In a paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers say that the existing findings of the longitudinal impact of low-to-moderate drinking on symptomatic depression are controversial, with results ranging from finding no association to finding both a protective and adverse association.
The researchers work examined the association between low-to-moderate alcohol consumption and incident depressive symptoms by pooled analysis of three European, American and Chinese representative samples of middle-aged and older adults.
A total of 29,506 participants (55.5% female) were included. During 278,782 person-years of follow-up, subjects with low-to-moderate drinking had a significantly lower incidence of depressive symptoms compared to never-drinking subjects, with pooled hazard ratios of 0.87 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.79-0.96) for men and 0.87 (95% CI: 0.80-0.95) for women, whereas heavy drinkers failed to show significantly higher risk of depressive symptoms. Furthermore, a J-shaped relation between alcohol consumption and incident depressive symptoms was identified in Chinese men, US men, and UK men and women.
Low-to-moderate alcohol consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms on a long-term basis compared to never drinking. The results support the threshold of moderate drinking in current US guidelines
Source: Lirong Liang, Rong Hua, Shiwei Tang, Changwei Li, Wuxiang Xie, Low-to-Moderate Alcohol Intake Associated with Lower Risk of Incidental Depressive Symptoms: A Pooled Analysis of Three Intercontinental Cohort Studies, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 286, 2021, Pages 49-57, ISSN 0165-0327.