Moderate Alcohol Benefit for Arthritis Sufferers

It was a wise man who said everything is fine in moderation, and a recent article extolls the moderate alcohol benefit for arthritis sufferers. It has long been recognised that a couple of units of alcohol a day benefits heart health and may help to prevent certain types of cancers, and it seems also that it may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute have demonstrated a 50% reduction in numbers of women who drink at least three alcoholic drinks a week of developing the condition over a period of ten years. The article explains that:

 “The research, which is published online in the British Medical Journal included 34,141 Swedish women whose health information was recorded in 1987 and 1997. Then, researchers followed up again with the women between 2003 and 2009 to find that 197 of them had developed rheumatoid arthritis.”

“After taking into account other factors like age, diet and smoking, the researchers found that people who reported drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week — where a single beverage is defined as 500 milliliters of beer, 150 milliliters of wine or 50 milliliters of liquor — had a 52 percent lower rheumatoid arthritis risk, compared with people who never drank.”

The article points out, however the dangers of regularly consuming too much alcohol which are high blood pressure, some types of cancer, heart problems, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Drinking moderately as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and regular exercise may be beneficial for bone density too, according to other health experts.

The mechanism by which alcohol may improve arthritis is not known for sure but it is believed that the disease is associated with autoimmune problems and alcohol may reduce the inflammatory response.

Another article on the subject explains that:

“Alcohol reduces immune activity, at least to some extent, and [we] suspect that this is the main reason that alcohol consumption is associated with a reduction in severity of rheumatoid arthritis,”

“Alcohol may also have a mild painkilling effect.”

It goes on to caution:

“This doesn’t mean that rheumatoid arthritis patients should head for the nearest bar or liquor store. Moderation is the key,”

“Some rheumatoid arthritis drugs — such as methotrexate — can cause liver damage if consumed with alcohol.”

The general conclusion of the article is that:

“Drinking alcohol doesn’t necessarily prevent rheumatoid arthritis, however. Experts believe a complex mix of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors causes the disorder, so while alcohol consumption may affect a person’s risk, it’s unlikely to be the deciding factor.”

This conclusion is in accordance with most health experts’ belief that a little alcohol is no bad thing, and this latest evidence that there is a moderate alcohol benefit for arthritis sufferers, reassures us that we don’t need to give up all of life’s pleasures for the sake of our health.

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