/wine/whisky (not gin though, never again)
and I do still drink on a regular basis, too much according to the recommended daily ‘allowance’, I would advise that any man drinking more than 25 units (12 large beers) a week is at risk of causing permanent damage.
Mind you I cant remember the last time I didnt drink twice this in the week but I consider my liver to be a SuperLiver.
Thank You, off to the pub.

its called - Jaundice.

Thanks, QtM.