—A Special Report from Victor Marchione, MD
Let’s begin by reiterating the fact that any positive effect alcohol has in the body is immediately made irrelevant if you drink too much. Drinking only in moderation will produce health benefits. And that generally means one to two drinks maximum per day.
Now to an interesting new study from Rome. At a meeting of European joint pain experts, it was brought forward that alcohol consumption is linked to a significantly reduced risk of developing several arthritic conditions. They included the two most prevalent forms of joint pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondyloarthropathy.
And there are some pretty big numbers here, as you’ll see. In the study, alcohol consumption was associated with a 73% lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, a 69% lower risk of osteoarthritis, a 66% lower risk of spondylarthropathy, a 62% lower risk of psoriatic arthritis, and a 73% lower risk of reactive arthritis.
Another very interesting point here is that the level of inflammation increased as the amount of alcohol consumed decreased. Less drinking meant more inflammation, signaling the unusual prospect that the presence of alcohol in the system could protect against inflammation.
Previous research has shown that alcohol could help protect against rheumatoid arthritis. But this study shows it might apply to other arthritic conditions, too. More research needs to be done into this amazing area of study, including the types of arthritis that account for the vast majority of disability in the world.
The researchers write that: “Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, with consideration for local public health recommendations. A number of social and medical problems are associated with increased consumption of alcohol; therefore any positive implications of its use must be understood within the wider health context.”
Alcohol is continually in the medical news, arising in both positive and negative ways. Natural chemicals in red wine, for instance, are proven to exert a heart-healthy effect. A safe level of alcohol for women is one drink per day, and for men it’s two drinks a day. Anybody who avoids alcohol or has given up alcohol for physical or mental health reasons should never seek health benefits from introducing alcohol into their lives.