Are alcohol and healthy ageing linked? Research has found that drinking alcohol in moderation is associated with longer life. However, researchers looked at whether regular, moderate drinking improves healthy ageing.
The Study: Alcohol and Healthy Ageing
Researchers studied 13,894 women in the Nurses’ Health Study. They assessed them at midlife and followed them over time. Thus, they were able to examine their drinking in relation to healthy ageing.
The researchers defined healthy ageing (which they call successful ageing) as follows.
- Survival to age 70 without having any major chronic disease. That was such things as coronary disease, cancer, stroke, or diabetes.
- And surviving without having any major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health problems.
Only 11% of the women met these criteria.
The Researchers found that moderate drinkers, especially those who drank frequently, are more likely to age healthy. Women who consumed just over 1 to 2 1/2 drinks per day had a 28% greater chance of ageing healthy. That’s in comparison to abstainers or non-drinkers.
According to U.S. federal guidelines, this moderate drinking would be defined as heavy drinking.
Consistent with other medical research, the frequency of drinking was very important. Women who only drank on one or two days each week had relatively little increased chance of healthy ageing. On the other hand, those who drank at least five days each week did much better. They had almost a 50% greater chance of healthy ageing.
What’s a Drink?
A standard drink is a
Standard drinks of beer, wine and spirits each contain six-tenths of one ounce of pure alcohol. And the alcohol is the main beneficial substance.
Resources: Alcohol and Healthy Ageing
Risk of Dementia Reduced by Drinking.
Drinking and Dementia, Alzheimer’s, & Memory Loss.
Risk of Osteoporosis and Drinking Alcohol.
Moderate Drinking, Senility, and Longevity.
Holford, P. The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing. How to Live Longer, Look Younger and Feel Great. London: Piatkus, 2012.
Preedy, V. and Watson, R. The Mediterranean Diet. London: Academic, 2020.
Sharma, R. Live Longer, Live Younger. London: Watkins, 2014.
Stanner, S. Nutrition and Healthy Ageing. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008.
Bo, X. et al. Relationship of alcohol consumption to all-cause mortality in U.S. adults. J Am Coll Cardi, 2017, 70(8), 913–922.
Skovenborg, E. et al. Benefits and hazards of alcohol-the J-shaped curve and public health, Drug Alco Today, 2021, 21(1),54-69.
Van den Brandt, P. and Brandts, L.Alcohol consumption in later life and reaching longevity. Age Age, 2020, 49(3), 395–402.
Sun, Q., et al. Alcohol consumption at midlife and successful ageing in women. PLoS Med, 8(9): e1001090.
Both ageing and aging are correct.
This website is for information only. So it does not give advice. For that, please see a doctor.