The risk of mortality and developing some types of cancers increases in those who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day throughout their lives, according to a study published today in the specialized journal PLOS Medicine.
The researchers analyzed whether the danger of mortality or suffering from cancer differed among people with different amounts of alcohol intake throughout their lives, using data from 99,654 people in the United States.
The team led by Andrew Kunzmann, Queen’s University of Belfast (Northern Ireland), studied the cases of these people for an average of 8.9 years, and alcohol consumption was measured through a questionnaire administered between 1998 and 2000
During the study, there were 9,559 deaths and 12,763 primary cancers among the participants.
The analysts observed the well-known curve in J, very habitual in medicine, that denotes that the moderation and the prudence is the optimal option.
Thus, compared to light drinkers (1-3 drinks per week), those who consumed one alcoholic beverage a week (infrequent drinkers), in addition to those who drank between 2 and 3 a day and more than 3 daily ones, registered more deaths during the period studied.
This finding suggests, according to the authors, some type of protective effect of mild alcohol consumption, particularly in deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
On the contrary, the risk of cancer and mortality related to that disease did increase linearly with alcohol consumption throughout life.
In addition, lifetime light drinkers had the lowest combined risk of mortality and cancer development.
“This study provides a better understanding of the complex relationship between alcohol consumption, cancer incidence and mortality from diseases and can help inform public health guidelines,” the authors concluded.