Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shocker: Heavy Drinkers Live Longer Than Non-Drinkers? Discover what a new paper in the Journal Alcoholism found that might make you fall off the wagon!

By Dr. Michael Pritsker, DC

Can it be true? Is it possible? As revealed in a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, people who do NOT drink alcohol do NOT live as long as people who do. The most shocking part is that Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. According to an article in Time Magazine, "Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers.

"Medium drinking, which is defined as 1-3 drinks per day, is associated with the lowest death rates in alcohol studies. According to this paper, people who do not drink at all die sooner than heavy drinkers... not people who have a drink or two a night - but... HEAVY DRINKERS! According to the article, a medium drinker, defined as 1-3 drinks per day, had the lowest death rate. Even though researchers do not know the real answer, there are plenty of theories as to why these findings exist.

One is that medium alcohol consumption (especially red wine) can improve circulation, cardiovascular health and reduce tension. Tension reduction may be the most important item on the list. Here is why. There is a vast amount of research linking tension to poor health, possible disease and shortened lifespan. In fact, a press release from September 3, 2010 states researchers had finally found direct evidence linking tension to cardiovascular attacks. According to the press release, "Researchers at The University of Western Ontario have provided the first direct evidence using a biological marker, to show chronic tension plays an important role in cardiovascular attacks. Tensionors such as job and marital and financial problems have been linked to the increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease including cardiovascular attack." This study, published in the journal Tension, said researchers developed a method to measure cortisol levels in hair. This is important because cortisol levels are an indicator of tension levels and now the cortisol/tension level can be measured for several months leading up to the cardiovascular attack.

Until now, cortisol levels were only measured in saliva, urine and serum. Because of this, stress levels were only seen at the time of the measurement - not leading up to the event. Doctors and researchers have suspected for a long time that stress was bad for you but it has been hard to measure and "prove." Now, it looks like we can all say with relative accuracy that STRESS KILLS!

This might shed new light on the alcohol research above. Maybe it's not alcohol as a chemical compound that is beneficial to your long life. Maybe the key is alcohol's role in tension reduction. Right now, no one knows for sure, but we do know that correlation is not causation. In other words, just because drinkers live longer does not mean "alcohol is good for you." For example, if the reason drinkers live longer is actually due to a reduction in tension, then it may be possible to get the same results without alcohol consumption. Maybe learning to control tension through meditation and other ways will be found to be just as effective. The mind-body connection is what's really important. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and science has now linked it to your tension levels, which basically links it to the way you think. The way you handle situations in life every single day is actually a matter of not just happiness, but of Life and Death.

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