The liver is our largest internal organ, playing over 500 different roles. Among its many important functions is detoxification, digestion, metabolism, and protein synthesis, however if one had to name its main role, the liver is a detoxifier. This means it helps the body to get rid of waste products, as well as plays a vital role in fighting infections.
When you drink an alcoholic beverage, one-third of the liquid goes into your stomach and the other two-thirds ends up in your small intestine. The alcohol itself is absorbed into your blood from there.
Your kidneys filter some alcohol out, but the remainder is sent to your liver. Here, the alcohol is metabolized, or broken down, into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which is toxic. Your body knows it’s bad for you, so the acetaldehyde is burned as instead of fat like usual.
Drink too much, and two things happen: the fat that should be used by the body gets stored in your liver, and excess acetaldehyde damages liver cells. Too much fat in the liver causes fatty liver disease. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss. Fatty liver disease cannot be cured. Symptoms can last an entire lifetime.