Monday, October 24, 2011

Moderate Alcohol Consumption: A Protective Effect Against Asthma Development

by Liudmila Corlateanu

During the European Respiratory Society Annual Congress Sophie Lieberoth from Copenhagen University presented a curious study about the connection between asthma treatment and alcohol intake.

There is a vast range of studies concerning the hazards and benefits of alcohol. Some studies proved that frequent alcohol consumption (1-2 times/day) increases the chances of good health in old age by 30%. The authors of another work have found that consumption of one glass of wine a day helps you lose weight. 

Danish researches established that drinking alcohol in moderate quantities can reduce the risk of developing asthma. In this way, drinking 1-6 units of alcohol a week could reduce the risk of developing the condition. But what is considered to be a unit of alcohol? A half pint (284 ml) of beer that has a strength of 3.5% abv contains almost exactly one unit or a medium glass (175 ml) of 12% abv wine contains around two units of alcohol.

The research examined 19,349 twins between the ages of 12 and 41 years of age. All participants have completed a questionnaire at the start and end of the study to compare alcohol intake with the risk of developing asthma over 8 years. The results showed that the lowest risk of asthma was seen in the group which had a moderate intake of alcohol, as less than 4% of those who drank 1-6 units per week developed asthma.

Another important point of the study was that a preference for beer drinking was associated with an increased risk of asthma when compared with no preference.

It was concluded that higher incidence of asthma development occurs in the never drinking and rarely drinking group.

The relationship between alcohol intake and the risk of developing adult-onset asthma could be U-shaped, but still there is a need of further investigation. What needs no basis or explanation is the old French Proverb which states: “Eat with pleasure; drink with measure.”

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