How Alcohol Can Cause A-Fib and Other Heart Issues – The New York Times

"A new study has found that even moderate drinking can increase the risk of A-fib, a heart rhythm abnormality that afflicts some 3 million Americans." - P&D

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Bert Perry's picture

Study not behind firewall here.  When we discussed an earlier study, the "dose" they called "moderate" was a blood alcohol concentration of about 0.08, which is about four or five drinks for a man my size (210 lbs). In addition, they weren't measuring actual atrial fibrillation, but electrical precursors to the same.

In this study, 100 people with a history of atrial fibrillation (read; compromised electrical performance of the heart already) were to "self-report" whenever they had a drink for an average of one drink per day, They wore an actual ECG monitor, so they were actually measuring atrial fibrillation events, as well.

End result; the rate at which they went into A-fib about doubled in the time after they had a drink, really in the same way doctors have warned about caffeine, salt, cured meats, obesity, tobacco, stimulants, and the like.  

Message for those of us without a history of atrial fibrillation?  It's uncertain, really.  If you've never had atrial fibrillation, doubling your risk of zero still yields zero risk, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

This study is just another reminder that alcohol is dangerous and should be avoided. 

Another of many examples:

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2017/11/alcohol-and-cancer.html

Take God’s advice: Don’t even look at alcoholic wine (Proverbs 23:31), and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2,6; 1 Peter 1:13; 5:8 NKJV).  You can thereby save yourself and others a lot of heartache. 

David R. Brumbelow

Joeb's picture

To say a Christian can't drink in moderation is just as wrong in saying a Christian should drink in Moderation.  As long as one does not get drunk per say it's a question of Christian Liberty. An individual choice. However depending on a persons health they should not drink at all and that includes a person whose family has a history of alcoholism.  
 

Today I heard a Christian friend of my wife's family is doing what I considered extremely stupid.  They are against Christians drinking at all yet they would make the most stupid decision in  healthcare based on being in a right wing cult.  It deals wife employed as a Nurse demanding no one in the family get VAXED.  This was followed and Covid struck the family.  Everyone but the husband walked away.  The Husband is in the hospital fighting for his life.  This Christian family is big anti drinking but in my mind you have a wife who killed her own husband if he dies.  Id have no problem saying that to her face.  Maybe if they indulged they would not have been caught up in a Right Wing Cult and listening to totally ridiculous stupid claims regarding COVID.    It's called Commonsense and inituition which is greatly lacking in these times.  
 

Bert Perry's picture

If one reads Proverbs 23: 19-25 carefully, one will see that it's talking about getting pretty drunk, as the red eyes, feeling no pain,and the like start with a blood alcohol percentage of about 0.15-0.2%, or about twice the legal limit for driving.  Really, "when can I get up so I can have another drink?" in verse 25 suggests outright alcoholism--a condition reached by only about 5% of those who drink.  It's not talking about moderate consumption at all.  Shame on you for misrepresenting God's Word, David.

If, on the other hand, one reads Scripture in context, one will see that (Luke 5:39) "the old wine is better", that Jesus came "eating and drinking", that Jesus' first miracle was to make wine, and that pretty much every landowner had a vineyard used for making wine, one will see that what's condemned is drunkenness, not moderate use of wine.

Are there physiological effects to alcohol?  Certainly.  But reality is that when people look at actual impact on life span from moderate consumption of alcohol, the result is slightly positive.  We need to read these studies in light of the greater medical context in the same way we ought to read Scripture in light of the context.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ed Vasicek's picture

JoeB, I agree with Bert and many of your comments.  However, as one who will argue the case for Christian liberty, there have been a few recent discoveries that even moderate drinking can be rough on the body.  I had bad liver trouble from taking (originally doctor-ordered) high doses of niacin and then an antibiotic, Augmentin.  I spent four days in the hospital with bad jaundice.  If I had been even a moderate drinker, not sure how that would have turned out.  There are many articles about this from secular sources without an agenda.  Here is just a recent one: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jun/06/even-moderate-drinking-can-damage-the-brain-claim-researchers

So I would disagree with anybody who said Jesus turned water into grape juice, or that drinking in moderation was a sin.  But, having said that, I do think we are learning that there are some (not the most likely, but not rare either) possible side effects.  But as Bert said, not necessarily worse than carrying too much weight (I bad) or failing to exercise.

As far as this, though, I disagree:

 Maybe if they indulged they would not have been caught up in a Right Wing Cult and listening to totally ridiculous stupid claims regarding COVID.    It's called Commonsense and inituition which is greatly lacking in these times.  

Of course, none of us know what might have been. But I know plenty of Christians who drink in moderation (and some, perhaps over the line) who embrace right wing fake news.  I wish the fix were that easy.

 

 

 

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Joeb's picture

ED I choose to drink in moderation. Mostly beer.  I  have health issues on the stove.  I'll know by next Friday how bad.  Everybody has different and a certain amount of expiration dates due to genetics on their body parts.   Some things like smoking and drinking and bad diets can speed up that expiration on certain parts.  So I do agree with you. My doctor told me every 5 pounds overweight equals 20 lbs of more stress on ones spine.  So Bert has a good point about the over eating. 

Your are right though ED it's good to look at studies and new info and seriously consider them concerning their impact on our health.  

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding the prevalence of effect of moderate drinking, it's worth noting that the first ~38000 alcohol related deaths are cirrhosis, and the next 15,000 are drunken driving.   Moderate drinking doesn't get you there, to put it mildly, and other causes of alcohol related death are also heavily weighted towards those who abuse it.

Same basic thing with foods.  It's not ice cream, bacon, or chocolate that's the problem, but rather packing it in until one's body rebels and one needs to compensate with blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes medications.   That's why Colossians 2:21-23 warns us against those who say "do not touch! do not taste!" and such.  An experiential picture; many European foods are far tastier than the mass market U.S. equivalents, and those on the Continent have a much lower rate of obesity and the like than we do here.  By pushing out things with greater taste, we're ironically setting ourselves up for greater gluttony, it seems.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Moderate drinking is moderate intoxication. 

The first thing alcohol does is inhibit your good judgment.  Do that and you’re violating the biblical commands to be sober, vigilant, exercise self-control. 

Most every heavy drinker started out as a moderate drinker. 

“Moderation is not the answer to the liquor problem, in most cases it’s the cause of it.”  -Adrian Rogers (AD 1931-2005), pastor, SBC president. 
“It is the moderate drinker that encourages other people to drink.”  -Adrian Rogers
“You may be very surprised at who you may hurt with your ability to hold your liquor.”  -Adrian Rogers

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2016/02/adrian-rogers-on-alcohol-dri...

“A man who is a drinker has no place in the ministry.”  -John MacArthur

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

Actually, it's false that "most every heavy drinker started out as a moderate drinker".  Sorry, I went to a "party school" for my undergrad, Michigan State, and I saw a fair number of people become heavy drinkers.  None of them started out drinking a nice chablis with their pinky finger extended; rather, all of them got started by going to settings where the goal was to drink a LOT of alcohol.  You don't mix rum or Everclear with Kool-Aid or Coke because it's a splendid taste you've long desired to experience, but rather to wash the spirits down tolerably.

Same thing with Falstaff or Milwaukee's Best Beast; you don't drink that garbage for the taste, or generally in moderation.

Nor is moderate drinking "moderate intoxication", Biblically speaking.  If it were, Jesus would have shut down the party instead of making six more jars of wine for the wedding celebrants.  Even if one indulges the idea that the wine Jesus made was not intoxicating, the steward of the feast noted that other hosts bring out the good wine first, and then the inferior wine when their taste was dulled with wine.  That's the alcohol at work.

In the same way, if moderate drinking is moderate intoxication, so we would assume Paul is telling Timothy to get "just a little drunk", then?    Come on, David, that's just silliness on your part.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. -1 Timothy 5:23 NKJV

1.  The wine can be interpreted as alcoholic or nonalcoholic.  Nonalcoholic wine (fruit juice), however, has more health benefits, with fewer side effects, than alcohol.  Fruits and vegetables have well-known health benefits. The ancients referred to both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks as wine.  

2.  It says a little wine. 

3.  Paul is not speaking of beverage, recreational alcohol, but wine for strictly medicinal purposes. 

http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2015/02/wine-for-your-stomachs-sake-...

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

For two thousand years, David, every responsible Bible translator has been translating that passage as if it referred to ordinary wine with alcohol.  I"m also aware that we don't remember the name of Thomas Welch because nonalcoholic grape beverages were available year round prior to his work with vaccuum evaporation and pasteurization.

So I'm going to go with the ordinary sense of the word "wine" here, since the theological consensus and science agree pretty well here.  As I've noted to you before, if you're going to make a serious case that the wine in the Bible was often non-alcoholic, you have got to come up with a seriously better set of arguments than you've come up with so far.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

The bigger point with 1 Tim 5:23 is that Paul had to tell Timothy to drink a little wine. Why? Because apparently he wasn't already drinking wine.

Jim's picture

Larry wrote:

The bigger point with 1 Tim 5:23 is that Paul had to tell Timothy to drink a little wine. Why? Because apparently he wasn't already drinking wine.

Why? He didn't like grape juice. 

Bert Perry's picture

....but that leaves the question of why he wasn't drinking wine.  He could have thought that asceticism equated to Godliness (this was common among the Pharisees, e.g. Matthew 11:19) .  Alternatively, Timothy could have simply wished to conserve money, or he could have been working with repented drunks, or he just might not have liked the taste.  Or some other reasons that don't come to mind for me.

So I'd argue that it would be very hasty to make an argument for today from that verse--especially since (Matthew 11:19 again) the Savior "came eating and drinking", and then there's that first miracle He did...

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

All of that may be correct. The point is the same: Timothy wasn't already drinking.

It may be that he thought it unwise to drink. It may be that the recreational use of wine was wrong and he extended that to the medicinal use as well. It may be any number of things.

But the point is that the idea that drinking wine was universal in ancient times is false. Timothy was apparently a tee-totaler.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Good point Larry. 

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, 3 he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.  -Numbers 6 NKJV

As a young preacher Timothy may have informally followed the Nazarite vow.  That would include not partaking of any fruit of the vine: grapes, unfermented wine, fermented wine, vinegar, pekmez, etc.  Likely, he would have done this for his testimony as a preacher, to avoid giving offense. 

Paul was telling him a little wine (you can interpret it as fermented or unfermented; either way is an interpretation) would help his stomach problems.  Either way, it is speaking of medicinal use, not recreational use.  Most MDs today will encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables. 

By the way, many today take a little Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar for their stomach and digestion.  I do. 

In ancient times the word wine was also used to include vinegar (sour wine). 

David R. Brumbelow

Bert Perry's picture

Have you seen anyone actually arguing that, Larry?  You've got the Rechabites, Timothy, the Pharisees (who confused Jesus drinking wine with being a drunk), and quite a few more.  I'd guess a certain number of slaves whose owners were "cheap" didn't taste the grape very often, either.

The question here is not whether Timothy abstained for at least a time; the relevant question is why he did so.  Since we don't know why, and there are a bunch of plausible explanations, it falls into the category of "interesting but not something we want to build theology from."  No?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Have you seen anyone actually arguing that, Larry?

They are all over. There are a number of people who believe that drinking alcohol is always sin and there are a number of people who think that drinking alcohol was virtually universal in ancient times. 

Again the only point was that Timothy was a tee-totaler apparently. Nothing else.

Kevin Miller's picture

Larry wrote:

All of that may be correct. The point is the same: Timothy wasn't already drinking.

It may be that he thought it unwise to drink. It may be that the recreational use of wine was wrong and he extended that to the medicinal use as well. It may be any number of things.

But the point is that the idea that drinking wine was universal in ancient times is false. Timothy was apparently a tee-totaler.

I don't see a reason to claim Timothy was a tee-totaler just because of Paul's instruction. When I was growing up, my mom would sometimes give me ginger ale for my upset stomach. Her instruction to "Take a little ginger ale" did not mean that we never had ginger ale at any other time. It was a common recreational beverage in our house. We were just sometimes instructed to take it medicinally as well.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I don't see a reason to claim Timothy was a tee-totaler just because of Paul's instruction.

I think that would be a stretch at best given that the alternative was drinking water. "No longer" indicates a practice that was most likely exclusive and the contrast was to start doing something else. It is not "stop doing one thing and keep doing something you are already doing." If he was already doing it, he would be getting the medicinal benefits already and not need to be told to do it. It is rather "stop doing one thing and start doing something else or do something in addition" depending on if you understand "only" or "exclusively" to go with "water."

Dan Miller's picture

In some ways I would go a little farther.

I think Paul's language implies that Paul was confident that Timothy, when he received the letter, would not be drinking wine. That implies that Paul knew Timothy had previously been not drinking and that Paul expected that Timothy's not drinking wine would have persisted. 

Together, these imply a deliberate position Timothy had taken. 

However, we are not told Timothy's reason. To me, a nazarite vow is the most likely. 

And I would not use the term "tee-totaler" because that implies a belief that it is wrong to drink. 

Bert Perry's picture

I was, as hopefully is obvious above, not under any impression that drinking wine was universal at the time.  That noted, it was probably fairly close, because the ancients didn't have "out of season" fruit and vegetables to get their vitamin C.  Hence a bit of wine was very, very helpful in avoiding deficiency diseases like scurvy.  Vitamin C is pretty temperamental (my mom was a dietician) because it breaks down at about 170F.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.