The health effects of moderate alcohol intake in humans: an epidemiologic review.Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 2000; 37(3):261-96CR
A large body of scientific evidence associates the moderate intake of alcohol with reduced mortality among middle-aged and older people in industrialized societies. This association is due largely to a reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, which appears to outweigh any possible adverse effects of moderate drinking. The regular consumption of small amounts of alcohol is more healthful than the sporadic consumption of larger amounts. No beneficial effect of moderate drinking on mortality has been demonstrated in young adults (premenopausal women and men who have not reached their forties). It is theoretically possible that moderate drinking in young adulthood might reduce the risk of later heart disease; however, this has not been clearly demonstrated. For some individuals (e.g., those who cannot keep their drinking moderate, pregnant women, and those who are taking medications that may interact adversely with alcoholic beverages), the risks of alcohol consumption, even in moderation, outweigh any potential benefits. Because even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgment and coordination, no one should drink alcoholic beverages, even in moderation, before driving a motor vehicle or performing other activities that involve attention and skill.