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A new study shows no heart health benefit from drinking alcohol

Harold Mandel's picture
Drinking alcohol

Over the years there has been a great deal of enthusiasm among people who enjoy drinking alcohol about reports saying drinking in light to moderate amounts had been found to be good for your cardiovascular health. However, new research shows that drinking even light or moderate amounts of alcohol has no benefits for heart health.

Cutting down the consumption of alcohol is heart healthy

Researchers determined that people with a genetic variant which is associated with non-drinking and lower alcohol consumption had a better cardiovascular profile and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease than those without this genetic variant reported the British Medical Journal. This finding has suggested that cutting down the consumption of alcohol even for light or moderate drinkers is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Alcohol is a leading cause of death and disability

Alcohol has evolved as the fifth leading risk factor for death and disability which accounts for 4 percent of life years lost due to disease. Harmful effects of alcohol on many conditions has been firmly established, including:

1: Cirrhosis

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2: Injuries

3: Cancers of the liver, colorectum, breast, and upper digestive tract

In spite of these findings there has been uncertainty about the potential protective effects of light to moderate alcohol consumption on risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. It has been consistently reported by observational studies that in comparison with non-drinkers, light to moderate drinking exhibits a decreased cardiovascular risk, while heavier drinking is associated with an increased risk. However, it has been determined that the apparent cardioprotective effect which was said to be associated with light to moderate drinking could be explained by an elevated cardiovascular risk from underlying poor health in non-drinkers or by confounding caused by lifestyle or social factors which are associated with light to moderate drinking.

Drinking in any amounts offers no benefit for heart health

This new research shows that drinking even light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol provides no benefits for heart health reports the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In fact lowering the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, may actually improve cardiovascular health. Parameters associated with improved cardiac health include lowered risk of coronary heart disease, decreased body mass index (BMI) and decreased blood pressure.

Previous studies supporting some drinking as being heart healthy are being questioned

The findings in this study have raised questions about previous studies which have suggested that consuming light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may have a protective effect on cardiovascular health. These past studies have led some people to drink moderately based on the belief that this will decrease their risk of heart disease. However, the researchers discovered that people who carry a specific gene which typically leads to lower alcohol consumption over time have, on average, better cardiovascular health. These findings are seen as vitally important to our understanding of how alcohol affects heart disease.

It is actually likely therefore that previous studies supporting the position that light or moderate consumption of alcohol is heart healthy has led to unhealthy drinking patterns by many people. With a consideration of the new research any drinking of alcohol at all is seen as unhealthy for your heart. In view of the association of alcohol with many diseases and serious car crashes it would appear that a consideration of abstaining from drinking any alcohol may be the trend of the future. A lot of lives of decent people have been torn apart by drinking alcohol and so such a new direction in thinking about consuming alcohol is a welcomed relief.



Relaxation is the most beneficial drug we possess, and alcohol can help people relax. The problem is that it mostly makes up for that benefit by also being physically poisonous (in fact, you are in a slight stupor which can make the world seem nicer by inhibiting critical thought). Note that smoking to relax (pot or anything else) is unlikely to be much healthier than drinking in the long term.