Study says there is no healthy amount of alcohol if you are under 40

If you’re 40 or older and don’t have underlying health conditions, new research has found that small amounts of alcohol may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.

“These diseases were just major causes of death in a large part of the world,” said lead researcher Emanuela Jacquido, professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at Washington University School of Medicine.

“So when you look at the cumulative health impact, especially among the elderly, it shows that a small amount is actually better for you than not drinking. For all other reasons, it’s harmful at all levels of consumption.”

Indeed, the study did not find any protective effect for diseases such as tuberculosis, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, liver disease, epilepsy, pancreatitis and many cancers.

“Alcohol guidelines, both global and national, typically emphasized the difference between men’s consumption level compared to women’s,” Jaccidou said. “What our work suggests is that global guidelines, national guidelines and local guidelines would be more effective if they focused on age rather than gender.”

The findings emphasize “the importance of alcohol recommendations tailored to specific regions and populations,” Amanda Berger, vice president of science and health for the US Council’s Distilled Beverage Trade Group, told CNN in an email.

“Importantly, no one should drink alcohol to get the potential health benefits, and some individuals should not drink at all.”

Under 40 years of age were found to be at the highest risk

The report, released Thursday in The Lancet, is the first to report the dangers of alcohol by global geographic region, age, gender and year, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which prepared the study.
The analysis looked at 30 years of data on people ages 15 to 95 from 204 countries and territories collected through the Institute’s Global Burden of Disease, Injury and Risk Factors Study, which tracks premature death and disability from more than 300 diseases.
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The analysis estimated that 1.34 billion people worldwide consumed harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020. More than 59% of people who drank unsafe amounts of alcohol were between the ages of 15 and 39. More than two thirds of them were men.

In each geographic region, the study found that drinking alcohol offers no health benefits for people under 40 but does increase the risks of injuries, such as car accidents, suicide, and homicide.

The study defined a standard drink as 10 grams of pure alcohol, which might be a small 3.4-ounce (100-ml) glass of red wine, a standard 12-fluid-ounce can (355 milliliters) or a bottle of beer (3.5% alcohol) ) or a 1-fluid ounce serving of spirits (30 milliliters) that contains 40% alcohol by volume.

criticism of conclusions

While some experts not involved in the research praised the well-conducted analysis, they expressed concern about the study’s conclusions.

Statistics show that there are “more than 14 times the number of deaths attributable to alcohol in the UK between 70-74 years of age than in people aged 20 to 24,” said Colin Angus, a senior researcher with the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group at the University of United kingdom. Sheffield, in a statement. The data “contradict the assertion in this new study that we should focus on drinking from younger age groups,” Angus said.

“The elephant in the room with this study is an interpretation of risk based on cardiovascular disease findings – particularly in older adults,” said Dr. Tony Rao, a visiting clinical research fellow in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College. London.

“We know that any purported health benefits of alcohol on the heart and circulatory system are counterbalanced by increased risks from other conditions such as cancer, liver disease, and mental disorders such as depression and dementia,” Rao said in a statement.

A study published in March found that just one pint of beer or a glass of wine per day can reduce the overall size of the brain, with the damage increasing as the number of daily drinks increases. On average, 50-year-olds who drank a pint of beer or 6 ounces of wine a day in the past month had their brains appearing two years older than those who drank only half a glass of beer.
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Research in the United States has shown that drinking among adults has risen during the pandemic, and especially among women, with “a 41% increase in heavy drinking days,” Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director of the Substance Use Disorders Initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a previous interview. for CNN.
A study published in June found that many moderate drinkers over the age of 30 binge-eat on the weekend — defined as five or more drinks in a row or over a short period of time. Drinking an average of more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men — or five or more drinks on the same occasion — was associated with alcohol problems nine years later.
Women are particularly sensitive to the effects of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAA. She added that alcohol-related problems appear sooner and at lower drinking levels than men.
Women are more likely to have alcohol-related brain damage and heart disease than men, and studies show that women who drink one drink a day increase their risk of breast cancer by 5% to 9% compared to those who abstain.

“The recommendation that people under 40 should not drink at all is completely unrealistic,” Matt Lambert, chief executive of the Portman Group, an industry-funded group that regulates the marketing of alcoholic beverages in the UK, said in an email.

Jacquido, senior author of the study, admitted that “it is not realistic to believe that young people will stop drinking. However, we believe it is important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health.”

New report says no amount of alcohol is good for the heart, but critics disagree on the science

For those over 65, any increase in drinking is worrisome because many older adults “use medications that can interact with alcohol, have health conditions that can be exacerbated by alcohol, and may be at greater risk for alcohol-related falls and other accidental injuries.” ,” said the NIAA.

“There is a high threshold for being able to say that alcohol is an effective preventative treatment, and the studies so far don’t get that far. If you do, you can be sure the beverage industry will apply to the FDA for it,” said Dr. Nick Sherwin, a professor in the department of Hepatology at Britain’s University of Southampton, “It’s a licence.”

More detailed and accurate analysis

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation last published an alcohol report four years ago when it analyzed 2016 Global Burden of Disease data on people ages 15 to 49 and found no amount of liquor, wine or beer safe for public health.

“What we’ve done in this new study is a more detailed and accurate analysis of 21 different regions of the world,” Jaccidou said. “What we have been able to do now is take it apart: To whom is alcohol harmful? To whom is alcohol good? That is why the message appears to be different, but in fact it is consistent with what we said before.

“If you ask me, ‘Will the message be different in 10 years? “Maybe… new evidence is likely to emerge.” “That might change our thinking.”

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