Drinking Reduces Arthritis Risk: Moderate Alcohol Beneficial

Moderate alcohol drinking reduces arthritis risk, including these forms of the disease.

    • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
    • Osteoarthritis.
    • Reactive arthritis.
    • Psoriatic arthritis.
    • Spondylarthropathy.

Moderate Drinking Reduces Arthritis Risk


drinking reduces arthritisArthritis means joint inflammation. However, it’s used for over 100 conditions, They effect joints, tissues around them, and connective tissue

Arthritis is a chronic disease. It’s characterized mainly by inflammation. It can lead to long-term joint damage, chronic pain, loss of function, and disability.

One in five people in the US has been diagnosed with it. Possibly a billion people worldwide suffer from arthritis. The cause or causes of the disease are not known. So it’s important to look at factors that increase risk of getting it.


34,141 women

A study of 34,141 women found that the moderate alcohol drinking reduces RA risk.

Women in the study reported their drinking once and then again ten years later. They were then followed up 12 years later. Those who earlier reported moderate drinking had a 52% reduced risk of RA. That was compared to those who never drank.

Drinking any form of alcoholic was linked to a reduced risk of RA. That is, beer, wine, and spirits (liquor) were just as effective.

The authors suggest that a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines is probably why alcohol lowers the risk of RA.1

1,666 Patients

A study suggests that alcohol may protect against RA. Researchers studied data from 1,666 patients in Finland. They found that alcohol use either protects against RA. Or that patients with RA curtail their drinking after developing the disease. For a number of reasons, the authors suggest that it is more likely that alcohol protects against RA.2

1,204 Patients

A research team looked at cases of RA among those aged 18-70 years. There were 1,204 cases and 871 randomly-selected controls. All answered many lifestyle questions. Those included drinking and smoking. Analyses included making adjustments for possible confounders. In total, drinking was linked with a 30% lower RA.3

873 Patients

A medical study involved 873 patients with RA and 1,004 controls. It found that as alcohol consumption went up, the risk and severity of RA went down. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, frequency of alcohol consumption remained protective.

Researchers found that who had drunk alcohol most frequently had less severe symptoms. That was compared to those who had never drunk alcohol or only rarely drank.

Non-drinkers were four times more likely to develop RA than people who drank alcohol on more than ten days a month. Also, the risk of RA decreased according to the frequency of drinking.

This finding agrees with the results from previous studies. They have also shown decreased risk of getting RA among drinkers said lead author Dr. James Maxwell. It’s also consistent with much research on animals.4

Clearly, moderate drinking reduces arthritis risk.


    • Alamanos, Y. and Drosos, A. Adult RA. Autoim Rev, 4, 130–136.
    • Di Castelnuovo, A., et al. Alco and total mortality. Arch Int Med, 166, 2437-2445.
    • Kallberg, H., et al. Alco is assoc with decreased risk of RA. Ann Rheu Dis, 68, 222–227.
    • Lu, B., et al. Alco and markers of inflammation. Arth Rheu, 62, 3554-3559.
    • Medzhitov R. Origin of inflammation. Nature, 454, 428-435.
    • Nissen, M., et al.  The effect of alco on RA. Arth Rheu, 62,1265–1272.
    1. Di Giuseppe, D., et al. Long term alco intake and risk of RA. Brit Med J, 345-60.
    2. Myllykangas, R., et al. Reduced incidence of alco related deaths in subjects with RA. Ann Rheu Dis. 59, 75-76.
    3. Turesson, C. Increased Alco Intake Assoc with Decreased Risk of RA. Paper, Ann Euro Congress of Rheu, Barcelona, Spain.
    4. Maxwell, J., et al. Alco drinking is inversely assoc with risk and severity of RA. Rheu.


    • This site gives no advice.. Thus, it doesn’t give it about moderate drinking reduces arthritis risk. Please see your doctor for answers.