"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Is drinking ever good for heart health?

December 13, 2023 – You can have read articles about how a glass of red wine a day can improve heart health, or a study This showed that light to moderate alcohol consumption is mostly related to a lower risk of heart and blood vessel problems. But the truth is far more complicated, latest research shows.

A team of researchers examined the consequences of alcohol consumption on our metabolites – the small molecules created by metabolic processes – and what the prevalence of certain metabolites means for risk Cardiovascular disease. They found that the metabolic trace left by drinking is, in lots of cases, linked to a better cardiovascular risk. But so as to add to the already confusing picture, study researchers found that some metabolites they identified within the body from alcohol consumption were related to a lower risk of heart problems.

Cardiovascular disease affects the structure or function of your heart and includes irregular heartbeat, heart failure, narrowing of the arteries and heart attack.

The study results were recently published published In BMC Medicine. The research team, led by biostatistics experts at Boston University's School of Public Health, used data from 2,428 people (all 18 years old or older) who underwent multiple in-person health exams over 20 years.

Studies on alcohol consumption and health risks are particularly difficult to conduct thoroughly, said Chunyu Liu, PhD, considered one of the study's lead authors and a professor of biostatistics on the BU School of Public Health, because there aren't many randomized controlled trials on this area – the gold standard for those Research. Instead, drinking habits must either be observed or self-reported by the people being studied, who may present their doctors with a more conservative picture of their alcohol consumption. And in terms of cardiovascular diseases, there are much more unanswered questions.

“Your economic status, whether you eat and drink alcohol at the same time, the type of alcohol you drink and how much – all of that has a big impact.” [mixed] effects on various molecules and biological processes,” Liu said.

She said despite the study's mixed conclusions about alcohol consumption and heart problems, the body of literature sends a transparent message: If you don't drink, don't start now. And if you happen to do drink, keep it to moderation.

Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, a top cardiovascular health expert from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, has the identical message for patients. He also hopes people aren't misled by catchy headlines that sound promising to alcohol lovers excited by their health.

“There is no question that alcohol is generally harmful to health,” Bhatt said. “The real question is whether there is a 'sweet spot', say, where a glass of wine a day protects against heart disease, which is widely believed by the media, patients and even doctors – but the evidence for this is extremely compelling.” weak.”