Why Alcohol May Help Hearts
Alcohol May Act as a Blood Thinner, Study Shows
WebMD News Archive
"We found that among both men and women, an intake of three to six
drinks per week or more was linked to lower levels of stickiness by
aggregability," says Mukamal in the news release.
"Aggregability" means the ability to cluster together. It measures
"Among the men, we also found that alcohol intake was linked to lower
levels of platelet activation," Mukamal continues.
"Together, these findings ... identify moderate drinking as a potential
blood thinner," he says.
The type of alcohol didn't appear to change the results. The study didn't
specify whether wine was red or white.
Moderate drinkers have been shown to have lower rates of heart attacks than
nondrinkers, the researchers note.
But "at the same time, moderate drinking has been linked to a higher
risk of hemorrhagic [bleeding] stroke, even [after] accounting for its effects
on blood pressure," they write.
"Our findings add to a large body of evidence showing that moderate
drinking has effects on blood coagulation, which may have both good and bad
effects, but now identify a new avenue by which this effect may occur,"
What's a Serving?
It's easy to get carried away with serving size, especially if you're
drinking out of large wine goblets or hefty beer glasses.
What you consider "one" drink could actually be several drinks if
your portions are off.
Here's how the researchers defined one serving:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits
Self-reports, like those used in this study, aren't always perfect. No one
was told to drink (or not drink) to directly test alcohol's effects.
Mukamal's team will evaluate other ethnic groups, according to the news
"If you drink, do so in moderation," states the web site of the
American Heart Association (AHA).
"The incidence of heart disease in those who drink moderate amounts of
alcohol (no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for
women) is lower than in nondrinkers. However, with increased intake of alcohol,
there are increased health dangers including high blood pressure, obesity, and
stroke," continues the AHA.
Drinking alcohol may raise women's , according to previous studies.
Of course, alcohol is not recommended for pregnant women and should not be
drunk before driving.