Drinking Alcohol Protective against Coronary Heart disease (CHD)

The American Heart Association has reported that

More than a dozen prospective studies have demonstrated a consistent, strong, dose-response relation between increasing alcohol consumption and decreasing incidence of CHD. The data are similar in men and women in a number of different geographic and ethnic groups. Consumption of one or two drinks per day is associated with a reduction in risk of approximately 30% to 50%. 1 Studies of coronary narrowings defined by cardiac catheterization or autopsy show a reduction in atherosclerosis in persons who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. In general, the inverse association is independent of potential confounders, such as diet and cigarette smoking. Concerns that the association could be an artifact due to cessation of alcohol consumption in persons who already have CHD have largely been disproved. 2 No clinical trials have been performed to test the alcohol-CHD relation. However, the large numbers of observational studies support a true protective effect of moderate consumption of alcohol. 3

The important message from the American Heart Association about alcohol and coronary heart disease risk is that the “Consumption of one or two drinks per day is associated with a reduction in risk of approximately 30% to 50%.”

Nothing on this page constitutes medical opinion or advice. For medical diagnosis, opinion, advice or treatment consult a qualified physician.

1. Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Breslow JL, Goldhaber SZ, Rosner B, VanDenburgh M, Willett W, Hennekens CH. Moderate alcohol intake, increased levels of high-density lipoprotein and its subfractions, and decreased risk of myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med.. 1993;329:1829-1834.

2. Klatsky A, Armstrong M, Friedman G. Risk of cardiovascular mortility in alcohol drinkers, ex-drinkers, and non-drinkers. Am J Cardiol. 1990;66:1237-1242.

3. Pearson, Thomas A. (for the American Heart Association). Alcohol and heart disease. Circulation, 1996, 94, 3023-3025.

Filed Under: Heart