No, it’s not OK to drink more if you exercise more, but it is a good idea to exercise, particularly if you like a drink or two. Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine have reason to believe that aerobic exercise may protect the liver against alcohol-related inflammation and injury. A U of Missouri news release has this to say:
The research team used rats bred for high activity, or “runner rats,” to test if increased metabolism protected the liver against fatty deposits and inflammation. One group of rats was exposed to chronic alcohol use for six weeks and compared to a second group that was not exposed to alcohol during the same time period. “As expected, we found that fatty deposits were greater in the livers of the chronic alcohol group,” said Jamal Ibdah, who also serves as director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the MU School of Medicine. “However, chronic alcohol ingestion did not cause significant inflammation in the liver. Higher physical activity levels seemed to protect against the metabolic dysfunction that eventually leads to irreversible liver damage.”
Ibdah’s team also found that chronic alcohol ingestion caused no discernable increase in free fatty acids, triglycerides, insulin or glucose in the blood of the group exposed to alcohol as compared to the control group.
“This is significant because chronic alcohol ingestion may reduce insulin effectiveness over time, leading to elevated blood insulin and sugar levels,” Ibdah said. “With chronic use, we would expect to see these levels much higher than the control group, yet surprisingly, they were about the same.”