The generally accepted adage that moderate drinking protects against cardiovascular disease is far too generalized according to a new study published in Sweden. The study demonstrated that any protective impact caused by consuming alcohol is related a certain genotype that only 15% of the population has.
The research participants consisted of 618 people with coronary heart disease and 3,000 healthy subjects. The subjects were assigned to various categories based on the amount of alcohol they consumed and tested to identify a particular genotype (CETP TaqIB) that previous studies had correlated to the health benefits of alcohol consumption.
The findings demonstrated that moderate drinking on its own confers no protective health benefits, instead moderate consumption of alcohol helps protect people with the genotype against coronary heart disease.
“In other words, moderate drinking has a protective effect among only 15% of the general population,” says Professor Dag Thelle, Professor Emeritus at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
“Moderate drinking alone does not have a strong protective effect,” said Professor Lauren Lissner, who also participated in the study. “Nor does this particular genotype. But the combination of the two appears to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”
Kirsten Mehlig et al. CETP TaqIB genotype modifies the association between alcohol and coronary heart disease: The INTERGENE case-control study. Alcohol, 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.08.01