Bakersfield, California 2020-10-13 16:15:00 –
Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill, once said, “He got more from alcohol than he took from him.” Perhaps alcoholic beverages eased his tension during the Nazi bombing in London. However, recent reports from Tufts University and the University of California in Boston question the increased use of alcohol during the pandemic of the virus. So should we reduce the amount of Chardonnay glasses?
How much has the viral pandemic affected us? Alcohol sales in the United States increased 55% in March 2020, according to a Nielsen report. Alcohol sales have doubled in China, where the infection began.
When we drink alcohol, enzymes in the liver break down alcohol molecules to produce a compound called acetaldehyde. It is a toxin that, when taken in excess, can cause liver damage, pancreatitis, and a variety of cancers. So is the potential risk too high?
A recent study published in Neurology examined the brains of 20,000 low to moderate drinkers, middle-aged to elderly, for nine years. These were compared to those who had never touched alcohol. Researchers have found that low to moderate drinking improves brain function and its rate of decline. However, another study showed that 14 drinks a week had the opposite effect.
What about red wine, which is associated with improving cardiovascular health? This column reports that moderate drinkers live longer than Teetotalists. Studies have also shown that alcohol slows the formation of blood clots and reduces coronary artery attacks and strokes.
However, Dr. Alice H. Liechtenstein, Dean of Cardiovascular Nutrition at Tufts University, said: “There is no evidence that moderate drinking provides any protection. Moderate drinkers also make other healthier diet and lifestyle choices, such as not smoking.”
There is also general agreement between authorities that excessive amounts of alcohol are carcinogens over time. This can cause cancer of the neck, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. Alcohol also interferes with the breakdown of estrogen and increases the risk of estrogen-sensitive breast malignancies.
Too much Chardonnay can also weaken the immune cells in the lungs and other organs. That’s the last thing we want during a pandemic.
Another thing we don’t need is a mother who drinks during pregnancy. It is tragic that the mother drinks too much and the child suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. There is no miraculous cure for these innocent children.
The main philosophy of this column for over 45 years is Rule # 1, Prevention. Never forget rule # 2 and rule # 1. This means making healthy lifestyle decisions early in life. The best passport for long life.
The debate about the use of alcohol may never end. However, this column argues that proper advice is to enjoy moderate drinking. Excessive use has proven to have tragic consequences.
Future research may point out that this is not the case. But until that happens, it’s interesting to think about what some good hearts have said about drinking alcohol.
For example, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, supported the use of alcohol centuries ago. Sir William Osler, a respected medical professor at McGill University in Montreal, Johns Hopkins, and Oxford University, argued that alcohol was for the elderly and milk was for the young. In addition to this, Cardinal Richelieu’s wise advice said, “If God had forbidden drinking, would he have made the wine so tasty?” And remember that Jesus endorsed the use of alcohol. After all, he turned water into wine.
But don’t follow the example of older Churchill, who said, “I said I wouldn’t drink before lunch, but now it’s before breakfast.”
A weekly column by Dr. W. Giftord-Jones has been published for 45 years. The same nonsense tradition continues in collaboration with father and daughter. Sign up for www.docgiff.com to receive our weekly electronic newsletter. For comments, please send an email to contact-us @ docgiff.com.