Saturday 10 September 2011

Moderate drinking and health - more evidence

From the Sun, Rimm et al paper:
Despite the lack of literature on moderate alcohol use and successful ageing [EC: which their paper provides], our findings are supported by previous observations that moderate alcohol intake is inversely associated with various specific health outcomes that are common among older populations, including coronary heart disease[20], stroke [21], diabetes [22], cognitive decline [18], dementia [23], and physical limitations [24]. In experimental investigations in humans, moderate consumption of alcohol has profound, beneficial effects on multiple pathophysiological processes [2], such as insulin resistance, inflammation, dyslipidemia, endothelial dysfunction, and hemostasis, which play important roles in the etiology of many health conditions. There remains a concern in women that moderate alcohol consumption may increase risk of breast cancer [25],[26]. At the same time, data from the current study on successful ageing and several other total mortality studies [27],[28] that examined midlife alcohol use suggest the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on overall health might outweigh the risks of specific diseases such as breast cancer. Another potential mechanism that links moderate alcohol consumption to successful ageing is the effects of moderate drinking on psychosocial functioning, which may integrate social, mental, and physical health. For example, studies have documented potential benefits of moderate alcohol use on appetite [29] and social contacts [30], which may improve health for ageing populations, although more studies are needed to explore these psychosocial effects further[31]. The current study also provides novel evidence that, even at moderate intake levels, drinking regularly throughout the week rather than concentrating alcohol intake in just 1 or 2 d may provide greater benefits. This observation was consistent with previous findings that regular rather than episodic alcohol drinking pattern was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes [32][35], although mechanisms behind different drinking patterns remain to be elucidated.
Each of the links above, from the paper, gets you the footnote where you can pull up the cited paper.

Any bets whether the NZ Ministry of Health will update its nutritional guidelines for older people?

Previously on this topic at Offsetting, in chronological order:

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