Drinking and Good Health
Moderate drinking leads to better health and longer life. Doctors have long known this. Should abstainers try drinking for health and long life?
Doctors also know many of the ways in which moderate drinking causes better health. Alcohol raises HDL or “good” cholesterol level. It lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Drinking improves cholesterol particle size. It reduces platelet “clumping.” Alcohol increases the process of clot dissolving. It reduces blood pressure, and improves blood flow. Drinking also reduces coronary artery spasm, and improves blood insulin levels.
Yet many doctors are reluctant to suggest that abstainers try drinking in moderation. They may fear that the advice will be misinterpreted. That patients might drink too much. What if the same logic were applied to other advice? Doctors would not write prescriptions for any medication.
The article is “To drink or not to drink: That is the question.” In it, Emanuel Rubin, M.D., argues that doctors should recommend that abstainers add moderate drinking to their diets. That’s because of its beneficial effects on all-cause mortality.
Dr. Rubin explains. “The strongest evidence for a beneficial effect of moderate alcohol intake is the documented reduction in all cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. Indeed, the protection against coronary artery disease is comparable to that produced by the administration of statins.”
He continues. “In this context, alcoholic beverages do not require a prescription, are far cheaper, and are certainly more enjoyable. Although a physician’s advice to a patient should always be individualized,… the overwhelming evidence suggests that physicians should counsel lifelong nondrinkers at about 40 to 50 years of age to relax and take a drink a day. Preferably with dinner.”
Dr. Rubin says that the drink can be beer, wine or spirits (liquor).
Abstainers Try Drinking for Health
- Dasgupta, A. The Science of Drinking. How Alcohol Affects Your Body and Mind.
- Ford, G. The Science of Healthy Drinking.
- Preedy, V. Beer in Health and Disease Prevention.
- Rubin, E. To drink or not to drink. That is the question. Alco Clin Exper Res, 38(12).