The health benefits of alcohol consumption may have been over-exaggerated or over-estimated from the reality, according to a new research work.
Some previous studies have claimed that consumption of alcohol in moderate amount may offer protection against the cardiovascular diseases and bring mortality benefits in the moderate drinkers than the non-drinkers.
The researchers from the UK and Australia explored this association in the new study. They gathered the interview data from Health Survey for England of 18,368 and 34,523 adults between 1998 and 2008, related to national mortality data.
There are several studies that have found this association contentious. Some researchers have argued that the protective effects of light alcohol consumption may be hyped by “selection biases” in the studies that could produce a skewed result.
There is also concern about the growing rate of alcohol consumption among the elderly people as well as high risk of alcohol related health issues because of the impaired metabolism of alcohol with age.
As per recommendations made by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the alcohol consumption should be lowered for both male and female, aged 65 years or more, up to 11 units per week or 1.5 units per day. However, the data supporting this recommendation is unavailable.
The data was analyzed by sex and age i.e. 50 to 64 years and 65 years and above). The researchers interviewed the participants about their average weekly alcohol consumption and use on the heaviest drinking day of the week.
The findings were adjusted for a range of personal, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors.
In contrast with the never drinkers, the protective links were widely limited to men in the age group 50 to 64 years who reported intake of 15-20 units on average a week or 0.1-1.5 units of consumption on the heaviest day, and to the women in the age group 65 and more who reported consumption of 10 units or less on average a week and at all levels of heaviest day use.
In other age-sex groups, very meager to no protection was found regardless of their consumption level.
Concluding the study, the researchers said that this current study may have possibly “better isolated the true effect of alcohol consumption on mortality” and the findings do not back the introduction of age specific recommended limits on alcohol intake for persons aged 65 years and above.
The findings of the study were published in The BMJ.