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How our relationship with alcohol can age us

Alcohol is often a confusing topic with there being many conflicting news stories on whether drinking has any benefits or is simply bad for you.

Overall research shows that those people who are able to maintain a ‘moderate’ alcohol intake (less than 14 units a week) are more likely to be healthier and live longer, happier lives than those who don’t.

The concept of ‘moderate alcohol’

It can sound like a mixed message but there may be some benefits for drinking a moderate amount of alcohol. Wine for example, has a number of potentially beneficial molecules such as polyphenols that are found in the grape skins and moderate alcohol itself has been shown to be associated with an increase in heart healthy, ‘good cholesterol’. Research has also suggested that people who drink at a moderate level of alcohol are, on average, likely to have a reduced risk of heart disease and mortality.

HOWEVER it is also the case that drinking too much alcohol has been linked to high blood pressure, liver disease, mental health issues and some forms of cancer. Recently, it has even been suggested that there is no safe limit for alcohol intake.

So what's the truth?

While there may be healthy ingredients within alcoholic drinks and alcohol itself may have some positive properties, the truth is that drinking too much leads to significant health problems, and many people drink far more than what is considered to be 'moderate'.

How much is OK?

The guidelines for how much we should drink say that a moderate intake of alcohol is 14 units of alcohol or less per week. This is equivalent of 1 glass of wine or normal strength beer per day, with ideally some alcohol free days too.

It is also important that this intake is spread across the entire week and not 'saved up' to be consumed on one or two days, as 'binge' drinking is extremely damaging to health.


If you want to find whether alcohol (along with other lifestyle factors) might be ageing you - our Life Age test is just what you need.