Despite recent studies on the benefits of red wine for heart health, there is Little scientific evidence to suggest that a mild to moderate alcohol consumption plays a real role in the prevention or mitigation of symptoms in chronic diseases.
However, a 2010 study published in the journal Rheumatology made headlines when he found that regular alcohol consumption can help reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. This British study also suggested that increased alcohol consumption is associated with lower risks of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Although drinking a glass of wine or beer two to three times a week may not produce harmful effects, regular and excessive consumption of these drinks may increase the risk of other serious health problems.
Does it really work?
Prior to the 2010 study, some research indicated that alcohol reduced the risk of arthritis in laboratory mice. However, additional studies conducted in humans found no relationship, and this additional study was necessary to better understand the association between regular alcohol consumption and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In 2012, a study published in the British Journal of Medicine found that moderate drinking was associated with a 37 percent reduction in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, in a group of 34. 141 women analyzed during a period of six years. Long-term alcohol consumption reduced the risk by 52 percent.
But it's not yet time to run to the nearest tavern, at least until you study this topic more thoroughly. Certain inconsistencies in these studies, including the age, gender and drinking patterns of participants and control groups, make some doctors and researchers skeptical about it.
Effect of alcohol
Alcohol's ability to reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis may be due to one of its most well-known side effects. The years of drinking alcohol can affect some immune functions of the cells, which would reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation, which, in the case of joints, is the main feature of rheumatoid arthritis.
However, this does not mean that drinking more will necessarily help relieve arthritis. According to an article in Artritis Today, alcohol can also:
• Interact with medications you are taking and increase the risk of liver damage • Affect balance and increase the risk of falling • Disturb your sleep • Contribute to depression
Although drinking a glass of wine or beer two or three times a week may not have negative effects, regular and excessive consumption may increase your risk of other serious health problems.Over time, excessive use of alcohol can cause neurological disorders, liver diseases, heart problems and certain types of cancer.
Thus, while the jury is still deliberating on the suitability or not of alcohol for arthritis patients, it is always better to practice moderation.
About the author
Dean Haycock holds a Ph.D. degree in Biology from Brown University, and received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study at The Rockefeller University.
His neuropharmacological research has been published in Journals of Neurochemistry, Biological Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and Brain Research.
Haycock is the author of "The Everything Health Guide to Schizophrenia," "The Everything Health Guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder" (second edition), and co-author of "Overcoming Complications of LASIK and Other Eye Surgeries."