wait too long to drink that wine in the cellar. Unlike the
way wine gets better with age, a recent study hints that the
older you are, the worse alcohol may be for you.
The Japanese study, appearing in Gerontology, evaluated
the relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular
health in over 12,000 male workers 20-69 years old. The men
were divided into five age groups, then into three "subgroups"
based on alcohol consumption levels: nondrinkers, light drinkers
(up to two drinks per day), and heavy drinkers (two or more
Light drinking significantly raised blood pressure in middle-aged
and elderly groups (ages 40-69), although not in younger subjects,
and only significantly decreased unhealthy cholesterol levels
in those younger than 60 years. Heavy drinking at all ages
significantly increased blood pressure, despite positively
affecting cholesterol levels. In all age groups, light drinking
raised "good" HDL cholesterol.
This study raises the often-asked question: Should you drink
to your health or not? The results imply that even light drinking
may increase blood pressure in older adults, despite its beneficial
ability to help prevent other cardiovascular risk factors.
One to two drinks daily are acceptable in younger adults,
as positive effects on cholesterol may outweigh negative side
Wakabayashi I, Kobaba-Wakabayashi R. Effects of age on the
relationship between drinking and atherosclerotic risk factors.
Gerontology 2002:48(3), pp. 151-156.
To read more on senior health, check out http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/senior.