A recent meta-analysis calculates that about one third of rheumatoid arthritis cases in the US could be avoided by changing three lifestyle factors: smoking, overweight and alcohol consumption. Especially smoking and overweight increase the risk of arthritis. Alcohol consumption on the other hand, is associated with a lower risk. Eight percent of the cases of arthritis that could be avoided are associated with abstention or low alcohol consumption.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects a large percentage of the population: around 10% of the adults worldwide. Two recently published meta-analyses dive into possible causes of this disease. Results show that a Western diet with high intakes of red and processed meats, refined grains, and sweets is associated with an increased risk of CKD. On the other hand, both studies find a decreased risk of CKD with alcohol consumption. Other lifestyle factors that are associated with a lower risk are physical activity and non-smoking.
Drinkers that cannot efficiently breakdown alcohol due to a genetic mutation have a higher risk of stomach cancer. That is the conclusion of a recently published meta-analysis. The influence of the genetic mutation on the risk of stomach cancer is higher for moderate and heavy drinkers compared to non to rare drinkers.
Some experts recommend people to abstain from alcohol around the time of their Covid-19 vaccination. They argue that alcohol consumption lowers the immune response. Scientific literature shows that excessive alcohol consumption does indeed lower the immune response, which supports the advice to avoid excessive drinking in general, especially around the time of vaccination. However, low alcohol consumption does not seem to have a negative effect on the immune system. Moderation, also around the time of COVID-19 vaccination, remains key.
For the very first time, the Beer and Health Initiative offers a Publication Award of €1,000 for the best, most remarkable publication of the year focusing on moderate beer (or alcohol) consumption. Deadline of application is 31 March 2021.
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with hypertension. Does that mean lowering alcohol consumption can help decrease blood pressure? A recent Cochrane review looked at all the randomized controlled trials on this topic, but only found one that was of sufficient quality. The authors conclude that lowering alcohol consumption has no significant effect on blood pressure. However, the evidence is of very low quality because the results are only based on one study.
Alcohol is classified as a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. An increased risk to develop cancer is mostly found with heavy alcohol consumption. It is less known what the effect of low alcohol consumption is. That is why a recently published review article looked at the evidence of existing meta-analyses on the matter. The authors conclude that there is no association between drinking less than one drink a day and cancer, except for an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma. However, experts are critical about the current study.
A recently published meta-analysis finds an increased risk to develop esophageal cancer with alcohol consumption, starting from one glass a day. This confirms previous research. The increased risk is mostly due to a particular subtype of cancer, called esophageal squamous cell cancer. The association was present for each beverage type and both genders.
Extensive Cochrane review explores relationship between alcohol consumption and short-term changes in blood pressure and heart rate
A recently published Cochrane review explores how various levels of alcohol consumption affect blood pressure and heart rate on the short term. Results show that within hours, a low amount of alcohol does not affect blood pressure, but a moderate amount of alcohol lowers blood pressure. Both low and moderate amounts slightly increase heart rate on the short-term.
A meta-analysis, published in the journal nutrients, studies the relation between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer. Total alcohol consumption seems not associated with aggressive nor non-aggressive prostate cancer. However, looking at different types of alcoholic drinks, results show a wide variety of associations ranging from a decreased to increased risk.