The Truth About Alcohol

Alcohol linked to good health in many studies, but research may be flawed

(RxWiki News) You hear a lot about moderate alcohol intake and good health, but the research backing up those claims might be flawed, a new study found.

The authors of this new study, led by Timothy Stockwell, PhD, director of the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research in British Columbia, Canada, found that, of 87 studies that found positive health benefits linked to moderate alcohol intake, most of them had flawed research methods that made positive results more likely.

A key flaw in some of these studies was that patients considered "abstainers," or those who didn't drink, might have stopped drinking alcohol due to poor health, Dr. Stockwell and team found.

If patients who don't drink in these studies could already be in poor health, then the perceived health benefits of moderate alcohol intake could be exaggerated, according to these researchers.

Past research has linked alcohol to a range of health benefits — from improved heart health to longevity. Talk to your doctor about your alcohol intake.

This study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The National Institutes of Health funded this research. Conflicts of interest included author ties to alcohol industry groups and pharmaceutical companies.

Review Date: 
March 21, 2016