(Natural News) The ups and downs of alcohol consumption have been discussed by experts time and time again. Previous research has observed the negative association between alcohol consumption and depression risk. However, new evidence suggests that consuming alcohol in moderation can instead reduce the risk of depression.
The study, published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, found that light and moderate drinkers had a lower risk of depression than non-drinkers and excessive drinkers.
A glass a day may keep depression away
Researchers from Sweden investigated whether alcohol consumption influences the risk of depression while accounting for the varying associations made by previous studies. In this study, the researchers examined the lifestyle habits of around 5,000 Swedish participants. The researchers asked three questions to assess the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption of the participants:
- Have you drank at least a glass of alcohol during the last 12 months?
- How often do you drink alcohol?
- How many “glasses” do you drink on a typical day when you drink alcohol?
After a follow-up, depression was measured based on the answers given on the Major Depression Inventory – a self-report mood questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization.
From the results, the researchers observed that consumers who drank seven to 14 drinks per week had a depression risk similar to light drinkers, who drank less than seven glasses a week.
In line with previous studies, the researchers also observed that hazardous alcohol intake leads to an increased risk of depression. This suggests that dependence on alcohol may be indicators for future depression.
The researchers concluded that these associations happen independently, regardless of drinking history and mental health, potentially stressful life events, socioeconomic status, and various other psychosocial and lifestyle factors.
Only in moderation
The Swedish study is part of a growing body of knowledge surrounding the association between alcohol consumption and depression risk. An earlier study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, also found that moderate drinking of alcohol, specifically wine, may reduce the incidence of depression.
Researchers from Spain studied 5,505 men and women aged 55 to 80 over a seven-year period. The participants answered a validated 137-item food-frequency questionnaire, which included nine questions on the consumption of alcohol. To assess the role of wine, participants were divided into five groups based on the number of drinks they consumed weekly. Additionally, the researchers analyzed the mental health and lifestyle of participants throughout the experiment.
The findings reveal that those who drank low-to-moderate alcohol (5 to 15 grams/day) had a lower risk of depression. Additionally, low-to-moderate wine drinkers (two to seven glasses per week) saw a stronger inverse association. The researchers noted that these associations were consistent even when considering factors like diet and marital status.
However, as with other studies, the researchers found an association between heavy drinking to increased depression risk. They add that high alcohol consumption was more attributed to men, taking up 88 percent of the total number of participants who drank more than 15 grams per day.
Based on these studies, having a glass of wine a day can help bring a positive boost to your mental health. But remember to always practice this in moderation. (Related: Wine boosts Omega-3s for healthier heart, study finds.)
BeatDepression.news has more stories on foods that keep depression symptoms at bay.