Estudios científicos

Alcohol, health loss and mortality: can wine really save the good name of moderate alcohol consumption?


It is estimated that one third of the world’s population consumes alcohol. At the same time, it is well-known that excessive alcohol consumption in one of the leading causes of premature mortality. The history of production of alcoholic beverages, especially wine, date as long as 8000 years ago. However, humans soon realized adverse effects of alcohol abuse and tried to limit its consumption. Higher alcohol consumption is associated with health loss and increased risk of all-cause mortality. It is linearly associated with a higher risk of many types of cancers, liver disease, incidence of atrial fibrillation, hemorrhagic stroke, heart failure. Although, many scientific societies recommend reduction of alcohol intake and specify the recommended permissible amount of alcohol consumed, there is no proven safe amount of alcohol for general population. There is conflicting data on the effect of low to moderate alcohol consumption on mortality with most of the studies indicating the J-shaped curve related mostly to the reduction of coronary artery disease complications, including cardiovascular death. Among the different types of alcohol, red wine consumption may have different health effects, due to the abundance of antioxidative polyphenols. Wine, together with the abundance of plant foods, olive oil and fish is an important part of Mediterranean diet. There are both observational and randomized studies documenting wide spectrum of health-promoting effects of such a diet, especially major adverse cardiovascular events. People who want to drink alcohol should be advised to limit their consumption to a minimum and should consider choosing red wine.

Comentarios divulgativos:

Los autores analizan la controversia que existe en el impacto en la salud del consumo de alcohol. Mientras que hay evidencias de que un consumo elevado pone en riesgo la salud, un consumo bajo-moderado parece relacionarse con un menor riesgo de mortalidad y de enfermedad cardiovascular. ¿Todos los tipos de bebidas tienen el mismo efecto en la salud? Se han realizado estudios observacionales que analizan como influye en la salud el tipo de bebida consumida, encontrando que el consumo moderado de vino se asocia con un menor riesgo de mortalidad y de enfermedad cardiovascular, en comparación con otras bebidas. Este efecto beneficioso del vino, que se atribuye a los polifenoles, se vincula a la cantidad consumida y a la calidad de la dieta. La dieta mediterránea, donde tiene cabida un consumo moderado de vino en las comidas, se ha relacionado con el mantenimiento de la salud a múltiples niveles.