Research into the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on the body can seem to change with the seasons. But, the known risks, including negative interactions with medications, are well documented.
Is it bad for a person with lupus to drink alcohol? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not so straightforward. Research into lifestyle factors, like consumption habits, is challenging to conduct and to interpret. It relies on:
- Accurate self reports
- These types of self reports are known to be inaccurate, particularly at higher levels of alcohol consumption
- Large participant cohorts
- It is unethical to make particular groups of participants consume alcohol. Because of this, correlational study designs are used.
- Causation can not be determined from correlational studies
- Standardization of lupus disease activity
- Current measures of lupus disease activity rely on clinician assessment, which can add variability to comparisons
Despite these complications, there have been a number of studies on the impact of alcohol on lupus. Most of the studies focused on whether or not drinking increases the risk of developing lupus. It does not appear that this is the case. A 2008 meta-analysis even concluded that “moderate drinking might be protective” for the development of SLE.
A prospective 2017 study found similar results. In the study, 204,055 women shared health information for over 22 years (in two different groups). The researchers found an inverse correlation between moderate drinking and SLE risk. In this study, the average was half a drink per day.