The data collected come from 195 countries following a survey conducted from 1990 to 2016, the results of which were recently published in the prestigious magazine Lancet. The maxi study on the effects of alcohol consumption was commented by the scientific director of Humanitas, Professor Alberto Mantovani. In an exclusive interview given to Corriere della Sera, the immunologist analyzes what emerged from the latest Global Burden of Disease Study, namely that the consumption of this substance, in any quantity, is responsible for more than 60 different diseases.
What is Gbg?
Gbg is a study commissioned to measure the health levels of the population in order to isolate the degree of influence of individual factors (such as alcohol or smoking) or groups of factors (the environment, accidents) to guide global policies.
Alcohol is the first responsible for over 60 diseases
According to the study published in Lancet, alcohol is the most serious cause of premature death between 15 and 49 years and the first responsible for more than 60 diseases. In 2016, its immoderate consumption caused 2.8 million deaths. Drinking alcohol can cause cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, diabetes and a range of inflammatory diseases: in 2010 alone 493 thousand people died of liver cirrhosis and just over 80 thousand patients died from liver cancer.
Quantities count relatively well
The maxi study obviously also dealt with the famous diatribe between those who claim that there is a threshold below which the negative effects of alcohol would be non-existent (if not even positive) and those who claim that there is no difference. The new research puts an end to this question: the level of alcohol consumption that minimizes the risk of health damage is zero.
How does alcohol have a negative effect on the body?
Beyond its behavioral effects, this substance is responsible for inflammatory processes. Tissues, thus damaged, send an alarm signal to the immune system, which triggers an out-of-control inflammatory response that in turn causes direct damage to tissues by immune system cells called macrophages.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century in Italy the consumption of alcohol was linked to the need for a higher calorie intake in relation to the scarcity of food. Today, the consumption of alcohol is more linked to the experience of socialization. In both cases the natural consequence of the consumption of this substance is addiction. “If it remains true that the consumption of alcohol is decidedly higher abroad, even in Italy the dangerous tendency to exaggerate with alcohol over the weekend is spreading – said the professor. A trend that goes beyond any reasonable limit and that must be fought”.