Alcohol Improves Health & Longevity (Live Longer)

Alcohol improves health when consumed in moderation. And it also helps us live longer. For example:

alcohol improves health(A) Moderate drinkers are usually healthier than non-drinkers.

(B) Moderate drinkers tend to live longer than non-drinkers.

(C) Alcoholic drinks are almost always more healthful than non- alcoholic drinks. That is, they tend to have fewer calories, less fat, less sodium, and fewer sugars than non-alcoholic ones.)

I. Section A: Drinkers are Healthier

Let’s look more closely each fact. (A) Moderate drinkers are usually are healthier than non-drinkers. Specifically, such drinkers tend to have fewer: 

    • Heart attacks and other heart problems.1
    • Strokes.2
    • Type 2 diabetes.3
    • Arthritis.4
    • Gallstone/gallbladder problems.5
    • Alzheimer’s & dementia.6
    • Osteoporosis.7
    • Circulation problems.8
    • Enlarged prostate (BPH).9
    • Depression.10
    • Social anxiety.11
    • Common cold.12 
    • Intermittent claudication.13 
    • Metabolic syndrome.14 
    • Peripheral artery disease.15 
    • Essential tremors.16 
    • Hepatitis A.17
    • Frailty in older people.18
    • Parkinson’s disease.19 
    • Social stress.20 
    • Type B gastritis.21
    • Multiple Myeloma.22 
    • Kidney cancer.23 
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (cancer).24 
    • Follicular lipoma (cancer).25 
    • Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer).26    
    • Thyroid cancer.27      
    • Type 2 diabetes.28 
    • Non-Hodgkin lipom (cancer).29  
    • Erectile dysfunction.30
    • Glioma.31
    • Cataracts.32
    • Retinopathy.33
    • Blood vessel function.34
    • Asthma.35
    • Abdominal aortic aneurism.36
    • Multiple sclerosis.37
    • Sacropenia.38
    • Fibromyalgia pain.39
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).40
    • Brain atrophy.41
    • Graves’ hyperthyroidism.42
    • Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).43
    • Chronic kidney disease.44
    • Aortic valve sclerosis45 

Also

alcohol improves healthAbstainers who begin drinking have fewer heart attacks. 

Alcohol Increases heart attack survival. 

Frequent drinkers have greater heart-health benefits.

Effects of Moderate Drinking

Drinking alcohol in moderation reduces the risk of developing kidney, gallbladder, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Also Hodgkinsnon-Hodgkins, and thyroid cancers.

But it increases the risk of breast, mouth and throat cancers. The latter two are rare. Of concern to most people is breast cancer. 

One way women can reduce the risk is by not smoking. The other is by by taking folate supplements.

Women have a five percent chance of dying from breast cancer. But they have ten times greater chance of dying from heart disease. Breast self-examination is the best way to detect breast cancer early. Learn how. 

 No Effect

Moderate drinking has no effect on cancers of the

II. Section B: Drinkers Live Longer

alcohol improves health(B) Moderate drinkers tend to live longer than non-drinkers. The major cause of death in Western societies are heart attacks and other heart problems. However, moderate drinking greatly reduces heart problems.

Importantly, we know many of the reasons for this effect. So it isn’t simply based on correlations. Specifically, the causes include these facts.

Alcohol improves blood lipid profile. It

Increases HDL (good) cholesterol.46
Decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol.47
Improves cholesterol particle size.48

Alcohol decreases blood clotting. It

Reduces platelet clumping.49
Reduces fibrinogen  (blood clotter).50
Thins the blood, helping circulation.51

Alcohol acts in other ways. It 

Reduces heart artery spasms from stress.52
Increases heart blood flow.53
Reduces blood pressure.54
Lowers arterial stiffness.55
Reduces coronary calcification.56
Reduces inflammation.57

III. Section C: Alcoholic Drinks Tend to be Healthful

 (C) Alcoholic drinks are almost always more healthful than non-alcoholic drinks. That is, they tend to have fewer calories, less fat, less sodium than non-alcoholic ones.

Alcoholic BeverageCaloriesCarbs (g)Fats (g)Sodium (mg)
Beer (regular)14613.130.00014
Beer (lite)994.600.00014
Spirits*970.000.0000
Wine (red)1253.50.0006
Wine (white)1203.50.0007
Non-Alcoholic BeverageCaloriesCarbs (g)Fats (g)Sodium (mg)
Apple juice (unsweetened)11728.960.27310
Apricot juice14036.110.2268
Carbonated cola15539.770.00046
Grape juice (unsweetened15537.840.20213.6
Grapefruit juice (unsweetened)9422.130.2472.5
Lemonade13134.050.14910
Milk (2% fat)12211.414.807115
Orange juice (unsweetened)11226.840.1494
Prune juice18244.670.0773
Tangerine juice (unsweetened)12529.880.0982.5
Tomato juice4110.300.12224

*Spirits includes rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, bourbon, etc. Source: USDA. Food Database.

Summary

Drinking alcohol in moderation improves health and longer life. For example, it:

alcohol improves health(A) Moderate drinkers tend to be healthier than non-drinkers.

(B) Moderate drinkers tend to live longer than abstainers.

(C) Alcoholic drinks are virtually always more healthful than non- alcoholic ones.

IV. Resources: Alcohol Improves Health

Web Pages
Footnotes: Alcohol Improves Health
    1. Piano, M. Alcohol’s effect on the cardiovascular system. Alc Res, 38(2), 219-24.

2. Christensen, A. et al. Alcohol intake and stroke risk. J Stroke, 20(2), 218-27.

3. Kopps, L. et al. Moderate alcohol lowers risk of type 2 diabetes. Diab Care, 28(3), 719-25.

4. Ascione S, et al. Association between beverage consumption and risk of RA. Ann Rheum Dis.

6. Mewton, L. et alThe link between alcohol use and dementia. Addict.

7. Zhang, X. et al. Alcohol consumption and hip fracture risk. Osteo In, 26, 531-542. PLOS, 2017.

8. Piano, op cit.

9. Russo, G. et al. Diet and BPH. Nutri, 13(11): 4148.

10. Gemes, K. et al. Moderate alcohol and depression. Acta Psy Scan.

11. Villa, M. et al. Social anxiety and alcohol. Alco Clin Exp.

     Common Cold

12. Ouchi, E. et al. Alcohol drinking associated with lower prevalence of common cold. BMC Pub Health. A reason alcohol improves health.

13. Djousse, L., et al. Alcohol and risk of IC. Circ, 102, 3092.

14. Vidot, D., et al. Alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome. Metab  Syndr Relat Dis.

15. Wakabash, I. and Sotoda, Y. Alcohol drinking and peripheral arterial disease. Nihon Aruk, 49(1), 13-27.

16. Hopfner, F. et al. Alcohol: essential tremor. Parkin Rel Dis, 21(8), 848-851. 

17. Du, P. et al. Alcohol drinking and H. Pylori infection. J Clin Gastro.

     Frailty

18. Kojima, G. et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of frailty. J Am Med Dir, 20(6), 725-729.

19. Shao, C. et al. Parkinson’s disease risk and alcohol intake. Front Nutr, 20.

20. Sayette, M. et al. Effects of alcohol on social stress. J Stud Alc, 55(2), 214-23

21. Du, op cit.

22. Cheah, S. et al. Alcohol use and risk of multiple myeloma. ejHaem, 3(1), 109-20.

23. Liao, Z. et al. The role of diet in renal cell carcinoma. BMC Med, 20, 39-      

24. Tramacene, I. et al. Alcohol drinking and non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk. Ann Oncol, 23(11), 2791-98. 

25. Odutola, M. et al. Alcohol and follicular lymphoma. Cancers, 14(11), 2710.

26. Gorin, G. et al. Alcohol and risk of Hodgkins lymphoma. Ann Onco, 2997, 18(1), 143-8.

     Thyroid Cancer

27. Huang, H. et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of thyroid cancer. Adv Exp Med Bio, 1-14.

28. Hinkle, S. et al. Alcohol: risk of type 2 diabetes. JAMA Netw Open, 4(9), e2124669.

29. Morton, L. et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of NHL. Lancet Oncol, 6(7), 469-76.

30. Wang, X., et al. Alcohol and risk of EDInt J Impot Res.

31. Cote, D. et alAlcohol intake and risk of glioma. Eur J Epi, 36(9), 965-74.

32. Chua, S. et al. Alcohol consumption and cataract surgery. Optha, 128(6), 837-47.

33. Lee, C. et al. Alcohol consumption and diabetic retinopathy. Diab Med, 27(10), 1130-7.

34. Suzuki, K., et al. Alcohol consumption: better endothelial functionBMC Card Dis, 9, 8.

35. Lieberoth, S. et al. Alcohol and risk of asthmaResp Med, 2, 184-8.

36. Stack, O., et al. Alcohol and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Circ, 130, 646-652.

37. Andersen, C. et al. Alcohol consumption associated with a lower risk of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler J.

38. Lee, K. Alcohol consumption and grip strength. J Bone Met, 28(1), 41-50.

39. Scott, J. et al. Moderate alcohol associated with reduced pain and fibromyalgia. Pain Med, 13.

     SLE

40. Barb, M., et al. Effect of alcohol on the risk of SLE. Arth Care Res, Coin Endo, 2012

41. Gu, Y., et al.  Alcohol intake and brain structure. Clin Nut., 33, 662-7.

42. Carle, A. et al. Graves’ hyperthyroidism and moderate alcohol consumption. Clin Endo, 79(1), 111-9.

43. Noh, J. et al. Lower urinary tract symptoms and alcohol drinking. Tran An Urol, 9(2),

44. Kelly, J. et al. Factors for prevention of CKD. J. Am. Soc Neph, 32(1), 239-253.

45. Markus M. et al. Alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of aortic valve sclerosis. Arter Throm Vascu Bio

46. Minzer, S. et al.  The Effect of Alcohol on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Nutri, 12(4), 912. Major reason alcohol improves health.

47. Minzer, ibid.

48. Mukamal, K. et al. Alcohol consumption and lipoprotein. J Clin Endo Metab, 92(7), 2559–66. Major reason alcohol improves health.

49. Mukamal, ibid

50. Rauten, P. et al. Alcohol: total fibrinogen. Throm J, 18, #35.

51. Hama, T. & Shish, H. Increase in blood viscosity due to alcohol drinking. Thromb Res, 30(6), 587-94.        

52. Sohn, S. et al. Impact of alcohol drinking on coronary artery spasm. J Athero, 268,163-9.

53. Mori, T. et al. Effects of alcohol on blood pressure. Hyper; 66(3), 517–23.

54. Mori, ibid.

      Artery Stiffness

55. Del Giorno, R. et al. Alcohol intake and arterial stiffnessNutri, 14(6), 1207.

56. Vliegen, R. et al. Alcohol consumption and coronary calcification. Arch Inter Med, 164, 2355-2360.

57. Bektas, A. et al. Does a bit of alcohol turn off inflammation? Age Ageing, 45(6), 747-9. 

Note: Alcohol Improves Health

This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor for questions.