Generic pic of of wine bottle and glass

London - SWEARING off the booze after the excesses of the festive season has become almost as much of a tradition as taking down the Christmas decorations.

But, surprisingly, no medical study has ever been conducted into whether a dry January – or ‘Janopause’ – has health benefits for moderate drinkers ... until now. New research shows quitting alcohol for a month can lower cholesterol, help you lose weight and improve sleep patterns and alertness – as well as giving the liver a chance to recover.

‘If someone had a health product that did all that, they’d be raking it in,’ liver health consultant Kevin Moore said.

On average, volunteers who abstained from drinking for just over five weeks shed 3.3?lb and cut cholesterol levels by five per cent and blood glucose levels by almost a quarter - indicating their fitness had improved significantly.

The research was prompted by New Scientist journalist Andy Coghlan, who regularly did the ‘Janopause’. He asked an expert what evidence there was of the benefits, and was told: ‘None.’

Liver experts have traditionally ignored the benefits of abstinence among moderate consumers, concentrating on problem drinkers. Coghlan persuaded nine of his colleagues - all of whom described themselves as ‘normal’ drinkers – to abstain while four others graciously agreed to keep drinking to act as ‘controls’.

All had fasting blood tests at the start and end of the period, while doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London found liver fat levels fell by 15 per cent on average, showing the organ had recovered. In addition, volunteers slept better and felt more alert at work.

The results suggest tens of thousands of people who have signed up to a ‘Dry January’, as promoted by Alcohol Concern, will see health benefits. What is not yet known is how quickly all the good work can be undone.

Mail On Sunday