Alcohol Slows Rheumatoid Arthritis Progression

But Moderation is Key, Experts Say

Alcohol in ModerationA 2010 study published online in Arthritis & Rheumatism shows that alcohol consumption slows down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but only if you drink in moderation.

Swiss researchers studied 2,900 patients with rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 4 years. The researchers observed x-rays of the patients’ joint damage to determine the progression of the disease.
 
The patients were grouped as drinkers and non-drinkers. The researchers found that RA in the patients who drank progressed slower compared to the non-drinking group.
 
The researchers observed that the participants who were occasional or daily alcohol drinkers experienced a slower progression of the disease. In particular, male patients who drank in moderation experienced a significantly slower progression of the disease than males who did not drink. Heavy drinkers, however, showed a greater progression of rheumatoid arthritis.
 
This study is tied to previous research that suggested that alcohol may have anti-inflammatory properties.
 
The researchers noted that although the slowed progression wouldn’t make a difference early on, it could make a major difference in the health and overall quality of life of people with rheumatoid arthritis if it was maintained over many years.
 
More research needs to be done to confirm whether the slowed progression is due solely to moderate alcohol consumption. Even if it were, the research team said it wouldn’t recommend that non-drinking patients start drinking.
 
If you’d like to access the abstract this study, click here.

 

Updated on: 08/24/15
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What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most debilitating type of arthritis because it can cause deformity and disability. RA may affect the cervical spine and cause the facet joints in the neck to become inflamed and painful.
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