Are alcohol and healthy aging linked? Research has found that drinking alcohol in moderation is linked with longer life. But is it the regularity of moderate drinking that improves healthy aging.
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 aging.
The researchers defined healthy aging 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 drank just over one to two and one-half per day had a 28% greater chance of aging healthy. That’s compared to non-drinkers.
According to U.S. federal guidelines, this moderate drinking would be defined as heavy drinking. It’s 100% to 250% higher.
This is 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 aging. 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 aging.
What’s a Drink?
A standard drink is any of these.
Standard drinks each contain six-tenths of one ounce of pure alcohol. And the alcohol is the main beneficial substance.
Alcohol and Healthy Aging
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- Sun, Q., et al. Alcohol consumption at midlife and successful ageing in women. PLoS Med, 8(9).
- Both aging and ageing are correct.
- This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor with questions.