September 1, 2013
Drinking A Glass Of Wine Each Day Could Help Prevent Depression
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain discovered people over the age of 55 who consumed between two and seven small glasses of wine each week are 32 percent less likely to become clinically depressed than both those who drink more and those who don’t drink at all, Nick Collins of The Telegraph and Alice G. Walton of Forbes reported this weekend.
The researchers followed over 5,500 men and women who were light-to-moderate drinkers (most of whom selected wine as their alcoholic beverage of choice) and were between the ages of 55 and 80. They tracked their alcohol consumption, mental health and lifestyle through questionnaires and medical examinations over a period of approximately seven years, and found over the course of the study, 443 individuals had become depressed.
“It turned out that low-to-moderate alcohol consumption was linked to reduced risk of depression: People who drank between two and seven glasses of wine per week seemed to derive the greatest benefit, having a third the risk of being depressed as people who did not drink,” Walton explained.
“Moderate drinkers also had lower risk of depression, but it wasn’t as large as the low-to-moderate group,” she added. “The results held true even after multiple lifestyle factors were controlled for, such as smoking, marital status, age, physical activity level, and diet.”
Previous research had suggested there is a link between regular, modest wine consumption and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, Collins said, and experts believe there could be a similar effect for depression as the two ailments share similar mechanisms.
Furthermore, The Telegraph Science Correspondent notes non-alcoholic compounds contained in wine, such as resveratrol, have been associated with improved physical health and could also have “a protective effect” on some regions of a person’s brain.
“Lower amounts of alcohol intake might exert protection in a similar way to what has been observed for coronary heart disease. In fact, it is believed that depression and coronary heart disease share some common disease mechanisms,” senior author Professor Miguel A. Martínez-González said in a statement.
Likewise, Tony Tang, an adjunct psychology professor at Northwestern University, told HealthDay News the new paper’s findings are “consistent with other studies suggesting modest health benefits of very modest drinking,” but suggested other factors could be involved.
For example, Tang said moderate wine drinkers are more likely to be married and physically active, while being single/divorced, living alone and being sedentary “are well-established risk factors of depression… An adequate social life is the most important factor we know that protects people from depression. Perhaps not drinking is a sign of serious social isolation in Spain while drinking a glass of wine a day is simply a sign of having a normal social life.”