Alcohol consumption

The effect of alcohol on your health depends on your drinking pattern and your average (daily) alcohol consumption. In the event of consumption exceeding 1 glass per day for women or 2 glasses for men, the risk of various diseases increases by 15 to 20%. A standard glass of alcohol contains approximately 10 grams of alcohol, irrespective of the drink. If you drink no alcohol or have moderate consumption of no more than half a standard glass to one standard glass per day, this is associated with a generally lower mortality risk. The positive health effects of alcohol on individual diseases are extremely limited. The current recommendation is therefore to drink no alcohol at all or no more than half a glass to one glass per day.

Alcohol and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with drinking alcohol.

Alcohol increases the risk of Alzheimer’s

There are indications that high alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. No link has been found between moderate alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s.

Alcohol increases the risk of a stroke

There is a link between alcohol consumption and the risk of having a stroke. According to the Health Council of the Netherlands, the risk of a stroke increases by 35% if you drink 3 or more glasses of alcohol per day, compared with 0 to 1 glass per day.

It has recently been demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption also increases the risk of a stroke. The current recommendation is therefore to drink no alcohol at all or no more than half a glass to one glass per day.

Alcohol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Drinking more than 6 glasses per day results in a substantially higher risk of 45% of developing cardiovascular diseases. You should therefore drink alcohol in moderation. Do not drink every day and do not drink more than between half a glass and one glass per day. Various studies even show that consuming these moderate amounts of alcohol has a small protective effect against the risk of a heart attack. However, drinking alcohol has no benefits in relation to any other cardiovascular diseases. The current recommendation is therefore to drink no alcohol at all or no more than half a glass to one glass per day.

Alcohol increases the risk of type 2 diabetes

Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Frequent alcohol consumption increases the risk of diabetes, however, as consuming high quantities of alcohol can cause you to become overweight.

In addition, your fat and carbohydrate metabolism may be impaired and your liver function can deteriorate. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of osteoporosis

Frequent alcohol consumption (two or more glasses per day) increases the risk of osteoporosis. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer

A link has been established between alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer. Moderate alcohol consumption of between half a glass and one and a half glasses per day slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. If more than one and a half glasses of alcohol are consumed per day, the risk goes up by 10%.

There are also indications that drinking alcohol in the period before a woman’s first pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer in later life. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of bowel cancer

Frequent alcohol consumption increases the risk of bowel cancer. Daily consumption of 3 glasses or more increases the risk of developing bowel cancer by 20%. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of stomach cancer

Alcohol irritates the stomach’s mucous membrane. Excessive alcohol consumption (more than 2 glasses per day) therefore significantly increases the risk of stomach cancer. This effect has not been proven in the case of moderate alcohol consumption (a maximum of 1 glass per day). You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of oesophageal cancer

Frequent alcohol consumption increases the risk of oesophageal cancer. The risk of oesophageal cancer is particularly high for people who both drink alcohol and smoke. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of lung cancer

Moderate alcohol consumption (half a glass to one glass per day) may be linked to a slightly lower risk of lung cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer is increased, however, if more than 2 glasses are consumed per day. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

Alcohol increases the risk of liver cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a higher risk of developing liver cancer. This link has been established in the case of daily consumption exceeding three glasses of alcohol. In the first instance, long-term alcohol consumption can cause fatty liver disease. Eventually this can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which increases the risk of developing liver cancer. You should therefore either drink no alcohol or drink it in moderation (a maximum of half a glass to one glass per day).

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether moderating your alcohol consumption may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.

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