The recent debate on wine and health risks, born following the Irish government's desire to include warnings on alcohol labels, has reopened the discussion - including scientific discussion - on the real effects of alcohol consumption on human health. Recent research published in the Lancet in July 2022 by the Global Burden of Disease Study (a global research program evaluating mortality from major diseases, injuries and risk factors, a collaboration of more than 7,000 researchers in more than 156 countries) shows that at low levels of consumption, alcohol reduces the risk of all-cause mortality. Small amounts of alcohol consumption are associated with better health outcomes in populations predominantly facing a high burden of cardiovascular disease.
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The GBD, therefore, arrives at different results compared to those of the National Cancer Institute in France or those of the WHO, which advice against the intake, even in low doses, of alcohol, also denying any beneficial effect on health. These results, therefore, follow the already numerous declarations of scientific organizations and researchers, including Crea, the Georgofili and the Italian Society of Toxicology (Sitox) which show that at low doses of alcohol consumption, there are positive results on the onset of certain diseases.
In any case, as the GBD writes, it is a controversial topic and subject to debate. The apparent contradiction in the results of existing studies highlights the importance of continuing to study this topic and updating the evidence base as more information becomes available.
Among the most notable findings of the research is that the level of alcohol consumption that minimizes health loss varies significantly across populations and that guidelines and recommendations on the optimal level of alcohol consumption must take into consideration the whole epidemiological profile and baseline disease rates for each population.
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Below AGRICOLAE publishes the pdf of the study published in the Lancet by the Global Burden of Disease:
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Below are the excerpts with the most important results of the research:
Several studies have found evidence for a J-shaped relationship between alcohol use and all-cause mortality or burden; in other words, at low levels of consumption, alcohol reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, while above a certain threshold the risk increases. Importantly, few previous studies analyzing the effects of alcohol consumption on mortality have considered how the relationship between alcohol consumption and health is conditional on baseline rates of disease.
The analysis conducted in this study strongly suggests that optimal alcohol consumption statements, guidelines, and recommendations need to take into consideration the baseline rates of disease for each population. We provide strong evidence that the level of alcohol consumption that minimizes health loss varies significantly across populations and remains zero or very close to zero for different population groups, particularly young adults. At the same time, small amounts of alcohol consumption are associated with better health outcomes in populations facing predominantly a high burden of cardiovascular disease, particularly the elderly in many regions of the world. In light of these findings, we recommend a modification of existing policy guidelines to focus on the emphasis on optimal consumption levels differentiated by age, rather than the current practice of recommending different consumption levels by gender.
Vino, Comagri Camera. Bizzarri (La Sapienza): consumo moderato riduce incidenza cancro e tumore (anche del 60%)
Importantly, no studies to date have examined the variation in the theoretical minimum risk of alcohol use by geographic area, age, gender, and time, conditioned by baseline disease rates. National dietary guidelines on low-risk alcohol consumption, such as those in the US, UK, France and Australia, base recommendations on studies of the risk of alcohol consumption on all-cause mortality and some outcomes cause-specific.
All-cause mortality includes non-causally related outcomes, further increasing the threat to the internal validity of the evidence produced by the analysis of the effects of alcohol consumption on all-cause mortality. Furthermore, and most importantly for the present study, the composition of causes within all-cause mortality may differ substantially between populations, changing the proportional risk of mortality due to alcohol use among these populations. Together, these features limit the applicability of determining minimum risk exposures based on observational data on alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality.
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In conclusion, the relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and health is complex and has raised much controversy in the scientific literature.
Given that the available evidence suggests that low levels of alcohol consumption are associated with a lower risk of some disease outcomes and increased risk of others, alcohol consumption recommendations should take into account the entire epidemiological profile including rates underlying disease within populations.
The findings of this study support the development of personalized alcohol consumption guidelines and recommendations by age and across regions and underscore that existing low drinking thresholds are too high for younger populations across all regions. Furthermore, our results suggest that guidelines should not incorporate sex-specific recommendations, given the absence of variation in TMREL and NDE by sex between geographic areas and localities. Finally, recognizing that the majority of the world's population who consume harmful amounts of alcohol are young adults and predominantly young males, it is important to prioritize interventions targeting these groups in order to minimize alcohol-related health loss. demographics.
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