Scientists from Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden have conducted a study on how moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease. They studied 618 patients, from three different regional hospitals, who were all admitted with acute coronary syndrome. Also, 3,000 healthy people were used as a control group.
The study group of 618 people was comprised of 418 men and 165 women, who were all under the age of 75.
Out of the group of 618 patients, 46% of men, 209 to be more precise and 52% of the women (86) had unstable angina or first-time acute myocardial infarction. The rest of them had an exacerbation of earlier diagnosed coronary heart disease.
All the subjects had to fill in individual surveys with questions regarding their lifestyle and alcohol consumption, who were later assigned to specific categories, based on their answers.
Some of the alcoholic beverage choices were beer with low, medium or strong alcohol amount, wine, dessert wine and spirits. The researches tried to find out the amount of alcohol intake (actually, the amount of ethanol that the patients consume) and also the rate of consumption.
The subjects were then tested for the CETP TaqIB genotype – genotype that was linked to health benefits through alcohol consumption in a previous study.
Out of all the patients who took part in the study and were suffering from coronary heart disease, the researchers found out that only 15% of them can actually benefit from moderate alcohol consumption.
According to Prof. Dag Thelle, Professor Emeritus at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg:
“Our study represents a step in the right direction, but a lot more research is needed. Assuming that we are able to describe these mechanisms, it may be a simple matter one day to perform genetic testing and determine whether someone belongs to the lucky 15%.”
Study co-author Professor Lauren Lissner added:
“Moderate drinking alone does not have a strong protective effect. Nor does this particular genotype. But the combination of the two appears to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”
Moderate alcohol consumption goes up to 1 drink per day for women (approximately 40 g or 0.6 ounces of ethanol) and 2 drinks for men.