Consumption of Alcohol in Moderation Provides No Health Benefit: Study

First Posted: Jul 11, 2014 06:58 AM EDT

A recent study questions the benefits of consuming light to moderate quantity of alcohol (0.6-0.8 fluid ounces/day) on cardiovascular health.

The study led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania said that the earlier belief that a small doze of alcohol daily improves cardiovascular health, reduces coronary heart disease, lowers body mass index and blood pressure may not be entirely true.

Recently, researchers reviewed more than 50 studies with records of over 260,000 people on their drinking habits and cardiovascular health. They found that individuals with a specific gene consume  less alcohol over time and have superior cardiovascular health.

Researchers examined the cardiovascular health of people who carry a variant gene 'alcohol dehydrgenase 1B ' known for breaking down alcohol at a quicker pace. Rapid breakdown causes uneasy symptoms like nausea and facial flush in the person, which eventually leads to lower alcohol consumption. ADH1B was the genetic indicator for less consumption of alcohol and better cardiovascular health.

Those with the gene variant on an average consumed 17 percent less alcohol per week than those without it. People who had this gene were also 22 percent less likely to indulge in binge drinking.

"These new results are critically important to our understanding of how alcohol affects heart disease. Contrary to what earlier reports have shown, it now appears that any exposure to alcohol has a negative impact upon heart health...," said co-lead author Michael Holmes, MD, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of Transplant Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in a press release.

The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council, and was an international collaboration that included 155 investigators from the UK, continental Europe, North America, and Australia.

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