Researchers have established a connection between alcohol consumption and Covid-related risks
A team of Chinese scientists has analyzed the association between consumption of various alcoholic beverages and Covid-related risks, bringing some exciting news for wine lovers and disappointment for beer fans.
The researchers, from Shenzhen Kangning Hospital and Southwest Hospital, reviewed 473,957 subjects with an average age of 69 from the UK Biobank database, including 16,559 Covid-positive individuals. They divided them into groups by drinking status (non-drinker, former drinker, and current drinker) and by frequency of alcohol consumption (less than three times a week, more than three times a week, and never).
Existing UK guidelines - less than 14 units a week, with a small glass of wine counting as 1.5 units and a pint of lower-strength beer as two units - was adopted by the scientists as a reference point.
The researchers concluded that "red wine, white wine, and champagne have chances to reduce the risk of Covid-19."
Underlining that heavy drinking is not healthy with any category of alcoholic beverage, the scientists specified that "consumption of red wine above or double above the guidelines," "low-frequency of consumption of fortified wine (1-2 glasses/week) within guidelines," and "high frequency of consumption of white wine and champagne above the guidelines" all play a protective role against Covid-19.
"Alcohol drinker status, frequency, amount, and subtypes of alcoholic beverages were not associated with Covid-19 associated mortality," the report, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, also concludes.
Interestingly, whereas the protective effect of red wine against Covid-19 was significant regardless of the frequency of alcohol intake, possibly due to the highest concentrations of phenolic compounds in this beverage, "it only played the protective effect when subjects consumed alcohol above or double above the guidelines."
However, the team's report brings some bad news for lovers of beer, cider and spirits.
"Consumption of beer and cider increased the Covid-19 risk, regardless of the frequency and amount of alcohol intake," the report said.
Therefore, the researchers claim, "public health guidance should focus on reducing the risk of Covid-19 by advocating healthy lifestyle habits and preferential policies among consumers of beer and cider and spirits."