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[转载] 饮酒与健康

已有 5635 次阅读 2012-1-14 13:27 |系统分类:生活其它|关键词:健康,饮酒| 健康, 饮酒 |文章来源:转载

[转载] 饮酒与健康
 

李福洋老师《饮酒真的能致癌吗?》

http://bbs.sciencenet.cn/./home.php?mod=space&uid=475066&do=blog&id=463951

  

其实,只要不是过量饮酒,适量饮酒的好处还是很多的。我这可不是信口胡说,而是有大量的流行病学调查研究依据滴。

适量饮酒可以
1. 降低心脏病风险;
2. 延长寿命
3. 降低中风风险
4. 糖尿病发生风险降低
5. 降低老年痴呆发生率
6. 减少前列腺增生
7. 减少关节炎发病率
8. 降低癌症风险:如肾癌、何杰金氏与非何杰金氏瘤、甲状腺癌。
等等…

每条结论背后都有大量的研究数据支撑,有兴趣大家可以去看看:(http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html) 

        您可能会问:究竟多少算适量?1995年美国DHHS(Department of Health and Human Services)和USDA(United States Department of Agriculture )联合出台了个指南,主要针对美国人的,我们也可以参考嘛。一天一次饮用: 350ml普通啤酒147ml 红酒,或44ml烈度酒(美国烈酒一般40度)是比较适合的。 

  

____________________ Alcohol And Health ___________________

http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html

Health

Moderate drinkers tend to have better health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or heavy drinkers. In addition to having fewer heart attacks and strokes, moderate consumers of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor) are generally less likely to suffer strokes, diabetes, arthritis, enlarged prostate, dementia (including Alzheimer's disease), and several major cancers.

Some Background

Alcohol has been used medicinally throughout recorded history; its medicinal properties are mentioned 191 times in the Old and New Testaments.1 As early as the turn of the century there was evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with a decrease in the risk of heart attack.2 And the evidence of health benefits of moderate consumption has continued to grow over time.

Reviews of research evidence report a strong, consistent relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in cardiovascular disease in general and coronary artery disease in particular.4 On the basis of its extensive review of research, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that moderate drinkers have the greatest longevity. It also found that moderate drinking is beneficial to heart health, resulting in a sharp decrease in heart disease risk (40%-60%).5 This is important because cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and heart disease kills about one million Americans each and every year.6

The health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have long been known. One of the earliest scientific studies on the subject was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1904.3

The Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism wrote that "Numerous well-designed studies have concluded that moderate drinking is associated with improved cardiovascular health," and the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association reported that "The lowest mortality occurs in those who consume one or two drinks per day."7 A World Health Organization Technical Committee on Cardiovascular Disease asserted that the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced death from heart disease could no longer be doubted.8 But the benefits are not limited, important as they are, to reductions in heart disease.

Alcohol vs. Lifestyle

Why drink to reduce the risk of heart disease? Wouldn't eating a good diet, exercising, and losing weight do the same thing?

No, it wouldn't. The moderate consumption of alcohol appears to be more effective than most other lifestyle changes that are used to lower the risk of heart and other diseases. For example, the average person would need to follow a very strict low-fat diet, exercise vigorously on a regular basis, eliminate salt from the diet, lose a substantial amount of weight, and probably begin medication in order to lower cholesterol by 30 points or blood pressure by 20 points.

But medical research suggests that alcohol can have a greater impact on heart disease than even these hard-won reductions in cholesterol levels or blood pressure. Only cessation of smoking is more effective. Additionally, other medical research suggests that adding alcohol to a healthful diet is more effective than just following the diet alone.9

Longevity

Moderate drinkers tend to live longer than those who either abstain or drink heavily.

  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has found that the lowest death rate from all causes occurs at the level of one to two drinks each day.10
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation (1-2 drinks per day for women and 2-4 for men) was found to reduce risk of mortality significantly according to meta-analysis of 34 studies of alcohol and total mortality among 1,015,835 men and women around the world.11
  • An exhaustive review of all major heart disease studies found that "Alcohol consumption is related to total mortality in a U-shaped manner, where moderate consumers have a reduced total mortality compared with total non-consumers and heavy consumers."12
  • A Harvard study found the risk of death from all causes to be 21% to 28% lower among men who drank alcohol moderately, compared with abstainers.13
  • A large-scale study in China found that middle-aged men who drank moderately had a nearly 20% lower overall mortality compared with abstainers.14
  • Harvard's Nurses' Health Study of over 85,000 women found reduced mortality among moderate drinkers.15
  • A British analysis of 12,000 male physicians found that moderate drinkers had the lowest risk of death from all causes during the 13 year study.16
  • A large study of about 88,000 people conducted over a period of ten years found that moderate drinkers were about 27% less likely to die during the period than were either abstainers or heavy drinkers. The superior longevity was largely due to a reduction of such diseases as coronary heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases.17
  • A twelve year long prospective study of over 200,000 men found that subjects who had consumed alcohol in moderation were less likely to die during that period than those who abstained from alcohol.18
  • A study of more than 40,000 people by the Cancer Research Center in Honolulu found that "persons with moderate alcohol intake appear to have a significantly lower risk of dying than nondrinkers."19
  • An analysis of the 89,299 men in the Physicians' Health Study over a period of five and one-half years found that those who drink alcohol in moderation tend to live longer than those who either abstain or drink heavily.20
  • An Italian study of 1,536 men aged 45-65 found that about two years of life were gained by moderate drinkers (1-4 drinks per day) in comparison with occasional and heavy drinkers.21
  • A study of 2,487 adults aged 70-79 years, who were followed for an average period of over five and one-half years, found that all-cause mortality was significantly lower in light to moderate drinkers than in abstainers or occasional drinkers (those who drank less than one drink per week).22
  • A large prospective study found that older men consuming up to about three drinks per day and older women consuming over one drink per day had a dramatically lower risk of dying than did non-drinkers.23
  • A large study found that moderate drinkers, even after controlling for or adjusting for numerous factors, maintain their high longevity or life survival advantage over alcohol abstainers.24
  • A Danish study of about 12,000 men and women over a period of 20 years found that abstaining from moderate alcohol consumption is a health and longevity risk factor. Choosing not to drink alcohol increases the risk of illness, disease and death.25
  • A 14-year study of nearly 3,000 residents of an Australian community found that abstainers were twice as likely to enter a nursing home as people who were moderate drinkers. Drinkers also spent less time in hospitals and were less likely to die during the period of the study.26
  • A prospective study of middle-aged Chinese men found that the consumption of two drinks per day was associated with a 19% reduction in mortality risk. This protective effect was not restricted to a specific type of alcoholic drink.27
  • Alcohol prevents more deaths than its abuse causes in the United Kingdom, according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.28
  • Scientists at the University of London concluded that light and moderate drinking saves more lives in England and Wales than are lost through the abuse of alcohol. If everyone abstained from alcohol, death rates would be significantly higher.29
  • The Cancer Council of New South Wales concludes that "If the net effect of total alcohol consumption on Australian society is considered, there is a net saving of lives due to the protective effect of low levels of consumption on cardiovascular disease."30
General Health

Moderate drinkers tend to enjoy better health than do either abstainers or heavy drinkers.

  • A nation-wide survey in the U.S. revealed that daily moderate drinkers experienced significantly less acute hospitalization.31
  • A nine year study of indicators of good health found moderate alcohol consumption to be associated with the most favorable health scores.32
  • A study that examined nearly 10,000 men and women at age 23 and again at age 33 found that the moderate drinkers experience lower levels of poor general health, long-term illness, and psychological distress when compared to abstainers and heavy drinkers.33
  • A study of nearly 20,000 Spaniards found that moderate consumption of any alcohol -- beer, wine, or spirits -- was linked to better overall health, compared to abstinence from alcohol.34
  • A nation-wide Canadian study found that moderate drinkers who consumed alcohol daily had 15% less disability than the general population.35
  • A Dutch study found that moderate drinkers under stress were less likely to be absent from work than were either abstainers or heavy drinkers. The investigators concluded that "abstinence is at least as unhealthy as excessive drinking."36
  • A study of 3,803 individuals age 18 to 101 found that lifelong teetotalers as well as former drinkers are consistently less healthy than light to moderate drinkers (those who consume up to 60 drinks per month). The health superiority of light and moderate drinkers extends to both physical and mental health.37
Hospitals Serve Alcohol

Nearly three-quarters of the teaching hospitals in the United States serve alcoholic beverages to their patients.38

  • A review of the research reports that moderate drinking appears to reduce the risk of numerous diseases. "These include duodenal ulcer, gallstones, entric infections, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes mellitus (type II). Compared with abstainers, moderate drinkers exhibit improved mental status characterized by decreased stress and depression, lower abstenteeism from work, and decreased dementia (including Alzheimer's disease)."39
  • Moderate drinking and exercise appear to slow down the health deterioration that occurs with aging, according to a study of about 2,500 people aged 65 and older who were followed regularly for about eight years. Those who drank and exercised regularly had fewer difficulties with their daily activities and physical functioning.40
Heart Health

Medical research has demonstrated a strong relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in cardiovascular disease in general and coronary artery disease in particular.41

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that moderate drinking is beneficial to heart health, resulting in a sharp decrease in heart disease risk (40%-60%).42 This is important because cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and heart disease kills about one million Americans each and every year.43

The Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism wrote that "Numerous well-designed studies have concluded that moderate drinking is associated with improved cardiovascular health," and the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association reported that "The lowest mortality occurs in those who consume one or two drinks per day."44 A World Health Organization Technical Committee on Cardiovascular Disease asserted that the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced death from heart disease can no longer be doubted.45

  • Researchers studied volunteers in seven European countries and found that people who have a daily drink of beer, wine or distilled spirits (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.) have significantly better arterial elasticity, a strong indicator of of heart health and cardiovascular health, than nondrinkers. Moderate drinkers also had significantly better pulse rates than those of abstainers from
  • A study of 1,795 subjects found that "the risk of extensive coronary calcification was 50% lower in individuals who consumed one to two alcoholic drinks per day than in nondrinkers."46
  • Research demonstrates that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function, which contributes to better heart health and lowers risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.47
  • A study of over 3,000 men and women found that those who never drank alcohol were at a greater risk of having high levels of CRP and IL-6 (excellent predictors of heart attack) than were those who consumed alcoholic beverages in moderation.48
Moderate Drinkers are Less Likely to Suffer Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attacks (Acute Myocardial Infarctions) than are Abstainers or Heavy Drinkers.
  • A National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism review of research studies from at least 20 countries around the world demonstrate a 20- to 40-percent lower coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence among drinkers compared to nondrinkers. It asserts that "The totality of evidence on moderate alcohol and CHD supports a judgment of a cause-effect relationship... there are cardioprotective benefits associated with responsible, moderate alcohol intake."49
  • Harvard researchers have identified the moderate consumption of alcohol as a proven way to reduce coronary heart disease risk.50
  • A study of 18,455 males from the Physicians Health Study revealed that those originally consuming one drink per week or less who increased their consumption up to to six drinks per week had a 29% reduction in CVD risk compared to those who did not increase their consumption. Men originally consuming 1-6 drinks per week who increased their consumption moderately had an additional 15% decrease in CVD risk.51
  • The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of over 44,000 men found moderate alcohol consumption to be associated with a 37% reduction in coronary disease.52
  • A British study of women found moderate consumption of alcohol to be associated with lower levels of cardiovascular risk factors.53
  • A study of over 5,000 women with type 2 diabetes mellitus found that coronary heart disease rates "were significantly lower in women who reported moderate alcohol intake than in those who reported drinking no alcohol." Women who drank more than 5 grams (about one-third glass) a day reduced their risk of CHD (fatal or nonfatal) by more than half.54
  • In a study of nearly 88,000 men, researchers found that drinking reduced risk of coronary heart disease risk among both diabetics and non-diabetics. Weekly consumption of alcohol reduced CHD risk by one-third (33%) while daily consumption reduced the risk by over half (58%) among diabetics. For non-diabetics, weekly consumption reduced CHD risk by 18% while daily consumption reduced the risk by 39%.55
  • Light to moderate consumption of alcohol appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 80% among individuals with older-onset diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.56
  • The Honolulu Heart Study found a 49% reduction in coronary heart disease among men who drank alcohol in moderation.57
  • Harvard researchers concluded about coronary heart disease that "Consumption of one or two drinks of beer, wine, or liquor per day has corresponded to a reduction in risk of approximately 20-40%."58
  • At a scientific conference, researchers from Korea, Italy, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United States reported finding striking reductions in death among moderate drinkers, with heart disease and total mortality rates about one half or less compared to non-drinkers.59
  • After over 6,000 participants in the Framingham Heart Study were followed for a period of six to ten years, researchers found that "when consumed in moderation, alcohol appears to protect against congestive heart failure."60
  • The American Heart Association, based on the research evidence, concludes that the "Consumption of one or two drinks per day is associated with a [CHD] reduction in risk of approximately 30% to 50%."61
  • After reviewing the research, Dr. David Whitten reported that "The studies that have been done show pretty clearly that the chances of suffering cardiac death are dramatically reduced by drinking" one or two drinks a day and asserted that "We don't have any drugs that are as good as alcohol."62
  • Based on the medical evidence, noted investigator Dr. Curtis Ellison asserted that "abstinence from alcohol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease."63
The Moderate Consumption of Alcohol Increases the Survivability of Heart Attacks
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation throughout the year before a heart attack or acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been found to reduce the risk of dying afterward. Moderate drinkers had the lowest mortality rate, reducing their risk by 32%, compared to abstainers. The health benefits were virtually identical for beer, distilled spirits, and wine.64
  • Men who consume two to four drinks of alcohol after a heart attack are less likely to experience a second heart attack than are abstainers, according to a study of 353 male heart attack survivors. Researchers found that men who consumed an average of two drinks of alcohol per day were 59% less likely than non-drinkers to have another heart attack. Those who drank an average of four drinks per day experienced a risk reduction of 52% compared to abstainers.65
  • Research at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that drinking alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) in moderation reduced the damage to effected tissue following a heart attack.66
  • A study for a five year period of over 85,000 men who had suffered previous heart attacks found that "moderate alcohol intake was associated with a significant decrease in total mortality" compared to nondrinkers.67
Alcohol Abstainers Who Begin Drinking Reduce Their Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • During a ten year study of 7,697 non-drinkers, investigators found that 6% began consuming alcohol in moderation. After four years of follow-up, new moderate drinkers had a 38% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease than did those who continued abstaining. Even after adjusting for physical activity, Body Mass Index (BMI), demographic and cardiac risk factors, this difference persisted.
    A standard drink is:
    • A 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer
    • A 5-ounce glass of wine
    • A one and 1/2 ounce of 80 proof distilled spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink)

    The alcohol content of a standard drink of beer, dinner wine, or distilled spirits is equivalent. To a breathalyzer, they are all the same.

    The health benefits associated with drinking in moderation are also similar for beer, wine and spirits. The primary factor associated with health and longevity appears to be the alcohol itself.



    This study is important because it provides additional strong evidence that the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease among moderate drinkers is a result of the alcohol itself rather than any differences in lifestyle, genetics, or other factors.68
  • A study of men with high blood pressure found that those who averaged one to six drinks per week has a 39% lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes than were abstainers. Those who averaged more (one or two drinks each day) were 44% less likely to experience such death.69
Frequent Drinkers Enjoy Greater Heart-Health Benefits than Those Who Drink Less Often
  • In a study of nearly 88,000 men, researchers found reductions in coronary heart disease risk with increasing frequency of drinking alcohol for both diabetics and non- diabetics. Weekly consumption of alcohol reduced CHD risk by one-third (33%) while daily consumption reduced the risk by over half (58%) among diabetics. For non-diabetics, weekly consumption reduced CHD risk by 18% while daily consumption reduced the risk by 39%.70
Exercising Can't Replace Benefits of Drinking in Moderation
  • Researchers at the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark studied about 12,000 men and women over a period of 20 years. The investigators found:
    Moderate Drinking vs. Lifestyle

    Why drink to reduce the risk of heart disease? Wouldn't eating a good diet, exercising, and losing weight do the same thing? No, it wouldn't. The moderate consumption of alcohol appears to be more effective than most other lifestyle changes that are used to lower the risk of heart and other diseases. For example, the average person would need to follow a very strict low-fat diet, exercise vigorously on a regular basis, eliminate salt from the diet, lose a substantial amount of weight, and probably begin medication in order to lower cholesterol by 30 points or blood pressure by 20 points.

    But medical research suggests that alcohol can have a greater impact on heart disease than even these hard-won reductions in cholesterol levels or blood pressure. Only cessation of smoking is more effective.

    Additionally, other medical research suggests that adding alcohol to a healthful diet is more effective than just following the diet alone.71

    • The lowest risk of fatal heart disease occurred among those who both drank moderately and exercised. They had a 50% reduced risk compared to non-drinkers who didn't exercise. (Moderate drinking was defined as consuming an average of up to two drinks per day for both men and women. This is twice as high as the US federal recommendation for women.)
    • A higher risk was found among (a) those who abstained from alcohol but exercised and (b) those who drank in moderation but didn't exercise. In both cases the risk of heart disease dropped about 30% compared to abstaining non-exercisers.
    • The highest risk was found among those who neither drank nor exercised. Their risk of dying from heart disease was twice as high as those who drank moderately and exercised.

Moderate drinking and exercise are cumulative in their positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Doing one is better than nothing, but doing both is the best choice of all and dramatically reduces the risk death from heart attack. The same is also found for all-cause mortality.72

How Alcohol Promotes Good Heart Health

The moderate consumption of alcohol promotes good heart health in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Alcohol improves blood lipid profile73
    • It increases HDL ("good") cholesterol74
    • It decreases LDL ("bad") cholesterol75
    • It improves cholesterol (both HDL and LDL) particle size76
      Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

      To learn about this preventable health problem visit Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

  • Alcohol decreases thrombosis (blood clotting)
    • It reduces platelet aggregation77
    • It reduces fibrinogen (a blood clotter)78
    • It increases fibrinolysis (the process by which clots dissolve)79
  • Alcohol acts in additional ways80
    • It reduces coronary artery spasm in response to stress
    • It increases coronary blood flow81
    • It reduces blood pressure82
    • It reduces blood insulin level83
    • It increases estrogen levels84
Strokes
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of 26 research studies (cohort or case-control) found that consuming two drinks per day is associated with a reduced risk of ischemic stroke.85
  • The American Stroke Association states that "Studies now show that drinking up to two alcoholic drinks per day can reduce your risk for stroke by about half."86
  • A study of over 22,000 men found that light and moderate alcohol consumption significantly reduces the overall risk of stroke.87
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming one or two drinks a day can reduce the risk of stroke by about half. It also found the protective effects of alcohol to occur among white, African- American, and Hispanic populations and among both men and women. The investigators concluded that their findings support the National Stroke Association Stroke Prevention Guidelines regarding the beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption.88
  • Research has found that HDL ("good" cholesterol) is protective against stroke and that drinking alcohol in moderation is one of the ways that HDL can be increased.89
  • A study published in the American Heart Association's journal found abstainers' risk of stroke to be double that of moderate drinkers.90
  • The American Heart Association also reports that moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with dramatically decreased risk of stroke among both men and women, regardless of age or ethnicity.91
Abstainers Have Much Higher Risk of Stroke than Drinkers92

Abstainers Have Much Higher Risk of Stroke than Drinkers

  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming one or two drinks a day can reduce the risk of ischemic stroke by about half. Its findings support the National Stroke Association Stroke Prevention Guidelines regarding the beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption.93
  • A study of 944 residents of a Spanish city found that consumption of up to two alcoholics per day reduced the risk of strokes by 42%.94
Alcohol & Weight

Alcohol contains calories, but drinking alcohol doesn't lead to weight gain according to extensive medical research, and many studies report a small reduction in weight for women who drink. Learn more at Alcohol, Calories & Weight.

Diabetes
  • Researchers examined the results of 15 different studies and found that moderate drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes than are abstainers. Teetotalers and heavy drinkers have equally high risk of the disease. The 15 studies were conducted in the U.S., Japan, Finland, Korea, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK and followed a total of 369,862 men and women for an average of 12 years. Moderate drinkers (those who drank between about a half a drink to four drinks per day) were found to be 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than abstainers or heavy drinkers. Whether drinkers consume beer, wine or distilled spirits makes little difference, but the pattern of consumption does. It's much better to consume frequently (such as daily) rather than infrequently for maximum health benefits.95
  • An analysis of 13 studies found that "The results of these studies are consistent with regard to moderate alcohol consumption, indicating a protective effect in the order of 30%." There was no evidence that high consumption of alcohol increased risk of diabetes.96
  • An analysis of 32 studies found that "Compared with no alcohol use, moderate consumption (one to 3 drinks/d) is associated with a 33% to 56% lower incidence of diabetes and a 34% to 55% lower incidence of diabetes-related coronary heart disease."97
  • An analysis of 20 cohort studies found that, compared with lifetime abstainers, a U-shaped pattern exists between alcohol consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. The researchers concluded that "Our analysis confirms previous research findings that moderate alcohol consumption is protective for type 2 diabetes in men and women." 98
  • The American Diabetes Association reports that "In people with diabetes, light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, probably because alcohol raises HDL cholesterol, the so-called 'good cholesterol.'"99
  • An analysis of pairs of twins with different drinking patterns found that those who consumed alcohol in moderation had half the risk of developing type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes compared to those who consumed less alcohol. The study involved nearly 23,000 Finnish twins.100
  • A prospective study of 85,051 women found that the risk of diabetes decreased as the consumption of alcohol increased. Compared with non-drinkers, those who consumed one-third to one drink per day had a 20% reduction in risk and those who consumed over one drink per day had a 40% reduced risk of developing diabetes.101
  • A study of almost 21,000 physicians for over 12 years has found that men who are light to moderate drinkers have a decreased risk of Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus.102
  • A study of 8,663 men over a period of as long as 25 years found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes was significantly lower among moderate drinkers than among either abstainers or heavy drinkers. These findings persisted after adjusting for age, smoking, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, parental diabetes, fasting plasma glucose, body mass index (BMI), serum triglyceride concentration, and cardiorespiratory fitness.103
  • Pre-menstrual women who consume a daily drink of beer, wine or distilled spirits (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.) have a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than abstainers, according to a study that duplicates similar findings in men. The Harvard study involved about 110,000 women age 25 to 42 over a ten-year period. Dramatic reductions (about 60%) occurred among women who drank between 1/2 and two drinks daily compared with abstainers. The reduction of risk was lower for those who drank less.104
  • Drinking alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) in moderation was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women age 40-70 in a large study in the Netherlands that followed them for an average of over six years. The authors wrote that the "findings support the evidence of a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes with moderate alcohol consumption and expand this to a population of older women."105
  • Research conducted at the University of Padova Medical School in Italy found that consuming alcohol directly improved the action of insulin in both healthy diabetics. Alcohol also improved fatty acid levels.106
  • A study of 5,221 men in Britain that followed them for almost 17 years found that that the risk of developing diabetes was lowest for light and moderate drinkers.107
  • And the list of research evidence about the positive effects of moderate drinking on diabetes continues.108
Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementia
  • A study in France found moderate drinkers to have a 75% lower risk for Alzheimer's Disease and an 80% lower risk for senile dementia.109
  • Research on 7,460 women age 65 and older found that those who consumed up to three drinks per day scored significantly better than non-drinkers on global cognitive function, including such things as concentration, memory, abstract reasoning, and language. The investigators adjusted or controlled for such factors as educational level and income that might affect the results, but the significant positive relationships remained.110
  • Researchers in Australia studied 7,485 people age 20 to 64 years. They found that moderate drinkers performed better than abstainers on all measures of cognitive ability. Sex, race, education and extroversion-introversion failed to account for the findings.111
  • Older people who drink in moderation generally suffer less mental decline than do abstainers, another study finds. Over one thousand persons age 65 and older were studied over a period of seven years. Overall, light and moderate drinkers experienced less mental decline than did non-drinkers.112
  • Women who consume alcohol (beer, wine or distilled spirits) moderately on a daily basis are about 20% less likely than abstainers to experience poor memory and decreased thinking abilities, according to data from 12,480 women age 70 to 81 who participated in the long-term study.113
  • A study of about 6,000 people age 65 and older found that moderate drinkers have a 54% lower chance of developing dementia than abstainers. The type of alcohol beverage consumed (wine, spirits, or beer) didn't make a difference in the protective effects of drinking in moderation.114
  • A study of 7,983 people aged 55 of age or older in The Netherlands over an average period of six years found that those who consumed one to three drinks of alcohol (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) per day had a significantly lower risk of dementia (including Alzheimer's) than did abstainers.115
  • A study of over 400 people at least 75 years old who were followed for a period of six years found that drinkers were only half as likely to develop dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) as similarly-aged abstainers from alcohol. Abstainers were defined as people who consumed less than one drink of alcohol per week.116
  • Moderate drinking among older women can benefit memory according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Moderate drinkers performed better on instrumental everyday tasks, had stronger memory self-efficacy and improved memory performance." The performance memory tests include such topics as remembering a story, route, hidden objects, future intentions and connecting random numbers and letters. In all cases, the group who drank scored better than those who did not drink. Women who drank alcohol in moderation (defined as consuming up to two drinks of beer, wine or spirits per day) also performed better on attention, concentration, psychomotor skills, verbal-associative capacities and oral fluency.117
  • A study of 1,018 men and women age 65-79 whose physical and mental health was monitored for an average of 23 years found that "drinking no alcohol, or too much, increases risk of cognitive impairment," in the words of the editor of the British Medical Journal, which published the study.
  • A study of over 6,000 people in the U.K. found that those who consume as little as a single drink of alcoholic beverage per week have significantly greater cognitive functioning than teetotalers. Abstainers were twice as likely as occasional drinkers to receive the lowest cognitive functioning test scores. The beneficial mental effects of alcohol were found when a person drinks up to about 30 drinks per week, and increased with consumption. The researchers did not test the effects of higher levels of alcohol drinking. The research team suggests that alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) improves mental functioning because it increases blood flow to the brain.118
  • Moderate alcohol consumption protects older persons from the development of cognitive impairment, according to a study of 15,807 Italian men and women 65 years of age and older. Among the drinkers only 19% showed signs of mental impairment compared to 29% of the abstainers. The relationship continued even when other factors in cognitive impairment, such as age, education, and health problems were considered.119
  • An 18-year study of Japanese-American men found "a positive association between moderate alcohol intake among middle-aged men and subsequent cognitive performance in later life." Moderate drinkers scored significantly higher on the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI), which includes tests of attention, concentration, orientation, memory, and language. Both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers had the lowest CASI scores.120
  • The moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with superior mental function among older women compared to abstainers in a study of 9,000 women aged 70 to 79 over a period of 15 years. The women's mental function was assessed with seven different tests. After adjusting for other factors that might affect mental function, the researchers found that the women who drank in moderation performed significantly better on five of seven tests. They also performed significantly better on a global score that combined all seven tests. The researchers found that the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on cognitive functioning was the equivalent of being one to two years younger.121
  • Drinking alcohol (beer, wine or liquor) in moderation is one of the strategies that can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in later life according to a review of research conducted by scholars from the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They systematically analyzed the existing research to identify how dementia can be reduced. Abstaining from alcohol and abusing alcohol are both risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia.122
Arthritis
  • A recent study found that alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing arthritic conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy.123
  • A large study in Sweden found that the risk of developing arthritis decreased as the consumption of alcohol increased from light to moderate levels.124
  • Data from two other research studies in Scandinavia show that drinking alcohol is associated with a reduction in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Two independent case-control studies of rheumatoid arthritis were used. The Swedish study used 1,204 cases and 871 controls and the Danish study used 444 cases and 533 controls. Among alcohol consumers, the quarter with the highest consumption levels had a decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis of 40-50% compared to the half with the lowest alcohol consumption.125
  • A study of 1,877 men and women found that drinking alcohol reduced both the risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Non-drinkers were four times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than people who drank alcohol on more than ten days a month. The risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis decreased according to the frequency of alcohol consumption.126
  • Analysis of data from 1,666 patients in Finland indicates that alcohol consumption significantly reduces the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.127
Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH)
  • An analysis of 19 published studies that included over 120,000 men found that drinking two or more drinks a day was associated with a 35% in risk of developing benign prostate enlargement.128
  • A dietary study found that men who consume two or more alcoholic drinks per day are 33% less likely to develop BPH than are teetotalers or alcohol abstainers.129
  • A study of 29,386 men age 40-75 for a period of eight years found that moderate drinkers consuming up to about 3.3 drinks per day experienced a 41% reduction in risk of enlarged prostate.130
  • A study of 882 men (aged 65, 70, 75 and 80 years) found that increased alcohol consumption was strongly associated with decreased risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia.131
  • A study of 6,581 Japanese-American men for 17 years found that alcohol consumption reduced the risk of obstructive uropathy caused by enlarged prostate. Men who drank an average of 1.3 drinks of alcohol per day experienced a 36% lower risk compared with alcohol abstainers.132
  • An investigation of 1,369 men in Italy younger than age 75 found that, compared with abstainers, those who consumed fewer than three drinks per day had a 12% lower risk and those who consumed seven or more drinks per day had a 35% lower risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia. The patterns of risk reduction were similar for beer, wine, and spirits.133
  • A population based case-control study of 100 Chinese patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia who were over 60 years of age and a control group of the same size found that men who consumed alcohol experienced a 35% reduction in risk of developing BPH compared with non-drinkers.134
  • In a prospective study a total of 142 patients who were admitted to an outpatient clinic with lower urinary tract symptoms were examined and 68.3% were diagnosed with clinical BPH. Over twice the proportion of patients without clinical BPH were alcohol drinkers, leading the researchers to conclude that consuming alcohol is a protective factor for clinical BPH.135
  • Data from 34,694 participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial were analyzed. Researchers found that greater alcohol consumption was strongly associated with decreased risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia.136
  • This study analyzed 184 patients who were surgically treated for benign prostatic hyperplasia within one year of its diagnosis and 246 patients with no symptoms of enlarged prostate who were treated in the same hospitals for minor diseases or conditions (controls). There was no evidence that alcohol consumption increased the risk for BPH.137
  • A case-control study of Chinese men found that those who consumed about two to three drinks per day had a 35% reduction in risk and those who consumed over four drinks per day had a 38% reduction in risk of developing an enlarged prostate.138
  • A study of 2,797 men age 60 or older participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) found that those who drank alcohol daily had a 41% lower chance of lower urinary tract symptoms than non-drinkers.139
  • The development of benign prostatic hyperplasia among 2,036 volunteers was studied by following individual participants for a period of from 12 to 21 years. The results demonstrated that the risk of developing BPH dropped as the level of alcohol consumption increased.140
  • This case-control study of 910 Rhode Islanders, plus 2,003 men who served as controls, found that alcohol reduced the risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia.141
  • Researchers followed, for a mean of nine years, 1,700 men who were part of the population-based Massachusetts Male Aging Study. They examined numerous physical, medical, and behavioral characteristics but found that virtually none, including alcohol intake, was a risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia.142
  • A community-based cross-sectional epidemiological study of 514 men in Korea found that a lower risk of developing an enlarged prostate was associated with an increasing daily consumption of alcohol.143
  • An analysis of 14,897 men who were members of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program found that those who consumed three or more drinks per day had a 25% lower risk of BPH than non-drinkers.144
Osteoporosis
  • Researchers examined the evidence from 33 studies and found that alcohol consumption increased neck bone density for each drink per day over the range of 0-3 drinks per day; reduced the risk for hip fracture with increasing quantities consumed; and was generally associated with reduced bone loss over time, compared with abstention from alcohol.145
  • A study was conducted using identical female twins, in which one twin drank very little and the other twin drank moderately (one or two drinks each day). Twins were used because they are genetic clones. Because they have the same genes and grew up in the same environment, it's easier to control for any other possible confounding factors. The study found that moderate drinkers had significantly denser bones than the control group of twins consisting of very light drinkers.146
  • The National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment followed over 200,000 postmenopausal women in the U.S. with no previous diagnosis of osteoporosis who were seen at doctors' offices, with no previous diagnosis of osteoporosis. As a result of screening, the study found that 39.6% had osteopenia or low bone density and 7% had osteoporosis. The study found that drinking alcohol reduced the chances of developing osteoporosis.147
  • Analyses using data from 13,512 persons ages 20 or older found that bone density was higher in men and postmenopausal women compared with those who do not drink.148
  • A population-based cohort study of 5,865 adults aged 65 years and older from four U.S. communities found that moderate drinking was associated with a significant decrease in risk of hip fracture. Compared with long-term abstainers, moderate drinkers of beer, wine or spirits had a 22% lower chance of developing osteoporosis. Alcohol consumption was also associated with bone mineral density of the total hip and femoral neck in a stepwise manner, with approximately 5% higher bone density among consumers of 14 or more drinks per week than among abstainers.149
Gallbladder Disease (Gallstones or Cholelithiasis)
  • A prospective study of 1,290,413 United Kingdom women followed them for an average of over six years. Drinking alcohol was found to decrease the risk of developing gallstone disease. Women who drank 15 or more units of alcohol per week has a 41% reduced risk compared with those who drank one to two units per week. A unit equals ten mL of absolute alcohol.150
  • Information on 58,462 adults age 25 years and over who were randomly selected for the Italian National Health survey was analyzed. After controlling for age sex and other variables, researchers found that those who consumed up to about 1.3 glasses of alcohol each day experienced a 17% decrease, those who consumed from 1.3 to 2.8 glasses daily had a 33% decrease, and those who drank more than 2.8 glasses of alcohol each day enjoyed a 42% drop in risk for gallstone disease, compared with abstainers.151
  • Analysis of data from 88,837 women aged 34 to 59 who were followed for four years after completing a detailed questionnaire about food and alcohol intake revealed that those who drank alcohol daily had a 40% decrease in their risk of developing gallbladder disease.152
  • A study of 29,584 people enrolled in an epidemiological survey of the general population of Italy found that daily moderate alcohol consumption by men significantly lowered their risk of developing gallstone disease compared with non-drinkers.153
  • A total of 80,898 women in the U.S. were followed for 20 years, with alcohol consumption being measured every two to four years. The resulting finding was that alcohol consumption decreased the risk of developing gallstone disease. As consumption increased, the risk decreased. Compared with women who did not drink, those who drank an average of up to one drink per day experienced a 14% decrease in risk whereas those who drank an average of four or more drinks per day had a 38% reduced risk of developing gallstone disease. In addition, as frequency of consumption increased risk decreased dramatically. Beer, wine and spirits all reduced risk.154
Cancers Kidney Cancer (also called renal cell carcinoma)
  • An analysis of data from 12 prospective studies that included 760,044 men and women who were tracked for seven to 20 years found that moderate drinkers are about 30% less likely to develop kidney cancer than are abstainers.155
  • A prospective study of 59,237 Swedish women age 40-76 found that those who consumed at least one drink per week had a 38% lower risk of kidney cancer than did abstainers or those who drank less. For women over 55, the risk dropped by two-thirds (66%).156
  • A study of a large cohort of Finnish males found that risk of kidney cancer declined as total consumption of alcohol increased.157
  • Data from 88,759 women who were tracked for 20 years and from 47,828 men who were observed for 14 years indicate that alcohol reduces the risk of kidney cancer in both men and women.158
  • Compared with nondrinkers, men who drank one or more drinks per day had a 31% lower risk of kidney cancer among 161,126 Hawaii–Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort participants.159
  • A study of postmenopausal women in Iowa over a 15-year period found that those who drank alcohol, compared with nondrinkers, had a significantly lower risk of developing kidney cancer. This relationship persisted after taking into account many other confounding factors.160
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (often called Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma)
  • A review of findings from nine international studies demonstrates that drinking alcohol reduces the risk of non- Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) by 27%. The protective effect of alcohol did not vary by beer, wine, or distilled spirits consumption.161
  • A prospective study of 473,984 participants (285,079 men and 188,905 women) found that drinkers had a significantly lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than did nondrinkers. For example, those who consumed over 28 drinks per week, the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma was about 25% lower than among nondrinkers. This relationship existed for beer, wine and distilled spirits.162
  • A cohort of 35,156 women aged 55-69 years who were studied over a nine-year period found that alcohol consumption was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma compared with abstaining and the amount of alcohol consumed, rather than the form (beer, wine, or distilled spirits), appeared to provide the protection against the cancer.163
  • In a population-based case-control study of adults from four U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Study centers, researchers found that those who drank alcohol had a significantly lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than did nondrinkers.164
  • In a multi-center case-control study in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Czech Republic, researchers found that alcohol consumption significantly reduced the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma among men and among people living in non- Mediterranean countries.165
Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • A multi-center case-control study of subjects in Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Ireland and the Czech Republic found results "consistent with previous studies, suggesting a protective effect of alcohol on HL."166
  • Alcohol reduced the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) for both men and women, but more so for men, whose risk was lowered by 53% in a population-based case-control study was conducted in Germany.167
  • A protective effect of alcohol consumption on risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma among non-smokers in Italy was reported in a population-based case-control study.168
  • Drinking alcohol reduced the risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma among both smokers and non-smokers in an analysis of data from a series of case-control studies in northern Italy.169
  • A common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is pain in the lymph nodes. This is reduced following the consumption of alcohol.170
Thyroid Cancer
  • A prospective study of over one and one-quarter million (1,280,296) women in the U.K. confirmed the finding that drinking alcohol significantly reduces the risk of developing of thyroid cancer.171
  • Data from almost one-half million (490,000) men and women in the U.S. found that increased alcohol consumption decreased the risk of thyroid cancer.172
  • A country-wide population-based case-control study in New Caledonia found that the incidence of thyroid cancer was negatively associated with drinking alcohol among both men and women.173 That is, consuming alcohol was found to be associated with a lower risk of developing thyroid cancer.
  • A study of women identified through the Cancer Surveillance System (CSS), a population-based cancer registry in Washington State, found that higher levels of alcohol consumption were associated with lower risk of developing thyroid cancer.174
Other

The moderate consumption of alcohol appears to be beneficial to reducing or preventing other diseases and health problems, including the following:

The Common Cold. Research has found moderate drinkers to be more resistant than abstainers to five strains of the common cold virus. Those who consumed two to three drinks daily had an 85% greater resistance. Those drinking one to two drinks daily had a 65% lower risk and those who drank less than daily had a 30% lower risk than abstainers. 175

Intermittent Claudication (IC). In a study of 18,339 observations, researchers found that drinking alcohol in moderation significantly reduces the risk of intermittent claudication. IC is associated with a two- to four-fold increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.176

Metabolic Syndrome. To examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome, a meta-analysis was conducted of seven studies with 22,000 participants. Metabolic syndrome is a dangerous cluster of risk factors that increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The analysis found that drinking alcohol in moderation significantly reduced the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. The positive effects existed among men who consumed up to a little over three drink per day and among women who consumed up to one and one-half drinks each day.177

Peripheral Artery Disease. Harvard researchers found moderate drinkers to be almost 1/3 less likely to suffer Peripheral Artery Disease (a significant cause of death among the elderly) than those consuming less than one drink per week.178

The list continues with many others, such as essential tremors,179 hepatitis A,180 kidney stones,181 macular degeneration (a major cause of blindness),182 Pancreatic Cancer,183 Parkinson's disease,184 poor physical condition in the elderly,185 stress and depression,186 and type B gastritis.187

What Is Moderation?

Medical researchers generally describe moderation as one to three drinks per day. It appears that consuming less than about half a drink per day is associated with only very small health benefits. Four or five drinks may be moderate for large individuals but excessive for small or light people. Because of their generally smaller size and other biological differences, the typical woman should generally consume 25 to 30 percent less than the average man. 114 And, of course, recovering alcoholics, those with any adverse reactions to alcohol, and those advised against drinking by their physicians should abstain.

Drinking in moderation has been described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a man consuming four drinks on any day with an average of 14 drinks per week. For women, it is consuming three drinks in any one day and an average of seven drinks per week.

Learn more about Alcohol Equivalence and visit Standard Drinks.

A standard alcoholic drink is:

  • A 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
  • A 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
  • A shot (one and one-half ounces) of 80 proof liquor or spirits such as vodka, tequila, or rum either straight or in a mixed drink.

Harvard's Healthy Eating Pyramid, produced by the Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, was co-developed by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health. It is based on the best available scientific knowledge and recommends drinking alcohol in moderation (unless there is a good reason to abstain). 116

Harvard Food Pyramid

Drinking patterns appear to be as important as the amounts consumed. "The key to healthy, moderate consumption is a regular, one to three drinks per day pattern."117 However, drinking a "weeks worth" of alcohol over a period of a few hours would be unhealthful, even dangerous, and clearly to be avoided.

All of the many health benefits of drinking apply only to moderate consumption - - never to heavy drinking. To the contrary, heavy drinking is associated with reduced longevity and increased risk of a diversity of diseases. Unfortunately, there really can be too much of a good thing.

Salud, skoal, a votre sante', prost, l'chayim, or, in English, "to your health," but all in moderation!

 

This website provides no suggestions or recommendations whatsoever about consuming alcohol or any other matter and none should be inferred.

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