Posted on 27 October 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Can alcohol consumption be beneficial for your health? The subject remains contentious, as it is difficult to untangle the health effects of alcohol from confounding factors. Studies have suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption can lower your risk of heart disease, but is this effect specific to a particular type of alcoholic beverage? And what of the long term effects of different drinks on life expectancy?
What did the researchers do: In this study, researchers examined cardiovascular mortality and survival rates in a cohort of 1373 men born between 1900 and 1920. They studied the relationship between life expectancy and light consumption of different types of alcoholic drink.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: Long term light alcohol intake (less than 20g a day) seems to reduce cardiovascular mortality and improve life expectancy compared with consuming no alcohol at all. Drinking less than half a glass of wine a day appeared to be more beneficial than other alcoholic drinks (independently of total alcohol intake), and was associated with 5 years increased life expectancy at age 50 compared with non-drinkers, 3 years of which was specifically attributable to wine consumption. 70% of all wine consumed was red wine.
Importantly, the researchers say that these differences could not be explained by socioeconomic differences. The study also controlled for BMI, smoking, and the fact that many non-drinkers were heavy drinkers in the past. However, more studies are still needed to verify these results.