The research on alcohol and its effects on long-term health in humans can appear confusing and seemingly paradoxical. Conventional health organizations recommend moderate drinking – if you drink at all – due to potential beneficial effects for cardiometabolic health. On the other hand, they do not encourage teetotalers to start drinking, on account of the possible risks associated with alcohol consumption.
One basic principle of toxicology to keep in mind is “the dose makes the poison.” This applies to literally all chemicals – including vitamins and minerals that are essential to our survival. Even water can become toxic when too much is absorbed into the body. So, whether or not a substance can be characterized as a toxin is not a simple question. It depends upon the dose, as well as the duration of exposure. Epidemiology and basic science have suggested that alcohol can actually be beneficial to health and longevity – however only in the right amounts. Ethanol appears to work its magic by improving, among other things, insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles. But these benefits are largely lost in the context of heavy drinking. But new research looks at how various levels of daily alcohol consumption influences biological aging. Read more to find out what they discovered.