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Research shows wine can cut the risk of developing arthritis

Drinking five or more glasses of wine a week can cut the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by up to 50%, according to new scientific research.

For the study, participants, over half of which had the disease, were quizzed about their lifestyle, including how much they drank and smoked. Blood samples were also taken to check for genetic risks. The results showed that drinking alcohol was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, which is a degenerative inflammatory disorder characterised by swelling of the joints, muscle weakness and fatigue. It also showed that the more alcohol consumed, the lower the risk of developing the disease.

Among those who drank wine regularly, the quarter with the highest consumption were found to be up to 50% less likely to develop the disease compared with the half who drank the least. Furthermore, alcohol cut the risk most in smokers who had a genetic risk – smoking is known to be a major environmental risk factor.

Dr Henrik Kallberg of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm led the research, which was published online in the medical journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. He told ThirtyFifty, ‘It is too early to give any recommendations on alcohol use in order to prevent RA,’ adding that, ‘We are going to expand our research soon.’

However, Professor Robert Moots, for the Arthritis Research Campaign, cautioned that, ‘There is no doubt that drinking too much is very bad for our health in many ways - and these risks by far outweigh any potential benefit for reducing the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, which this study points to, without being conclusive.’