A modest drunkenness that leads to greater improvements in well-being may be the rest of us, reflecting a new study.
Moderately, alcohol consumption is associated with improved quality of life and lower risk of health problems such as heart disease and certain cancers in some previous research, to advise some doctors to indicate patients as part of a healthy diet. , CMAJ. But the results are mixed, and research to date has not shown whether moderate drinking – up to 17 drinks per week for men and women 7 – is more harmful or helpful for physical and mental health.
For the current study, researchers examined data on 10,386 adults in Hong Kong who were users of nondrinkers or moderate drinkers. The participants were 49 years of age on average when they entered the study; 64% of men and 88% of women were nondrinkers.
Researchers continued half the participants for at least 2.3 years. During the study, approximately 40% of drinkers and 62% of women drink.
Women who had stopped drinking during the study had more gains than women who were interviewers at the outset. The people who got the most benefit were former drinkers when they joined the study.
“Our study provides more evidence to suggest that drinking is moderately cautioned as part of a healthy diet,” said Xiaoxin Yao's principal studies from the University of Hong Kong.
“Alcohol cessation can lead to stressful life events, such as conflict within the family, difficulties in employment and legal troubles, and improved mental well-being,” said Yao by email. “The psychological benefits associated with 'resigning' may also lead to an improved mental benefit than the cessation of alcohol per se.”
To verify the link between retirement and well-being, researchers also looked at data from a representative national survey of 31,079 American adults.
With regard to moderate drinking, smoking cessation was associated with favorable changes in wellbeing both in Hong Kong and the US.
The study was not a controlled experiment that was designed to prove whether drinking health could directly improve health. A further drawback is the potential for people to quit or to be prolonged for life due to health issues that make them weaker or less content than drinkers.
While clinical guidelines in the United States and Canada are careful to recommend that patients drink alcohol as a way to become healthier, it is not uncommon for doctors to give this suggestion to patients, said Dr. Tim Stockwell, director of Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria.
“The belief in these medicinal properties is widespread,” said Stockwell, who was not involved in the study, by email.
“It is not known that cardiology encourages people to drink to improve heart health,” says Stockwell.
While there are very few risks associated with drinks or twice a week, there are other things people should try if they are to improve well-being and quality of life, Stockwell added. These include improving diet and fitness habits, reducing stress, getting more sleep, and maintaining positive relationships.
SOURCE: bit.ly/2JJvtnd CMAJ, online July 8, 2019.
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