Alcohol Consumption and Breast Health

Alcohol Consumption and Breast Health

When studies started to show a potential for a positive correlation between heart health and red wine consumption, a quiet cheer erupted from some people all over the country. Huzzah! Perhaps alcohol is not so bad after all…

But despite this good press, the effect of alcohol on the rest of the body is less than beneficial, so the good has to be tempered with the bad. The key word for alcohol (as with most all things indulgent) is moderation.

Alcohol consumption also has an effect on breast health, and that’s what we’d like to address here.

The truth is, even moderate alcohol consumption (what’s moderate is controversial – most sources say more than 1-2 drinks each day) has a negative effect on breast health. Moderate alcohol drinking increases breast cancer risk. For the optimists, the risk increase while real is also relatively small. For the realists, you know that the more risk factors you have, the more cautious should be your approach to dealing with factors you can modify, like how much alcohol you consume.

An interesting suggestion as to why alcohol can be bad for breast health harkens back on yesterday’s post on estrogen. Estrogen receptors have a relationship with alcohol – and we know that estrogen has a relationship with breast cancer as well. The straight line from alcohol-related to specifically estrogen-related breast cancer has not fully been drawn, but evidence is pointing that way.

Just as for heart health, when it comes to breast health: It all comes back to moderation. Know your risks for breast cancer, and know that limiting the amount of alcohol you drink may be beneficial.



Image credit: A Glass of Red Wine by Davide Restivo, Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Originally published 6/4/13 on