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Heart Health Damaged By Any Alcohol Consumption

Update Date: Jul 10, 2014 05:33 PM EDT
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Wine will not boost heart health, according to a new study.

Contrary to previous findings, researchers said the latest findings suggest that drinking alcohol provides no heart health benefit.

Researchers found that decreasing the consumption of alcohol consumption, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, can significantly boost heart health and lower the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

After analyzing data from more than 50 studies of more than over 260,000 people, researchers found that individuals who carry a specific gene, which typically leads to lower alcohol consumption over time, had significantly better heart health.

Study results revealed that people who drink 17 percent less alcohol per week had on average a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and body mass index.

"These new results are critically important to our understanding of how alcohol affects heart disease. Contrary to what earlier reports have shown, it now appears that any exposure to alcohol has a negative impact upon heart health," co-researcher Michael Holmes, MD, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of Transplant Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania researcher, said in a news release.

"For some time, observational studies have suggested that only heavy drinking was detrimental to cardiovascular health, and that light consumption may actually be beneficial. This has led some people to drink moderately based on the belief that it would lower their risk of heart disease. However, what we're seeing with this new study, which uses an investigative approach similar to a randomized clinical trial, is that reduced consumption of alcohol, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, may lead to improved cardiovascular health," said Holmes.

After analyzing the heart health of people the specific 'alcohol dehydrogenase 1B' gene, which is known to breakdown alcohol at a faster pace.

Researchers said that carriers of this particular gene often experience unpleasant symptoms like nausea and facial flushing during alcohol consumption.

The findings were published in the journal The BMJ.

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