May 17, 2020
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Alcohol is harmful in all doses


In our society, the idea is widely spread that in small doses, alcohol is not only not harmful, but even good for health. Like, it improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, stimulates the metabolism, has a beneficial effect on the psyche and generally increases life expectancy ... However, this is nothing more than a myth actively supported by alcohol companies!

The issue of drinking alcohol is very painful for our country. Most drink, but they will tell you with confidence: this is not about us, we are not alcoholics, but “moderately drinkers”. And if not abused, then a glass of wine or cognac is only good.

I am a doctor and I want to tell you about how small doses of alcohol really affect you. Nothing personal - pure biology.

To begin with, a person began to drink not from a good life. Scientists believe that approximately million years ago there was another cooling, and the common ancestor of man and anthropoid apes a mutation occurred that increased the rate of alcohol breakdown by 30 times. This was necessary in order to eat fallen and fermented fruits, since those that were hanging on the trees were no longer enough.

The ability to eat spoiled fruits helped us survive, but brought a lot of troubles. But if no one doubts the danger of alcohol abuse, then the question of the harm of "small doses" remains debatable for most people. Moreover, one can often hear about the scientifically proven benefits of “moderate” use of ethyl alcohol. Is it so?

Indeed, if you look at the graph of the correlation of alcohol consumption and health effects, we will see the obvious beneficial effect of moderate doses. The group of “teetotalers” has significantly worse health indicators. However, correlation is far from always a causal relationship. Therefore, scientists conducted a meta-analysis 80 of works (a comparison of different scientific studies) and found that people with serious illnesses fell into the group of “non-drinkers” , former alcoholics, people of old age (compelledly non-drinkers). And if we amend this data by excluding the listed categories of people from the list of “non-drinkers,” we will see that the “benefits” of alcohol disappear, and the true “teetotalers” demonstrate excellent health. There is nothing surprising in this, such a statistical error can be unintentional.

So, one study found that coffee causes cancer. Data verification showed that smokers are more likely to get cancer and drink coffee more often than tea, and coffee has nothing to do with it. If we carefully analyze the numerous studies on the benefits of small doses of alcohol, we will see that we are talking about a correlation, and not a causal relationship.

In addition to “random” statistical errors, there are explicit falsifications in the question of the “benefit” of small doses of alcohol. So, in 2007, the whole world spread the news that the benefits of red wine were scientifically proven. Everyone remembered this, but few people know the continuation of this story. The author of this study, Dr. Deepak Das, was convicted by the leadership of the University of Connecticut in falsifying scientific evidence. An internal investigation lasted three years and revealed 80 episodes of falsifying scientific results on resveratrol - a substance found in red wine and supposedly providing it useful the effect. Note that studies conducted in Italy showed a lack of a relationship between the amount of wine consumed and health risks: people live longer for other reasons. But among wine lovers of the French and Italians, the prevalence of alcoholic hepatitis and liver cirrhosis is higher than the world average. And the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2007 stopped researching the resveratrol analogue, since in the tests “wine in tablets” showed complete inefficiency and toxicity.

For any harmful factor, there are two groups of risks: deterministic (dose-dependent) and stochastic (without a dose threshold). The given "safe" doses of alcohol are calculated on the basis of its effect on the liver. Everything is clear here: the more a person drinks, the worse for his liver. But there are many conditions and situations where even small doses are of great importance.

This includes social risks, injuries, fetal malformations and risks of increasing the likelihood of other diseases (depression, schizophrenia, cancer, heart rhythm disturbance, etc.). The truth is that alcohol can be harmful in many different ways, because there are 10 diseases caused solely by alcohol, and 145 diseases, the occurrence of which he actively contributes to. We all know about cirrhosis and pancreatitis, but do we remember about cancer and killings?

Alcohol even in small doses increases the risk of cancer : scientifically proven its relationship with cancer of the oral cavity, nose, larynx, esophagus, colon, liver and breast in women. For this, one glass of wine per day is enough. In general, from 5 to % of cancers can be associated with alcohol consumption, and a decrease in its consumption can reduce the risk of their occurrence. Drinking even grams of alcohol increases the risk of heart rhythm disturbance .

Alcohol is the only drug whose harm to others is even greater than to those who use it. Risky and criminal behavior is mainly associated with the use of alcohol. Even small doses of alcohol inhibit the functioning of the higher centers of the cerebral cortex, which reduces self-control and criticality. So, in a state of intoxication, more than 40% of murders, cases of serious bodily harm, rape. A large number of injuries occur with “moderately drunk” people, and about 30% of Belarusians who committed suicide were also under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol is caloric in itself (in one glass of wine there are as many calories as in one donut) and contributes to overeating: a drunk person eats much more than a sober person. If you add drunk driving and risky sexual behavior (the risk of sexually transmitted infections, the number of abortions, divorces, etc.), you will see the breadth of the problem of “moderate” alcohol consumption. Alcohol is the main cause of the death of the working-age population.

Is absolute sobriety helpful? A study of people who are unable to process alcohol (they do not drink because they can not) showed that carriers of such a genetic marker are significantly better in health. The medical expenses of teetotalers are significantly lower than those of “moderately” drinkers, and most insurance companies in Europe, if they are aware that a person is not drinking (a convinced teetotaler), are ready to make a good discount on life insurance. In addition, if you reduce the amount of drugs used, this leads to an increase in the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine and you become more motivated and energetic.

Even if there is a small beneficial effect of “small doses”, its price and risks are not comparable with the benefits received. There is not a single unique effect of ethyl alcohol other than its universal destructive effect. Remember that alcohol is a psychoactive substance, and even small doses of it open Pandora's box of serious potential problems.

There are many sober and proven ways to relieve stress, improve health, and communicate between people without side effects.


  • listen to people, not drink with them,
  • relieve stress in the gym, not the bar,
  • to attract the attention of the opposite sex with its charm, and not with a "Screwdriver."

More often remember folk wisdom: whoever seeks strength in vodka walks along the edge of the grave.

Andrey Beloveshkin - doctor, candidate of medical sciences, leading seminars and master classes on a healthy lifestyle.

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