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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Coronary Heart Disease

In the past, some researchers have argued that consuming low amounts of alcohol was good for the heart, despite the dangers that are usually associated with consuming alcohol. While new research confirms that moderate alcohol consumption can protect against coronary heart disease, research indicates that alcohol only protects about 15% of the population that have a particular genotype, according to Science Daily.

The study was conducted at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, where researchers observed 618 Swedes with coronary heart disease and a control group of 3,000 healthy subjects. The participants were separated into different groups based on their alcohol consumption. They were then tested for a particular genotype (CETP TaqIB) that had been identified in previous studies as being linked to the health benefits of alcohol consumption. The researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption protected against coronary heart disease only when the CETP TaqIB genotype was present.

"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.

Researchers believe that alcohol may somehow affect the CETP in a way that benefits cardio-protective HDL cholesterol. An alternative hypothesis is that alcohol contains healthy, protective antioxidants.

"Our study represents a step in the right direction," Professor Thelle says, "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%. That would be useful to know when offering advice on healthy alcohol consumption. But the most important thing is to identify new means of using the body's resources to prevent coronary heart disease."

Researchers conclude that advising people that moderate alcohol consumption is good for you is far too sweeping, the article reports.

The results were published in Alcohol.

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