Even moderate use of alcohol may shorten your life
They still exist: health freaks who allow themselves 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol every day. Moderate alcohol consumption is good for heart and blood vessels, they think. The Lancet, the most prestigious medical scientific journal of this planet, published a large study that puts an end to this myth forever.
The publication in The Lancet is a meta-study, for which researchers from the University of Cambridge in England collected data from 599,912 alcohol users from 83 epidemiological studies.
Those studies were all prospective. The average study participant lived in a rich country, was healthy when the study started, and was followed for about 6 years.
An intake of 4 glasses of wine or beer [100 g alcohol /week] per week had no effect on the overall risk of death. If you look at the chance or mortality caused by cardiovascular disease, an intake of 1-2 glasses of wine or beer per day reduces the risk of mortality. However, don't see this positive effect when you look at overall mortality. This is probably because alcohol, even in small quantities, increases the chance of other causes of death.
When the researchers looked at different types of cardiovascular mortality separately, they noticed that alcohol had a positive effect on mortality due to a heart attack.
But when the researchers looked at other types of cardiovascular mortality, there was no longer a positive effect of alcohol. Alcohol only had a negative effect. Alcohol increased the risk of mortality from stroke, death from heart failure and death from other cardiovascular causes, even in moderate use.
The idea that moderate use of alcohol is healthy is not correct. Those who drink less than 5 glasses of wine or alcohol a week do not harm their health, but do not add anything to it either. And a higher intake than those 5 glasses a week is irrevocably at the expense of your life expectancy, the figures below show.
"In conclusion, our study shows that among current drinkers, the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100 g per week", the researchers conclude. "For cardiovascular disease subtypes other than myocardial infarction, there were no clear thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with a lower disease risk."
"These data support adoption of lower limits of alcohol consumption than are recommended in most current guidelines."
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