While most of us are well aware of the dangers of excessive drinking and irresponsible alcohol consumption, according to an article published through University of California, Berkeley, there a few points you may not be as familiar with. According to a 2017 study which looked at 1.9 million English, “light and moderate drinkers had a lower risk of ischemic stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and several other heart conditions, compared to lifelong nondrinkers, former drinkers, and heavy drinkers. They also had a lower risk of heart attacks than both groups of nondrinkers.” “The proposed heart benefits are supported by lab research showing that even small amounts of alcohol reduce blood clotting and viscosity—an effect that persists for about a day—and raise levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Alcohol may also help improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation.”

For the purposes of these studies they define moderate as, ”no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks for men. Older people should probably drink even less, since their bodies don’t process alcohol as well, and alcohol can interact with many drugs they take. A standard drink is 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor, which all contain about 14 grams of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol).” For the record, it’s exceedingly difficult to know how accurate these studies are for many reasons, and while light or moderate drinkers may tend to have less heart disease and be healthier than nondrinkers or heavy drinkers, they can’t prove that the alcohol is the reason.

There is also good news on the longevity front. According to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, “light or moderate alcohol intake was associated with reduced cardiovascular and all-cause mortality rates compared to lifelong abstention (defined as fewer than 12 drinks in a lifetime) and heavy drinking.” In addition, “research has consistently linked moderate alcohol consumption to reduced risk of diabetes, compared to abstention or heavy drinking.”

So, go ahead, toast to friends and good days, just don’t over do it, and if your doctor has recommended that you not have alcohol, better to follow their advice! Read the article for your self here.

Thanks for reading.
- Dr. Joe