A three year study of 245,207 adults, shows that “moderate” alcoholic intake reduces heart disease and stroke. Even “heavy” alcoholic intake was not shown to be worse than complete abstention, with the exception of stroke.
Here are excerpts from the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology
|Alcohol consumption, vol||Nondrinkers||Light||Moderate||Heavy|
|Cardiovascular deaths||1.00||0.76 (0.68 – 0.85)||0.67 (0.59 – 0.77)||0.89 (0.73 – 1.10)|
|Cardiovascular deaths (also adjusted for diet/exercise)||1.00||0.77 (0.69 – 0.85)||0.69 (0.61- 0.80)||0.90 (0.73 – 1.10)|
|CHD mortality||1.00||0.75 (0.66 – 0.84)||0.67 (0.57 – 0.79)||0.80 (0.61 – 1.05)|
|Stroke mortality||1.00||0.80 (0.61 – 1.05)||0.76 (0.58 – 0.99)||1.25 (0.92 – 1.70)|
Adjusted for age, sex, race, smoking, marital status, education, region, urbanization, smoking, body-mass index, and general health status
To look at these issues further, they used data on 245 207 adults participating in the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an annual survey of a nationally representative sample of US adults, between 1987 and 2000. The survey includes detailed questions on alcohol consumption. Participants were assigned as abstainers (further classified as never drinkers, lifetime infrequent drinkers, or former drinkers), light drinkers (three drinks or less per week), moderate drinkers (four to seven drinks per week for women and four to 14 drinks per week for men), and heavy drinkers (more than seven/14 drinks per week, respectively).
This inverse relationship was seen in nearly all segments of the population. But there may be a different effect in different races, as the inverse association seemed stronger among non-Hispanic whites. They write: “Limited data suggest that the apparent U- or J-shaped associations of alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease and mortality observed in other groups might not extend to African Americans, who [constitute] the largest minority population in these surveys,” adding that this might reflect known ancestral variation in alcohol-metabolizing enzymes. They call for prospective studies of alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease in minority populations to clarify this issue.
DR. PINNA says:
Drinking increases breast cancer in women and accidents in youth. It obviously decreases mortality from vascular disease. Who drinks, how much they drink, and what they do while drinking, are all very important factors. However, the people of the world and even animals have been using alcohol since the beginning of history. It is not a poison and it reduces fatty concentrations in the arteries.