The Good and Bad: Wine and Depression

How Wine Can Reduce, or Increase, Depression Risks

The Good and Bad: Wine and Depression

By Amy Abbott Published at September 27, 2013 Views 4,237 Likes 2

A new retrospective study looked at the effects — good and bad — wine may have on depressive symptoms.

The positive takeaway is, indeed, that moderate use of wine may actually reduce the incidence of depression. But there is a flip side: Heavy drinkers seem to be at higher risk.

A BMC Medicine study published August 2013 followed more than 5,000 men and women for up to seven years. Those studied were participants in the PREDIMED trial (Prevention with Mediterranean Diet) in Spain, which examined the traditional Mediterranean way of eating and cardiovascular disease.

Given that alcoholic beverages are a part of many cultures, the British study examined the data after the fact to determine how drinking affected depressive symptoms.

A Drinking Culture

In other parts of the globe, wine is much more culturally a part of the daily diet — as ubiquitous as olive oil in Italy or ketchup in America. And consumption of alcohol is increasing worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers added to the mix the factor that unipolar depression continues as the most prevalent worldwide mental disorder. The study distinguished differences between problematic alcohol use and moderate consumption as part of a regular diet.

The Good News Researchers Found

Among study participants, wine was the most consumed alcohol beverage in the diet. Researchers assessed the role of wine among depressed patients into five groups: abstainers, less than one drink/week, one to two drinks/week, two to seven drinks/week, and more than seven drinks/week.

The researchers concluded that total "low-to-moderate alcohol drinking was associated with a lower risk of depression. A stronger inverse association was found for low-to-moderate wine drinkers."

While people often report that depression and alcohol abuse exacerbate problems of either condition, for the moderate drinker, this study offers encouragement.

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