The scientific evidence is that moderately drinking alcohol lengthens life. And not only do moderate drinkers tend to live longer than either abstainers or alcohol abusers. They also tend to be healthier in both body and mind.
II. Earlier Research
I. Study: Alcohol Lengthens Life
Researchers studied drinking alcohol and the chances of reaching 90 years of age. To do so, they used data from the Netherlands Cohort Study. They began with 7,807 participants who completed a questionnaire at age 68-70.
The researchers followed them until they reached the age of 90. Analyses were based on a total of 5,479 participants with complete data.
Overall, the highest chance of reaching 90 was among those drinking from about ½ to a little over one drink per day. That’s in comparison with abstainers. And this was true regardless of whether or not they had a history of various diseases.
II. Earlier Research
Those who drink alcohol past age 60 have a reduced risk of death. For example, researchers studied 2,805 participants in the Australian Dubbo Study of the Elderly. They were all age 60 and older. Data collection was for 9.7 years. Cardiovascular disease was much lower among moderate drinkers. That’s in comparison to both abstainers and heavy drinkers. Diabetes, hypertension, obesity or cholesterol had no effect.2
The researchers again looked at the same people after 20 years. The study found that any drinking lowered all-cause death. Specifically, it lowered all-cause death by 18% for men and 23% for women.3
Another study study looked at 24,159 people over age 65. It found that almost daily regularity of moderate drinking had clear longevity benefits. It led to over 10 years longer life. That’s in comparison to abstainers or very occasional drinkers.4
Finally, moderate alcohol drinking even reduces the risk of all-cause mortality among former problem drinkers.5
Ford, G. The Benefits of Moderate Drinking. San Francisco: WAG, 1998.
Kuerbis, A. et al. Alcohol and Aging. Cham: Springer, 2016.
Thomas, M. The Longevity List. NSW, Aust: Exisle, 2017.
1 van den Brandt, P. and Brandts, L. Alcohol consumption in later life and reaching longevity. Age Ageing, 2020, 1–8. doi:10.1093/ageing/afaa003.
2 Simons, L. et al. Moderate alcohol intake is associated with survival in the elderly: the Dubbo Study. Med J Aust, 2000, 173, 1211–1224.
3 Simons, L. Alcohol intake and survival in Australian seniors: the Dubbo Study. Nutr Aging, 2014, 2, 85-90.
4 McCaul, K. et al. Alcohol use and mortality in older men and women. Addict, 2010, 105, 1391-1400.
Holahan, C. et al. Late-life alcohol consumption and 20-year mortality. Alco Clin Exp Res, 2010, 34, 1961–71.
Although moderate drinking of alcohol lengthens life on average, this website makes no suggestions. For that, see your doctor.