The Link Between Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Muscle Loss

According to recent research, heavy alcohol consumption could contribute to muscle wasting and frailty risk in older individuals. According to statistical modeling techniques employed for the study, individuals with the lowest muscle volume consumed 10 daily units or more – equivalent to approximately one bottle of wine daily – per day.

Researchers conducted scaled measurements based on body size as larger individuals tend to possess more muscle mass. Other factors, including physical activity and protein consumption were taken into consideration as well.

These findings, mostly among adults aged 50s and 60s, offer yet another reason to reduce alcohol consumption: muscle loss as we age leads to weakness and frailty issues later on in life.

Alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for various conditions; so researchers wanted to learn more about its relationship to muscle health as we age.

Researchers examined data from the UK Biobank database containing health and lifestyle data on over half a million individuals aged 37-73 years. Nearly 200,000 participants who submitted data between those age brackets were examined.

Researchers assessed how much alcohol participants were consuming and compared it with their muscle mass, according to body size of each participant.

Other variables were taken into consideration as well, including protein intake, physical activity levels and any other potential influences that might alter how much muscle someone had.

Most participants were aged 50s and 60s, and it was discovered that those consuming large amounts of alcohol had lower amounts of skeletal muscle compared with individuals consuming less after considering body size and other factors.

Individuals were consuming 10 or more daily units – approximately equivalent to one bottle of wine or four or five pints – which became a concern.

Muscle mass and alcohol consumption were measured simultaneously across individuals in this study, so an exact causal link can’t be established. However, this research indicates that alcohol could have an adverse impact on muscle mass at higher consumption levels.

Losing muscle as we age leads to weakness and frailty; therefore, another good reason for limiting alcohol consumption in middle age.

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