Impact of alcohol consumption on systematic inflammation unclear. Results of a study presented at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy, suggest that alcohol consumption is associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing several arthritic conditions including Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Osteoarthritis (OA), reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and spondylarthropathy.
Interestingly, researchers also found that the degree of systemic inflammation in patients was shown to increase as the amount of alcohol consumed decreased (p=0.001) and that there was no dose response relationship (low 0.12 (0.08-0.18), moderate 0.46 (0.36-0.59), high 0.17 (0.12-0.25)) between the amount of alcohol consumed and the risk of arthritis development. Researchers hypothesise that there could be two explanations for this inflammatory effect; either that patients with more severe disease activity consume less alcohol due to associated changes in their lifestyle, or that the presence of alcohol in the system could protect against the development of systemic inflammation.
“We know from previous research that alcohol consumption may confer a protective effect against developing RA, our data have shown that this effect may apply to other arthritic conditions too,” said Dr Annekoos Leonoor Huidekoper, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands and lead author of the study. “What intrigues us now is that the findings related to systemic inflammation, further research into the inflammatory pathways involved is needed to determine the exact nature of the association.”