No Amount of Alcohol Safe, says World Health Organization


The long-held belief that moderate alcohol consumption benefits one’s health has been contradicted by many studies in the past, creating mixed opinions on the belief.

However, earlier this year, the World Health Organization released a report that vehemently suggested a link between cancer and alcohol, which ultimately labeled any amount of alcohol unsafe.

In addition to providing a link between cancer and alcohol consumption, the report also suggested that, contrary to past beliefs, alcohol may not benefit the heart after all.

According to Dr. Michael Shapiro, a cardiologist at Portland’s Oregon Health and Science University, the past notion that red wine and other spirits provided heart benefits was founded on hollow evidence.

Past research into alcohol’s effect on the heart, says Shapiro, have failed to look at the long-term causes and effects, as well as outside influences.

To support Shapiro’s analysis, a recent study released by the British Medical Journal, found that people with a form of gene linked to lower drinking habits typically had healthier hearts, which promotes cutting down on alcohol, even for moderate consumers.

There are recent studies, though, that continue to support alcohol’s health benefits.

For example, in June, a study published by Circulation, asserted that men and women who has four to six alcoholic drinks per week, were 20-40% less likely to experience ballooning of their aortas valves.

Additionally, findings presented at an April meeting of the National Kidney Foundation, suggested that a small amount of wine per day may lower one’s probability of chronic-kidney disease, by specifically pointing out that people who drank less than one glass of wine per day had a 37% lower risk than people who did not drink at all.

Although ambivalence seems to be present in regards to alcohol and the heart, there is much less debate about the role alcohol consumption plays in with cancer.

In 1988, the WHO labeled alcohol a carcinogen, and since then other US health organizations have backed that label.

Several types of cancer, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and liver are believed to be caused by alcohol consumption. The National Cancer Institute says the more one drinks, the more likely they are to develop one of these types of cancers.

However, there are two types of cancer, renal cell and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which actually have shown to be impeded by moderate alcohol consumption.

Still, though, don’t reach for the bottle yet, because an estimated 4% of cancer deaths in the United States are linked to alcohol.

If anything can be taken from the many studies on alcohol and its benefits or lack thereof, researchers say that alcohol requires a conscious balancing act.




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