A recent study shows that mortality rates of non-drinkers are higher than those who heavily consume alcohol.
Dr. Joseph Mercola reveals the facts about alcohol consumption and its benefits and dangers to your health.
Alcohol Drinkers Live Longer
A paper published in the journal, Clinical and Experimental Research, revealed that moderate to high alcohol intake is associated with a reduced mortality risk.
The research included 1,800 people, ages 55 to 65. Possible variables were controlled, including socioeconomic status, amount of physical activity, and number of close friends.
The study covered a 20-year period. It was observed that the group with the lowest mortality rate included the moderate drinkers who had 1 to 3 alcoholic drinks per day. The rate of heavy drinkers had the second-lowest mortality rate, followed by the light drinkers. Non-drinkers had the highest mortality rate of them all.
The Benefits of Drinking Alcohol
According to Time Magazine, moderate alcohol intake, especially red wine, can improve circulation, heart health, and sociability.
Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, is one of the healthful ingredients in alcohol. It acts as a:
- Blood thinner
- Cancer-preventing agent
- Vaso-expanding agent
- Anti-aging chemical
- Blood pressure lowering compound
Ethanol is another alcohol component that benefits your body. It fights methanol, or wood alcohol.
Natural methanol found in fresh fruits and vegetables is bound to pectin. Since your body has no enzyme to metabolize this bond, methanol is simply excreted in your stool, causing no harm. But methanol found in bottled fruit or vegetable juice and aspartame is dissociated from pectin, causing you to absorb the toxin.
Methanol absorbed by your body can readily pass through the blood brain barrier, where it is converted to formaldehyde, a potent toxin that causes damage.
Having low ethanol levels in your bloodstream helps prevent methanol from forming into formaldehyde. In emergency situations, it’s even used to treat accidental methanol poisoning.
Warning: Excessive Alcohol Can Put You in Danger
Despite the positive effects of alcohol consumption, Dr. Mercola strongly recommends avoiding too much alcohol. Alcohol is actually a neurotoxin that can poison your brain. It can also increase your insulin levels, causing negative effects on your health.
Drinking too much also puts you at a higher risk of getting heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and liver cirrhosis.
Other types of cancer linked to excessive alcohol consumption include:
- Mouth, larynx, and esophagus
Your body’s natural stress response is also affected by alcohol consumption, since it reduces corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a key stress hormone. CRF is made by your hypothalamus and helps trigger your body’s reaction to stress.
Women who have two or more alcoholic drinks everyday increase their risk of getting breast cancer by more than 40%. Pregnant women are also advised to stay away from alcoholic beverages.
The Dangers Outweigh the Benefits
Dr. Mercola does not advise alcohol consumption since its negative effects greatly outnumber the benefits. Even the authors of the study warn against excessive alcohol consumption.
There are ways to reap the same benefits without having to consume alcohol. For example, if you want to use the ethanol in alcohol to prevent formaldehyde formation, you can simply avoid food products that contain methanol, such as aspartame and canned fruits and vegetables.
To get the benefits of resveratrol from red wine, you can take a high-quality resveratrol supplement instead.
Stay tuned to this blog for more health news from Dr. Mercola.