Alcohol May Reduce Men's Heart Risk
Study Shows Moderate Drinking Cuts Risk of Heart Disease in Men by 51%
WebMD News Archive
Amount of Alcohol and Heart Risk
Drinking any type of alcohol lowered the risk of serious heart disease in
men, with the amount of risk reduction associated with the amount of
- Light drinking reduced risk by 35%
- Moderate drinking reduced risk by 51%
- High and very high levels of drinking reduced risk by 54% and 50%.
Former drinkers had a 10% risk reduction.
For the study, the researchers considered a drink as an alcoholic beverage
with 10 grams of alcohol, the U.K. standard, Arriola says. In the U.S., a
standard drink is equal to 13.7 grams of alcohol, according to the CDC.
Roughly, here is how Arriola defines her categories:
- Light drinking was up to 5 grams a day -- or about one glass of wine, one
and one-half beers, or less than a half glass of hard liquor.
- Moderate drinking was 5 to 30 grams a day, or about two glasses of wine,
two or three beers, or a half to one glass of hard liquor.
- High and very high levels of drinking were 30 to 90 grams a day, or about
five or more glasses of wine, seven or more beers, and one to one and a half
glasses or more of hard liquor.
While the type of alcoholic beverage consumed, overall, did not have an
effect on the level of risk reduction, the researchers found the protection
greater for those drinking moderate to high levels of alcohol, which included
beverages other than wine alone.
The study results replicate many other studies, according to Kristi
Reynolds, PhD, MPH, a research scientist and epidemiologist at the Kaiser
Permanente Southern California Medical Group. But she points out that heavy
alcohol consumption carries many risks.
In an email, she writes that heavy alcohol consumption has been shown in
other studies to lead to increased illness and death from other causes.
"Therefore, the implications of these findings should be examined cautiously.
Advice regarding alcohol consumption should be tailored to the individual
patient's risks and the potential benefit."