A study published in BMJ questioned those findings and determined that reducing the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed may improve cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.
This study examined findings from more than 50 studies linking drinking habits and cardiovascular disease to over 260,000 people. A gene was correlated to lower alcohol consumption over time and superior cardiovascular health records. The genetic variant of the ‘alcohol dehydrogenase 1B’ gene is known to breakdown alcohol at a quicker pace. This rapid breakdown causes unpleasant symptoms including nausea and facial flushing, and has been found to lead to lower levels of alcohol consumption over time.
Individuals who consumed 17 percent less alcohol per week have on average a 10 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and a lower Body Mass Index.
“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.
“For some time, observational studies have suggested that only heavy drinking was detrimental to cardiovascular health, and that light consumption may actually be beneficial. This has led some people to drink moderately based on the belief that it would lower their risk of heart disease. However, what we’re seeing with this new study, which uses an investigative approach similar to a randomized clinical trial, is that reduced consumption of alcohol, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, may lead to improved cardiovascular 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.
M. V. Holmes, C. E. Dale, L. Zuccolo, R. J. Silverwood, Y. Guo, Z. Ye, D. Prieto-Merino, A. Dehghan, S. Trompet, A. Wong, A. Cavadino, D. Drogan, S. Padmanabhan, S. Li, A. Yesupriya, M. Leusink, J. Sundstrom, J. A. Hubacek, H. Pikhart, D. I. Swerdlow, A. G. Panayiotou, S. A. Borinskaya, C. Finan, S. Shah, K. B. Kuchenbaecker, T. Shah, J. Engmann, L. Folkersen, P. Eriksson, F. Ricceri, O. Melander, C. Sacerdote, D. M. Gamble, S. Rayaprolu, O. A. Ross, S. McLachlan, O. Vikhireva, I. Sluijs, R. A. Scott, V. Adamkova, L. Flicker, F. M. v. Bockxmeer, C. Power, P. Marques-Vidal, T. Meade, M. G. Marmot, J. M. Ferro, S. Paulos-Pinheiro, S. E. Humphries, P. J. Talmud, I. M. Leach, N. Verweij, A. Linneberg, T. Skaaby, P. A. Doevendans, M. J. Cramer, P. v. d. Harst, O. H. Klungel, N. F. Dowling, A. F. Dominiczak, M. Kumari, A. N. Nicolaides, C. Weikert, H. Boeing, S. Ebrahim, T. R. Gaunt, J. F. Price, L. Lannfelt, A. Peasey, R. Kubinova, A. Pajak, S. Malyutina, M. I. Voevoda, A. Tamosiunas, A. H. Maitland-van der Zee, P. E. Norman, G. J. Hankey, M. M. Bergmann, A. Hofman, O. H. Franco, J. Cooper, J. Palmen, W. Spiering, P. A. d. Jong, D. Kuh, R. Hardy, A. G. Uitterlinden, M. A. Ikram, I. Ford, E. Hypponen, O. P. Almeida, N. J. Wareham, K.-T. Khaw, A. Hamsten, L. L. N. Husemoen, A. Tjonneland, J. S. Tolstrup, E. Rimm, J. W. J. Beulens, W. M. M. Verschuren, N. C. Onland-Moret, M. H. Hofker, S. G. Wannamethee, P. H. Whincup, R. Morris, A. M. Vicente, H. Watkins, M. Farrall, J. W. Jukema, J. Meschia, L. A. Cupples, S. J. Sharp, M. Fornage, C. Kooperberg, A. Z. LaCroix, J. Y. Dai, M. B. Lanktree, D. S. Siscovick, E. Jorgenson, B. Spring, J. Coresh, Y. R. Li, S. G. Buxbaum, P. J. Schreiner, R. C. Ellison, M. Y. Tsai, S. R. Patel, S. Redline, A. D. Johnson, R. C. Hoogeveen, H. Hakonarson, J. I. Rotter, E. Boerwinkle, P. I. W. d. Bakker, M. Kivimaki, F. W. Asselbergs, N. Sattar, D. A. Lawlor, J. Whittaker, G. Davey Smith, K. Mukamal, B. M. Psaty, J. G. Wilson, L. A. Lange, A. Hamidovic, A. D. Hingorani, B. G. Nordestgaard, M. Bobak, D. A. Leon, C. Langenberg, T. M. Palmer, A. P. Reiner, B. J. Keating, F. Dudbridge, J. P. Casas. Association between alcohol and cardiovascular disease: Mendelian randomisation analysis based on individual participant data. BMJ, 2014; 349 (jul10 6): g4164 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g4164