Health Watch: Can a Glass of Wine Help You Age with Grace?

A recent study suggests moderate alcohol consumption may decrease risk of frailty in older patients
Health Watch: Can a Glass of Wine Help You Age with Grace?
Moderate wine consumption may reduce weakness, slowness and fatigue in older drinkers. (iStock)
Dec 19, 2016

Frailty is an umbrella term for the low energy levels, unintentional weight loss and overall decline in physical performance that senior adults can experience as they age. Studies have linked this geriatric condition to high levels of inflammation in the body, which can be measured by the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP) produced by the liver. University of Central Florida graduate researcher Mona Shah sought to expand on past reports that link moderate alcohol consumption with inflammation control by analyzing the role of CRP levels in adults age 65 and older.

"The purpose of the study was to try to better understand why it is that alcohol confers health benefits for older adults," said Daniel Paulson, director of the Orlando Later-Life Developmental Research (OLDeR) Lab and Shah's doctoral adviser at UCF. "We've known for a long time that there are health benefits associated with moderate drinking, but we haven't really understood why."

Using data from the 2008 wave of the Heath and Retirement Study, Shah examined the weekly alcohol consumption (self-reported) and CRP levels (collected through a blood test) of each of the 3,229 participants in the selected sample, and how they related to frailty. The Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index was used to determine whether each participant was considered frail; if they met three of the five criteria (wasting, weakness, slowness, fatigue and falls), then they were deemed frail. The results showed that moderate drinkers (in this case, those who consumed 1 to 14 drinks per week, as defined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans) showed significantly lower CRP levels and less frailty. Nondrinkers had higher levels of CRP and more frailty. Heavy drinkers (anyone who reported consuming more than 14 drinks per week) were excluded from this study. A path analysis proved that CRP is a viable mechanism to measure the relationship between alcohol and frailty.

According to Paulson, this is just a primary step in the broader quest to understand how alcohol relates to health outcomes. Researchers at the OLDeR Lab plan to continue studying alcohol's impact on health; Paulson hinted to Wine Spectator that there are other conditions that alcohol may positively impact, such as dementia and depression, that he'd like to explore further.

Health Longevity News

You Might Also Like

Restaurant Award Winners that Have Permanently Closed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Restaurant Award Winners that Have Permanently Closed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A running list of wine-focused dining spots that have been forced to shut for good as the …

Apr 14, 2021
U.S. Authorities Deport Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan

U.S. Authorities Deport Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the man known as Dr. Conti was flown to …

Apr 13, 2021
Red Wine Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Cataracts

Red Wine Consumption Linked to Lower Risk of Cataracts

A new study finds that low to moderate alcohol intake may help prevent age-related eye …

Apr 13, 2021
Home Wine Deliveries Keep on Truckin'

Home Wine Deliveries Keep on Truckin'

Wineries got savvy to online marketing in 2020 during the pandemic. But will that last in …

May 31, 2021
A Tuscan Winery Vacation with Sting? Southern Glazer's and Wine Spectator Raise $1.6 Million for Pandemic-Impacted Restaurant Workers in Blockbuster Auction

A Tuscan Winery Vacation with Sting? Southern Glazer's and Wine Spectator Raise $1.6 Million for Pandemic-Impacted Restaurant Workers in Blockbuster Auction

With the help of Zachy's, Guy Fieri, Dave Portnoy and a star-studded lineup of vintners, …

Apr 9, 2021
Bill Harlan Appoints His Son, Will, as Managing Director of Harlan Estate

Bill Harlan Appoints His Son, Will, as Managing Director of Harlan Estate

After 40 years at the helm of one of Napa’s premier Cabernet estates, Harlan will step away …

Apr 9, 2021