July 9, 2007

Health benefits of moderate drinking

"An extensive body of data shows concordant J-shaped associations between alcohol intake and a variety of adverse health outcomes, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, stroke, dementia, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and all-cause mortality." O’Keefe JH, Bybee KA, Lavie CJ, "Alcohol and cardiovascular health: the razor-sharp double-edged sword", Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2007;50(11) [in press].

Here are some graphs showing the "J-shaped curve", i.e., a drink or two every day reduces the risk of the outcome in question, but more than a few drinks returns one to the same level of risk as with abstention and then increases the risk.

These graphs examine only the effect of the alcohol consumed, not other benefits such as those documented for red wine.

One "drink" contains 10-15 grams of alcohol (ethanol): approximately 12 oz. of beer, 4-5 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. 80-proof liquor, or 1 oz. 100-proof liquor.

Alcohol and All-Cause Mortality
The relationship of daily alcohol consumption to the relative risk of all-cause mortality in men and women. DiCastelnuovo A, Castanzo S, Bagnardi V, Donati MB, Iacoviello L, de Gaetano G, "Alcohol dosing and total mortality in men and women", Archives of Internal Medicine 2006;166:2437–45.

Alcohol and Stroke Risk
Relationship between daily alcohol and ischemic stroke. This was fully adjusted for the usual stroke factors. OR = odds ratio. Sacco RL, Elkind M, Boden-Albala B, et al., "The protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on ischemic stroke", JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 1999;281:53–60.

Alcohol and Risk of Diabetes
Alcohol intake and incidence of new type 2 diabetes. Koppes LL, Dekker JM, Hendriks HF, Bouter LM, Heine RJ, "Moderate alcohol consumption lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective observational studies", Diabetes Care 2005;28:719–25.

Also:  Bell S, Daskalopoulou M, Rapsomaniki E, et al., "Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases: population based cohort study using linked health records", The BMJ 2017;356 (Published 22 March 2017). doi: 10.1136/bmj.j909