Alcohol is bad for people under 40. And here’s why

(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers concluded that alcohol is harmful to the health of young people, unlike those who are older – most of them can benefit from a small amount of alcohol, writes the Guardian.

The researchers concluded that alcohol is detrimental to the health of young people, in contrast to those who are older – most of them can benefit from a small amount of alcohol.

The work was part of the Global Burden of Diseases program at the University of Washington in Seattle, which collects data on disease and mortality factors.

Four years ago, its own authors said that even irregular drinking is harmful to health, and advised people to give it up completely.

However, after another analysis of global data, experts came to new conclusions. Young people face higher health risks from alcohol consumption than older people, they said. However, in the 40+ age group without underlying chronic conditions, limited alcohol consumption—say, one glass of red wine a day—may benefit by lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Published in the Lancet, the results of the study were the first of its kind to analyze the risks of alcohol use by geography, age, and gender. When issuing comprehensive recommendations, it is necessary to proceed from the age and place of residence of people, and they should be the most stringent for men aged 15 to 39 years, who are most at risk from drinking alcohol.

“Our message is simple – young people should not drink, and older people can benefit in small amounts,” said lead author of the study and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou. “Young people are unlikely to abstain from drinking alcohol, but we believe it is important to report the latest data so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health.”

An analysis of the drinking habits of citizens of 204 countries showed that in 2020 a total of 1.34 billion people abused alcohol. The authors of the Lancet study reported that 59% of them are at risk (15-39 years old). For them, alcohol consumption is fraught with a number of dangers: injury, car accidents, murder and suicide. Men in this group were, by the way, three-quarters.

Scientists focused on 22 different consequences of alcohol abuse, including injury, cardiovascular disease and cancer, based on data from 2020. They were able to estimate the amount of alcohol that can be drunk without undue health risk, and completely non-drinkers acted as a control group.

It turned out that the harmless amount increases over the years. As a standard dose of alcohol, we took 100 ml of 13-degree red wine or 375 ml of 3.5% beer. For men aged 15-39, the recommended amount of alcohol was only 0.136 of the standard dose. For women in the same age group, the “theoretical minimum exposure level” was 0.273, or about a quarter of the standard dose.

For citizens aged 40+ without chronic diseases, drinking small amounts of alcohol has therapeutic properties, such as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
In the 40-64 age group, safe amounts range from half the standard dose to almost two. For people over 65 years of age, the danger is the use of more than three doses per day.

On average, the recommended amount of alcohol at the age of 40+ remains low, and the maximum figure is fixed at around 1.87 of the standard dose. After that, the health risks increase with each sip, reports the Lancet.

Another study in this area was published July 14 in the journal PLOS Medicine. Its authors claim that consumption of seven or more units of alcohol per week increases the level of iron in the brain. And he, in turn, is associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and can trigger a mechanism for reducing cognitive abilities against the background of frequent drinking.

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of charity group Alcohol Change UK, said: “The emerging science of alcohol and over a hundred studies over the past 20 years clearly show that alcohol is harmful to the human body in many ways. We did not know this before, and too many of us continue to drink as if there was no knowledge revolution.

If you care about your health, the best approach is not to drink at all. If you decide to drink alcohol, listen carefully to the advice of the UK Chief Medical Officer and do not exceed 14 drinks a week (about six pints of lager or one and a half bottles of wine), do not drink at least three days a week and never exceed six units a day.

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