Moderate intake of alcohol is healthy for the heart?

Some tests recently have been attempting to shows that moderate intake of alcohol is healthy for the heart. The publicized trials shows that when women occupy between ½ and 1 drink a day, dropping their risk of acute cardiac death by 36%. But if they double their intake to more than two articles per day, so increases the risk of acute cardiac death by approximately 15%.

"Several studies have shown that there is a correlation between alcohol and disease prevention in coronary arteries, brain hemorrhage and heart failure, but there is only very little researched in the correlation between alcohol and acute cardiac death," explains study leader Stephanie Chiuve, who teaches medicine at Brigham and women's Hospital in Boston. "In this experiment we would look at the correlation between moderate alcohol intake and the risk of acute cardiac death in women. We found that there is a U-shaped relationship, "says Chiuve. This means that too little or too much alcohol gives a higher risk for cardiac death than a moderate intake. "The women who choose alcohol, should drink about one subject per day. In this volume we saw the greatest health gain ", she says.

The results of the experiment were published in the October issue of the journal Heart Rhythm.

Even though the trial was not designed to determine how much alcohol it takes to prevent acute cardiac death, concludes Chiuve, that alcohol has a health-promoting effect on cholesterol levels and helps to reduce the amount of plaque that accumulate in blood vessels. They then emphasizes that they are not looking for a particular type of alcohol having greater impact than others, suggesting that it is the ethanol found in alcoholic drinks, as has the health-promoting effect.

But there is not only good news. Alcohol may also have what is known as pro-arrytmisk effect. It means that alcohol can cause irregular heartbeat. The effect is so well known that it has been nicknamed "Holiday Heart Syndrome".

Chiuves experiments included 85.067 women from the Nurses ' Health Study. None of the women suffered from a chronic illness at the start, and all the women answered questions about their alcohol intake every four years.

One drink contains according to Chiuve approx. 15 g of alcohol. And one drink is 3.5 dl beer, 1,2 dl wine or 0.5 dl spirits. The researchers found that women who drank between 5 and 14.9 grams of alcohol per day had the lowest risk of acute cardiac death. Those who had previously been drinking, had a 21% lower risk compared with people who had never drunk alcohol.

Women who drank 0.1-4.9 grams of alcohol had a 23% lower risk of acute cardiac death compared with those who had never drunk alcohol, while those who got 5-14.9 grams per day reduced the risk by 36%. Women with a consumption of 15-29.9 g alcohol per day had a 32% lower risk.

But when the amount of alcohol daily exceeded 30 g-IE. two drinks a day increased the risk of acute cardiac death-by 15% in comparison with the teetotal group.

Dr. Michael D, head of the Department for preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago Medical Center, is not surprised by the results. "There has always been talk about a U-shaped curve for alcohol's effect. Until a certain point, it is good for health, but when consumption exceeds this point drinking increases the risk of dying, "he says.

He notes that when he has patients with heart fibrillation, suggests to them to always to cut down on their alcohol consumption. But he added: "everyone is different, and alcohol tolerance is different from person to person, so if you can feel the heart flicker after just one drink, then it may well be that just one glass of alcohol is even one glass too much".

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