Alcohol & Health
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Updated on February 2, 2023
3 min read

Will Quitting Alcohol Lower Cholesterol?

Quitting alcohol is a great way to help lower your cholesterol, resulting in better overall health. It may also decrease your chances of liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.

When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down and turns it into triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver. The body then uses cholesterol to build healthy cells. However, high cholesterol levels can be dangerous.

How Quickly Will Cholesterol Fall After Quitting Alcohol?

The rate at which your cholesterol falls after quitting alcohol depends on several factors. These include:

  • Eating habits
  • The amount of alcohol you drink 
  • How long you’ve been drinking
  • Your cholesterol levels before quitting
  • How long your cholesterol has been high
  • Having diabetes
  • Lifestyle factors, like exercise or smoking

You may see a drop within days if you practice healthy habits, including:

  • Eating healthy
  • Sleeping well
  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly

There is no definite timeline for decreasing cholesterol levels as it varies from person to person. However, it is guaranteed that quitting alcohol will have a positive effect on your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.11

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Is there Good Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that moves through your blood by attaching to proteins.3 There are two different types of cholesterol:

  1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): This is considered the “bad” cholesterol. It can build up in your artery walls, which hardens over time.5
  2. High-density lipoprotein (HDL): This is considered the “good” cholesterol. It removes other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream.5

If you have high cholesterol, fatty deposits form in your blood vessels, restricting blood flow through your arteries. They increase the risk of breakage and clot formation, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.6

You can inherit high cholesterol, but it typically results from an unhealthy lifestyle.6 You can combat it by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some medications can also help.

How Much Alcohol is Safe to Drink with High Cholesterol? 

If you have high cholesterol, drinking liquor, beer, and other types of alcohol can be dangerous. If you are going to drink, stick to moderate alcohol consumption only.7

The recommendations for moderate alcohol intake include the following:

This limit has been shown to reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease.

You should talk to your doctor about drinking with high cholesterol. Your doctor can help determine how safe it is for you to drink with high cholesterol. If necessary, they can prescribe you medications to help lower cholesterol.

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How to Prevent and Treat High Cholesterol

High cholesterol puts you at an increased risk of heart disease. It is important to follow medical advice and keep your cholesterol healthy.

To prevent high cholesterol, limit the amount of alcohol you drink throughout the week.1 Some people may need to stop drinking altogether.

Maintaining your health through regular, moderate exercise is also essential. Moving your body boosts your cardiovascular health and supports your mental health.

Lastly, build a more positive relationship with food, and eat less sugar and processed foods.  Making healthier choices can keep your total cholesterol at ideal levels.

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Summary

  • Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the body uses to build healthy cells
  • High cholesterol causes fatty deposits to form in blood vessels, which can restrict blood flow in the arteries 
  • Drinking alcohol can cause high cholesterol
  • Drinking if you have high cholesterol can be dangerous and should be avoided 
  • Quitting drinking alcohol can greatly reduce your chances of disease, heart attack, or stroke
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Updated on February 2, 2023
11 sources cited
Updated on February 2, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Alcohol.” HEART UK.
  2. Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020.
  3. Cholesterol.” American Heart Association, Inc.
  4. Facts about Alcohol and Heart Health.” Harvard Health, 2018.
  5. High Cholesterol.”  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research,  2019. 
  6. Is Drinking Alcohol Part of a Healthy Lifestyle?” American Heart Association, Inc.
  7. Minzer, Simona, et al. “The Effect of Alcohol on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Is There New Information?” National Library of Medicine, 2020.
  8. The Truth about Red Wine and Heart Health.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2019.
  9. What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean.” American Heart Association, Inc.
  10. Jung et al. “Association Between Changes in Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Risk.” Original Investigation Oncology, 2022.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.

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