Background: Anemia is induced by chronic alcohol abuse. However, it remains to be clarified whether a habitual alcohol intake affects erythrocyte-related indices in a general population. Methods: The subjects were 16,014 Japanese male workers aged 30–65 years. The subjects were divided into non-, occasional, and regular drinkers based on the frequency of alcohol consumption. Regular drinkers were further quantitatively divided based on their daily alcohol consumption into light, moderate, and heavy drinkers. Relationships between alcohol drinking and erythrocyte-related indices were investigated. Results: Erythrocyte counts and hemoglobin levels tended to be lower and higher, respectively, with increases in the frequency and amount of drinking. In logistic regression analysis, the odds ratios (OR) for abnormally low erythrocyte counts of moderate and heavy drinkers vs. nondrinkers were significantly higher than the reference level of 1.00 and the values tended to be higher with an increase in the alcohol intake. The OR vs. nondrinkers for abnormally low levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit were significantly lower than the reference level in all of the drinker groups and they were lowest in light drinkers among the drinker groups. Conclusion: A habitual alcohol intake has different associations with erythrocyte counts and hemoglobin and with low erythrocyte counts and low hemoglobin. Thus, alcohol is thought to have diverse effects on erythropoiesis.

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