Alcohol and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious diseases that cripples millions of people around the world.

Data from two research studies in Scandinavia as well as animal studies show that drinking alcohol is associated with a reduction in the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Two independent case-control studies of rheumatoid arthritis were used. The Swedish study used 1,204 cases and 871 controls and the Danish study used 444 cases and 533 controls.

Among alcohol consumers, the quarter with the highest consumption levels had a decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis of 40-50% compared to the half with the lowest alcohol consumption.

The reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis associated with drinking alcohol, along with the preventive effect of alcohol demonstrated in experimental arthritis research, strongly suggest that alcohol consumption provides protection against rheumatoid arthritis.

Note: This website provides no recommendations for drinking alcohol and rheumatoid arthritis or for any other health or medical matter and none should be inferred.


  • Kallberg, H., et al. Alcohol consumption is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis: results from two Scandinavian case-control studies. Annals of the Rheumatoid Diseases, 2009, 68(2), 222-228.

Readings on Alcohol and Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Aho, K., and Heliovaara, M. alcohol, androgens and arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatoid Diseases, 1993, 52(12), 897.
  • Cerhan,J.R., et a. Blood transfusion, alcohol use, and anthropometric risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis in older women. Journal of Rheumatology, 2002, 29(2), 246-246.
  • Hazes, J.M., et al. Lifestyle and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis: cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 1990, 49(12), 980-982.
  • Myllykangas-Lusojarvi, R., et al. Reduced incidence of alcohol related deaths in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatoid Diseases, 2000, 59, 75-76.
  • Turesson, Carl. Increased Alcohol Intake Associated with Decreased Risk of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Abstract) Paper presented at the annual European Congress of Rheumatology. Barcelona, Spain. June 13-16, 2007. European League Against Rheumatism, June 15, 2007.
  • Voigt, L.F., et al. Smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, and the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Epidemiology, 1994, 5(5), 525-532.

Filed Under: Health