Heavy Drinking Reduces Coronary Heart Disease, Reports Study

The heavy consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and spirits) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease according to recently analyzed data from the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions study (NESARC).

Studied were 43,093 individuals randomly selected from across the United States. The sample included 16,147 people who abstained from alcohol, 15,884 who drank in moderation, 9,578 who drank heavily,1 and 1,484 who were alcohol dependent (alcoholic).2

Both moderate and heavy or hazardous drinking were associated with significantly reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared with abstaining from alcohol.

On the other hand, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease was not significantly different between abstainers and alcoholic (alcohol-dependent) participants.

This is consistent with an earlier study that followed 1,824 older adults over a 20-year period of time. It found that moderate drinkers tended to live longer than either life-long abstainers or heavy drinkers. This earlier study also found that heavy drinkers tended to live significantly longer than did life-long abstainers.

Note: This website is informational only and makes no suggestios or recommendations about any health or medical matter and none should be inferred.


  • 1. Defined as exceeding weekly U.S. recommended limits (for men, drinking over 14 drinks per weekand for women, drinking over seven drinks per week) or exceeding daily limits (for men , drinking five or more drinks per day; women and for women, drinking four or drinks per day) in the past year.
  • 2. Defined using the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.


  • Le Strat, Y., & Gorwood, P. Hazardous drinking is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease: Results from a national representarive sample, American Journal of the Addictions, 2011, 20(3), 257–263;
  • Holahan, C.J., Schutte, K.K., Brennan, P.L., Holahan, C.K.. Moos, B.S., & Moos, R.H. Late-life alcohol consumption and 20-year mortality. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010, 34(1), 1,961-1,971.

Filed Under: Heart

This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about any subject.
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