You’ve often heard that drinking one to two glasses of wine a day can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Recently, there are studies proving more of wine’s benefits to the body, particularly in delaying the onset of and even preventing rheumatoid arthritis. The results of these studies may well prove the benefits of alcohol for arthritis relief. Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of autoimmune disease, where the body recognizes healthy tissues as foreign bodies and therefore attacks these tissues, particularly on the joints. The result is inflammation on the joint areas, which can cause unbearable pain, and eventual deterioration of the joints. These studies focus on the possibility of suppressing the body’s autoimmune response that leads to arthritis by daily consumption of moderate levels of alcohol. One such research study administered a 1:10 dose of water and ethanol to a group of mice to mimic the moderate consumption of alcohol in humans. Another group of mice were given only water and both groups were given a collagen type serum to induce symptoms of arthritis. In less than 10 days, 85% of the mice who were only given water showed signs of arthritis, while the group that had minimal dose of ethanol showed the same symptoms in only about 20% of them. It was observed that the mice who were given ethanol developed higher bone mineral density, and had proven to be resistant to the development of arthritis.
Compared with the group that received only water, the mice who had ethanol became healthier and showed lower levels of proteins that can cause inflammation on the joints. Within a month, the control group which was not given ethanol was 100% crippled because of arthritis.In these studies, acetaldehyde, which is a derivative of ethanol, has been found to be responsible for relieving joint inflammation. However, the study also indicates that over consumption of alcohol will weaken the immune system and may lead to more bacterial infections. In the future, there maybe some impetus towards using acetaldehyde in an alcohol free solution for arthritic patients. Often, arthritic patients are given doses of corticosteroids when the inflammation gets to be too severe, and the pain is unbearable. However, there are some side effects such as increased blood pressure, weight gain and loss of bone density that a person with arthritis may experience when taking doses of corticosteroids. These researches may well account for the beneficial effects of alcohol for arthritis relief. More studies however, are needed to prove whether drinking about two glasses of wine everyday can really help in relieving arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.