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The Current Verdict On Alcohol And Your Heart

 

Does drinking help your heart?: image via ottowa.ctv.caDoes drinking help your heart?: image via ottowa.ctv.ca I think the last medical consensus, based on the latest research study at the time, was that alcohol was not good for your heart.  I could be wrong; all I know is that the answers have varied from yes to no to yes to no to more studies are necessary. Two comprehensive studies of the latest studies were published yesterday in the British Medical Journal; let's see what they say....

Two separate studies of the latest research on alcohol and heart disease were undertaken by members of the University of Calgary School of Medicine.

Dr. Paul Ronksley reviewed 84 studies comparing alcohol drinkers with non-drinkers and their relationship to subject heart disease and stroke.  His summary report was that people who drink in moderation are between 14 and 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who don't imbibe. Moderate drinking was defined by both studies at one drink for a woman and one to two drinks for a man per day.

Dr. Susan Brien found that moderate consumption of alcohol significantly increases 'good' cholesterol, in her review of 63 studies. Good cholesterol, or High-density lipoprotein (HDL), has a protective effect on the heart.  She also found that other disease markers, like inflammation and blood clotting, were also lower in moderate drinkers. 

Dr. Brien indicated that it was the alcohol content that provides the protection and not the particular drink, like beer, wine, or hard liquor. The researchers indicated that drinking more than a small or moderate portion of alcohol daily will more than undo the advantages of alcohol and could increase the risk of death.

Dr, William Ghali, who oversaw both research projects, indicated that this comprehensive research should lead to a change in public service messages and in how medical personnel take into consideration the health benefits of alcohol when advising their patients.


Ottowa CTV, British Medical Journal