BACKGROUND: Studies have indicated that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with lower incidence of diabetes in women. However, not only the amount but also the drinking pattern could be of importance when assessing the longitudinal relation between alcohol and glucose. Also, there is a lack of studies on alcohol use beginning in adolescence on adult glucose levels. The aim was to examine the association between total alcohol consumption and binge drinking between ages 16 and 43 and fasting plasma glucose at age 43.

METHODS: Data were retrieved from a 27-year prospective cohort study, the Northern Swedish Cohort. In 1981, all 9th grade students (n = 1083) within a municipality in Sweden were invited to participate. There were re-assessments at ages 18, 21, 30 and 43. This particular study sample consisted of 897 participants (82.8%). Fasting plasma glucose (mmol/L) was measured at a health examination at age 43. Total alcohol consumption (in grams) and binge drinking were calculated from alcohol consumption data obtained from questionnaires.

RESULTS: Descriptive analyses showed that men had higher levels of fasting plasma glucose as compared to women. Men also reported higher levels of alcohol consumption and binge drinking behavior. Linear regressions showed that total alcohol consumption in combination with binge drinking between ages 16 and 43 was associated with elevated fasting plasma glucose at age 43 in women (beta = 0.14, p = 0.003) but not in men after adjustment for BMI, hypertension and smoking at age 43.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that reducing binge drinking and alcohol consumption among young and middle-aged women with the highest consumption might be metabolically favorable for their future glucose metabolism.

Published in General Health

The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden remains debated partly due to opposite associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) summarizes opposing associations of alcohol consumption on chronic diseases. This study aimed to investigate the association of alcohol consumption with chronic disease burden expressed in DALYs based on individual-participant data. The study was a prospective study among 33,066 men and women from the EPIC-NL cohort. At baseline, alcohol consumption was assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were followed for occurrence of and mortality from chronic diseases and DALYs were calculated. After 12.4 years follow-up, 6647 disease incidences and 1482 deaths were documented, resulting in 68,225 healthy years of life lost (6225 DALYs). Moderate drinkers (women 5-14.9 g/day, men 5-29.9 g/day) had a lower chronic disease burden (mean DALYs -0.27; 95% CI -0.43; -0.11) than light drinkers (0-4.9 g/day), driven by a lower disease burden due to CVD (-0.18: -0.29; -0.06) but not cancer (-0.05: -0.16; 0.06). The associations were most pronounced among older participants (>/=50 years; -0.32; -0.53; -0.10) and not observed among younger women (-0.08; -0.43; 0.35), albeit non-significant (pinteraction > 0.14). Substantial drinking (women 15-29.9 g/day, men 30-59.9 g/day) compared to light drinking was not associated with chronic disease burden. Our results show that moderate compared to light alcohol consumption was associated with living approximately 3 months longer in good health. These results were mainly observed among older participants and not seen among younger women.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: It is unknown if wine, beer and spirit intake lead to a similar association with diabetes. We studied the association between alcoholic beverage preference and type 2 diabetes incidence in persons who reported to consume alcohol.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Ten European cohort studies from the Consortium on Health and Ageing: Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States were included, comprising participant data of 62 458 adults who reported alcohol consumption at baseline. Diabetes incidence was based on documented and/or self-reported diagnosis during follow-up. Preference was defined when 70% of total alcohol consumed was either beer, wine or spirits. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were computed using Cox proportional hazard regression. Single-cohort HRs were pooled by random-effects meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Beer, wine or spirit preference was not related to diabetes risk compared with having no preference. The pooled HRs were HR 1.06 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93, 1.20) for beer, HR 0.99 (95% CI 0.88, 1.11) for wine, and HR 1.19 (95% CI 0.97, 1.46) for spirit preference. Absolute wine intake, adjusted for total alcohol, was associated with a lower diabetes risk: pooled HR per 6 g/day was 0.96 (95% CI 0.93, 0.99). A spirit preference was related to a higher diabetes risk in those with a higher body mass index, in men and women separately, but not after excluding persons with prevalent diseases.

CONCLUSIONS: This large individual-level meta-analysis among persons who reported alcohol consumption revealed that the preference for beer, wine, and spirits was similarly associated with diabetes incidence compared with having no preference.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 22 February 2017; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2017.4

Published in Diabetes

There has been little focus on the effects of alcohol on the elderly. Although the cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption could be of the greatest benefit in this group, so might be the detrimental effects of abuse. In this article, we review available data on the effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, hypertension, and vascular function in older adults. Alcohol consumption has increased in the US population age 65 years and older in the last decade, as has monthly heavy episodic drinking in older alcohol consumers. Studies of alcohol consumption in older subjects suggest that consumption in moderation does not increase the risk of heart failure, hypertension, or atrial arrhythmias, and may in fact improve vascular function and reduce cardiovascular disease events. As in younger subjects, heavy consumption, or abuse of alcohol, negates any potential protective cardiovascular effects, increasing the incidence of heart failure and hypertension. Although alcohol consumed in moderation does not appear harmful in the elderly population, heavier consumption exacerbates hypertension and increases the incidence of heart failure.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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