The risk of mortality and of developing some types of cancer increases in those who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day for the long-term, according to a new study in this regard published in the journal PLOS Medicine and cited by ScienceDaily.
The researchers looked at whether the mortality or cancer development risks differed among people with different amounts of alcohol intake over their lifetime, using data from 99,654 people in the United States.
The team led by Andrew Kunzmann of Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, studied the cases of these people for an average of 9 years, and alcohol consumption was measured through a questionnaire filled between 1998 and 2000.
During the period of the study, there were 9,559 deaths and 12,763 primary cancers among the participants.
More than one alcoholic beverage a day increases mortality and cancer risks, while light consumption has a protective role
The scientists noted the so-called J-curve, which is very common in medicine, indicates that moderation and prudence is the optimal option.
Thus, the group who consumed between two and three drinks per day and even more than three drinks per day recorded more deaths during the period studied, in comparison to light drinkers (1-3 drinks per week) and those who consumed one alcoholic beverage per week (infrequent drinkers).
This finding suggests, according to the authors, some protective effect of light alcohol consumption, particularly against the cardiovascular diseases.
In contrast, those who drank more than one alcoholic beverage a day presented increased cancer and mortality risks. On the other hand, light drinkers presented the lowest combined risks of mortality and cancer development.
“This study provides a better understanding of the complex relationship between alcohol consumption, cancer incidence, and mortality risks, and can help inform public health guidelines,” the study’s authors concluded in the study’s report published in the journal PLOS Medicine.