While alcohol itself can directly damage liver cells, new research shows that alcohol is also harmful to the liver for a second reason – it allows gut bacteria to migrate to the liver, promoting alcohol-induced liver disease.

“Alcohol appears to impair the body’s ability to keep microbes in check,” said Bernd Schnabl, associate professor of gastroenterology, senior author of the paper.

The study, conducted in mice and in laboratory samples at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been published in Cell Host & Microbe.

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