Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:48

Can low to moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages decrease the risk for rheumatoid arthritis?

The findings of a meta analysis indicate that that the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages can be a preventive factor in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease which is characterized by chronic destructive debilitating arthritis and affects approximately 1% of the adult population. It is thought to be the result from the interaction between environmental and genetic factors. Alcohol consumption is believed to play a role as preventive factor but findings of its effect on the development on RA have been inconsistent. Chinese researchers carried out a meta-analysis to examine the association of moderate intake of alcoholic beverages and the risk of RA. The results show that regardless of sex, a consistent low to moderate alcohol consumption for a period of at least 10 years was found to reduce the RA risk by  17%. A possible explanation for the observed reduced risk of RA with low to moderate intake of alcoholic beverages is a reduced immune response and a decreased production of pro-inflammatory cytochines.

 Jin Z et al, Alcohol consumption as a preventive factor for developing rheumatoid arthritis: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies, Ann Rheum Dis 2013, doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-203323.

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