Raising a glass of wine or beer at least a few times a week significantly lowers the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a large new study of women finds.
Researchers at Boston University Medical Center who tracked the health and drinking habits of more than 34,000 women in Sweden found moderate drinkers were far less likely to develop the often serious and disabling form of arthritis than non-drinkers.
Investigators said the findings, reported in the British Medical Journal, provide fresh evidence that consumption of alcohol blocks or lowers inflammation in the body, which is known to be related to arthritis. SPECIAL: How One Deck of Cards Has Shown to Improve Memory
The research team found women who consumed at least four drinks per week – each containing 15 grams of alcohol – had a 37 percent lower risk of developing arthritis than those who said they never drink or consume less than one drink per week.
The study is one of the largest to evaluate the impact of drinking on arthritis. The findings support previous research showing a lower risk of developing the disease – or milder severity of it – among moderate drinkers, compared to abstainers.