Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic disease of the eyes, and is the leading cause of severe visual loss in adults over the age of 50. A recent meta-analysis finds that moderate and heavy alcohol consumption are associated with the risk to develop early age-related macular degeneration. Late age-related macular degeneration, on the other hand, is not associated with any amount of alcohol.
Recently, two meta-analyses looked into the effect of moderate alcohol consumption in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the most prevalent chronic liver disorder). Both studies find a decreased risk of advanced liver fibroses in patients who drink in moderation. The advice from the researchers: patients with steatohepatitis or advanced fibrosis should avoid alcohol, but patients with low fibrosis risk may be allowed to drink moderate amounts of alcohol.
For the first time, a study reviews all mendelian randomization studies on alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mortality. The authors conclude that due to a lack of consistency in methodology and results, it is not yet possible to draw conclusions on the causal role of moderate alcohol consumption on cardiometabolic health.
A new systematic review looks at the short and long-term effects of alcohol consumption on the ability of an artery to widen when blood flow increases; also called flow-mediated dilation. This is an important measure because a decrease in this ability can cause cardiovascular problems such as hypertension and coronary artery disease. The authors conclude that light to moderate alcohol consumption may have minimal effects, but heavy alcohol consumption is associated with a decreased flow-mediated dilation.
Based on an umbrella review, which is a review of existing meta-analyses, there is strong or highly suggestive evidence that alcohol consumption is positively associated with risk of postmenopausal breast, colorectal, esophageal, head & neck, and liver cancer.
Alcohol contains a lot of energy. With 7 kcal per gram it is the second most energy dense nutrient after fat (9 kcal per gram). Does that mean drinking alcohol is associated with overweight and obesity? Results are still inconsistent. A recent meta-analysis looks at almost 130 studies and finds different results per study design. Heavy alcohol drinkers have a higher risk of overweight and abdominal obesity than non-alcohol or light drinkers in cross-sectional studies, but this is not the case in cohort studies.
A lot of people enjoy a beer together after they exercised. But is this smart? A review looks at all the available experimental studies to come up with advice: low-alcoholic beer, preferably with added sodium, may help with rehydration after exercise. If you do drink regular beer, you should limit your consumption and pair it with non-alcoholic options. Apart from rehydration, drinking non-alcoholic, polyphenolic-rich beer could be an effective strategy for preventing respiratory infections during heavy training.
Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a decreased risk in cardiovascular disease. But there is still limited research on the relation between alcohol consumption and the risk of blood clot formation in veins, also called venous thromboembolism. A recently published meta-analysis1 finds a small decreased risk for low to moderate alcohol consumption.
Green tea, alcohol and coffee associated with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia: a meta-analysis
Society is aging and the burden of cognitive impairment and dementia increases. A recent meta-analysis investigates whether alcohol, coffee and tea consumption affect the risk of developing these health issues. All three seem to be related to a lower risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. With alcohol the decreased risk is only present with less than one drink a day, and coffee with less than 2.8 cups.
Drinking alcohol, especially heavy drinking, can lead to sickness absence from the workplace. This can have economic consequences due to decreased productivity. A recently published meta-analysis is the first to conduct a dose-response analysis. It finds a J-shaped association: binge drinking and heavy drinking increase the risk of sickness absence compared to light to moderate drinkers. But non-drinkers also have a higher risk than light to moderate drinkers.