Posted: 1/10/2003 1:24:11 AM EDT
might be old news, but here is another study.
Half an alcoholic drink every other day, be it wine, whisky or beer, can reduce the risk of heart attacks by a third, a new study shows.
The 12-year study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the frequency of drinking was the key to lowering the risk of heart disease, rather than the amount, the type of alcohol, or whether or not it was drunk with food.
Identifying the frequency of use as a key factor was a surprise, says lead researcher Kenneth Mukamal of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston.
The study compared nearly 40,000 male health professionals aged 40 to 75. Men who drank three or four times a week cut their risk of a heart attack by 32 per cent compared to men drinking less than once a week. But those who had a tipple just once or twice a week cut their risk by only 16 per cent. The researchers also found that half a glass was as effective as two.
The alcohol may help to keep the blood thinned, speculates Mukamal. The frequency of drinking may be important because alcohol breaks down relatively quickly in the body and its effects on red blood cells are short-lived, he adds.
Mukamal's idea is supported by earlier work showing that people with a gene that makes them metabolise alcohol slowly seem to benefit the most from moderate drinking. Alcohol also helps raise the levels of good cholesterol in the blood.
However, medics warn that the findings should not seen as a reason for people to hit the bottle, due to other risks associated with alcohol, such as liver and brain damage.
"We do not advise the public to begin drinking to prevent heart disease. There are well-proven ways that do not have the risks associated with alcohol consumption," says Claude Lenfant, of the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. These include lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping weight in check, physical activity and stopping smoking.
Ting-Kai Li, director of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, adds: "Only by research on the mechanisms of alcohol's effects on the cardiovascular system, and perhaps the liver, and the genetic background of how individuals respond to alcohol will we provide a scientifically informed means for assessing the risks and benefits of alcohol use on a person to person basis."[/qoute]
Good to know. I'm currently working off the side effects of the preventative medicine that I took last night [;)]