Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alcohol Effects on Inflammation and Rheumatoid Arthritis

My dad, a robust 85 year old gentleman, has one - just one - nip of Christian Brothers brandy every night. He comments with a twinkle in his eye that he is supporting an important religious organization. This from their website:

"In 1882, the religious order of the Christian Brothers began distilling Brandy to profit the order's schools and programs. It began with the pot-still production method that is used to craft fine Cognacs and a dedication to quality, which continue to this day. Building on this strong tradition, Christian Brothers Brandy has become widely recognized for its tempting, fruity bouquet and soft, subtle texture, just as the Brothers made it in 1882."

He tells me that his nightcap is for medicinal purposes only.

It turns out that he may be right. Read this study reported by Medscape Medical News which concludes that the consumption of alcohol ten times a month may significantly reduce rheumatoid arthritis joint damage and joint pain. It also decreased C - reactive proteins, inflammatory markers in the blood:

"We found that patients who had drunk alcohol most frequently had symptoms that were less severe than those who had never drunk alcohol or only drunk it infrequently," said lead author James Maxwell, a consultant rheumatologist at the Rotherham Foundation NHS Trust and an honorary senior clinical lecturer in the Academic Rheumatology Group at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, in a news release. "X-rays showed there was less damage to joints, blood tests showed lower levels of inflammation, and there was less joint pain, swelling and disability. This is the first time that a dose-dependent inverse association between frequency of alcohol consumption and severity of RA has been shown in humans."

One of Dad's other favorite sayings is, Moderation in all things! Which makes sense here as well. Who cares if you have less joint pain if you've killed off your liver due to alcohol poisoning? Or wrapped yourself and your car around a tree because you were driving drunk?


Anonymous said...

It does not surprised me, I have noticed that when I drink alcohol I have less joint pain. The problem is you have sometimes the desire to drink to erase pain. Not a good idea, it's a bad habit to drink everyday, more and more because of pain.

Anonymous said...

What about if you are taking Methotrexate and Plaquenil? Both of these drugs strongly advise against the use of any alchohol because of the potential effects on the liver and kidneys. Again, I guess moderation would be the key.