Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

Research has consistently found that people who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. A new paper suggests that abstainers' mortality rates are actually higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Even after controlling for many possible variables, such as socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, and number of close friends, the researchers found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers.

One reason for this may be that low levels of ethanol in your bloodstream will prevent the formation of formaldehyde from dietary methanol. In fact, ethanol is used as the preferred antidote for accidental methanol poisoning in an emergency for this reason.

Time Magazine reports:

“The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous: it can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls and other mishaps”.

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