Drinking every day, even if it just a glass of wine "substantially" increases the risk of premature death and its supposed health benefits have been grossly overstated, a new study has found. Regular drinking, even within self-imposed safe limits could lead to premature death.
"A glass of wine a day" is commonly quoted as being a healthy thing. From old wives' tales to simple folk knowledge, a daily tipple has often been touted to have several medical benefits from improving blood health, to making hair and skin glow, all the way to inducing positive gut health. These stories are most often anecdotal and rarely based on scientific research.
Researchers from the Washington School of Medicine conducted a study on to what level "light and regular drinking" impacts their risk of death. A person who regularly drinks four or more days a week faces a 20 per cent higher risk of early death on average, reports the Independent.
However, there is previous research that has found links between the anti-oxidants in red wine that suggests it could be beneficial to heart function in the way of reducing chances of blood clots. It was also found to an effective stress-reliever as a social lubricant, notes the report.
"Now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk," said Dr Sarah Hartz, first author of the study.
While one or two drinks for four days a week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, said Hartz, drinking every day eliminated those benefits, she added.
"With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental."
For their study, Dr Hartz and team analysed data of over 400,000 US adults between 18 and 85 years of age and found that there is a 20 per cent higher risk of an early death from any cause when people drank more than three days a week.
The study found that the 20 per cent increase in risk was spread through all age groups. The authors pointed out that drinkers in their 20s and 30s whose mortality rates are actually lower might not be particularly concerned about a 20 per cent increase in this risk, it could help inform age-targeted drinking guidance.
"As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 per cent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25," Dr Hartz said.
The study was first published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.