It is already known that moderate alcohol consumption can be protective against cardiovascular diseases and that (especially excessive) alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer. When taken all together, it appears that moderate alcohol consumption can lower the total burden from chronic diseases. That is the conclusion of Dutch researchers in a study that was recently published in the scientific journal European Journal of Epidemiology.


Disease burden
The study1 indicates that moderate alcohol consumption (men 5-30 g/day, women 5-15 g/day) is associated with a lower total disease burden compared to light drinking (0-5 g/day). The association was mainly driven by a lower disease burden from cardiovascular diseases (but not from cancer). The association is also stronger among elderly.
Alcohol consumption of more than 30 grams per day for women and 60 grams per day for men is associated with an increased burden from alcohol-related cancer.

In perspective
Previous studies already found that moderate alcohol consumption can have both positive and negative effects on specific diseases. The present study takes different diseases into account and calculates the total burden from chronic diseases. Herewith they summarize the contradictory associations of alcohol on different diseases.

References:
1. J. W. J.  Beulens, Fransen, H. P., Struijk, E. A., Boer, J. M. A., G de Wit, A., N Onland-Moret, C., Hoekstra, J., Bueno-de-Mesquita, B. H., Peeters, P. H. M., en May, A. M. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower chronic disease burden expressed in disability-adjusted life years: a prospective cohort study., Eur J Epidemiol, 2017.

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