A recent study by the University of East Anglia revealed that heavy drinking can contribute to the accelerated shrinkage of muscles. The study, published in Springer Link journal, demonstrated that excessive alcohol consumption could harm skeletal muscles and increase the risk of premature aging.
To account for body size variations, the researchers adjusted the data by considering factors such as protein intake and physical activity. The study drew upon information from the UK Biobank. About 200,000 individuals, aged between 37 and 73 years, participated in the study – the majority being in their 50s and 60s.
After accounting for body size and other factors, it was observed that individuals who consumed higher amounts of alcohol had a lower skeletal muscle volume than those who drank less. The researchers identified a potential concern when individuals consumed 10 or more units of alcohol per day––equivalent to approximately a bottle of wine or four to five pints.
Of note, the study's findings were based on cross-sectional measurements, so a definite causal relationship cannot be established. Nevertheless, considering that muscle loss during aging can lead to weakness and frailty, this research offers an additional reason to avoid routine high alcohol consumption in middle and older age.
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