Sunday, October 2

Not a little alcohol is healthy, this is what science says


According to recent studies: 1 in 3 people drink alcohol. More specifically, 25% of women and 39% of men are drinkers. Women consume an average of 0.73 drinks per day, while men drink about 1.7 per day.

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Photo by Zan on Unsplash / Unsplash

For years countless scientific studies have supported the idea that a glass of red wine a day is a good ally for health and specifically for the heart. As expected, the experts have spoken about it and do not agree with it, although there are different references, one of which has attracted the most attention is a study by the University of Oxford that in a certain way caused a stir in the medical community. The study focused on analyzing the impact of alcohol on brain health, in summary they reached the following conclusion: no amount of alcohol is safe for brain function and general health.

The study was published in May 2020 and was based on a cohort of more than 25,000 British participants with an average age of 54 years. Brain scans were performed to measure the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and brain health. It is worth mentioning that the research work was carried out by researchers with experience in population health, psychiatry and clinical neuroscience.

Initially, the researchers began with the premise that “moderate alcohol consumption is common and is often considered harmless to brain health.” Therefore, they performed brain images using identical scans on subjects: found that alcohol consumption was accompanied by a decrease in brain gray matter and white matter. Excessive alcohol consumption posed additional negative effects on brain structure in addition to the impact of the volume of alcohol consumed.

Respondents were divided into groups of “Never drinkers”, “former drinkers” and “current drinkers”. Brain scans on identical machines tracked changes in brain volume and matter. Impressive? They found no difference in the impact of drinking between types of liquor, such as wine versus beer or spirits. This is an important point since the researchers addressed the popular notion that wine is considered healthier than liquor and according to the statements of the research team: “We found no evidence to suggest that the type of alcoholic beverage confers differences in the risks to the brain. ” Furthermore, they added that This supports the hypothesis that it is the ethanol itself, rather than other compounds in the drink, the one that is in the biological path of the damage.

Derived from the Covid-19 pandemic, a considerable increase in alcohol consumption occurred in society, stress, confinement, uncertainty and economic crisis are known to, played a determining role. In addition, much was said about the impact of alcohol on general health and immune system function; the relationship is close and delicate. Taking into account that today one of the most important health measures is to take all the necessary measures to strengthen the immune system, the health effects of alcohol consumption have been put in everyone’s sights. Finally, large amounts of alcohol can suppress the immune system, depress it and thereby increase the risk of disease and infection.

According to researchers at the University of Oxford, several questions remain. Probably the main one is that they did not set the threshold for when alcohol consumption causes harm or the impact of moderate alcohol consumption on brain connectivity. However, the main theory is that alcohol consumption patterns such as excessive intake, can worsen the impact on the brain and general health. What is a fact is that their conclusions were forceful and quite clear: “A safe dose of alcohol for the brain was not found.” For its part, moderate consumption is associated with more widespread adverse effects on the brain than previously recognized.

There are also other references worth mentioning, a large global study published in The Lancet that completely rejects the notion that drinking can be healthy. No amount of alcohol is safe, according to study The Global Burden of Diseases, which analyzed the levels of alcohol consumption and its effects on health in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016. While the study authors note that in some cases drinking in moderation can protect people against heart disease, they found that the potential for developing cancer and other diseases outweighs these potential benefits, as well as other risks of harm. The main objective of the report invites governments to review health guidelines and proposes to suggest lower levels of consumption.

Furthermore, one of the main questions raised by the study is How much alcohol is too much? According to the study authors: “Our results show that the safest level to drink is none.” And in fact they clarify that these types of findings are in conflict with most health guidelines, which promote limited consumption and even talk about the health benefits associated with the consumption of up to two drinks a day.

The study looked at a wide range of risks posed by drinking alcohol, including illness, driving accidents, and self-harm. According to the report, alcohol caused 2.8 million deaths in 2016. It was the leading risk factor for disease worldwide, the study found, and accounts for nearly 10% of deaths among 15-49-year-olds. For the youngest, the top three alcohol-related causes of death were tuberculosis, road injuries and self-harm, according to the study. Drinking alcohol was also one of the leading causes of cancer for people over 50.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that women limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day and men to two drinks a day, the reality is that it is too easy to exceed these limits without knowing it. One drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer containing 5% alcohol, or one shot of liquor, although many mixed drinks contain more than one shot and some craft beers contain higher levels of alcohol.

In addition, the study found quite alarming data on alcohol consumption: 1 in 3 people drink alcoholMore specifically, 25% of women and 39% of men are drinkers. Women consume an average of 0.73 drinks per day, while men drink about 1.7 per day. The study also finds what many previous research has shown: the more people drink, the greater the risk of alcohol-related health problems.

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