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Alcohol intake tied to lower H. pylori infection risk, with caveat

A recent meta-analysis has revealed a decreased risk of Helicobacter pylori infection among alcohol drinkers as compared with nondrinkers, with wine and mixed types of alcohol showing greater infection reduction than beer.

However, the investigators strongly dissuade individuals from resorting to drinking alcohol to reduce their risk of H. pylori infection, since alcohol consumption can elevate the risk of other diseases.

A comprehensive search was done using the databases of PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science. The investigators retrieved studies examining the relationship between drinking and H. pylori infection and assessed the robustness of this association using odds ratios (ORs). They also performed a sensitivity analysis.

Twenty-four studies met the eligibility criteria. On meta-analysis, alcohol drinkers had a significantly lower risk of H. pylori infection than nondrinkers (OR, 0.83). In addition, individuals who drink wine (OR, 0.90) or mixed types of alcoholic beverages (OR, 0.78) showed a greater decrease in infection risk compared with beer drinkers.

Among individuals aged ≥40 years, alcohol drinkers were also at lower risk of H. pylori infection relative to nondrinkers (OR, 0.68). Among those aged <40 years, however, alcohol drinking showed no correlation with H. pylori infection risk.

Notably, women had a lower risk of H. pylori infection than men (OR, 0.86).

“Nonetheless, we discourage reducing H. pylori infection through drinking, which increases the risk of other diseases,” the investigators said.

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