And, many researchers are starting to push the boundaries in terms of advancing the field of addiction treatment to explore new methodologies. In one good example, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are exploring the use of digestive enzymes to prevent liver damage caused by an excessive consumption of alcohol. And, with great success.
To conduct their study, the researchers administered alcohol to mice that mirrored the patterns of binge drinking. Over the course of ten days, the mice received regular doses of alcohol at 12-hour intervals. The researchers then offered some of the mice intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP), an intestinal enzyme that prevents bacterial toxins from passing from the gastrointestinal system into the bloodstream.
The results of the study suggest that administering the IAP enzyme reduces the risk of liver damage and inflammation. Mice who received a dose of IAP exhibited lower levels of an enzyme associated with liver disease and inflammatory markers.
"Liver damage is one of the most devastating effects of excess alcohol consumption, and so blocking this process could save millions of lives lost to alcohol-related liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer," says Richard Hodin, MD, a lead author of the study. "Along with direct toxic effects on the liver itself, alcohol appears to damage the liver through its effects on the intestinal lining, allowing bacterial toxins from the gut to cross the barrier and reach the liver. Since we know that IAP works to maintain a healthy gut barrier by blocking passage of an important toxic molecule, we investigated its potential to protect the liver from alcohol-induce damage."
While additional work needs to be done to investigate the effects of IAP administration in clinical trials, these initial results are certainly promising. We look forward to seeing even more research conducted to further the addiction recovery community as a whole.
At Christian Rehab Network, we specialize in helping individuals who are dealing with addictions to drugs and alcohol. Our treatment approach leverages a combination of therapies and church-based guidance to help inform the recovery process. We offer supervised drug detox services, inpatient addiction treatment and support for those with co-occurring behavioral health issues. To learn more, contact us today at (877) 310-9545.