About 60 percent of alcohol-related injuries occur in people under 40, including motor vehicle accidents, suicides and homicides. Drinking can also damage the developing brain and other organs and lead to acute alcohol poisoning.
The NHS currently recommends that adults should drink no more than 14 units a week and spread out their consumption rather than overdo it. But the researchers said most guidelines are still too high.
Dana Bryazka, lead author and researcher at IHME, said: “Even taking a conservative approach and using the lowest safe level of consumption to set policy recommendations, this implies that the recommended level of alcohol consumption for younger people is still too high populations.”
For adults between the ages of 40 and 64, the study found that safe alcohol consumption ranged from about half a standard drink a day to nearly two standard drinks.
For people over 65 years of age in 2020, the risk of adverse health effects from alcohol consumption was reached after consuming just over three standard drinks per day.
A standard drink is defined as 10 grams of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to a 100ml small glass of red wine at 13% alcohol by volume, a 375ml can or bottle of 3.5% alcohol by volume, or a 30ml shot of spirits at 40 percent alcohol.
The researchers said that low alcohol consumption may be associated with improved health outcomes in populations over 40 with no underlying medical conditions, particularly in populations predominantly exposed to a higher burden of cardiovascular disease.
Scientists warn against changing policies
However, British scientists said younger people had a lower absolute risk of alcohol-related problems than older people and therefore warned against changing the guidelines.
dr Colin Angus, Senior Research Fellow, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, University of Sheffield, said: “In the UK, there are over 14 times as many alcohol-related deaths among 70-74 year olds than among 20-24 year olds, which rather contradicts the claim in this new study that we should focus on drinking at younger ages.
“There may be valid reasons to target younger drinkers for public health interventions, but those arguments are not presented in this study.”
The researchers also point out that while alcohol can provide benefits for heart health and diabetes, it is known to contribute to many other conditions, such as cancer and dementia.
Rates of alcohol-related death and alcohol-related admissions among the over-55s in England have increased more than other age groups over the past 15 years.
dr Tony Rao, Clinical Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, said: “We know that any alleged cardiovascular health benefits of alcohol are outweighed by the increased risk of other conditions such as cancer, liver disease and mental disorders like depression and dementia.”
The research was published in The Lancet.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/07/15/drink-day-keeps-doctor-away-hit-certain-age/ A drink a day keeps the doctor away – but only once you hit a certain age