15 June 2022 In Drinking Patterns

This review discusses the inconsistent recommendations on alcohol consumption and its association with chronic disease, highlighting the need for an evidence-based consensus. Alcohol is an addictive substance consumed worldwide, especially in European countries. Recommendations on alcohol consumption are controversial. On one hand, many nonrandomized studies defend that moderate consumption has a beneficial cardiovascular effect or a lower risk of all-cause mortality. On the other hand, alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancer, neurological diseases, or injuries, among others. For years, efforts have been made to answer the question regarding the safe amount of alcohol intake, but controversies remain. Observational studies advocate moderate alcohol consumption following a Mediterranean pattern (red wine with meals avoiding binge drinking) as the best option for current drinkers. However, agencies such as the IARC recommend abstention from alcohol as it is a potent carcinogen. In this context, more randomized trial with larger sample size and hard clinical endpoints should be conducted to clarify the available evidence and provide clinicians with support for their clinical practice.

23 February 2022 In Cancer

Alcohol consumption is thought to be one of the modifiable risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the causality and mechanisms by which alcohol exerts its carcinogenic effect are unclear. We evaluated the association between alcohol consumption and CRC risk by analyzing data from 32 cohort studies and conducted two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis to examine for casual relationship.

To explore the effect of alcohol related DNA methylation on CRC risk, we performed an epigenetic MR analysis with data from an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS). We additionally performed gene-alcohol interaction analysis nested in the UK Biobank to assess effect modification between alcohol consumption and susceptibility genes. We discovered distinct effects of alcohol on CRC incidence and mortality from the meta-analyses, and genetic predisposition to alcohol drinking was causally associated with an increased CRC risk (OR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.23-2.61) using two-sample MR approaches.

In epigenetic MR analysis, two alcohol-related CpG sites (cg05593667 and cg10045354 mapped to COLCA1/COLCA2 gene) were identified causally associated with an increased CRC risk (P < 8.20 x 10(-4) ). Gene-alcohol interaction analysis revealed that carriage of the risk allele of the eQTL (rs3087967) and mQTL (rs11213823) polymorphism of COLCA1/COLCA2 would interact with alcohol consumption to increase CRC risk (PInteraction = .027 and PInteraction = .016).

Our study provides comprehensive evidence to elucidate the role of alcohol in CRC and highlights that the pathogenic effect of alcohol on CRC could be partly attributed to DNA methylation by regulating the expression of COLCA1/COLCA2 gene.

23 September 2021 In Cardiovascular System

The causal effects of alcohol-in-moderation on cardiometabolic health are continuously debated. Mendelian randomization (MR) is an established method to address causal questions in observational studies. We performed a systematic review of the current evidence from MR studies on the association between alcohol consumption and cardiometabolic diseases, all-cause mortality and cardiovascular risk factors. We performed a systematic search of the literature, including search terms on type of design and exposure. We assessed methodological quality based on key elements of the MR design: use of a full instrumental variable analysis and validation of the three key MR assumptions. We additionally looked at exploration of non-linearity. We reported the direction of the studied associations. Our search yielded 24 studies that were eligible for inclusion. A full instrumental variable analysis was performed in 17 studies (71%) and 13 out of 24 studies (54%) validated all three key assumptions. Five studies (21%) assessed potential non-linearity. In general, null associations were reported for genetically predicted alcohol consumption with the primary outcomes cardiovascular disease (67%) and diabetes (75%), while the only study on all-cause mortality reported a detrimental association. Considering the heterogeneity in methodological quality of the included MR studies, it is not yet possible to draw conclusions on the causal role of moderate alcohol consumption on cardiometabolic health. As MR is a rapidly evolving field, we expect that future MR studies, especially with recent developments regarding instrument selection and non-linearity methodology, will further substantiate this discussion.

21 July 2021 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Acute and chronic alcohol abuse has adverse impacts on both the innate and adaptive immune response, which may result in reduced resistance to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and promote the progression of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there are no large population-based data evaluating potential causal associations between alcohol consumption and COVID-19.

METHODS: We conducted a Mendelian randomization study using data from UK Biobank to explore the association between alcohol consumption and risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and serious clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. A total of 12,937 participants aged 50-83 who tested for SARS-CoV-2 between 16 March to 27 July 2020 (12.1% tested positive) were included in the analysis. The exposure factor was alcohol consumption. Main outcomes were SARS-CoV-2 positivity and death in COVID-19 patients. We generated allele scores using three genetic variants (rs1229984 (Alcohol Dehydrogenase 1B, ADH1B), rs1260326 (Glucokinase Regulator, GCKR), and rs13107325 (Solute Carrier Family 39 Member 8, SLC39A8)) and applied the allele scores as the instrumental variables to assess the effect of alcohol consumption on outcomes. Analyses were conducted separately for white participants with and without obesity.

RESULTS: Of the 12,937 participants, 4496 were never or infrequent drinkers and 8441 were frequent drinkers. Both logistic regression and Mendelian randomization analyses found no evidence that alcohol consumption was associated with risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in participants either with or without obesity (All q > 0.10). However, frequent drinking, especially heavy drinking (HR = 2.07, 95%CI 1.24-3.47; q = 0.054), was associated with higher risk of death in patients with obesity and COVID-19, but not in patients without obesity. Notably, the risk of death in frequent drinkers with obesity increased slightly with the average amount of alcohol consumed weekly (All q < 0.10).

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that alcohol consumption has adverse effects on the progression of COVID-19 in white participants with obesity, but was not associated with susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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