Drinking Alcohol and Successful Ageing

Research has demonstrated that drinking alcohol in moderation is associated with longer life. This study examined whether "successful ageing," in addition to just survival, is affected by the regular, moderate consumption of alcohol.

Women among the 13,894 subjects in the Nurses' Health Study were assessed at midlife and followed over time to examine their alcohol consumption in relation to successful ageing.

Successful ageing was defined as survival to age 70 without having any major chronic disease (such as coronary disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes), and without having any major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health problems. Only 11% of the women met these rigorous criteria.

The results demonstrate that moderate drinkers, especially those who consume frequently, are more likely to age successfully. Women who consumed an average just over 1 to 2 1/2 drinks per day had a 28% greater chance of ageing successfully compared to abstainers or non-drinkers.

Consistent with other medical research, the frequency of drinking was very important. Women who only drank on one or two days each week had relatively little increased chance of successful ageing, whereas those who drank at least five days each week had almost a 50% greater chance of successful ageing.

A standard drink is:

Standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits each contain six-tenths of one ounce of alcohol; standard drinks are the same in their alcohol content.

Note: This website is informational only. It does not make suggestions or recommendations of any kind and none should be inferred.

Resources

  • Sun, Q., Townsend, M.K., Okereke, O.I., Rimm, E.B., Hu, F.B., Stampfer, M.J., & Grodstein, F. Alcohol consumption at midlife and successful ageing in women: A prospective cohort analysis in the Nurses' Health Study. PLoS Med 8(9): e1001090. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001090

filed under: Aging

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