Regular consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol can be good for your health
Many people in Germany like to drink a so-called after-work beer. But how does this regular consumption of alcohol actually affect our health? Researchers have now found that consuming a moderate amount of beer or other alcoholic beverages every day can reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Pennsylvania State University scientists found that daily consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The doctors published the results of their study at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 in New Orleans.
Doctors examine more than 80,000 subjects
For their study, Pennsylvania State University researchers examined more than 80,000 healthy Chinese adults over a six-year period. During the investigation, the participants answered questions about their drinking habits and submitted a total of four blood samples for analysis. This allowed doctors to measure HDL cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol, as well as liver function and inflammatory markers in the patients.
Moderate alcohol consumption reduces the decline in HDL levels
When patients drink moderate amounts of alcohol, the HDL levels decrease less. Drinking seemed to slow down the natural decline in participants' HDL levels due to aging, the experts explain. If people did not drink alcohol at all or ingested large amounts, these benefits could not be observed.
Increased HDL concentration reduces the likelihood of atherosclerosis
The finding is quite significant because an increased concentration of HDL particles can be associated with a decreasing chance of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), the scientists explain. This condition can lead to strokes and cardiovascular diseases.
Less fatal heart disease found in moderate drinkers
When you look at fatal and non-fatal heart disease, people who drink moderately regularly have lower rates of these diseases compared to abstinent people, says author Shue Huang of Pennsylvania State University. So there is now one more reason to indulge in a drink now and then without feeling guilty.
The positive effect is strongest among beer drinkers
Although the positive trend is true for both beer and other spirits, the determined effect was stronger among beer drinkers, the authors say. However, the researchers were unable to collect enough data to determine the effects of wine consumption. There were simply not enough wine drinkers among the participants.
Further research is urgently needed
More research is urgently needed to determine whether there is an association between alcohol consumption and HDL levels in non-Chinese people, the doctors explain. In addition, it must be checked whether there are really significant and clinically relevant results based on the type of alcohol consumed.
No call for alcohol consumption
The American Heart Association recommends drinking alcohol in moderation if you already consume alcohol more often. However, if you do not drink alcohol, the result of the study should not be understood as a call to drink alcohol, even if this may result in slight advantages for the cardiovascular system. (as)