What is known about the benefits of wine: red wine in modest doses, it reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prolong life. Modest doses – is one serving per day for women and two for men. However, the red wine is not a magic wand. Because the alcohol in general – the cause of many diseases and premature death.
What is unknown: there have been no randomized controlled trials of long-term effects of alcohol on the body. Namely such experiments – scientific standard. That is impossible to say with absolute certainty that alcohol directly affects the health. This applies to most of the habits that form a way of life. No one checked the methods of evidence-based medicine benefit and harm of smoking, or physical education.
What does it mean if you have no chronic disease and alcohol dependence (even defeated), a glass of wine can benefit. But if you have health problems, if you are predisposed to dependence, alcohol do more harm than help.
So where is the truth? Vox journalists analyzed more than 30 studies and interviewed five experts to understand, when alcohol is useful, but when harmful. For everyone who is not too lazy to read, we translated the whole article.
Once scientists have adhered to the version that red wine is good. In the 1990s, researchers were puzzled why the French little cardiovascular disease? And it provided that the French like a lot of smoke and fatty meat food. It has been suggested that the reason for red wine. This opinion was fixed for many years  the Wine, alcohol, platelets, and the French paradox for coronary heart disease . .
Since then, the science has moved forward, the researchers realized that this statement is not entirely accurate. Today, many experts say that a small amount of alcohol can all benefit. But there are those who with this totally disagree.
Scientific opinion on alcohol
Science refers to alcohol reserved. Any statement about how alcohol affects the health, can not be 100% correct, because in the world there is no research that would meet modern standards  Literature review current through: Nov 2016 . .
The best way to learn how alcohol affects a person – conduct a double-blind randomized study. This means that it is necessary to take two groups of subjects. One group every day for decades to drink a glass of red. The other group should drink some imitation wine placebo (but do not suspect that this is not the wine). It is impossible and unlikely to ever be possible.
Professor of the School of Medicine at Stanford University
It is impossible to verify that all the subjects comply with the requirements for so long. You can not force people to drink wine because of the whims of scientists, because alcohol is addictive.
So now two types of studies, though not such precise:
Checking term effects of alcohol (such as the level of lipids in the blood). Unfortunately, they do not say such research on the long term, how alcohol is associated with heart disease. At best, it manages to make assumptions.
Research on observational data. Scientists interrogate and examine drinkers and non-drinkers over the years. But these groups differ not only in relation to alcohol. Therefore, it is difficult to determine which is the reason that led to this or that effect. If wine lovers live longer than lovers of beer , beer is to blame? Or vinolyuby on average richer and better fed?
No studies have been useless. Scientists use them to learn all the habits relating to lifestyle: physical education, smoking (hard to imagine, double-blind study conducted in cigarettes harm some perverted world). In the end, these studies paint a clear picture, but nothing like we have. We will understand what we know about red wine and alcohol in general.
Alcohol in moderation useful?
It looks like it. A small amount of alcohol – one serving per day for women and two for men – will benefit, albeit with reservations. For example, the US National Institutes of Health says that amount of alcohol is not small, and medium  Drinking the Defined the Levels . .
About how much you can drink and what is considered the norm, we have already mentioned here . One serving – it is 14 grams of pure alcohol. Such a dose contains 350 ml of beer of 5%, 45 ml or 150 ml of vodka, wine 12% strength.
What is the use of alcohol?
In short-term studies  Effects of MODERATE alcohol consumption on platelet aggregation, fibrinolysis, and blood Lipids . We studied the effect of alcohol on the physiology. It was found that alcohol increases good cholesterol  the Effect of alcohol consumption on Biological the markers with the associated risk of coronary heart disease . and reduces the likelihood of blood clots, it thins the blood that is  of The effects of alcohol on coagulation and fibrinolytic Factors: a of a controlled by trial . .
Annliya Paganini Hill
Epidemiology, biostatistics specialist at the University of California in Irvine
Effect of ethanol on cholesterol and blood clotting explained in terms of biology, what is the relationship between alcohol and health of the cardiovascular system.
In long-term studies  Mortality in relation to consumption of alcohol . Where were compared drinkers and non-drinkers, the results are more accurate: healthier one who drinks, but very little. Surprisingly, these people are less likely to suffer from heart disease  of Alcohol drinking and Mortality for Among men Enrolled in an American Cancer Society Prospective study . and live longer  Changes in the intake and alcohol Mortality . . Those who drink moderately, less likely to suffer from diabetes  the Effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes mellitus . And this is another risk factor for heart disease (although this point is not such an obvious conclusion).
This important discovery. Cardiovascular disease – the main cause of mortality in the world. But remember that this is just observation: the results of factors that are not taken into account, scientists could affect. Paganini Hill notes that people with chronic diseases are beginning to drink less, and even that could change the course of the study.
Alcohol is not a magic elixir healing. Kenneth Mukamal , PhD from Harvard, believes that a moderate dose of alcohol helps only under certain conditions. He says that the use of alcohol is shown if we look at the statistics for heart disease and diabetes, only for him.
At the same time alcohol harms  of Alcohol Consumption ‘Breast Cancer and the Risk in the the Women’s Health Study . . For example, increases the risk of breast cancer in women  Moderate alcohol consumption DURING adult life: . .
Red wine is healthier than other alcoholic beverages?
Apparently, no. Scientists have found no evidence that one alcoholic drink useful to others.
“In a study  the Type of alcohol Consumed, changes in the intake over time and Mortality . we did not see a difference in how the wine, beer or spirits affect mortality, – says Paganini Hill. – In some of the small differences found in the other we found the benefits of red wine, in the third – beer. There are even studies that have shown advantages of spirits. ”
Mukamal agrees: “It’s not a red wine as such, but how much to drink at all. Most health indicators are among those who drink often, but never – a lot. ” In one large study  the Roles of Drinking Pattern A and the Type of Alcohol Consumed in of the Coronary Heart Disease in Men . participated more than 40,000 health care workers in the United States. Red wine was the last in the list with respect to alcohol useful for the heart, and beer lovers and something stronger were healthier than wine fans.
All the hype about the red wine grows from the observation that the French drink it often  Correlates of alcoholic beverage preference The: traits are the who of persons from list choose wine, liquor or beer . And suffer a little. This phenomenon is called the French Paradox. Although researchers do not say that this paradox – the absolute truth.
Doctor of Medical Sciences, New York University
This paradox can not be explained why the Canadians and Japanese are also long-lived, although the red wine they drink much less than in France.
Moreover, researchers have carefully studied the composition of red wine, to find there are special compounds that could explain the longevity of the French. But they found nothing conclusive.
Red wine – the combination of several ingredients: ethanol (alcohol), water, sugar, and a dye. Dye polyphenolic compounds contained in  Bioavailability of the Polyphenols: Controversies and Status . . This substance of natural origin, they are found in plants.
For example, resveratrol (a polyphenol, an antioxidant) is present in the grape skins. Because red wine is fermented longer than white (ie next drink longer saturated with substances from the grapes), resveratrol in it anymore.
It seems that everything is clear: the benefits of red wine in resveratrol. But the substance is unremarkable. Studies in mice have shown that resveratrol may slow aging  of Resveratrol Improves health and of survival of a MICE on the high-calorie diet . and improving metabolism , if the animal is eating a lot of fat.
But a person needs to drink 1 000 liters of red wine at a time to receive a dose equivalent to that administered to the mice. And when the researchers studied the resveratrol content in the body of centenarians  of Resveratrol the Levels and the All-Cause Mortality in Older the Community-Dwelling Adults . , That they found no link between life expectancy and the substance.
Finally, scientists have decided that all the benefits of red wine is stored directly in the ethanol, which is in the beer and vodka.
Alcohol thins the blood and raises the level of good cholesterol, but so does any alcohol. All advantages of red wine for health come only from ethanol.
Mukamal also notes that polyphenols have beneficial properties, but they are also easy to get if you drink grape juice and tea, eat berries, olive oil or chocolate with a high cocoa content.
When alcohol becomes harmful?
The rule is simple: do not drink more than two drinks per day for men, no more than one for women. Not three, not five – this is overkill.
You do not have to drink the weekly rate for one night. Bust of alcohol is detrimental: increases blood pressure, liver damage, dehydrates the body and so on.
Researchers agree that if you overfulfils rate on alcohol, the negative effects of negate all the benefits. Addiction to drinking reduces life leads to obesity , cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and various types of cancer – tumors of the esophagus, liver, larynx, intestines. Alcohol is addictive with all the ensuing consequences.
In addition, the health benefits for the heart, which was mentioned above disappears if exceed the minimal dose of alcohol. Due to the large amount of drinking increases the pressure, weakened heart muscles, heart failure develops. Therefore, most medical organizations do not recommend alcohol for the prevention of diseases of the cardiovascular system.
Because of this, doctors and scientists do not support the dissemination of information about the use of alcohol.
Around information on the benefits of wine too much noise. Wine does not harm with minimum consumption, and this fact is enough to exclude alcohol from living fully. But foolish to turn a drink into a means of disease prevention, as well as pay attention to the color of the wine. In alcohol more minuses than pluses.
Kenneth Mukamal also says that exercise has the same effect, as small amounts of alcohol, only better: “The short-term effect is more noticeable alcohol, ethanol, but only affects the heart and diabetes, and exercise improves the condition of the whole organism.”
The dose of booze – the question is individual. Some can not drink at all because of the condition of the body or the propensity to addiction. Doubt? Then just do not start.