Drinking alcohol in moderation could slash the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research.
Some regular drinkers were nearly half as likely to develop the crippling condition as teetotallers or those who rarely drank. Researchers discovered the connection after carrying out an extensive review of previous studies that looked into the role of alcohol and rheumatoid arthritis.
The results, published in the journal Rheumatology, suggest a few drinks a week could have a protective effect against a disease that affects around 600,000 people in the UK. Although the latest investigation did not look at the reasons why a regular tipple might offer some protection, earlier research suggested it could be because alcohol appears to dampen down inflammation in the body and also has a mild pain-killing effect.
Rheumatoid arthritis is triggered when the immune system, the body's in-built defence mechanism, goes into action unnecessarily, attacking joints and sometimes other parts of the body.
The reasons why remain a mystery but some evidence suggests exposure to mild infection may be enough to launch this over-reaction. As a result, joints become inflamed and swollen, causing pain or stiffness, and many sufferers also experience flu-like symptoms.
Source - Daily Mail