October 31, 2017

Live Longer, Stay Sharper: Now, With Substance Abuse! Er. Use. I mean Use.

 image via artstack

By Crabby McSlacker

This post is a classic example of Selective Reporting: You see some headlines you like, so you skip merrily over the exhaustive research and analysis you should be doing in order to decide whether they're even valid. So much more fun to simply embrace the results!

Welcome to Cranky Fitness. Perhaps you mistook this for a scholarly health resource?

Anyway, in the spirit of "sounds good to me"... How about a couple of studies saying that (1) drinking impressively large amounts of coffee every day may increase longevity and (2) drinking alcohol moderately, or even heavily, as long as it's not "excessively," may boost your chances of living to a ripe old age without cognitive decline?

Again, we are just looking at a few studies and ignoring for now whatever research there may about the downsides of these practices. But it's only fair, right? People who don't want to booze it up, or consume bucketloads of coffee, can find plenty of ammunition, pretty much everywhere, to feel smug about their lifestyle choices.

But those of us who do like to alter our brains with various chemicals, whether because it makes us feel happier, or more alert, or more gregarious, or less likely to collapse into a paralyzing puddle of depression because somehow we've come to live in a country governed by a belligerent orangutan...  some of us might appreciate a little positive news for once.


Coffee! More Coffee! And Maybe a Little More Coffee?

photo via x-ray delta one

Two different studies showed a reduced risk of death for coffee drinkers. And the interesting thing? The results were dose dependent. You got it: More coffee, less death.

Yep, the people who drank 3-4 or more cups of coffee a day did substantially less dying than people who drank less, and the group who did the most dying were the non-coffee drinkers.

But what about decaf? Can you drink that in large quantities too?


photo via x-ray delta one

Yep, one of the studies also included decaf drinkers, who did the same dose-dependent less-dying thing too. (Though there wasn't as much data collected on them so there was a little hemming and hawing about it.)

Alcohol, Longevity, and Brain Health?


A nearly 30-year study of alcohol and cognitive functioning found that those drinking “moderate to heavy” amounts of alcohol five to seven days a week were much more likely to make it to 85 without cognitive impairment than non-drinkers. I couldn't get through the paywall for all the details, but the study abstract is here.

More specifically:  Relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers had significantly higher odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment, and near-daily drinkers had 2-3 times the odds of  living to at least age 85 without cognitive impairment.

But wait, what's the limit between "Moderate or Heavy" and "Excessive?"

It's a bigger number than we're used to seeing:  Up to 3 drinks/day for women and for men 65 years and older, up to 4 drinks/day for men under 65 years.


photo via x-ray delta one

Cranky Fitness is NOT advocating you run out and start pounding down 3 drinks a day. I've never seen a figure this high before, and have no desire to get sued.

And whenever you've been drinking, STAY THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR CAR. That's why they invented Lyft and Uber and taxicabs. Well, there may have been other reasons, but seriously, there is no excuse for endangering other peoples lives by getting behind the wheel if you're even a little bit impaired.

Oh, and another thing: Another brain-altering substance that also boasts some health benefits is marijuana! But I just blogged about recreational marijuana as part of a healthy lifestyle not that long ago, so I'll spare you the repetition.

So how about you guys, have any of you seen any recent headlines, health-related or not, that offered you some good news for once?

18 comments:

  1. Can't think of any offhand, Crabby, but I do want to say "belligerent orangutan" is the best description ever and I have every intention of stealing it and using it.

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    1. Well, I probably stole from somewhere myself Leah, as it's hard not to notice the orangutan resemblance. Personally I think we'd be better off with an ACTUAL orangutan, because it would be far less petty, spiteful, and malevolent. And I don't think I'm even joking.

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  2. Well we may need this after hearing today that more than 2 ounces of black licorice a day can kill you if you are over 50. Seems it leaches potassium out of your body. Of course you have to eat it every day for 2 weeks minimum, but what about the Halloween binge. No information on how much is too much.

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    1. Really Cindy? I had no idea about the black licorice. So sorry! I'm one of those people who can't stand the taste, so I dodged that bullet. Do you get a blood test every now and then as part of a physical? I know my potassium levels get tested pretty often, so if you haven't heard anything creepy from your doc you're probably safe.

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    2. Actually, I don't like it either. I don't even like the smell. That is why the rest of the family eat it with glee in front of me. They are addicted to the licorice Allsorts. Makes gift giving easy! I still feel a little bad that I had to drop that news story on them. Just a little!

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  3. Thanks for the good news about decaf! Since i have caffeine induced panic attacks, i’m only allowed one cup of regular a day. Now i’m going to quit worrying about my decaf intake.

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    1. Go for it with the decaf messymimi! And sorry about the panic attacks. (I used to get 'em in my 20's and 30's but they've disappeared now that I'm older. Hope yours go away too!)

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  4. Wait... What? Crabby's blogging again? Why was I not informed, dammit? Have a very belated "welcome back" from your favourite duck. :-)

    As far as the various studies go, I pretty much stopped paying attention years ago but I'm always happy to hear that coffee, red wine and dark chocolate have at least "controversial" health benefits. Better than no health benefits at all!

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    1. Lucky Duck!!!! So nice to see you here!

      Yep, I'm posting again, sort of haphazardly, but I discovered NOT having a blog made me more Cranky than having one, but it's always a close call.

      Hope all is well with you!!!

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  5. I have always believed in the benefits of coffee, no matter what the fashionable nutritional take was. It's a pity I'm allergic to so many forms of alcohol, and my current antihistamines don't react well with it. I'm pretty much a non-drinker these days, but while I have coffee and chocolate, I'm probably ok in the long-living department.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. I'm so glad you have at least a few wonderful foods you can eat Mary Anne, those allergies must be such a pain! And yeah, coffee and chocolate keep coming up as being really good for you, so yay for that!

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  6. Infrequent coffee drinker, non-drinker (except for May, June and July 2017), but I love tea, especially green lemongrass!

    There is so much information out there about what is good and what is bad. I like to experiment on myself and see how I react. That’s scientific enough for me!

    Happy World Vegan Day!!! ��

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  7. I'm always happy to see evidence that coffee is good for me. I mean, I'm going to keep drinking it anyway, but now I don't have to feel bad about it...

    I don't feel the need to be drinking that much alcohol, but I am going to interpret this to mean that my occasional alcoholic beverage is not hurting me. :)

    When I read this last week (and didn't have time to comment) I was wondering if some of it comes down to quality of life. I mean, I really look forward to my coffee in the morning; I don't drink alcohol every day, but I certainly enjoy a glass of wine (or other) now and then. Those things contribute to enjoyment of life, and I think being happier can impact our health?

    Over-indulgence is still not a good thing, but that's a different discussion. :)

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  8. Great article.

    I gave up alcohol two years ago and have never looked back. It really feels amazing.

    After not drinking any coffee for more than 15 years, I now drink about 2 cups of coffee a day, made myself with a French Press based on a 2-step process that has turned me into a bit of a snob about it. To maximize the effects, I chew a couple of raw cacao beans.

    I have found the combination to have great anti-depressant properties.

    As for living longer... not sure that is my goal, but less depression really helps enjoy the ride to its unknown end a lot higher.

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  9. Your blog is so refreshing to read! I work in the holistic health field and my clients have more success when they learn moderation and that there's a time to "tighten up" the diet and a time to relax and enjoy life! Now I'm off for another guilt-free cup o' joe. Thank you.

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  10. I enjoy a cup of Bulletproof coffee daily for the brain boost. It has GREATLY improved my productivity at work!

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  11. Hello, Thanks alot For sharing this wellness information with us. I'm looking to get more information about health from your experience.

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