Drinking in moderation cuts risk of asthma, finds study
Published 26/09/2011 | 05:00
Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of asthma, research suggests.
But heavy drinking makes the condition more likely, the Danish study found.
Scientists compared alcohol intake with asthma risk over a period of eight years in more than 19,000 twins aged between 12 and 41.
All participants completed questionnaires at the start and end of the study.
Less than 4pc of those participants who drank one to six units of alcohol per week developed asthma.
In comparison, more than 6pc of people who rarely or never drank alcohol began suffering symptoms.
Around 4.5pc of heavy drinkers who consumed four, or more, units of alcohol per day became asthmatic.
One unit of alcohol is equivalent to half a pint of beer, a single measure of spirits, or just under a standard 125ml glass of wine. The findings were presented yesterday at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam.
Researcher Sofie Lieberoth, from the Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark, said: "Whilst excessive alcohol intake can cause health problems, the findings of our study suggest that a moderate intake of one to six units can reduce the risk of developing asthma.
"By examining all the factors linked with the development of asthma, we can understand more about what causes the condition and how to prevent it."
Previous studies have shown a link between excessive alcohol consumption and asthma attacks. The research also indicated how drinkers who preferred beer were more likely to develop asthma than those who harboured no particular preference.