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Everyone has heard that a glass of wine a day has healthful effects, but new research shows that wine may also help keep depression away.
Researchers from Spain analyzed more than 5,000 men and women over a seven-year period using the PREDIMED Trial, which is a study of nutrition and cardiovascular risk. The participants were between 55 and 80 years old with no history of depression or alcoholism. Annually the group completed a 137-item food frequency questionnaire and had their mental health and lifestyle evaluated throughout the study period.
Findings showed that people who drank an average of 5-15g a day were less likely to suffer from depression. But, for people who drank two to seven small glasses of wine each week the risk was even lower. The results are the same even when accounting for other lifestyle and social factors. Other research from PREDIMED has shown that low to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption also protects against heart disease.
“Uni-polar depression and cardiovascular disease are likely to share some common pathophysiological mechanisms. Moderate alcohol intake, especially alcohol from wine, has been repeatedly reported to be inversely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Some of the responsible mechanisms for this inverse association are likely to be involved also in a reduced risk of depression,” said study authors.
On the flip side, too much wine – consumption exceeding seven glasses a week – can increase the risk of depression.
“We are not exclusively using a clinical diagnosis of depression. Probably, we are achieving a high specificity at the expense of losing sensitivity,” explained the researchers. “Moreover there is a possibility that patterns of alcohol consumption may be associated with decisions to seek care. If heavy drinkers were less likely to seek medical care this could result in the rates of depression being under-estimated among heavy drinkers.”
Source: BMC Medicine, MedicalNewsToday
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