Performing a study on alcohol’s effects on our health is like dropping a small silver ball into a roulette wheel where the spaces run in a tight pattern: good-bad-good-bad-good-bad- good-bad. For decades upon decades, scientists have been busy trying to prove either the ill effects or beneficial effects of wine, beer, and spirits. Sometimes they land on ‘good,’ sometimes they land on ‘bad.’
For a long time, we’ve heard that, generally speaking, one drink for women and two drinks for men a day is reasonably healthy enough to not have to worry about. We know that red wine is the healthiest drink and that beer also carries some health benefits. But alas, a new study has just come onto the scene and its results can be considered as definitively landing in a bad slot on the roulette wheel.
Researchers out of UCLA in California have found that in certain circumstances, if an older man has as few as two drinks a week, it can increase his risk of death. That can be considered some shocking news — and certainly something that runs against previous studies that say moderate drinking is a healthy habit. The study in question used data from the early 1970s on adults who were 60 or older and then followed up with new data in 1992.
They discovered that in two general circumstances, moderate drinking could harm older men. One: If they had a disease that could be made worse by alcohol, such as ulcers or gouty arthritis. Two: If they took prescription drugs that could react with alcohol, such as analgesics or sedatives. For those men who fell into these broad categories, the risk of death was 20% higher than it was for men who drank less alcohol or who drank the same amount but didn’t have health conditions.
This study highlights one area that doesn’t — surprisingly — get touched upon very often. Most studies on alcohol prove that moderate drinking can help your heart’s health and actually prolong your life. But few consider alcohol’s effect on the various health conditions that people have.
The UCLA study lends some mathematical evidence that while moderate alcohol is fine for some people, for the tens of millions of older adults who have an existing health problem, or take medications for sleep, joint pain, depression, or a stomach problem, moderate drinking can make things much worse.
This is coupled with another study that has arisen of late that also questions whether light drinking is as healthy as it seems. It suggested studies that found beneficial results from all over the world may be flawed and thus their results might not be as accurate as they seem.