aspirin and wine health benefits and risks

An Aspirin and a Glass of Wine a Day?

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An Aspirin and a Glass of Wine a Day?

How Much Alcohol is Needed for Good Health? During an office visit recently I was asked, "Should I be drinking one or two glasses of wine every evening to stay healthy?” Ironically, upon checking my email messages later in the day I found a link to an article titled No Amount of Alcohol is Safe. The author pointed out that so-called authorities advocating alcoholic beverage consumption as a means of preventing heart disease have chosen to overlook the adverse effects of regular alcohol consumption on other illnesses, including cancer. The conclusion was that even one glass of wine on a daily basis significantly increases one's risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, and breast. It is also likely that regular consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of developing pancreatic and kidney cancer.

When alcoholic drinks were first proposed as health beverages I reviewed the evidence and learned that while strict teetotalers and people who drink two glasses of wine daily have similar heart attack risks, those with the lowest risk are people who don't drink alcohol on a regular basis, but aren't opposed to having an occasional glass of wine or beer. Since drinking a glass of wine two or three times a year seems to be associated with a lower heart attack risk than total abstention it seems safe to assume that alcohol itself is not the protective factor. The willingness to accept an occasional alcoholic beverage is simply a personality indicator. Someone who is rigid in regard to consumption of alcohol may be inflexible in other ways as well. It may be that an easy-going personality is more heart protective than red wine.

If you find that having a glass of wine with a meal enhances your enjoyment of life do so, but don't buy into the myth that drinking alcohol daily is an effective strategy for achieving good health. It isn't.

A Step in the Right Direction: On May 2nd the FDA rejected Bayer's request for approval to market aspirin as a means to prevent heart attacks in people who have no prior history of heart disease. Bayer may still market their drug for use in people who have had a previous heart attack.

I've been fighting the "aspirin-a-day” approach to health for many years. For the rest of the story read my article An Aspirin a Day?