Moderate Drinking by Women Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Risk

This study of 34,141 women found that the moderate consumption of alcohol was significantly associated with reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Women in the large study who reported moderate alcohol consumption in both 1987 and 1997 and who were followed up in 2009 had a 52% reduced risk of RA compared to those who never consumed any alcohol.

Drinking of any form of alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, and distilled spirits or liquor) was associated with a reduces risk of RA.

This prospective study is consistent with case-control studies that have also found moderate drinking associated with lower occurrence and severity of RA.

The authors suggest that a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines is the probable mechanism of alcohol’s effect on the risk of RA.


Note: This website is informational only. It does not make any suggestions or recommendations about drinking, RA, health, nutrition or any other subject and none should be inferred.


  • Di Giuseppe D, Alfredsson L, Bottai M, Askling J, & Wolk A. Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: a population based cohort study. British Medical Journal, 2012, 345:e4230 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e4230 (Published 10 July 2012)


  • Alamanos, Y. and Drosos, A.A.. Epidemiology of adult rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune Review, 2005, 4, 130–136.
  • Di Castelnuovo, A., et al. Alcohol dosing and total mortality in men and women: an updated meta-analysis of 34 prospective studies. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2006, 166, 2437-2445.
  • Kallberg, H., et al. Alcohol consumption is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis: results from two Scandinavian case-control studies. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, 2009, 68, 222–227.
  • Lu, B., et al. Alcohol consumption and markers of inflammation in women with preclinical rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2010, 62, 3554-3559.
  • James R. Maxwell, J.R., et al. Alcohol consumption is inversely associated with risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology, July 28, 2010; doi: doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keq202.
  • Medzhitov R. Origin and physiological roles of inflammation. Nature, 2008, 454, 428-435.
  • Myllykangas-Lusojarvi, R., Aho, K., Kautiainen, H., and Hakala, M. Reduced incidence of alcohol related deaths in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of Rheumatoid Diseases, 2000, 59, 75-76.
  • Nissen, M.J., et al. for the Swiss Clinical Quality Management Project in Rheumatoid Arthritis. The effect of alcohol on radiographic progression in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2010, 62,1265–1272.
  • Turesson, C. Increased Alcohol Intake Associated with Decreased Risk of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Abstract) Paper presented at the annual European Congress of Rheumatology. Barcelona, Spain. June 13-16, 2007. European League Against Rheumatism, June 15, 2007.

Filed Under: Health

This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about any subject.
For more fine print, read the disclaimer.