Alcohol intake and mortality risk of COVID-19, pneumonia, and other infectious diseases: An analysis of 437191 UK biobank participants.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Preventive Medicine Reports, 2022, 26, pp. 1-6
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This study aims to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and COVID-19, infectious diseases, and pneumonia mortality. This is a prospective analysis of 437,191 UK Biobank participants (age 56.3 years, 54% female). The main exposure was self-reported alcohol consumption. In addition to never and previous drinkers, we applied quartiles-based and UK guidelines-based criteria to divide current drinkers by weekly consumption into four groups. Outcomes included COVID-19, infectious diseases, and pneumonia mortality, obtained from the national death registries until May 2020. After an 11-year follow-up, compared to never drinkers, previous drinkers had higher mortality risks of infectious diseases and pneumonia (adjusted HR: 1.29 [95% CI 1.06-1.57] and 1.35 [1.07-1.70], respectively), but not COVID-19. There was a curvilinear association of alcohol consumption with infectious diseases and pneumonia mortality. Drinking within-guidelines (<14 UK units/wk) and amounts up to double the recommendation (14 to < 28 UK units/wk) was associated with the lowest mortality risks of infectious diseases (0.70 [0.59-0.83] and 0.70 [0.59-0.83], respectively) and pneumonia (0.71 [0.58-0.87] and 0.72 [0.58-0.88], respectively). Alcohol consumption was associated with lower risks of COVID-19 mortality (e.g., drinking within-guidelines: 0.53 [0.33-0.86]). Drinkers reporting multiples of the recommended alcohol drinking amounts did not have higher mortality risks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases than never drinkers. Despite the well-established unfavorable effects on general health, we found no deleterious associations between alcohol consumption and the risk of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Future research with other study designs is needed to confirm the causality.
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