Glass of Wine a Day May Ward Off Depression
In the same way that a little wine may be good for the heart, it might also help avoid depression, a Spanish study suggests.
So while drinking a lot of wine or other alcohol may be a sign of depression or othermental health problems, alcohol in moderation may benefit mental health, the study authors contend.
"One drink a day, preferentially wine, may help prevent depression," said lead researcher Dr. Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, chair of the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra, in Pamplona.
But several mental health experts not involved with the study had reservations about the findings. And the research only found an association between moderate drinking and emotional well-being; it didn't prove cause-and-effect.
Martinez-Gonzalez said he thinks the apparent benefit of wine in preventing depression may work the same way that moderate drinking helps prevent heart disease.
"Depression and heart disease seem to share some common mechanisms because they share many similar protective factors and risk factors," he said. However, he added that depression prevention is not a reason to start drinking.
"If you are not a drinker, please don't start drinking," he said. "If you drink alcohol, please keep it in the range of one or less drinks a day and consider drinking wine instead of other alcoholic beverages."
"An adequate social life is the most important factor we know that protects people from depression," Tang said. "Perhaps not drinking is a sign of serious social isolation in Spain while drinking a glass of wine a day is simply a sign of having a normal social life."
Wine was the most popular drink and participants who drank two to seven glasses a week were the least likely to suffer from depression, compared to nondrinkers. However, it raises more questions than answers. "Is moderate wine consumption related to increased socialization, decreased cardiovascular events, or as it seems, increased activity? These questions are not answered by this study, but the findings are definitely worth noticing.