Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Moderate drinking may be beneficial to your heart.

March 6, 2000 (Petaluma, Calif.) -- In 1995, federal health officials created an uproar by issuing dietary guidelines stating that alcohol can be good for the heart. The revised guidelines, due out soon, are expected to go even further -- spelling out exactly who might benefit from a drink or more a day.

Some experts have even suggested that a glass of wine be pictured in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's official food pyramid -- following the example of the Mediterranean food pyramid, whose accompanying guidelines recommend a daily glass of wine for women and up to two glasses for men. (The Mediterranean pyramid is an alternative model conceived by scientists from the World Health Organization and the Harvard School of Public Health.) "It's clear that there are important health benefits associated with moderate drinking," says Curt Ellison, M.D., a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and a leading expert on alcohol and heart disease.

But what constitutes "moderate"? Researchers don't yet agree on how much wine consumption is safe. And aside from moral or religious qualms -- this is the nation that once passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting alcohol, after all -- recommending regular drinking remains controversial for medical reasons, says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Professor of Food Sciences at New York University.

Even if a little drinking can promote health, the fact remains that too much drinking can be dangerous, quickly erasing any potential benefits. And the imprecise line between moderation and excess makes some experts reluctant to officially sanction any alcohol at all. Once a positive message about alcohol is out of the bottle, so to speak, the question becomes: Do the benefits really outweigh the risks?

The Arguments for Alcohol

Research does point to some striking evidence on the plus side. More than 50 studies have shown that moderate drinkers live longer than teetotalers and are less likely to have heart disease. In one of the most recent reviews, published in the British Medical Journal in December 1999, Harvard researchers looked at 42 studies and concluded that regularly consuming 30 grams of alcohol -- the equivalent of about three drinks a day -- increased "good" HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins) and reduced factors in the blood that lead to clotting. That translates to a whopping 24.7 % reduction in heart-disease risk, the researchers found.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...