A recent study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism
reported that women who drank 2 to 4 glasses of beer
a week can reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 31 percent as compared with women who don't drink beer.
Researchers from Harvard and the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at the Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted two studies over a period of 20 and 28 years on over 200,000 women to examine the link between alcohol consumption
(beer, wine, or liquor) and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
. And they found that beer was not so bad after all. Wine
and liquor too reduced the risk but it was not significant, they reported. Although they could not explain why moderate beer consumption reduced the chances of getting the disease, the researchers okayed 5.0 to 9.9g of alcohol per day. There's 13.2g of alcohol in a standard bottle or can of beer.
The researchers however suggested that 'the cumulative effect of long-term moderate alcohol exposure, not short-term alcohol consumption' may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
. Rheumatoid Arthritis - Symptoms and Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the joints of the hands and feet causing swelling and pain in the area. RA can also affect the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels. It is more common in women and those over 40 years of age.
Symptoms include: •
Swollen and painful joints
of the hands and feet •
Stiffness in the morning •
Nodules under the skin in the arms • Fever
, and sometimes weight loss
Treatment: There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation can be relieved by medications such as NSAIDs
and corticosteroids (prednisone
). Certain anti-rheumatic drugs can slow the progression of the disorder and prevent permanent damage. Your doctor may also prescribe immune-suppressants and TNF-alpha inhibitors or other drugs to treat RA. Exercises for flexibility of joints are also an integral part of the treatment.
So, how are beer and rheumatoid arthritis linked? Scientists are still working on it. Health Benefits of Beer
The benefits of drinking beer don't seem to end with rheumatoid arthritis. A number of earlier studies too found things praiseworthy about beer.
Harvard researchers observed that moderate drinking of alcohol (beer or wine) reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease
. They found that alcohol protects against heart disease by raising the levels of HDL.
So much so, researchers at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece, went on to say that beer consumption actually improves artery function and structure by reducing stiffness in the arteries in healthy non-smokers. But like all things, moderation is the key.
Alcohol has also been found to increase sensitivity to insulin. That means, a bit of beer is allowed even if you have type-2 diabetes
The benefits of moderate drinking be it beer or wine go beyond the heart. 'The social and psychological benefits of alcohol can't be ignored. A drink before a meal can improve digestion or offer a soothing respite at the end of a stressful day; the occasional drink with friends can be a social tonic. These physical and psychic effects may contribute to health and well-being,' say Harvard scientists. However, they strongly recommend taking at least 600 micrograms of folate
every day if you are drinking, even moderate. That is because alcohol increases risk of various cancers. And taking folate will cancel alcohol related increase in the risk.
So, beer up, ladies! Your glass of beer may actually save you from rheumatoid arthritis. References: