(HealthDay News) – Moderate alcohol consumption correlates with reduced incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) among women.

Daniela Di Guiseppe, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the correlation between alcohol intake and incidence of RA in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Participants included 34,141 women born between 1914–1948 who were followed-up from 2003–2009. In 1987 and 1997, data were collected on alcohol consumption.

During 226,032 person-years of follow-up the researchers identified 197 incident cases of RA. Compared with women who never drank alcohol or who drank <1 glass of alcohol per week, women who drank >4 glasses per week had a significantly reduced risk of RA (relative risk, 0.63). There was a nonsignificant, inverse correlation between drinking all types of alcohol (beer, wine, and liquor) and the risk of RA. Compared to no alcohol consumption, drinking >3 glasses of alcohol per week in both 1987 and 1997 correlated with a significantly decreased risk of RA (relative risk, 0.48).

“The results of this study indicate that moderate consumption of alcohol may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis among women,” the authors write. “These results are in accordance with the inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and add to the evidence that moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful and can be protective against such a chronic disease as rheumatoid arthritis.”

Full Text