Booze Reduces Arthritis Risk

Booze Reduces Arthritis Risk

Written by Alex Reid
Posted July 16, 2012

A recent study from Sweden finds that more than three glasses of beer, wine or liquor per week for at lest 10 years can cut the risk of Rheumatoid arthritis in half for women, reports ScienceDaily.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself— attacking the cells that line joints leading to inflammation of the joint and surrounding tissues.

According to the National Arthritis Foundation, RA affects 1.3 million Americans and women are 2.5 times as likely to develop RA than men, usually developing between the ages of 40 and 50.

Published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), researchers studied over 34,000 Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948.

Researchers followed participants for a period of seven years, collecting information about alcohol consumption, diet, smoking history, physical activity and education, both in 1987 and again in 1997.

Adjusting for factors such as age, smoking and dietary habits, they found that those who reported drinking three or more glasses of alcohol a week had a 52 percent reduced risk of developing RA.

The study notes a standard glass of alcohol was defined as approximately 500 ml of beer (about a pint), 5 ounces of wine or about 1.7 ounces of liquor.

The reduced risk did not discriminate between the types of alcohol consumed.

"This study adds more fuel to the fire regarding the beneficial effects of alcohol," Dr. Martin Jan Bergman, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, told HealthDay.

The authors believe part fo the reason for the reduced risk is due to alcohol's ability to lower the body's immune response.

However, moderation is always key.

"A lot of [rheumatoid arthritis] medications are liver toxins and so is alcohol, so you have to weigh the risks and benefits if you are on any of these medications," he said.

Further research is needed on the relation between alcohol consumption and RA, as the reason alcohol lowers risk of arthritis is still not fully understood. 

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