Regular light to moderate alcohol intake linked to improved lung function Alcohol intake has been inconsistently associated with lung function levels in cross-sectional studies. The goal of a study published in the March 2018 edition of the journal Alcohol was to determine whether longitudinally assessed light-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with levels and decline of lung function.
Data from 1,333 adult participants in the populationbased Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Disease was examined. Alcohol intake was assessed with four surveys between 1972 and 1992. Subjects who completed at least two surveys were classified into longitudinal drinking categories (“never”, “inconsistent”, or “persistent drinker”). Spirometric lung function was measured in up to 11 surveys over the course of the study.
After adjustment for sex, age, height, education, BMI categories, smoking status, and pack-years, as compared to never-drinkers, regular drinkers had higher Forced vital capacity (FVC) (coefficient: 157 mL, p < 0.001), but lower FEV1/FVC ratio (-2.3%, p < 0.001)*. Differences were due to a slower decline of Forced Vital Capacity among persistent than among never-drinkers (p = 0.003), and these trends were present independent of smoking status. Inconsistent drinking showed similar, but weaker associations.
The authors state that after adjustment for potential confounders, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a significantly decreased rate of FVC decline over adult life.
Source: Persistent light to moderate alcohol intake and lung function: A longitudinal study. Vasquez MM, Sherrill DL, LeVan TD, Morgan WJ, Sisson JH, Guerra S. Alcohol 2017 Sep 1;67:65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2017.08.013.
*FEV1 represents the percent of the lung size (FVC) that can be exhaled in one second. For example, if the FEV1 is 4 and the FVC is 5, then the FEV1/ FVC ratio would be 4/5 or 80%. This means the individual can breath out 80% of the inhaled air in the lungs in one second.