Studies have been conducted over a number years in an effort to prove the theory that drinking alcohol can significantly cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It looks like the results of those studies are proving that this theory definitely is showing positive effects of alcohol consumption in preventing arthritis. The results of a study in an article published in Science Daily (6/16/2010) found that alcohol consumption lowered the risk of developing several arthritic conditions. The results of the new study were presented at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome.
In a research study conducted by Dr. Henrik Kallberg and Dr. Lars Alfredsson from the institute of environmental medicine at Karolinska Institute of Stockholm and published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2008 also found that drinking alcohol can cut the risk of developing RA by half. The studies involving more than 2,750 people found not only that drinking alcohol had a protective effect, but also that it could cut the additional risk of RA by people who smoke and have a genetic tendency to the disease. The researchers compared the drinking and smoking habits of those who took part with a similar number of people of similar backgrounds who had not developed the disease. It showed those with the highest alcohol intake were up to 50 % less likely to get the disease than the half who drank the least. There was no difference between the sexes.
The study results presented at the EULAR 2010 confirmed that the various research studies conducted over the years only continue to prove that there really is a reduced risk in developing arthritic conditions among individuals who consume alcohol. The risk factor was not only less for developing RA, but also Osteoarthritis (OA), reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy according to this most recent Dutch study.
Interestingly researchers also found that the degree of systemic inflammation in patients was shown to increase as the amount of alcohol consumed decreased and that there was no dose response relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the risk of arthritis development. Researchers think that the inflammatory effect could be due to the fact that patients with more severe disease activity consume less alcohol due to associated lifestyle changes or that the presence of alcohol in the system could protect against the development of systemic inflammation.
Professor Paul Emery, President of EULAR and arc Professor of Rheumatology, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine said “these findings are very interesting but we need to assert caution in the interpretation of this data. A number of problems are associated with increased alcohol consumption, so moderation needs to be considered.” Before you start any self-treatment programs, please consult your local physician or you could be headed for deep trouble. The full story on these recent findings can be found online in the Science Daily (June 16, 2010).