You really CAN drink away your pain: Scientists say moderate boozing may ‘actually be beneficial’
- One to seven alcoholic drinks per week may reduce inflammation in the body
- Researchers noted alcohol is responsible for ‘substantial disease’ globally
It’s long been claimed that you can simply drink your pain away. And a new study suggests that the old adage really is true.
People who consume ‘low to moderate’ amounts of alcohol every week suffer less inflammation — a major cause of aches and pains.
Seven glasses of wine or pints of beer each week appears to be the sweet spot, the researchers found.
Experts think booze may work by relieving people of stress, which is known to be a huge driver of inflammation.
The team behind the discovery acknowledged alcohol is responsible for ‘substantial disease’ around the world.
Researchers in the UK and Australia noted that while alcohol is responsible for ‘substantial disease’ around the world, their findings suggest it ‘may actually be beneficial’ for inflammation
Yet they said findings suggest booze, in lower quantities, ‘may actually be beneficial’ for thwarting inflammation.
The NHS recommends Britons drink no more than 14 units per week, around six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine, and to spread drinking over three or more days.
Drinking beyond this for years increases blood pressure and cholesterol, raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is also linked with liver disease, cancers and damage to the brain.
Experts from the universities of Cambridge and Sydney analysed data on 3,101 Britons.
All had reported their alcohol consumption between the ages of 34 and 42, the age when crippling back pain tends to start.
Participants also had a blood test, when aged 46, to monitor levels of the C-reactive protein — a marker of inflammation in the body.
High levels are a sign of inflammation in the blood vessels, tissues and organs and a marker of musculoskeletal diseases, such arthritis and back pain.
Inflammation is also a sign of asthma and inflammatory bowel disease and can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks, cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol use itself, in excessive quantities, has been shown to increase the risk of inflammation in the body and brain, while drinking too much for a prolonged period is also linked with high blood pressure, cancer and damage to the brain.
Results published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence show that the lowest levels of C-reactive protein were among low to moderate drinkers, who had seven drinks per week, on average, compared to abstainers and those who had 30 drinks per week.
But they noted that further research was needed to confirm their findings.
Lead study author Rachel Visontay, a researcher at the University of Sydney, said: ‘Harmful drinking is responsible for substantial disease globally.
‘However, some research suggests that, compared to abstaining, lower levels of drinking may actually be beneficial when it comes to inflammation.’