The effects of alcohol on your body far outweigh its benefits
It’s easy to love research that excuses tough-to-break habits. Observational research on red wine was very popular for a long time because it suggested that it was good for the heart. But now, research on alcohol intake has taken a turn. Our ALYKA health experts have recently shared research about the impact of alcohol on the structure of a person’s brain and the structure of a person’s heart. Today, we’re focusing on a new study suggesting that alcohol intake at all levels is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. We all wish our favorite indulgences made us healthier and stronger, but today’s research busts the red wine heart myth for good.
In this study, investigators looked at habitual alcohol use and human genetic data. They were looking for evidence about how drinking alcohol affects heart health. Investigators were also analyzing whether the risk of heart disease increases depending on how much someone drinks.
Using a technique known as mendelian randomization [MR], researchers could assess a participant’s alcohol exposure. They also looked at healthy lifestyle factors and how they changed the impact of drinking alcohol on certain participants’ heart health. This step was necessary because, in previous research, participants living healthy lifestyles have sometimes muddled the data on alcohol’s effects.
Beyond genetic analysis and lifestyle data, the bottom line was this: Even for modest drinkers, researchers saw a causal association between drinking alcohol and the risk of heart disease. The more you drink, the more likely you are to have an unhealthy heart. Interestingly, healthy lifestyles also seem to play a role in helping some avoid the effects of drinking. But, overall, taken with previous research, drinking at any level will negatively affect your heart and brain.
So, how much risk do you want to take? We fly in airplanes, drive in cars, and go about our lives managing numerous daily risks. We know many of the activities we are involved in come with some risk. But how much risk are you comfortable with? Know the severe risks you are undertaking before taking a sip. Consider your alcohol intake, and ask yourself, “What is worth the risk?”
Or, are you interested in learning more about other healthy lifestyle changes? Check out more detailed research on our blog.